Toyota And Fiat Chrysler Finally Stop Supporting Trump

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GM dropped support of one of Trump’s anti-environment measures back in November, and now Toyota and FCA are joining in. All that and more in The Morning Shift for February 2, 2021.

1st Gear: I Guess They Just Got The News About The Election?

One of Trump’s more petty fights in office was trying to block California from being able to set its own rules on how clean the cars sold in the state have to be. It seemed a little silly because, well, the moment Trump was out of office California could go right back to doing whatever it wanted to do, right?


Sure looks like it!

Back in November, GM pulled its support for Trump’s anti-CA measures, and now Toyota and FCA have gotten the message, as Reuters’ David Shepardson reports:


Singling out Toyota and FCA is not exactly fair, as they are just part of an industry group that pulled support, as Automotive News clarified:

The Coalition for Sustainable Automotive Regulation, a group representing automakers and dealers, is withdrawing from a lawsuit between California and the federal government over the state’s authority to set its own emissions standards, the group said Tuesday.

“We are aligned with the Biden Administration’s goals to achieve year-over-year improvements in fuel economy standards that provide meaningful climate and national energy security benefits, reduce GHG emissions and promote advanced technologies,” the coalition said. “In a gesture of good faith and to find a constructive path forward, the CSAR has decided to withdraw from this lawsuit in order to unify the auto industry behind a single national program, with ambitious, achievable standards.”


The coalition — a group that includes Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler), Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Toyota and the National Automobile Dealers Association — intervened in the 2019 lawsuit between California and the federal government, with the goal of supporting one national fuel economy and greenhouse gas program.


AN also notes that Ford, BMW, Volkswagen, Volvo and Honda pulled support all the way back in August.

2nd Gear: Auto Industry Group Still Trying To Sneak In Fuel Economy Cuts

Oh, how great all these car companies are for going against Trump! Surely they care about the environment above all else, and not just coordinating nationwide regulations so they can keep costs down.


Or not!

In David Shephardson’s full article for Reuters, he lays out that these same car companies pulling support for Trump’s fight against California are still trying to roll back regulations to something weaker than we had during the Obama years:

The Trump administration in March finalized a rollback of U.S. Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards to require 1.5% annual increases in efficiency through 2026, well below the 5% yearly boosts under the Obama administration rules it discarded.

The auto group representing General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp, Volkswagen AG, Honda Motor Co and others said a new nationwide emissions framework deal “should achieve improvements in GHG emissions roughly midway between current standards and those of the former Obama Administration, and balance environmental progress, safety, affordability, innovation, and jobs.”


Obama’s standards weren’t even that strict! This is unreal.

3rd Gear: NHTSA Pressures Tesla To Do Something For Once

Tesla, a company that does not sell fully-autonomous cars despite advertising full autonomy, has to do a recall. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration wants Tesla to fix over 130,000 cars for faulty screens, as Reuters reports:

Tesla Inc. has agreed to recall 134,951 Model S and Model X vehicles with touch screen displays that could fail after U.S. auto safety regulators sought the recall last month, according to a recall posted on a government website Tuesday.

NHTSA made the unusual recall request in a formal Jan. 13 letter to Tesla, saying it had tentatively concluded the 2012-2018 Model S and 2016-2018 Model X vehicles pose a safety issue.

The agency said touch screen failures pose significant safety issues, including the loss of rearview/backup camera images and windshield defogging and defrosting systems that “may decrease the driver’s visibility in inclement weather.”


NHTSA is now run by Steve Cliff, former deputy executive officer of the California Air Resources Board. Hopefully, this is a sign of a more strict admin to come.

4th Gear: BP Lost Money

For some reason, we are all consuming less energy. I wonder why! In any case, this is a big drop for the company that sells us energy, as the Financial Times reports:

BP reported its first annual loss in a decade after a 96 per cent drop in fourth-quarter profit as the UK oil major continues to reel from the hit to energy demand from the pandemic.


This fell short of analyst expectations of a $370m profit, according to a company-compiled estimate, and compares with $2.6bn in the same period the year before.

Bernard Looney, chief executive, said it had been “a tough quarter at the end of a tough year”.


I can’t believe I didn’t know a Looney runs BP.

5th Gear: Biden Mask Rule On Transit Begins

We now have legal backing for mask-wearing in airports, bus stations, and the like, as Reuters reports:

New rules took effect just before midnight Tuesday requiring millions of travelers in the United States to wear masks on airplanes, trains, buses, ferries, taxis and ride-share vehicles and in airports, stations, ports and other transit hubs.

The new rules were ordered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) late Friday to address the spread of COVID-19 after being blocked by President Donald Trump from imposing the requirements in August.


This is far from a total fix on much of America’s strange obsession with not wearing masks in public, but it’s something!

Reverse: American Road Trip Goes Awry


Neutral: What Do You Want From The Biden Admin?

I would love to see a full rethink of American emissions regulations, but I don’t think Biden is going to do it.