With everything that’s happened over the past week, fuel economy standards probably aren’t top priority in the list of concerns for Trump detractors. But, it is an issue I’d expect to gain some momentum at some point, and surely is hot with automotive companies and dealers.
Case in point, at the recent North American Dealers Association, Ford CEO Mark Fields talked about his conversation with President Trump about proposed CAFE standards. Fields explained that the standards, set for 2025, will cost his company 1 million jobs. Now, there hasn’t been much proof of where that many jobs will go, so this seems like a potential shock statement meant to incite a response.
There are some valid areas of truth to Fields’ concerns, however, as hybrid and electric car sales have been slow, and the standards would require automakers to create more of the cars that they feel aren’t attractive to American consumers right now. But, it’s reasonable to say that lower fuel prices and a strong economy have led many away from less expensive and greener vehicles. And Fields comment about the sheer number of such cars available right now is misleading.
“We will be very clear in the things we’d like to see,” Fields told Bloomberg. “In 2008, there were 12 electrified vehicles offered in the US market and it represented 2.3 percent of the industry,” he said. “Fast forward to 2016, there’s 55 models, and year to date it’s 2.8 percent.”
Now, you’d be hard-pressed to find 55 models available in the full U.S. market. Again, the point is in some ways valid, but Fields seems to be pushing the envelope when throwing figures out.
In the end, it will be the Trump administration’s call. And if the early moves are any indication, ridding automakers of a perceived burden that was created by his predecessor seems more than likely.