In Non-Shocking News, American Automakers Screw Up Yet Again

Having now griped about the LA Times, here’s the story that kicked off today’s griping. It took a while, but I finally found it online:

The Trump administration is speeding toward all-out war with California over fuel economy rules for cars and SUVs, proposing to revoke the state’s long-standing authority to enforce its own, tough rules on tailpipe emissions…. Within the administration, officials have disagreed about how far and how quickly to push changes in fuel economy rules, according to officials familiar with the discussions. Some officials attuned to the concerns of the auto industry have warned against a proposal that over-reaches and could lead to years of litigation and uncertainty.

Wait. The auto industry is opposed to this because they want more certainty? How hard have they been lobbying the Trump administration to back off?

The auto industry began lobbying Trump to relax fuel economy standards soon after his election. But company officials have been clear that they want a deal with California, not a war with the state. In backroom negotiations, industry officials have urged the administration not to create a situation where California pursues one standard and the federal government pursues another.

Nice work, guys. Trump gets into office promising to raze everything President Obama ever did, so you jump on board. Then you’re dismayed when Trump is uninterested in half measures and instead wants to destroy the Obama fuel economy standards completely and, for good measure, take some revenge on California, his great white whale.

The American auto industry is bound and determined to always pursue the stupidest course of action available to them. They’ve been doing it for decades, all the while wondering why their cars aren’t more popular. This time, they could have finally done something smart. They could have loudly lobbied the Trump administration to leave the fuel economy standards alone. After all, they know perfectly well they can meet the tighter standards, and it would have been both good PR and a sign of confidence that they can compete with overseas manufacturers.

But no. As usual, they’re too dumb to go down that road. Doing something that’s both good for the planet and popular with the American public just never occurred to them.

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FACT:

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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