UPDATE, 4:50 PM: The industry may well also be trying to head off state-based efforts to encourage cleaner cars by levying fees on gas guzzlers and incentivizing more efficient cars. David Roberts has more on how "feebates" might initially stand in for, and ultimately complement, the Pavley standards.
Reuters has put together an interesting look at the auto industry's current positioning, reporting that car companies and their allies have stepped up efforts to lobby states against California's landmark auto emissions law, fearing that its legal efforts may fall short and EPA's recent waiver denial won't hold up in the long term. Tucked in the article is the resurrection of one of our favorite talking points:
Dave McCurdy, chief executive of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said in an interview that the industry's lead trade group would redouble efforts to "educate" states that have committed to or are thinking about adopting the measure.
McCurdy said the California-inspired initiative would result in a "patchwork quilt of inconsistent and competing fuel economy programs" that would lead to "confusion, inefficiency, and uncertainty for automakers and consumers."
Similarly, responding to last week's Senate testimony by EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, the National Association of Manufacturers' Carter Wood praised Johnson and added the even more extreme whopper that "Better a national standard to address a global phenomenon than 50 different state laws and regulations creating havoc for manufacturers and higher prices for consumers."
Both Wood and McCurdy might want to examine Johnson's testimony in a way that goes beyond his
evasive talking points written submission. Had they done so, they'd have discovered, as we captured in our liveblog, that Johnson folded when pressed about the validity of the "patchwork" argument:
11:33 AM: [Senator] Klobuchar says her constituents are confused that one agency (CDC) says this is a public health threat, but EPA seems to not be on that page yet. He should have his clear endangerment criteria, same rationale for the states having compelling conditions. Johnson goes back to Section 209 criteria being different still. He does admit that his "patchwork" argument has NOTHING to do with his legal argument-- also adds [in response to the point that there are really just two standards] that "perhaps its a checkerboard."
In other words, there are two potential standards here-- federal and California-based-- and anyone implying or saying otherwise is, frankly, making things up. State officials being subjected to industry pressure should be well aware of the ongoing disinformation campaign going on here.