- More than 200 elected officials at the city and state level issued a joint declaration Thursday calling on automakers to stop supporting the Trump administration's rollback of national and state clean car standards.
- The "Clean Cars Declaration" urges General Motors (GM), Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan, Subaru, Hyundai and Kia to join their automotive peers in support of stronger clean car standards for tailpipe emissions, which were originally agreed to in 2012. The companies support litigation that would undo those rules, while BMW, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and Volvo still support the stronger clean car standards.
- The declaration cites research from Consumer Reports, which found that the rollback of national clean car standards will cost consumers $300 billion. It also cites polls from the Union of Concerned Scientists that found that a majority of GM and Toyota owners want the companies to support the stronger standards.
The declaration came together thanks to work "from leading national consumer, health, business, labor, faith, climate and science NGOs as well as local elected coalitions," a spokesperson said in an email. And while none of the signers were made available for further comment, in the declaration they pledged to "continue to fight to protect the Clean Air Act" and "vigorously resist" the Trump administration's efforts to "prevent states from enforcing reasonable, commonsense emissions standards for vehicles."
The declaration also noted that the federal government has stepped back in the fight against climate change, leaving states and cities to pick up the mantle. It is the latest step after five major cities and 21 states launched a legal challenge against the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) fuel efficiency standards rollback in May.
"Cities are on the frontlines of the climate crisis," Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement. "It's our residents who are increasingly shouldering the consequences of inaction at the federal level. It's on us as elected leaders to step up and act."
A Fiat Chrysler spokesperson declined to comment on the declaration. But in an email, they pointed to statistics from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which found that while the newest model year cars are all achieving record low new vehicle carbon emissions and record high fuel economy, almost every automaker had to use regulatory credits bought from electric vehicle (EV) companies including Tesla to comply with the stricter standards. And before model year 2016, the industry on average was able to meet the standard without the need for credits, according to EPA statistics.
Spokespeople for GM and Toyota did not respond to requests for comment on the declaration.
With this declaration and ongoing lawsuits against the Trump administration rollbacks, including one led by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and a coalition of partners, signers said clean car standards remain a crucial issue. The issue is also heightened as cities across the country declare climate emergencies and look to get their emissions under control.
"Clean car standards are the U.S.'s greatest effort to date to reduce climate pollution," Flagstaff, AZ Mayor Coral Evans said in a statement. "These standards are critical for our collective future globally, nationally and locally."