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Congressman Mark DeSaulnier

Representing the 11th District of California

Following White House Meeting DeSaulnier and Democratic Members Call on Automobile Manufacturers to Clarify Intentions on Fuel Economy Standards

May 11, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, following a meeting between President Trump and leading automaker executives, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) was joined by Democratic Representatives Karen Bass (CA-37), André Carson (IN-07), Matt Cartwright (PA-17), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), and Peter Welch (VT-At Large) in calling on automobile manufacturers to provide a detailed explanation of their plans for how they will respond to the Trump Administration’s proposed rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards. The letter also follows recent reports that the Trump Administration plans to double down on fighting California’s regulations in federal courts.

“We are writing to request information on your plans and intentions in light of the Trump Administration’s moves to substantially weaken the motor vehicle standards for emissions and fuel economy currently in place,” wrote the Members. “These standards are not only appropriate and achievable, but are also necessary for progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel consumption as well as for driving innovation and job growth. At the same time, the Administration’s backward-looking policies are an attack on jobs, innovation, and public health.”

The Members, who sent letters to BMW Group, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen, asked that each company answer the following questions:

  • “To what extent are you committed to existing federal standards, regardless of the Administration’s moves to weaken them?”
  • “Are you encouraging the Administration to weaken standards, either through meeting or direct communication with government officials or through the communications of advocacy groups such as the Auto Alliance or Global Automakers?”
  • “What are the specific requirements and targets that you would like to see adjusted, on a model-year basis, with the goal of making continued progress towards lower emissions and greater fuel efficiency?”

Federal fuel efficiency standards established by the Obama Administration were inspired by standards set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and designed so that automakers who met the new federal standards would be deemed to be in compliance with CARB’s. The CARB standards have since been adopted by 12 other states, accounting for one-third of the U.S. auto market.

Since the Trump Administration announced its intent to roll back current fuel standards, Congressman DeSaulnier has called for a national boycott of any company that does not commit to maintaining the Obama or CARB standards. He has also called on California’s public retirement funds to divest from companies that participate in the rollback of environmental standards, and later led a group of Democratic Members of the California Delegation in echoing his call to divest. In October of 2017, DeSaulnier sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Scott Pruitt to maintain and strengthen current standards.

DeSaulnier served on CARB for 10 years, was Chair of California transportation committees in the Assembly and Senate, and is currently a member of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

A full copy of today’s letter to auto executives can be found here.