Trump’s War on Clean Cars?

Op-Ed by Paul W

At this point where this is far less traffic on the road, it is good time to revisit what Trump said on electric cars.

You might think of some states as “truck-friendly” and some like California as “truck-unfriendly.”

During Obama’s presidency certain standards involving fuel efficiency were greatly increased. In economic terms this hits America where it hurts. Despite Trump’s protest, no state has supported a revocation.

The idea of the Clean Cars 4 All program was to replace a old polluting car and replace it with one with zero emissions or close to it. It was previously known as the Enhanced Flat Modernisation Plus-Up Program which is not exactly catchy. It worked with similar programs to reduce greenhouse gases.

One of these proposed plans was to replace a polluting car with an electric bike though presumably with a financial incentive. While this might fly in California where the weather is agreeable it’s not likely to work on a national level. It’s just possible that they were commuting from home and a bike was a suitable replacement, but it might just lead you to wonder if they missed the car after a few weeks.

Although it seems that California is creating ambitious and unreachable standards to remove carbon dioxide from the air but it’s not a new thing as far as the state is concerned. Is President Trump really at war with these new standards?

As to the question of President Trumps lobbying over fuel economy, there are two possible motives:
1) Either he is protecting Big Business (as some people contend). Or…
2) He’s allowing the buyers to decide for themselves what type of car they want to buy.

If the first is true, then why is big auto battling for higher fuel economy standards?

You would have thought the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers who represent the interests of General Motors, Toyota, Ford and others in America would have taken a stand on this but they might just be seeing where the winds are blowing.

Maybe the car companies did want the rules to relax so that cars do not keep becoming fuel efficient every few years, but they’ve been pretty disapproving of Trump’s concession to keep the standard at 29 miles per gallon until 2015, that seems to go too far even for automakers.

A recession, if it happens, will complicate things. American car makers will start fighting for a fuel economy standard they can produce without losing their dominance on trucks and larger cars—like they did in the 11970s. The consumer may show more interest in fuel efficient cars even if it means being cramped in their small accommodations. It’s hard to tell if that would swing the popularity of the standards one way or the other.

What was known as the final action was released last November which was a compromise between Trump’s proposals and Obama’s laws. It may be difficult to keep everyone happy. They still aren’t about zero emissions but about slowing down the rate that cars pollute. It won’t make the city air clear overnight though, but any change is a good thing.

If the market is left to decide, one could argue that a tax incentive simply a way to level the playing field—since E-Cars are more expensive to produce in the short term. On the other hand, do we really have a bead on what the market wants when we spend tax dollars trying to sway their decisions.

It may essentially come down to whether the general public wish to pay the extra for these type of vehicles. And as said above, people are a bit edgy about travelling in general right now.

Regardless of President Trump’s motives should he lose the election things could change. It would be up to the new President to put their plans in place. Could they follow Obama era thinking or will they continue to let citizens decide the type of vehicle they want to buy and roll the dice with the environment?

This may be academic though because there may not even be an election this year.

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