Big Automakers Giving Up the Fight Over Tailpipe Emission Standards?


Photo via Business Week

Yesterday, the EPA held a hearing to debate whether California and 13 other states should be allowed to regulate tailpipe emissions. And guess who skipped out on the event? The big automakers. All of them. That's right, not a one showed up to testify about how putting emission standards in place would cost them billions of dollars, how it would (further) destroy their industry, and so on. Automakers have fought the prospect of emission regulation tooth and nail—so why bow out now? What made them give up the fight?Could it be the fact that they're now indebted to the federal government a couple billion dollars? Possibly. Or maybe there was a Two and a Half Men marathon on TBS they couldn't pass up? No, the bailout's to blame, according to the LA Times:

Is this a kinder, gentler auto industry? Not likely. Instead, say experts familiar with the industry and Capitol Hill, the automakers are just being political realists. With all automakers hurting, and GM and Chrysler requesting $21.6 billion on top of the $17.4 billion in taxpayer funding they've already received, now is hardly the time to protest.

The automakers might just have their fingers crossed for Obama's proposed national emissions standards, as well—they're on record saying they'd much prefer that option.

So without the automakers around to rebut environmental group's pro-regulation ideas and rallies for emission standards, what'll happen? Maybe we'll see state regulated emission standards pass—Obama's already signaled that he's into it.

And since the auto industry has been the main force behind preventing the legislation—it successfully blocked and sued its way towards getting the emission standards delayed a whopping 5 years.

In the long run, the auto industry's utter financial ruin might have been the best thing to happen to them, from a green perspective: they certainly weren't going to get fuel efficiency standards up any time soon without it, and now it's lead to potential tailpipe legislation passing—which will force them to clean up their acts. At the expense of the American taxpayer, of course.

Just goes to show just how backwards the Big 3 are—they refuse to make fuel efficient vehicles until we're footing the bill.

More on Auto Emission Standards
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