With a new administration coming in January, however, GM has decided to withdraw from that fight.
“We are confident that the Biden Administration, California, and the US auto industry, which supports 10.3 million jobs, can collaboratively find the pathway that will deliver an all-electric future,” GM wrote in a letter signed by CEO Mary Barra. “To better foster the necessary dialogue, we are immediately withdrawing from the preemption litigation and inviting other automakers to join us.”
GM’s support of the lawsuit was not about backing the administration’s desire to roll back fuel economy standards, GM spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said.
“Our decision to intervene in the litigation, was not about siding with Trump,” she wrote in an email. “The decision was consistent with our desire for one national standard, which we still support.”
In initially joining the litigation, GM had hoped it could be involved in negotiations for a possible settlement between the two sides, she said.
“By withdrawing from the litigation, we hope this can better foster necessary dialogue and believe the ambitious electrification goals of the President-elect, California, and General Motors are aligned to address climate change by drastically reducing automobile emissions,” Ginivan wrote.
In response to GM’s announcement, Environmental Protection Agency spokesman James Hewitt said, “It’s always interesting to see the changing positions of US corporations.”
“We demand that Toyota and Fiat-Chrysler follow suit and withdraw from the Trump Administration’s attack,” said Katherine Garcia, Deputy Director of National Strategies for Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign.
A Toyota spokesman said that the automaker is considering how to proceed.
“Given the changing circumstances, we are assessing the situation, but remain committed to our goal of a consistent, unitary set of fuel economy standards applicable in all 50 states,” Toyota said in an emailed statement.
Nissan and Fiat Chrysler did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Natural Resources Defense Council issued a statement in support of GM’s move while also calling on the company to do more in the future.
“If GM is going to live up to its promise of being part of the solution to our climate crisis, it must support ambitious, federal and state clean car standards,” the group said in a statement.