GM chief talks fuel efficiency with Pruitt, Chao

Source: Camille von Kaenel, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2018

Mary Barra, the chairwoman and CEO of General Motors Co., met with U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao yesterday on fuel efficiency standards.

The Trump administration is coming up on an April 1 deadline to decide whether to lower the Obama-era targets for greenhouse gas emissions from cars. Automakers have pressed for a weakening of the rules, and EPA is likely to agree, but the details of the changes are still being hammered out.

A GM spokeswoman, Laura Toole, said in a statement that Barra met with Pruitt and Chao to reiterate “our priorities for modernizing fuel economy standards, which is the need for one national set of requirements and the need to comprehend new technology developments like increased shared and autonomous electric vehicles.”

She added, “We provided both with an update on our vision for zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.”

The White House is trying to negotiate a deal between California, which can set its own more stringent standards, EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Pruitt had harsh words for California officials yesterday, saying the state was not the “arbiter” of the issue and should not “dictate” tailpipe rules to the country. A spokesman for California regulators responded by saying the state would continue to develop its standards through 2030, raising the possibility of splintered regulations or a legal showdown. Automakers want to avoid a patchwork.

Barra has met Pruitt at least once before. In March 2017, President Trump traveled to Michigan with Pruitt and Chao to tell autoworkers and executives his administration would review EPA’s tailpipe targets for model years 2022 to 2025.