Why GM wants ‘clarity’ on fuel efficiency standards


Ammann: “We’d really like to get it to one harmonized set of national standards.” Photo credit: Billington Cybersecurity twitter account

DETROIT — General Motors is not against changes to the federal fuel efficiency standards, but it would like to know what they are as soon as possible.

“We’d like to get clarity as soon as we can, and we’d like to get commonality as soon as we can,” GM President Dan Ammann said Friday following a presentation at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit in Detroit.

GM, Ammann said, will continue to “be engaged heavily” in discussions with the Trump administration, which on Thursday proposed to roll back Obama-era regulations for greenhouse gas emissions and cap federal fuel efficiency requirements for passenger vehicles at the 2020 levels of 35 mpg, instead of letting them continue to rise through 2025 to about 50 mpg.

The notice of proposed rulemaking also declared that the 1975 law that established fuel efficiency standards pre-empts California from setting its own carbon emission standards for vehicles and that a waiver from federal rules allowing it to set stricter standards on its own should be revoked — setting up a likely court clash.

Ammann declined to address whether GM is supportive of the cap. Instead, he reiterated that the company supports one national standard.

“We’d really like to get it to one harmonized set of national standards,” he said, adding the company’s overall goals remain to improve fuel economy and, eventually, make its lineup all-electric (a previously announced long-term vision).

An outcome GM would like to occur from the discussions, according to Ammann, would be additional credits for all-electric autonomous vehicles such as its Cruise AV, which are highly utilized and in a shared environment.

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