If elected President, presumptive GOP nominee Willard Mitt Romney said he would sell off the American governments 26% share in General Motors (GM), take a hard look at pending fuel efficiency mandates as well as electric vehicle (EV) subsidies. That not all. Romney said he would review the pending Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) mandates slated to put the auto industry on course toward a 54.5 mile per gallon fleet wide average by 2025.
Even so, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk isn’t worried. Should he be?
Romney’s approach to the auto market? Hands off. In fact, Romney says if he had been President, he would not have bailed out the auto industry. He has also said CAFE is not such a good idea and represents intrusion into the free market by the Obama led government (even though George W. introduced his own CAFE standards ahead of Obama). “The best approach is to try and build vehicles that people want, rather than having the government telling the companies what they must make,” Romney said to the Detroit News.
That being said, Elon Musk chief executive officer (CEO) of Tesla Motors said that a Romney presidency would have a “minor impact” on America’s EV market. Musk claims that there is a strong EV following, and Tesla’s goal with the Model S is push EVs further into the mainstream. Simply put, Musk thinks people want EVs and will buy them.
Romney has singled out Tesla and the troubled Fisker Automotive Inc., which also got federal tax payer loans to develop EVs as examples of poor policy decisions by President Obama’s administration. In a March 19th speech at the University of Chicago, Romney called both Tesla and Fisker examples of “crony capitalism”, even though Tesla just recently announced it plans to begin repaying its government loans early.
It seems likely that a CEO of an EV company would brush off the potentially negative impact of a Romney presidency on their market. After all, the polls show that Romney and Obama are running very close. Additionally, the job reports are not improving under Obama and the clock is ticking down to November rapidly. No CEO is going to talk poorly about their companies or an industries chance of survival or bite the presidential hand that feeds them in a scenario such as this. They want to reassure consumers of their product while keeping the door open to dealing with, perhaps, a new presidential administration.
How much a Romney presidency will impact the EV market is really anyone’s guess – although it seems clear that four more years of Obama certainly would not hurt it. Sound off on your thoughts in the comment section below.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison