GM has reversed course on its emissions policy, saying it now recognizes California’s authority to set its own vehicular pollution standards, TechCrunch as reported. The automaker previously supported efforts by the former Trump administration to force the state to abandon its own standards in favor of federal emissions policies. However, it began to reverse course shortly after Biden was elected president, withdrawing from the Trump administration’s lawsuit against the state.
As the most populous state with the strictest rules, California often sets the emissions agenda for automakers and other states. In 2018, however, the Trump administration challenged California’s ability to set its own rules independently of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Volkswagen, BMW, Ford and Honda all agreed to work with California on voluntary targets, but GM, along with Fiat Chrysler and Toyota, sided with the Trump administration.
“[GM] is committed to emission reductions that are in line with California Air Resources Board targets and… in compliance with California regulations,” GM Vice President Omar Vargas wrote in a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom.
Because of its earlier decision to side with the Trump administration, GM was banned by california in 2019 for government fleet purchases. “Automakers that chose to be on the wrong side of history will be losing California’s buying power,” Newsom said at the time. Now, the state will allow GM to become a supplier, with Newsom cozy the company to its “clean vehicle revolution”.
After defeating Trump, President Joe Biden announced a plan to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles to combat global warming. GM followed these political winds, forgoing the previous process and accelerating its own EV plans. The company now says it will stop selling ICE vehicles by 2040 and will spend $35 billion to develop EVs and self-driving cars by 2025. The company recently unveiled an electric version of its Silverado pickup designed to combat Ford’s F-150 Lightning. which has proven to be a hit with buyers.
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