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CR response to General Motors EV announcement: Consumers need more than aspirations

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — General Motors announced today that it plans to be carbon neutral by 2040, and has the “aspiration” to only sell electric vehicles by 2035.

“To borrow a phrase from Thomas Edison, what consumers and the climate need are commitments that are 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration,” says David Friedman, Vice President of Advocacy at Consumer Reports. “Strong aspirations are important and inspirational, but firm production plans and strong policies are what move the market and the climate.”

While the company has also made announcement of models to come, GM currently sells only a single electric vehicle model, the Chevy Bolt, and has consistently fought vehicle greenhouse gas standards and policies to expand the zero emission vehicle marketplace, says Friedman.

To show consumers and the market that it is serious about saving them money on fuel, improving air quality and solving climate change, and to hold itself accountable, Friedman says GM should support strong fleet-wide greenhouse gas emissions standards that would cut new vehicle emissions by at least 60% by 2030. CR recently asked the Biden Administration to work quickly to undo recent rollbacks that GM helped set in motion, and set stronger, feasible standards.

“As one of the world’s largest automakers, GM has outsized market influence. If the company moves from aspiration to firm production plans and policy support, consumers could benefit greatly,” adds Friedman. CR recently found that lifetime ownership costs for the most popular electric vehicles (EVs) on the market today under $50,000 are typically $6,000 to $10,000 less than the best gas-powered vehicles in their class.