GM Urges Dealers to Oppose California Waiver


General Motors, already unhappy about the new CAFE standards, is even less happy about the fact that California wants to impose even more stringent standards. And while the EPA has denied the waiver it needs to do so, California is challenging that decision in court. The possibility that California will win , combined with the new federal standards and increasing consumer demand for efficient vehicles, has backed GM into a corner. Nowhere was this more clearly seen than at the four-day National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) convention, where GM's CEO Rick Wagoner urged dealers "to lobby against individual states trying to set their own limits on greenhouse gas emissions," and instead arguing for "the importance of tough but national standards." Of course, we've heard this kind 'patchwork' argument before, and know it to be false: under the Clean Air Act, California may enact stricter standards, and states may choose to either adopt the Federal Standards, or the California standards. In other words, the result would not be a patchwork, but rather two standards.Much as Toyota has not always walked the green walk, GM's words ring a little hollow. They want tough standards, so long as they aren't too tough. What's more, Mr. Wagoner claims that if California's standard goes into effect "and automakers must focus on state regulations, they won't be able to focus as much on alternative fuel vehicles to reduce oil consumption and pollution." He hopes that dealers will help GM in its lobbying efforts to prevent California from getting its way. "Dealers are very effective in the political process because we don't have a plant in every state," he said. But "we have dealers in every state."

We understand that corporations are reluctant to embrace regulations they feel will hurt their bottom line, but we've become very skeptical of the argument that any regulation will kill an industry. Mr. Wagoner is even claiming that with a California standard in place "we're not going to be able to accomplish everything that we otherwise could." Of course, members of the US Climate Action Partnership (US-CAP) seem to think that the risks of inaction on climate change outweigh the costs of action, and the companies that comprise US-CAP aren't exactly lightweights. It's time for GM to stop claiming it doesn't have the capacity to meet the engineering challenge of making cleaner vehicles, and start taking advantage of American ingenuity and entrepreneurship. After all, what's lost in all this talk that we can't solve climate change is the fact that Americans pride themselves on their ability to meet great challenges. The real question is, why is GM spending so much time telling us it can't tap into that well of talent, knowledge and energy to turn itself around and become a leader on this issue? That's bad for shareholders, the climate, and workers.

Via: ::Yahoo! Green

See Also: ::For GM, The Cars Are Greener on the Other Side, ::GM Banks on Coskata's Cellulosic Ethanol Breakthrough, ::Conceptualize This: GM Unveils Yet Another Concept Car, ::Sorry Detroit, Heavy Cars Are Not Safer and ::GM Keeps Its Greener Cars Out of America

Tags: California | Detroit

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