The majority of United States Tier 1 automotive suppliers support more electric cars, and disagree with the Trump administration's rollback of emissions standards, according to a survey commissioned by business-oriented nonprofit CALSTART, and conducted by consultancy Ricardo Energy and Environment.
Of the suppliers surveyed, 62% disagreed with the Trump administration's rollback of emissions standards. The same percentage also agreed that policies that force or encourage greater fuel economy tend to encourage job growth at their companies. Suppliers employ 2.8 times more Americans than the automakers themselves, CALSTART noted.
Suppliers were enthusiastic about more-aggressive standards. Nearly all (92%) said standards should be made more ambitious post-2026, when currently-outlined fuel-efficiency improvement targets stop. In addition, 89% said it's important to start setting post-2026 targets immediately.
A majority of suppliers surveyed—54%—also indicated they would support a national 100% zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales target for 2035-2040, while 62% said it's possible to achieve that goal with existing technology. The same percentage said policies that encourage greater ZEV adoption generally lead to job growth.
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It is, of course, in the interest of automotive suppliers to sell automakers on innovation. But it's eye-opening that the Trump administration's decision was not in alignment with the industry—and specifically where bulk of the jobs in the industry are.
The administration released its Final Rule, which will cover emissions and fuel economy requirements through the middle of the decade, in March. The rules apply about a 1.5% annual improvement in the fleet average from 2021 through 2026—an improvement that given the expected higher number of EVs might actually allow the fuel economy of non-plug-ins to backslide.
Governors of 23 states, including some states that will be considered battleground states in the current election, sent a letter opposing the move.
The Trump administration had attempted to throw safety into the mix, too. But as a 2018 study from the Consumer Federation of America showed, safety and mpg have improved together, with only modest price increases before considering ownership-cost gains.