General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced Thursday they’ll take the biggest steps yet to phase out gasoline-powered cars.
Ford and GM will not make new gasoline-powered vehicles, while Chrysler will make hybrid and electric vehicles. Eight Chinese auto companies have signed on to a global plan for exiting the internal combustion engine by 2030.
The announcement is likely to set off a chain reaction of action around the world, says Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina and expert on climate change policy.
GM, Ford and FCA each are under pressure to follow other automakers and manufacturers by eliminating the use of combustion engines. But the U.S. automakers also are highly profitable and have market reach worldwide.
As China, where diesel engines are increasingly more popular, drives electrification, GM and Ford are scrambling to get into the market. A study released Thursday by McKinsey & Co. projected global demand for vehicles sold with hybrid and electric powertrains would nearly double from 2016 to 2040, to 25 million a year.
Buckle up. This could be one of the most epic collapses in auto history. Just ponder this: More than half of all U.S. new-car sales were to people who already owned one.
About 22 million new cars were sold this year in the U.S., up about 4 percent from last year.
Ford and FCA each sold about 580,000 gas-powered cars, trucks and SUVs in the U.S. FCA’s sales include Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Maserati SUVs, and Ford’s include its namesake and Lincoln brand cars, trucks and SUVs.
By the end of the year, electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales in the U.S. will total about 56,000, according to J.D. Power and Associates.
Trump blames gas prices on Obama
President Donald Trump blamed rising gas prices partly on the Obama administration. “If President Obama were in office, gas prices wouldn’t be at $2.87, they would be $3.20,” he said Friday as he met with lawmakers.
It’s true that gasoline prices increased during the Obama years, but they fell to their lowest point of the year in early November, below $2 a gallon at the pump, according to AAA.