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Automakers trapped between Trump and California eco-activists

Automakers trapped between Trump and California eco-activists

#Resistance vs #Counter-resistance

American automakers are trapped between the regulatory-crushing Godzilla that is President Donald Trump and the green-energy monsters that pervade California’s state political system.

The nation’s car industry is unsure whether to promote traditional, fossil-fuel using vehicles (which are becoming exceptionally cost efficient to run in the era of fracking), or bend to excessive political pressure and force more electric cars onto the market.

The signals to automakers couldn’t conflict more: California, with the nation’s largest auto market, is stepping up pressure to stay on track with the state’s ambitious climate goals. The Trump administration is moving to free the companies of such obligations and even has threatened to strip California of its power to impose existing requirements within its borders.

At stake: Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to get 5 million electric vehicles onto California’s roads by 2030, as well as the kinds of cars that drivers nationwide will be able to buy over the next decade.

Carmakers are left to gamble on how aggressively to follow California’s blueprint as the Trump administration tries to undermine it.

A significant legal battle is brewing, as Trump’s administration seems poised to challenge the authority of one of the most aggressive regulating bodies in the nation: The California Air Resources Board.

Any attempt to prevent California from setting its own clean air transportation standards would provoke “a war with many states lining up on California’s side,” Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, said Friday.

…CARB was created in the 1960s under Gov. Ronald Reagan. In 1967, federal law specifically allowed smog-choked California to set stricter standards.

Since then, automakers modified the cars they sold in California to meet the rules, but standards were effectively unified by the Obama administration as part of the federal government’s auto industry rescue during the Great Recession.

The Trump administration is considering giving automakers permission to backtrack on their commitments to achieve certain improvements in gasoline mileage and cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. Manufacturers now argue the requirements are too inflexible and technologically too hard to meet.

The new federal emission rules are slated to be released in April, and new economy rules will be issued March 30. Business analysts anticipate that this particular set of Obama-era requirements join many others already dumped in the trash-bin of history.

But if Trump softens the federal rules, California will have to decide whether to keep its stricter regulations unchanged. Doing so would force auto manufacturers to deal with a patchwork of regulation. Bill Wehrum, the assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, said the Trump administration is working closely with California to avoid that.

Nichols said she hasn’t yet seen anything concrete from the Trump administration about its plans. She added that she’s “not yet ready to release our battle plan” for if the federal government does try to revoke California’s special authority.

“The EPA would have to take unprecedented legal action to try to revoke that waiver,” Nichols said in the on-stage interview at BNEF’s summit. “Our best legal judgment is that that can’t be done.”

I have chronicled the toxic effects of CARB on the state’s businesses in my blog, Temple of Mut:

Given the fact that President Trump likely views California’s #Resistance movement as a personal challenge, and EPA head Scott Pruitt is no fan of either incompetence or over-regulation, I wouldn’t be too sure the California waiver isn’t on the chopping block. This is especially true as Trump prefers honest business people over pompous bureaucrats.

#Resistance vs #Counter-resistance: Who will win?


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notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | February 3, 2018 at 2:17 pm

RE: “#Resistance vs #Counter-resistance: Who will win?”

It won’t be anything starting with CA…..

    In the age of partisan internet hyperbole CARB truly is a dictatorial bureacracy run amok.

    Mandated carcinogenic additive MTBE for winter gasoline. MTBE was found in ground water aquifers. CARB sued independent gas station operators for polluting aquifers with MTBE. CARB drove 95% of the indendent gas stations out of business.

    Mandated low-sulphur diesel fuel. Lab tested the new diesel fuel mixture in one(1) engine. No field testing. Result: ruined o-ring injector seals in thousands of commercial trucks and private cars.

    And that’s just a sampling of CARB failures.

Trump will do what is best for the auto workers.

And will punish California.

Time to start calling the Hail Hydra Resistance for what they are: traitors.

I suppose Mr. Jerry Brown already figured out what to do with all those lithium batteries once they reach their end of life.
I hope he’s not planning to send them out of California.

Setting standards relying on technology that hasn’t been invented is a hallmark of the Left. There is such certainty that they can will such discoveries into being. The Trump economy, unfortunately, has also raised California’s Prog boat with the tide… they view it as Obama’s economy and vindication of Prog thought and action. Thus empowered, they will really push forward.

California’s success is not based on Prog policies though they think it is. Released from Leftist constraints , California would be amazing. For now, the Left is developing Ca as nirvana on earth (note avoidance of a standard religious theme to appease them) and creating Man( oops) in their own image.

The Profits and shareholders of The Green Blight.

nordic_prince | February 3, 2018 at 2:55 pm

Electric cars, aka “coal-powered cars.” Or, in certain areas, “nuclear-powered cars.” Let’s be clear about the ultimate power source of these vehicles.

“Green” cars are a farce.

    Blueshot in reply to nordic_prince. | February 3, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Agreed. Imagine if, say, 5 million cars are electric in ten years. All that electricity to charge the cars is not going to be able to be supplied by Hydro or nuclear. We don’t have enough of either. So it’s going to be coal and natural gas.

    So yeah green cars are a farce.

    I will say though that the push for electric cars should be used by the nuclear power industry to push for more nuclear because with recent advancements in nuclear reactors nuclear power is the cleanest of any fuel source we use to power our world.

    But the environmental Nazi types would go crazy at the thought.

      Bucky Barkingham in reply to Blueshot. | February 3, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      No, no. Wind and solar will supply the needed electricity to recharge 5 million sets of batteries. Supplemented when needed by Unicorn powered tread mill generators.

    But not the green in the elites’ pockets, taken from the tax dollars we sweated for.

we don’t need cars here in #Failifornia… we will al use mass transit.

oh… wait a minute.

well, isn’t *that* awkward?
LOL! 🙂

    alaskabob in reply to redc1c4. | February 3, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    If California invested in improving transportation locally around their present transit hubs it would be easier to make mass transit work. Forget high speed rail to nowhere. So you park your electric car at the train station and rail to city B…. but then a hodgepodge of buses all over the place … so how does one shop.. only backpacks? Mini rail options would be better spreading out from hubs or some modular offering. California is too large to emulate a city mode system.

      California plans boondogle mass transit projects. When they come to fruition, they forget that enormous amounts of criminals will infest them, and provide NO money to police the resulting crime wave within them.

      LA City Councilwoman Martinez says Red Line subway isn’t safe and won’t ride it with her daughter
      Appearing before the council’s Public Safety Committee, Martinez….described Metro buses and trains as “enclosed areas where victims have very little room to escape.” Martinez’s remarks were the latest example of customer concern over security and sexual harassment within the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority transit system, also known as Metro. In a 2016 survey, 29% of former passengers told Metro that they had stopped taking public transportation because they felt unsafe. Over the last five years, ridership has declined by 15% on the network overall and by nearly 20% on the system’s buses. Martinez said she knows people who are avoiding Metro’s rail system over the possibility of an incident on a station or in a train car. “It’s one thing for me to fend for myself,” she said after the meeting. “It’s another for my kid to be exposed to that.”

Looks like they succeeded in californicating California, you think?

Let em ride Jerry’s bullet train. Oh, wait….

Subotai Bahadur | February 3, 2018 at 3:49 pm

1) Like every business, the auto business has to decide if continuing to market in California is worth the cost.
2) Businesses have already fled California because of its taxes and regulatory structure. Same decision tree regarding profit and loss.
3) Is the cost of maintaining a separate product line of electric vehicles for California, when in the absence of government subsidies, real accounting for avoidance of life cycle costs [remember, California will happily sue the auto companies for the costs of disposing of all the batteries], and depending on assumptions of new technology appearing out of nowhere mean that money is lost on each unit sold, worth it to the company?
4) No one can force a company to make a certain product for a certain market if they do not want to. They can abandon the market. Or there is a possibility that the market can abandon them. California is functionally seceding from the Union, and their decisions from the past and into the future may make it unlikely that the market could support the cost of such products.
5) The auto companies have to make the choice. If they choose to develop and market electric cars to California, or IC engine cars that meet more stringent interim standards en-route to electric cars and it is profitable, they get to keep the profit. If their choice to do so costs them money, they get to deal with the losses.
6) If they choose to abandon the California market and it costs them money, their problem. If it increases their profit margin, their gain.
7) The inability to force a private company to sell in a market has another aspect. California has worked very hard to make sure that it does NOT produce “evil” electricity inside the state, such making them virtuous in their own eyes. They buy a significant and growing fraction of their power from outside the state at the highest peak rates. Similarly, for petroleum products, in passing.
8) A conversion to electric cars will increase California’s vulnerability to out of state utilities. And thus allow outsiders to screw with their economy fatally whether or not they secede.
9) I admit to preferring that California be dropped from the auto companies’ marketing areas. But I have a dark sense of humor.

The Friendly Grizzly | February 3, 2018 at 4:27 pm

The ones shouting the loudest for emission-shifting “green” cars are the very ones opposing construction of new generating stations.

Pull away the market-skewing tax breaks and carpool lane waivers and the market for “green” cars would shrink to nothing overnight.

Trump could send CA a huge “FU” by preempting state emissions controls.

I am sad that electric cars are the mantra of the Left. Electric cars have sooooo much potential beyond the small minded green progressives. Less maintenance, swap in engine replacement, single point emissions, more power, quieter … the list goes on and on. Leave it to the dumb fucks to turn a great idea into a bad one.

Also as to the batteries .. that technology has some very exciting possibles, if only the damn government would get out of the way.

    Mac45 in reply to Shane. | February 3, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Pure electric cars, at this point. can not compete with thermodynamic powered vehicles [mainly gas and petroleum]. And they will not be able to i the foreseeable future.

    The biggest problem with pure electric vehicles is the range and the amount of time it takes to refill the fuel tank [battery]. With the exception of Tesla, about the best range one can get from an electric vehicle is ~150 miles, on a single charge. Then it takes about 15 hours [level 1 charging], 4 hours [level 2 charging] and 30 minutes [80% charge at level three. However, you can only reliably find level 1 charging across the country, as level 2 and level 3 stations require special wiring and equipment. On the other hand, 95% of fossil fueled vehicle provide a range of 150 miles under the worst urban driving conditions to 400+ miles on the open road. Refueling stations can be found everywhere and one can fuel up, us the restroom, buy a soda or coffee and a hot dog or burrito in 10-15 minutes and be on his way. And do it all 400 miles later, possibly while the electric car driver is still waiting for his charge to hit 100%.

    That is why electric cars are a novelty, not serious flexible transportation. And, without a huge increase in recharging infrastructure, increased battery capacity [Tesla can produce 300 mile ranges, but the vehicle costs you $90,000] or the ability to swap out batteries on the fly [like a flashlight] this is not too likely to happen in the next 50 years. Then, of course there would be the drain on electric grid resources if only 50% of the current fossil fuel powered vehicles on the road were replaced with electrics.

    Electric cars are not going to be a true market factor anytime soon.

      Shane in reply to Mac45. | February 3, 2018 at 10:42 pm

      Mac45 .. never said that they were a replacement to current gas powered vehicles. I think like everything they can have their place. As a commuter vehicle they can be awesome. When the Macaw Cellular phones first came out they were a novelty, but over time as technology and consumer preference (plus the disintegration of the hated AT&T) changed the market did what is does best and innovated, bringing us the cool handsets that we use today.

      Please mark my words .. I don’t believe in market distortions brought about by the government i.e. subsidies and regulatory monopolies, but I do think that the market would definitely embrace and adopt this tech and I think it would drive (get it drive 🙂 ) a lot of innovation for the future.

        Mac45 in reply to Shane. | February 4, 2018 at 1:20 pm

        Electric cars would make excellent very short range commuter vehicles, for certain people and locals, such as sprawling suburban areas. The problem is their lack of versatility when compared to fossil fuel powered vehicles.

        Personal wireless telephones development is a classic example of an unfilled market which was exploited by technology. Radiotelephone had been in service since the 1950s. However, such service was expensive, not man portable and of limited bandwidth, as it used traditional single point radio contact protocols. What cellular technology did was to allow a vastly greater number of end users access tot system by increasing the radio point of contact in a given area. Coupled with computerized switching and dual band hand units as well as the evolution of micro electronics allowed communications companies to tap into this personal communication market.

        Unfortunately, no such market exists for electric vehicles. That is why price incentives, including federal tax benefits exist to encourage the purchase of such vehicles. Nobody needs an electric vehicle. And, no one really wants one. They are a novelty or status symbol. Whether there is enough of a niche market for them will determine their continual production.

The amount of noise and grousing made by any industry is generally PR, not reality. Can manufacturers make products which comply with even the most ridiculous “standards”? Of course. All it takes is time and money.

No matter how ridiculous it may be, the California market for cars is tremendous. Nobody with any claim to be part of “the industry” will abandon it just because it’s annoying to deal with. Annoyances will make the cars more expensive. This shafts the California consumer, but nobody else.

California is rapidly approaching the point of being unsustainable. It is taxing and regulating itself out of existence. It should be ignored and allowed to fail. If the voters of California want to stop its decline, they are free to do so.

If California continues along its regulatory and taxation path, businesses will leave the state, as they have been doing for the last 20 years. Consumers in other states will refuse to pay higher prices for California compliant products. This will limit the number of growers and manufacturers who will produce such products, which will raise prices for California consumers even more. As the industries move out, this will reduce the amount of expendable income in the state, resulting in a lowering of the per capita income and spending power.

If Californians want to save their state, they had better get on the ball. Otherwise the state will crash and burn and the rest of the states will be forced to step in and impose serious restrictions on its operation.

    “If Californians want to save their state…”

    California is ungovernable: the radical left runs most of it. It is the nation’s welfare state, with the highest level of poverty in America. CA leftists imported illegals and also created generational classes of welfare recipients to vote the left into perpetual power.

    The only thing that will save CA, is it crashing and burning to the point where even the Hollywood idiots have had enough.

Traitors to their oaths of office, definitely.

Fascists to be sure: elitism for the top, the yoke of communism for the rest of us.

Good. They need some countervailing pressure, so they can stand up to the envirobullies.

The real winners will be car buyers. No manufacturer worth his salt is going to stop making a car the public wants.

California can force manufacturers to produce cars nobody wants, but it can’t get people to buy cars they don’t find desirable.

I’m curious as to how this kind of mandate works in the end, since I definitely don’t see people buying the all but useless electric cars produced by major automakers in the numbers required. What are they going to do with unwanted cars, sell them off at 10 cents to the dollar? That might make even the mighty California auto market cease to be viable …

    “California can force manufacturers to produce cars nobody wants, but it can’t get people to buy cars they don’t find desirable.” Of course they can get people to buy cars they don’t find desirable. With the mere passage of yet another law. It’s how totalitarian governments work.

Possibly, Californians could just cross State lines to purchase their vehicles.
That is a lot of commerce.

Stop selling cars to California. Stop out of state suppliers of electricity from selling to California. They don’t need it with all that renewable green energy.

“Since then, automakers modified the cars they sold in California to meet the rules, but standards were effectively unified by the Obama administration as part of the federal government’s auto industry rescue during the Great Recession.”

I don’t see how this will be very hard. When I was growing up in Kali there were simply certain cars that you couldn’t get buy in Kali. You could buy them out of state and bring them in, as long as they were truly used cars with a certain amount of miles on them. I don’t know if you can still do that, and I don’t care. I’m happily Texas’ problem now, and there’s no going back. So simply revoke Obama’s “unifying rule” and allow automakers to sell cars that don’t meet Kali emissions elsewhere in the country.

Oh, and here’s the the very same Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, discussing waivers that Kali can’t get.

“California Governor Jerry Brown has expressed interest in banning the sale of internal combustion vehicles in communications with California Air Recources Board chairman Mary Nichols. The United Kingdom, France and China have all moved to ban the sale of pollution-creating cars by a certain time, and Brown thinks there’s no reason why California can’t do the same.

“I’ve gotten messages from the governor asking, ‘Why haven’t we done something already?’” Nichols told Bloomberg in a recent interview. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California.””

Uhh, because China is a dictatorship and Kali is…oh, never mind. The people running Kali think like CHICOMs.

“It’s likely that California will have to jump through some hoops to implement the proposed ban. The state is allowed to author its own environmental regulations by way of EPA waivers, but it’s unlikely the pro-business Trump administration would grant the waiver in this case. That means the internal combustion engine car ban would have to be implemented through other means, such as registration rules and limiting the roads they can be used on, for example.

“We certainly wouldn’t expect to get a waiver for that from EPA,” Nichols said. “I think we would be looking at using some of our other authorities to get to that result.””

Regulating interstate commerce is a federal responsibility. We can’t let a single state dictate what we can buy. I didn’t move to Texas so Kali could still make the rules about how I live. Let the people of Kali be able to buy a dwindling number of Kali-only models until they can’t buy cars anymore.

Like electric is going to fill the bill even by 2040. They don’t even have the infrastructure to support that many electric cars. They really think they can order gas station owners out of business and replace them with recharging stations AND generate that much electricity? But hey, when you’re a CHICOM dictator why sweat the details.