Even corporations that bought into the Trump fuel efficiency rollbacks are catching on to a major shift in the political and economic winds. Last week, General Motors, the largest American automaker, announced it plans to go all-electric for passenger vehicles by 2035.
In December, the carmaker announced it would no longer support the Trump Administration attack on California’s Clean Air Act authority to set stronger standards for auto emissions than the federal government’s. Under a legislative compromise dating back to the 1970s, California is the only state allowed to set its own auto emissions limits. Other states are allowed the option of choosing either the federal mandates or the stronger California rules for sales in their states. Because the California and allied states’ market is so huge, most manufacturers now end up targeting their production plans to meet the California standards. GM’s latest announcement continues its trend of following the herd on environmental regulations.
GM CEO Mary Barra said the company plans to spend $27 billion on the all-electric development plan. “As one of the world’s largest automakers, we hope to set an example of responsible leadership in a world that is faced with climate change,” Barra said.
Other automakers have previously announced similar plans. In the United States, for example, Ford is spending $11.5 billion through 2022 to increase its electric vehicles.
As coal-fired power plants have been retired and reduced in capacity in recent years, the transportation sector has become the leading source of United States emissions of greenhouse gases. That makes its transformation to a more environmentally friendly status essential to controlling climate change.