Talks on New Fuel Standards Were Heated Between the White House and Auto Industry
March 12, 2012 10:05 PM
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e-mails turned over as part of house investigation
It comes as no surprise the discussions between the White House and auto industry were very explosive when it came to the new CAFE standards. The White House wants to reduce American dependence on foreign oil, reduce pollution, and save drivers at the pump. The automotive industry argued that the cost of increased economy would hurt sales and therefore cost jobs.
Automakers have now disclosed e-mails between themselves and the government to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Those e-mails show that the conversations went on for nearly 16 hours a day for most of the month of July. The e-mails were turned over because the committee is investigating whether White House officials worked around the traditional regulatory process by making deals directly with automakers.
Republican Darrell Issa
heads the committee, and he argues that the Obama Administration didn't consider the impact higher vehicle costs would have on consumers.
That is one of the key arguments most automakers made during conversations about the new standards, which push fuel economy all the way to 56.2 mpg between 2017 and 2025. Updating vehicles to meet the standards would cost the auto industry $157.3 million according to the Obama administration estimates. The Obama administration also estimates that consumers will save $1.7 trillion at the pump. Many in the automotive industry argued that the costs will be much higher than Washington predicts.
An e-mail from a GM employee to Mary Sipes, VP of GM North America overseeing product planning in the global portfolio, said, "I have never seen such power coupled with such incompetence. It is simply embarrassing from a taxpayer perspective. The gov't is playing we OEMs off each other. They are telling us lies (we know cause we OEMs talk amongst ourselves) to trick us into caving or giving up points of information."
An e-mail from Ford's Sue Cischke from May of 2009 said, "We need some additional concessions … so I will continue to push from our end. I am concerned that if they don't get this wrapped up this week they may decide it’s not worth it and go on to something else (something easy like healthcare)."
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3/22/2012 11:23:25 AM
This administration has shown plenty of support for oil in other countries. At the same time they've blocked any new energy development on federal land in this country, they subsidized billions in loans to Petrobras to drill off the shore of Brazil.
It's not an anti-oil ideology. It's an anti-American oil ideology. This country is too corporate, too rich, and too successful and this administration is rectifying that. One lost job at a time.
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner
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