Less carbon, more electric vehicles: automakers prepare for potential Biden win

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In this news, we discuss the Less carbon, more electric vehicles: automakers prepare for potential Biden win.

WASHINGTON / NEW YORK (Reuters) – Automakers are bracing for tough new rules on vehicle emissions and policies favoring electric vehicles if Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins the White House.

Biden and US President Donald Trump both need votes from auto workers in Midwestern states such as Michigan and Ohio, and both say they want auto companies to create more jobs automobiles in the United States, rather than Mexico or China.

From there, Trump and Biden’s auto and transportation policies diverge, presenting automakers with very different sets of risks and rewards.

If elected, Biden is expected to swiftly restore the legal basis for California’s zero-emission vehicle rules and begin the process of overturning the Trump administration’s decision to ease fuel efficiency and emissions requirements. of carbon until 2025.

Automakers could also face significantly higher penalties for failing to meet fuel efficiency requirements. The Trump administration overturned those sanctions, which the industry said had saved at least $ 1 billion in annual compliance costs, but a federal appeals court in August overturned the action. ‘administration.

However, Biden’s positions offer the auto industry offsetting gains. Under Trump, the White House rejected new tax credits for electric vehicles while facilitating the sale of gas-guzzling SUVs.

Biden is promising new tax incentives, including discounts for the purchase of electric vehicles and a dramatic expansion of electric vehicle charging stations – policy measures that automakers have long advocated.

Days after Trump’s 2016 election victory, the business group representing major automakers in Washington called on him to reconsider fuel efficiency standards proposed by the outgoing Obama administration and backed by California and others. Coastal states.

Now the industry is divided. Ford Motor Co, Honda Motor Co, Volkswagen AG VOWG_p.DE and others reached compromise agreement with California on emissions requirements, while General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV stand are sided with Trump in an attempt to freeze California and roll emissions requirements.

One question will be whether the automakers who backed Trump’s dismantling continue their legal fight in court if he loses his re-election bid.

John Bozzella, who heads an auto industry trade group, said in a statement that automakers are “committed to a cleaner, safer and smarter future and we understand the importance of working with all parties to achieve these goals ”.

Who constitutes “all parties” could change if Biden wins. Environmental groups and unions want greater roles in determining auto policy.

APPROVALS, DONATIONS

The auto industry has traditionally given more to Republican American lawmakers. And while 60% of auto campaign contributions went to Republican candidates in 2020, the gap narrowed from 2018, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

In 2019, GM drew Trump’s ire for its decision to shut down a car assembly plant in Ohio as part of a larger plan to shut down four North American factories and cut 15,000 jobs. Trump ultimately took credit for GM for selling the plant to an electric pickup company and pledged to invest $ 700 million in Battlefield State.

On Tuesday, GM announced that it is investing $ 2 billion in six U.S. facilities and will build its new Cadillac electric SUV at its assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan who represents thousands of auto workers, said Biden is committed to bringing together various groups to reach an agreement on emissions rules.

Dingell added that if the automakers made an emissions proposal, that would be seen as a “floor” for the negotiations, “so I think it has to come from the environmental community and the unions working together.”

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union, which represents more than 400,000 active members, in April reliably endorsed the Democratic presidential candidate. But nearly a third of UAW members defied their union’s recommendation in the 2016 election by voting for Trump.

GO TO VE

UAW members are skeptical of open trade deals and fear that a shift to electric vehicles, combined with stricter emissions standards for the trucks and SUVs that many of them build, will result in less jobs.

The UAW told Reuters what is needed is “a transition to electric vehicle production that takes full advantage of economic opportunities and secures quality manufacturing jobs for tens of thousands of American workers.” currently working on gasoline and diesel engines.

California wants to ban all gasoline-powered passenger vehicles by 2035 and on Friday, a New Jersey state environmental agency recommended the state ensure that all passenger vehicles sold by 2035 are to meet emission targets.

Some lawmakers are considering tax credits to help convert certain engines and other automotive installations into components for electric vehicles.

“Climate friendly policies and a good economy are not at odds,” said US Representative Andy Levin, a Democrat from Michigan whose district just north of Detroit is a battleground for the presidential campaign.

Trump has sought to capitalize on fears about electric vehicles. He falsely said Biden supported a ban on gasoline vehicles. Trump told Fox Business News in an interview last week that Democrats “would like to use one car per family and make it fully electric.”

Democrats haven’t asked for a car limit per family.

Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Tina Bellon in New York; Edited by Joseph White and Matthew Lewis

Original © Thomson Reuters

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