"The chief executives of the world’s biggest automakers gathered with President Barack Obama at the Washington Convention Center in 2011 to announce they had agreed to double the average fuel economy of their vehicles to 54.5 miles per gallon -- the largest increase in history.
Five years later, after Donald Trump was elected, the companies asked the president-elect to roll back the standards. He did.
That history was fresh in the minds of climate activists and others as U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday signed an executive order on the White House lawn, also flanked by Detroit auto executives, that set an ambitious though voluntary national goal of having half of all vehicles sold in the U.S. be emissions-free by the end of the decade.
“Trusting auto companies to comply with a voluntary pledge is like believing your New Years weight loss resolution is a binding contract,” said Dan Becker, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Safe Climate Transport Campaign. “They violated their commitment by going to Trump.”"