Why General Motors Wants A National Electric Vehicle Policy

The automaker is proposing that five percent of all car sales be zero emissions vehicles by 2025. That’s less than what’s required in some states, but still a progressive move for the company.

By Shelly BrisbinOctober 31, 2018 7:08 am,

Given a choice, many businesses might prefer to have less government regulation. Take America’s automakers who’ve resisted the tightening of federal mileage and emission rules for years, claiming those laws make it tougher to sell cars. But now, one of the biggest players in the industry, General Motors, wants the government to adopt higher mileage standards nationwide, and create a national zero-emissions vehicle policy.

Micheline Maynard, who runs the crowdfunded journalism project Curbing Cars, and is a former Detroit bureau chief for The New York Times, says gasoline-powered vehicles are still going to be the bulk of GM’s business, but it has asked for these standards in order to level the playing field in the electric-vehicle market.

Currently, there is no national standard for electric-vehicle sales, and automakers have to comply with varying state laws, including the most stringent ones in California. In California, about eight percent of car companies’ sales have to come from zero-emission vehicles; GM is proposing a nationwide five-percent rule. 

“What General Motors really wants is a national electric-vehicle standard, and that’s what it’s going after in this proposal,” Maynard says.

While five percent of sales is small, Maynard says a nationwide rule would still be a step in the right direction in terms of reducing emissions.

“If you think about where we were three years ago, you could have never imagined a company like General Motors proposing anything like this. So, we have come an enormous way in terms of environmental awareness on the part of a major U.S. automaker.”


Written by Morgan Kuehler.