Automakers snub Trump to side with climate crisis, says Obama-era official

(The Guardian, 22 Aug 2019) Companies are considering years of regulatory uncertainty when aligning with California’s mileage standards deal.

Automakers pushing back against Donald Trump’s rollbacks to mileage standards want to avoid drawn-out court battles and be seen as on the right side of the climate crisis, according to one of the architects of the Obama administration rules.

Jeff Alson, who spent a decade on the standards as senior transportation and air quality adviser in the Environmental Protection Agency, said the companies are worried about years of regulatory uncertainty that could end with judges deciding against Trump.

Producing cars that use more gasoline could make it harder for American companies to compete in the US and abroad. And the recent deal with California is more favorable than the Obama rules. Under an agreement last month, four companies pledged to reach an average fuel economy for new cars and trucks of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2026. The state made some concessions to automakers, giving them an extra year to meet the standards and allowing more flexibility to get credit for electric vehicles.

Plus, young people who will be buying the cars of the future care about the climate crisis, Alson said.

“If you want to maintain a positive branding reputation with the future generations, do you want to be siding with the person that most of us think is the biggest climate denier in the world, President Trump?” Alson said.

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The Guardian, 22 Aug 2019: Automakers snub Trump to side with climate crisis, says Obama-era official