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Automakers ask Trump not to make them produce electric cars in first lobbying effort since election


Not even two days after Donald Trump’s election, automakers have started their lobbying effort to weaken the requirements for fuel consumption reduction. The current goal is for a fleet average of more than 50 mpg by 2025, which would require automakers to produce more electric vehicles in their fleet to compensate for popular gas-guzzling pickup trucks and SUVs.

In a letter sent to Trump’s transition team yesterday, a powerful automaker lobbying group claims automakers cannot produce zero-emission cars at a competitive price and asks to lower the requirements for them to comply.

The group in question, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, represents almost every major automaker with US operations except Tesla.

In the letter obtained by Automotive News, Alliance CEO Mitch Bainwol wrote:

“The combination of low gas prices and the existing fuel efficiency gains from the early years of the program is undercutting consumer willingness to buy the vehicles with more expensive alternative powertrains that are necessary for the sector to comply with the more stringent standards in out-years,”

Bainwol argues that demand for “alternative powertrains” (aka electric cars) is not strong enough for automakers to achieve fuel consumption requirements.

The Union of Concerned Scientists and Consumers Union surveyed car buyers in the US earlier this year and found that a strong majority of buyers are interested in electric cars. While another study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded that electric cars provide enough range for 87 percent of drivers on America’s roads.

The CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers continued in his letter to Trump:

“As car prices rise, it becomes vital to look at the full cost of regulatory initiatives. Well-meaning regulatory action risks increasing compliance costs to the point that additional safety and fuel-efficiency technologies put new vehicles out of financial reach of the average new car purchaser.”

On one side, most of the same automakers represented by the alliance claim to be heavily investing in electric cars and they publicly agree that electrification is the future of transport, but on the other hand, their top lobbyists are asking to reduce the requirements that apparently prompt those investments.

Additionally, the alliance wants for the federal authorities to consider the costs they have already incurred from California’s zero-emission mandate, which already successfully pushed some automakers to produced more electric cars.

Apparently, automakers want the federal government to consider their effort at the state level, Automotive News reports:

“The trade group also wants costs incurred from California’s zero-emission vehicle sales mandates to be considered in the midterm evaluation of the national mpg program. They currently are not factored in.”

During the campaign, Trump said that he plan to review all fuel consumption regulations and to place a moratorium on all new regulations. Considering California is also due to revise its ZEV mandate, it will certainly be an interesting situation to follow at both state and federal levels.

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