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Public Policy

ESG Governance

Climate Change

We have consistently and publicly advocated for climate action and awareness, as well as policies putting a value on carbon. Our global commitment to an all-electric, zero-emissions future is unwavering, regardless of the prevailing vehicle emissions standards in any region in which we operate. In the U.S., we support modernizing the standards and creating one national program working with California and all stakeholders.

To that end, we’ve called for a U.S. National Zero Emissions Vehicle (NZEV) program to help the U.S. move faster toward an all-electric, zero-emissions future. This move would create jobs, encourage innovation and make EVs more affordable for more customers. We believe that the most effective way to attain this goal is with an NZEV program based on the existing ZEV framework and supported by complementary policies. Such a program would be administered nationally by the EPA and represents a more harmonized solution than individual state-based programs.

An NZEV program also would establish a Zero Emissions Task Force to promote complementary policies, such as charging infrastructure investments, renewed federal incentives for EV purchasing and regulatory incentives to support U.S. battery suppliers. The result of such a program would be to position the U.S. as a leader in vehicle electrification. GM will continue to have conversations with regulators in California and the federal government to help speed EV adoption and be ready for customers with the EVs they desire. Because broad consumer acceptance of EVs is critical, we continue to call for meaningful consumer purchase incentives to make EVs more affordable for more customers.

Demonstrating our readiness to engage with the climate policy debate, GM joined 41 other leading U.S. companies in calling upon the Biden administration and new Congress in 2021 to enact ambitious, durable and bipartisan climate solutions. We believe this should include an economywide market-based approach that puts a value on carbon, as well as transformative levels of federal investment in the country's infrastructure—including EV chargers and the grid—to prepare for an electrified future. The statement was organized by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions as part of its Climate Innovation 2050 initiative.

Global Fuel Economy and Emissions Regulation

Emissions requirements have become more stringent around the world, driven by policy requirements such as air quality, energy security and climate change.

It is important that governments update their legacy regulations like the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards in the United States to reflect the changing transportation and mobility landscape. For example, when the current CAFE standards were first proposed and finalized in 2012 for models through 2020, shared mobility was in its earliest stages, EVs were a nascent technology far from the mainstream, and self-driving vehicles did not even exist. CAFE for 2021 and beyond was updated in 2020. Going forward, we want to be sure that the regulations accurately account for the current and likely future state of our industry. In addition, we have recommended that EV incentives continue and that federal regulations be harmonized between NHTSA and the EPA, as we work toward a single national standard with all stakeholders, including California. For example, we believe that focusing on interim technologies such as hybrids and multiple solutions for multiple states slows the adoption of full battery EVs. Common standards will allow us to advance innovation today and better prepare for the future.

Many countries around the world have regulatory standards similar to those of the U.S., which are based on a footprint metric or size of the vehicle, or those of the EU, which are mass-based. In many cases, there are regulatory inconsistencies when fuel-saving solutions under one system do not translate to another. Though harmonized standards among countries are in the best interests of our customers and the environment, we realize development and acceptance can take years. That’s why we favor mutual recognition agreements, a practice by which two or more markets agree to recognize each other’s standards and eliminate costly and nonbeneficial redundancies.

Low-GWP Refrigerant
(Share of Total U.S. Volume 2019–2022)

The low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant R-1234yf has over 350 times less GWP than the refrigerant it replaces. Today, 90% of our U.S. vehicles use R-1234yf and we are on a path for 100% by model year 2021. Our model year 2020 volume of 2.3 metric tons represents nearly 2.3 million vehicles with carbon avoidance of 7.3 million metric tons of CO2.

* Projected

Fleet Fuel Efficiency by Region
(Sales-Weighted Average Passenger Fleet Fuel Economy)

  2016 2017 2018 2019
USA gCO2/km 197 191 189 193
China L/km 159 151 152 144
Brazil gCO2/km 123 124 122 121
Volume-weighted average emissions across all three regions g/km) 173.1 165.7 165.7 164.2

The latest numbers available are for 2019. 2020 numbers will be available in June 2021.

Global Fuel Economy/CO2 Outlook

As the above chart demonstrates, regulations calling for increased fuel economy and reduced CO2 emissions are common across markets around the world.

China implemented the China 5 emission standard nationwide in 2017, which is more stringent than the previous program at every level. The next round of standards, known as China 6, rolled out nationally in January 2021. China 6 combines elements of both European and U.S. standards, including stronger emissions requirements and extended time and mileage periods over which manufacturers are responsible for a vehicle’s emissions performance. As mentioned earlier, GM supports globally harmonized standards and gave input as the new standards were being drafted, sharing best practices from our experiences in North America. Looking ahead to China 7, we support a national program rather than early regional adoption.

Another notable regulation in China is the new energy vehicle (NEV) mandate. This regulation requires OEMs to achieve a certain percentage of their sales as NEVs, designed to drive the growth of a zero emissions fleet. A critical part of this regulation is the ability for an OEM to earn credits based on the technology being sold. This policy, combined with consumer subsidies for purchasing NEVs, has made China an important market for our electrification solutions.

We are also focused on emerging markets. In these markets, we want to find affordable product solutions for our customers, who generally have lower average household incomes, while meeting fuel economy mandates and regulations.

Within GM, we have institutionalized extensive governance processes that predict, plan, measure and assess our fleet’s fuel economy and emissions performance according to established government test procedures on a dynamic and country-by-country basis. We dedicate significant resources and use a complex algorithm to calculate the fuel economy of dozens of models sold across developed markets with increasingly stringent regulations, as well as emerging markets that are adopting similar regulations at a rapid pace. These calculations and the subsequent plans around them are an intrinsic part of our business that impacts nearly every operational function, from product development through delivery, on a daily basis.

Low-GWP Refrigerant
(Share of Total U.S. Volume 2019–2022)
2018 2019 2020 2021 Goal
91% 88% 90% 100%
Global Fuel Economy/CO2 Outlook
year value
2012 159.1g/km
2013 154.1g/km
2017 138.3g/km
2022 127.8g/km
2000 192.5g/km
2001 192.5g/km
2002 190.4g/km
2003 187.6g/km
2004 184.8g/km
2005 182.0g/km
2006 184.8g/km
2007 177.0g/km
2008 174.2g/km
2009 166.5g/km
2010 166.5g/km
2016 148.9g/km
2017 141.9g/km
2018 136.2g/km
2019 130.6g/km
2020 125.0g/km
2021 119.3g/km
2022 111.1g/km
2023 107.0g/km
2024 102.9g/km
2025 98.9g/km
2002 212.4g/km
2006 189.1g/km
2008 184.4g/km
2010 179.7g/km
2011 175.0g/km
2012 172.7g/km
2013 170.4g/km
2014 168.0g/km
2015 164.3g/km
2016 150.5g/km
2017 141.2g/km
2018 135.4g/km
2020 116.7g/km
2025 93.4g/km
2000 172.2g/km
2001 169.7g/km
2002 167.2g/km
2003 165.5g/km
2004 163.4g/km
2005 162.4g/km
2006 161.3g/km
2007 158.7g/km
2008 153.6g/km
2009 145.7g/km
2010 140.3g/km
2011 135.7g/km
2012 132.2g/km
2013 126.7g/km
2014 123.3g/km
2015 119.6g/km
2016 118.1g/km
2017 118.5g/km
2018 120.4g/km
2021 95.0g/km
2025 81.0g/km
2030 59.0g/km
2006 153.0g/km
2009 141.0g/km
2010 138.3g/km
2011 135.6g/km
2012 136.3g/km
2015 123.0g/km
2017 121.0g/km
2018 121.9g/km
2022 113.0g/km
2000 186.6g/km
2001 181.5g/km
2002 175.5g/km
2003 174.4g/km
2004 171.1g/km
2005 170.0g/km
2006 165.8g/km
2007 164.8g/km
2008 158.2g/km
2009 145.9g/km
2010 144.5g/km
2011 135.7g/km
2012 126.6g/km
2013 118.8g/km
2014 115.4g/km
2015 116.2g/km
2016 115.0g/km
2017 114.6g/km
2018 114.6g/km
2030 73.5g/km
2012 157.9g/km
2016 162.5g/km
2017 159.0g/km
2018 151.5g/km
2019 150.4g/km
2020 141.7g/km
2008 175.1g/km
2009 171.1g/km
2010 167.3g/km
2011 161.3g/km
2012 157.9g/km
2013 150.4g/km
2014 147.4g/km
2016 144.5g/km
2017 144.5g/km
2018 144.5g/km
S. Korea
2003 210.8g/km
2004 199.4g/km
2005 195.9g/km
2006 189.9g/km
2007 185.7g/km
2008 176.7g/km
2009 167.1g/km
2010 159.0g/km
2011 154.5g/km
2012 146.5g/km
2013 147.3g/km
2014 148.5g/km
2015 150.9g/km
2016 151.4g/km
2017 151.5g/km
2018 148.6g/km
2020 96.6g/km
2000 204.7g/km
2001 202.4g/km
2002 201.0g/km
2003 197.3g/km
2004 197.5g/km
2005 191.6g/km
2006 193.2g/km
2007 185.7g/km
2008 184.1g/km
2009 175.7g/km
2010 169.9g/km
2011 174.3g/km
2012 161.6g/km
2013 155.2g/km
2014 152.4g/km
2015 148.2g/km
2016 147.4g/km
2017 139.0g/km
2018 129.9g/km
2019 127.7g/km
2020 121.4g/km
2021 117.9g/km
2022 115.8g/km
2023 113.7g/km
2024 111.6g/km
2025 109.4g/km
2026 108.0g/km