Expect more changes in 2nd term
Keith Crain is editor-in-chief of Automotive News.
Now that President Obama has been re-elected, one might assume that his second term will be a continuation of policies from the first four years.
But we should expect changes and additions in the next couple of years, since it's hard to figure out anything beyond the next congressional election. Things would have been much different in the last two years of Obama's first term if Democrats had continued to control the House of Representatives.
One of the first items for Obama's second term may be deciding when to sell the remaining 500 million shares of General Motors stock owned by the Treasury. Now that it doesn't matter from a political point of view, it may make the most sense to sell the stock, take the loss and let GM exist as a public company. I am sure GM's employees would be delighted to have the government end its ownership. It would make them much more nimble.
And it should be no surprise if the EPA becomes more aggressive in regulating tailpipe emissions.
The Obama administration will continue to support and encourage the electrification of automobiles. There will be direct involvement with electric car suppliers, including those that make batteries. There is a good chance that the tax credit for electric cars will be increased from the current $7,500.
It can be argued that electric vehicles need some sort of added stimulus to continue to exist and prosper -- regardless of your political philosophy.
Most of the things affecting the automobile industry will not be done through Congress. Without the support of both houses of Congress, almost everything will be done by executive order or by various departments and agencies in the executive branch.
Considering that the heavy lifting was done in the past four years, it is unlikely that there will be any huge initiatives planned for the next couple of years. But meeting the fuel economy standards out to the 2025 model year will keep the industry very busy for the foreseeable future. That will have a dramatic impact on carbon emissions at the same time.
A newly elected administration would be expected to have a long list of potential programs that will be unveiled over the next few months. But just because this administration was re-elected, don't be surprised at new programs.
You can reach Keith Crain at firstname.lastname@example.org.