GM Bets on California, Electric Cars

The giant automaker dropped its legal challenge against the Golden State’s tough emissions standards, pushing its rivals to do the same.

Big, gas-guzzling trucks parading around in “Trump Trains” was one of the most vivid images of the 2020 presidential campaign. But now that Trump has lost, one of the biggest makers of said trucks is getting on the Biden Train, ending its long-running legal battle with California in the process.

Today, General Motors said that it would no longer support the Trump administration’s legal challenge against California’s strict vehicle emissions standards.   

“We believe the ambitious electrification goals of the President-elect, California, and General Motors are aligned to address climate change by drastically reducing automobile emissions,” GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra wrote in a letter to environmental groups. 

Last year, the Trump administration attempted to revoke California’s special status of being able to set its own, stricter vehicle emissions standards, which are followed by several other states. Major automakers split ranks, with some, including Honda and Ford, supporting California, and others, including GM and Toyota, supporting the Trump administration. 

Then in September, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order mandating that all new cars sold in the state must be zero-emissions by 2035. That mandate, the most ambitious in the country, was contingent on California winning its legal battle against the Trump administration, or Trump losing this November. 

Well, Trump did lose, whether he admits it or not. And now corporate America is starting to react in kind. 

In her letter, Barra urged other companies to follow GM’s lead in abandoning the Trump administration’s policies. 

“We are confident that the Biden Administration, California, and the U.S. auto industry, which supports 10.3 million jobs, can collaboratively find the pathway that will deliver an all-electric future,” she wrote. “To better foster the necessary dialogue, we are immediately withdrawing from the pre-emption litigation and inviting other automakers to join us.”

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