Furthermore, said Daniel Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign, consumers will welcome more fuel-efficient cars.
"Making gas-guzzlers that pollute the atmosphere, cost us too much at the gas pump, and don't sell very well really isn't very good for the United States," he said. "Toyota and Honda lost money (in the recession), but they're still healthy companies because they're making efficient vehicles Americans want to buy. They weren't as wedded to the gas-guzzling economy as the U.S. three were."
The fact that the Obama administration was able to institute higher fuel economy standards may indicate the government may be able and willing to exert its newfound influence over car makers.
"Would he have been able to do it if the auto industry had both hands free instead of one shaking a tin cup? Maybe not," said Becker. "There are a lot of factors that went into it."