Automakers Split on California Fuel Standards Fight

Chrysler, GM and Toyota stand with the White House; Ford, Honda and VW side with the state.

October 30, 2019

SACRAMENTO—The Trump Administration has gained allies from the automobile industry in its fight against California’s fuel-efficiency regulations, the Washington Post reports. A group of automakers that includes Fiat Chrysler, General Motors and Toyota will work to get the state and White House to forge a middle ground.

The administration is challenging California’s tailpipe emissions standards, which are more stringent than the federal ones. Meanwhile, this summer, BMW of North America, Ford, Honda and Volkswagen inked a deal with the state to manufacture more fuel-efficient vehicles through 2025.

John Bozzella, president of the Association of Global Automakers, said the companies are not endorsing any specific proposal from the White House, but that they do agree that the federal government has the sole right to set national fuel standards. “We think the evidence supports a middle ground ... We want a unified program that includes California,” he said. “All of the parties involved in this know our position.”

The decision to get involved “is about how the standard should be applied, not what the standard should be. By participating we ensure the concerns of consumers, autoworkers, retailers and manufacturers are heard in this dispute,” Bozzella said.

The group also includes Hyundai, Nissan and Subaru, but member Honda said it disagreed with the move. “Honda is not a participant in this litigation and is not contributing any funds supporting our trade association’s activity in this area. … We have been very clear on wanting to avoid lengthy and costly litigation on this issue, which will result in a great deal of regulatory uncertainty.”