DETROIT — General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra has issued a call for one national fuel economy standard as automaker CEOs prepare to meet with President Donald Trump this on Friday.
Details of the meeting, which is described as a roundtable, have not been released, but issues involving the administration’s efforts to back away from higher fuel mileage standards could be on tap.
Barra said GM has an “absolute and unwavering” commitment to improving fuel economy, reducing emissions and investing in electric vehicle technology. Barra noted that climate change is real and said “the transportation sector is a contributor.”
But Barra also reiterated that GM wants one set of national standards, a focus that highlights the potential battle brewing between California regulators, who want to maintain higher standards, and the administration, which does not.
“General Motors supports establishing one national set of fuel efficiency requirements, with flexibilities that take into consideration recent industry developments such as vehicle sharing and self-driving electric vehicles,” Barra wrote.
“A single, national standard would allow us to focus our resources on innovations that benefit our customers and society as we pursue our vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion, instead of diffusing resources to meet different rules within the United States,” Barra said.
Automakers, particularly GM’s crosstown rival Ford, have come in for intense criticism from environmental groups, which have accused them of pushing the administration to relax fuel economy and emissions standards. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced last month that tougher fuel standards worked out during the Obama administration were “not appropriate.”
Bill Ford, Ford’s executive chairman, and Jim Hackett, Ford’s president and CEO, denied in a column published in March that the company is seeking a rollback, saying that Ford supports reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In questions about Friday’s meeting at the White House, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an industry trade group, issued a statement:
“We support continuous improvements in fuel economy but we need to align standards with market demand. And, we support a negotiated agreement for One National Program because it is best for our customers, who avoid higher prices from the redundancies of three government agencies regulating the same thing. And, an agreement among the federal government, California and the auto industry is better than years of litigation.”