The auto industry is undergoing a major transition. How can we set a course for its healthy development?
Automakers, by their nature, must make plans many years in advance. Right now, we have people designing products for 2015. That means that, if environmental standards are to be effective, it is crucial that we have very good collaboration between government and the auto industry. It requires smart regulatory practices, achievable goals, and a national roadmap we can depend upon.
We are in this thing together. It is time to collaborate.
Take emissions standards, for example. We understand the direction of the carbon economy. We embraced 40% higher federal fuel standards in the 2007 energy bill, and we fully expect a decade of rising standards, year by year, starting with the standards for 2011 to be announced in the near future.
We intend to accomplish those standards. In order to do that, we’ve urged the federal government to set emissions standards for multiple years into the future, to give us a predictable set of regulations to plan and design for. In recent years, California and other states have played an important role in setting emissions standards when there was no federal action on the issue. But today, the federal government is acting. Additional uncertainty can only undermine that progress. A single, national standard administered by the federal government is a reliable roadmap and we can move forward rapidly.
We also need to know that the infrastructure will be in place to support the advanced technologies we’re developing. You can’t have a fleet of plug-in hybrids and electric cars without a place to plug them in, or without sufficient energy to power them all.
Patchwork fixes and band-aids are not a good solution to our common problems. Our environmental and economic problems involve our whole country. So do the solutions. An integrated national plan provides a stable foundation for progress.
We’re committed to reinventing the automobile. We will provide you with an even wider range of efficient automobiles. And if we can depend on a smart and stable set of regulations, the auto industry will be the driver behind a new low-carbon economy.