Emissions, Green Vehicle Quid Pro Quo for Auto Makers' Bailout

Andrew Burger

The US government should tie any further emergency bailout aid to the “Big 3” US automakers to guarantees that they'll drop opposition to states' stricter emissions reduction propositions, as well as guarantees that they will fast-track development and production of electric, PHEV and cleaner burning flex-fuel vehicles, according to two Civil Society Institute project teams.

The US government, and public, should make any additional federal loans, guarantees and other rescue measures afforded the “Big 3” automakers contingent upon them dropping the well-funded, longstanding lobbying campaigns that have thus far thwarted efforts by California, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont to raise emissions standards, according to 40MPG.org and TheClean.org.


In return for bailing them out, the government should also tie any such emergency aid to definitive evidence and results related to their development and delivery of plug-in electrics, hybrids, clean diesels and other vehicles with high fuel efficiency and low emissions, they contend.

Projects of the Civil Society Institute, 40MPG and TheClean have set up a Web-based system that enables people to send emails to their Congressional representatives and President-elect Barrack Obama's administration pushing for such measures.

The calls come as European governments are forging links with European automakers to speed up development and production of electric and flex-fuel vehicles.

“Just because Detroit is pleading once again for another bailout is no reason for Washington to give these companies a 'free ride.' If taxpayers are going to be put at risk by guaranteeing new loans, then any such new help should be conditioned on the U.S. car companies ending their campaign to frustrate state-level efforts to clean up car and light-truck emissions that cause global warming,” according to 40MPG.org founder and Civil Society Institute president and founder Pam Solo.

“Further, Congress should insist that every penny of the $25 billion in new loan guarantees that Detroit is seeking be targeted to building the cars of tomorrow, not the gas-guzzling dinosaurs of yesterday. Business as usual for Detroit is a bad investment without the incentives for Detroit to do what it seems it cannot do for itself."

Fifteen states have adopted regulations requiring automobile manufacturers to significantly reduce vehicular the greenhouse gas emissions. Automobile manufacturers must reduce new vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by thirty percent over 2002 levels, according to the uniform set of regulations of three states, according to 40MPG and TheClean.org. The reductions are phased in over model years 2009 through 2016.


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