As Other Automakers Back California Emission Standards, Toyota and Fiat Chrysler Cling to Trump’s Sinking Ship

SAN FRANCISCO – As President Trump’s remaining days in office dwindle, so is automakers’ support for his scheme to overturn California’s tough emissions and mileage standards, leaving Toyota and Fiat Chrysler as the major remaining holdouts.  

Last week General Motors, which had backed the Trump administration’s rollback of the ambitious federal emissions standards set by the Obama administration, announced it would back the California standards. Days later, Ford Motor Co. sent a letter urging
Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and other companies to also get on board.

In the letter, obtained by Reuters, Ford President Kumar Galhotra said the election of President-elect Joe Biden rendered the Trump administration’s efforts to preempt California’s standards “essentially moot.” Galhotra wrote: “The Biden Administration will not let the Trump standards stand, and either by way of litigation and/or a regulatory reboot, the new team will move in a different, more stringent direction.”

EWG President Ken Cook said it’s time for Toyota and Fiat Chrysler to face reality.

“What are they waiting for – another recount?” Cook asked.

“By continuing to support this futile fight, Toyota and Fiat Chrysler are signaling their disregard for cleaning our air, curbing the climate crisis and saving motorists millions at the gas pump,” said Cook, a California resident. “But they’re also doing lasting damage to their brands and reputations. Even if they eventually come around, car buyers will not soon forget which companies put the health of their customers and the planet ahead of profits and political pandering.”

Soon after Trump took office, auto industry lobbyists pushed for a rollback of Obama-era federal fuel economy standards. In 2019, GM, Toyota and Fiat Chrysler joined Trump’s legal efforts to overturn the California standards, which largely follow the federal rules set by the Obama-Biden administration in 2011.

Earlier this year, EWG’s Cook wrote an open letter to the CEOs of Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and GM, excoriating them for throwing their collective support behind Trump’s effort to block the most ambitious effort in the U.S. to date to address the climate crisis.


The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

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