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A Range Of Reactions To Obama's EPA Directive

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As everyone knows by now, President Obama gave the wheels of change a big ol' spin yesterday when he directed the EPA to review California's request to pass auto emissions and fuel efficiency standards tougher than those of the feds. And as everyone also knows, reaction to the announcement has been mixed. Here are a few of the (admittedly predictable) opinions we've come across so far:

  • To no one's surprise, incoming NADA chairman John McEleney came out strongly against Obama's announcement: "We hope that the president and the EPA administrator realize that a single national fuel economy standard is smarter than a patchwork of state regulations that will only further endanger our industry." That sounds moderately tame, but McEleney went on to insist that the U.S. congress conduct hearings to determine the impact that state-by-state regs would have on the industry--especially in terms of jobs lost. Not that U.S. automakers are in a position to demand much from congress these days. [AutoNews, sub req'd, though you can read a verbatim match of that statement from NADA's VP of Legislative Affairs, David Regan, right over here.]
  • Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, announced her unmitigated support of the directive:  "[President Obama] is moving full-steam-ahead on energy efficiency, not despite but because of the fragile state of the economy." We're going to assume that the "steam" reference is an energy metaphor and not a veiled suggestion that we return to steam cars. [PRNewswire]
  • In a press release, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers stated: "Today in the U.S. there are three voices on fuel economy/CO2 -- NHTSA, EPA and CA -- and each has different standards, different structures and different timelines. Automakers seek a federal-state solution that provides us with compliance clarity and one national standard." Logical and rational and not too whiny, right? Well played, AAM. [PRNewswire]
  • Automakers themselves were much blander in their responses, with GM saying, "We look forward to contributing to a comprehensive policy discussion that takes into account the development pace of new technologies, alternative fuels and market and economic factors." Toyota seemed a little more gung-ho: "We look at the president’s order today as an opportunity to engage with all the agencies and stakeholders toward a program that optimizes the nation’s environmental and economic objectives." But both were clearly written by PR staffers who could probably force a smile during a colonoscopy. [NYTimes]
  • So far, the best commentary has come from Daniel Howes. As usual, he spews a lot of bitterness laced with copious amounts of hot air, but to his credit, he makes several good points, including: "It wasn't stiffer Corporate Average Fuel Economy rules or the greenhouse gas emissions regs that reduced national fuel consumption and spiked demand for small, more fuel-efficient cars -- the twin goals of the environmentalists. It was the price of fuel, a price that was, incidentally, paid by everyone who chose to drive." (Similar sentiments were expressed by Alex Taylor III over at CNN Money.) That said, Howes does seem to offer a backhanded compliment to Obama for dragging "recalcitrant automakers kicking and screaming into the 21st century." So there's that, right?  [DetNews]

As usual, we'd love for you to mouth off, too. Surely you can hold your own with (or against) these folks, right?

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Comments (3)
  1. "Energy Independence"

    We need to utilize everything in out power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil including using our own natural resources.OPEC will continue to cut production until they achieve their desired 80-100. per barrel. The high cost of fuel this past year seriously damaged our economy and society. Oil is finite. We are using oil globally at the rate of 2X faster than new oil is being discovered. We need to take some of these billions in bail out bucks and bail ourselves out of our dependence on foreign oil. Jeff Wilson has a really good new book out called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now. He explores our uses of oil besides gasoline, our depletion, out reserves and stores as well as viable options to replace oil.Oil is finite, it will run out in the not too distant future. WE need to take some of these billions in bail out bucks and bail America out of it's dependence on foreign oil. The historic high price of gas this past year did serious damage to our economy and society. WE should never allow others to have that much power over our economy again. I wish every member of congress would read this book too.

  2. "Lopez brings up the rear ... again"

    This morning, Detroit News columnist Manny Lopez claimed his place at the absolute back of the pack, again:
    Clearly, in Manny-world, ANY government regulation of cars or the auto industry, in any form, under any circumstances, for any goals, is unacceptable, un-American, and unsavory.
    Lopez has a lengthy and pathetic track record of stubbornly digging in his heels, refusing to see any other side of a discussion, and generally throwing tantrums in print.
    He'd almost be worrisome ... if he weren't such a bad writer.

  3. "World wide standards"

    First of all, forget CAFE. Gasoline priced above $4 per gallon is coming back soon as the cartel cuts production. It would be realistic to harmonize the standard for testing and compliance among the Europeans, Australians, Chinese, Japanese and the US. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is the organization in the US attempting that.One point that the California-type tree huggers need to keep in mind: every aspect of consumption, emissions and safety is an order of magnitude improved over what we had in 1970, when it all began.

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