A coalition of consumer, science, environmental, and religious groups is asking General Motors, Toyota, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to end their support of the Trump administration’s moves to lower emissions standards.
On Tuesday, the coalition of nine groups, including Consumer Reports, the Sierra Club, and others, delivered an open letter with 285,000 signatures to the CEOs of the three automakers, as well as to the heads of Nissan, Mazda, Subaru, Hyundai, and Kia.
These automakers have supported the Trump administration’s attempt to eliminate California’s ability to set its own, tougher, emissions standards. This move has split the auto industry, with Ford, BMW, Honda, Volkswagen (including Audi), and Volvo among those choosing to support California.
Of the automakers backing the lower emissions standards, GM, FCA, and Toyota have higher U.S. sales, which is why they have been highlighted by supporters of tougher standards.
In addition to targeting California, the Trump administration has moved to roll back federal emissions standards, which would increase the average cost of vehicle ownership by $2,100 by 2025, and cost drivers $300 billion in total.
2020 Toyota Prius
The automakers’ stance may already be costing them.
Earlier this year, the Union of Concerned Scientists found that GM’s pushback is costing it in reputation and customers. California has already boycotted the automakers who sided with the federal government for state fleet purchases.
Supporting the Trump administration’s push for lower emissions standards is also a gamble. The revised rules are already under review by the Environmental Protection Agency’s internal watchdog.
Plans to lower emissions standards will also only last as long as Trump remains in the White House. Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden has proposed an ambitious climate plan, including a Cash for Clunkers-type program to get older, less-efficient cars off the road—possibly in favor of EVs.