WASHINGTON – Feeling the heat from President Biden’s ambitious plans to counter the climate crisis, today Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and several other automakers dropped their support of the deposed Trump administration’s legal fight to block California from implementing stringent tailpipe emissions standards.
A coalition of automakers including Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Subaru announced their reversal as “a gesture of good faith and to find a constructive path forward” with the Biden administration. They said they now backed the Biden administration’s “goals to achieve year-over-year improvements in fuel economy standards that provide meaningful climate and national energy security benefits.”
Until today, those automakers had refused to join Ford, GM, Honda, BMW, Volkswagen and Volvo in support of California’s tailpipe emissions rules. GM, once a staunch supporter of Trump’s war on California’s standards, reversed course only in November, after Biden’s election.
“This decision is welcome news, but Americans should never forget how these companies fought tooth and nail alongside Trump in trying to block California and other states from setting emissions standards to protect public health and combat the climate crisis,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “After the election, they had no choice but to abandon Trump’s sinking ship and scramble to get on board the accelerating move toward a zero-emissions future.”
In 2017, 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 administration in 2011.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the transportation sector is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Biden’s ambitious plan to combat the climate crisis includes major initiatives to speed up the number of electric vehicles available to consumers.
Last month, Biden signed an executive order directing all federal agencies to develop plans to convert the entire fleet of vehicles owned and operated by the federal government to “clean and net-zero emissions vehicles.”
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.