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商业 - 科技

为什么美国的汽车厂商不能学习特斯拉?

Margo Oge 2017年10月26日

他们在积极对抗创新,这是非常不理性的行为。

上周,理查德·塞勒因为在人类所缺乏的理性决策方面的贡献,获得了2017年的诺贝尔经济学奖。当被问到准备如何使用110万美元的奖金时,他给出了一个完美的回答:“我要尽可能非理性地花掉它。”

这句话从一个72岁的学者口中说出,十分有趣。不过它也让我想起了美国汽车厂商在应对交通运输业的未来时不那么有趣而且很不理性的行为。

一方面,几乎每周都有汽车厂商宣布在三大环保交通选择:电动、无人驾驶和共享汽车上进行投资。沃尔沃(Volvo)和捷豹(Jaguar)等品牌宣布他们在不久的将来将实现全部车型“电动化”。而大众(Volkswagen)、梅赛德斯(Mercedes)、宝马(BMW)和通用汽车(GM)等另一些厂商则似乎开始了创新竞速赛。

然而与此同时,这些公司都在抗拒支持上述目标的环保措施。这种对抗如今已经延伸到了2025年轻型车温室气体排放和燃油经济性标准,其中规定届时的轿车和多功能车的汽油里程数需要翻倍,达到54.5英里。这份计划是我在环境保护署(Environmental Protection Agency, EPA)工作时帮助拟定的。它于2012年生效,对关键的环境需求与行业的担忧做了平衡。不过这一巨大的成就如今有着崩溃的危险。在汽车业的煽动之下,总统唐纳德·特朗普治下的环境保护署如今正在考虑是否需要废除这一标准或是推延达成时间。

今年10月,是这个历史性项目诞生的五周年。事实已经证明,对于汽车厂商、消费者、能源安全和我们的地球而言,它是一个多赢的选择。汽车业首次有了一个统一的全国标准,有了长期规划和投资的方向——这种监管的稳定性正是环境保护署的行政官斯科特·普瑞特声称他将在放松环保要求的同时努力实现的。从那时起,整个行业不仅满足了标准,而且还走在了前面。2016年销售的汽车中,有大约17%,即250万辆,已经达到了2020年汽油里程数大约41英里的标准。

驾驶者成了最大的赢家,他们已经在燃料上节约了超过470亿美元。如果我们继续这一进程,利好也会进一步增长:到2030年,我们每天使用的原油量将会减少240万桶,驾驶者在每辆汽车在使用寿命期间将节约6,000美元。

汽车业已经从2008-09年的萧条深渊中爬了上来,奥巴马政府必须帮助它摆脱困境。汽车业的利润达到了10年来的新高。这些成功的部分原因,在于如今遵守燃油经济规定的成本实际上已经低于2012年的估计值。

许多美国人认为需要继续维持该标准,这毫不令人惊讶。在环境保护署最近的一次听证会上,近100名不同的发言者给出了证据来支持2025年的标准,并表示其利好远大于代价。

蓝绿联盟(Blue Green Alliance)证明,清洁汽车技术支撑了48个州超过1,200家机构超过28.8万个制造和工程岗位。在克利夫兰的美国钢铁工人联合会(United Steelworkers)Local 970的主席丹·布恩表示,监管推动了创新,进而创造了工作岗位,例如使用轻型钢来提高燃料经济性。前海军和确保美国未来能源组织(Securing America’s Future Energy)董事长詹姆斯·康威将军谈到燃油经济性标准如何代表了应对国外原油联盟的“最强大武器”之一。消费者协会(Consumers Union)则证实:他们的调查表明,公众对实施严格的能源经济标准有着压倒性的支持。

汽车公司非理性行为最有可能的理由,是董事会会议室的过时观点,他们认为监管的放松意味着更高的利润。这些董事会成员需要后退一步,考虑让公司把握未来。特斯拉诞生于加利福尼亚州,这里的环境标准历来严格,然而在过去五年里,该公司的市值从大约30亿美元飙升到超过560亿美元,几乎达到了通用汽车的估值,并远远甩开了福特(Ford)或菲亚特-克莱斯勒(Fiat Chrysler)。优步(Uber)让拼车成为了一种全球现象,公司的市值也从几乎为0涨到了今年早些时候的近700亿美元。

也许前共和党总统候选人米特·罗姆尼在2011年的话,可以最好地解释这些公司的行为:“企业是人,我的朋友。”而正如塞勒解释的那样,人是最不理性的。我只希望他们能看到,公司以后长期的生存能力依赖于对未来交通的坚定投入——一个清洁、智能、共享的未来。他们没办法同时倒车和前进。(财富中文网)

 

译者:严匡正

Last week Richard Thaler won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on humans’ lack of rational decision making. When asked how he would spend the $1.1 million prize Thaler had the perfect answer: “I will try to spend it as irrationally as possible.”

Coming from a 72-year-old academic, it was a funny line. But it also reminded me of the not-quite-as-humorous but very irrational behavior of U.S. auto companies when dealing with the future of the transportation industry.

On one hand, not a week goes by without a different carmaker announcing another investment in the trifecta of environmentally friendly mobility options: electric, autonomous, and shared vehicles. Some, like Volvo and Jaguar, have declared that their entire fleet will be “electrified” in the near future. Others, including Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW, and GM, seem to be in an innovation drag race.

But these same companies are simultaneously fighting against environmental protections that encourage these goals. This battle has now extended to include the historic 2025 Light Duty Vehicle Standards for cars and SUVs, which will double the gas mileage to 54.5 miles per gallon by then. The plan I helped develop when I was at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came into effect in 2012 and balanced critical environmental needs with the industry’s concerns. But this huge accomplishment is now at risk of crumbling. At the instigation of the auto industry, President Donald Trump’s EPA is now evaluating whether to rescind or delay the standards.

This October marks the fifth anniversary of the historic program, which has proven to be a win-win for automakers, consumers, energy security, and the planet. The industry had, for the first time, a unified national program with a long horizon for planning and investment—exactly the sort of regulatory certainty EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt claims he’s striving forwhile rolling back environmental protections. Since then, the entire industry has been able to not just meet but stay ahead of the standards. Some 17% of the 2016 models sold, or about 2.5 million vehicles, already meet the 2020 standards of approximately 41 miles per gallon.

Drivers have been big winners, saving more than $47 billion on fuel already. If we stay the course, the benefits grow: By 2030, we’ll cut our oil use by 2.4 million barrels every day, and drivers will save $6,000 over the life of their vehicles.

The industry has risen from the depths of the 2008–09 recession, when the Obama administration had to bail it out. Auto industry profits are touching 10-year highs. These successes are in part because the actual cost of compliance with the fuel economy regulations are lower today than was estimated in 2012.

Not surprisingly, a huge cross-section of Americans believe that the standards need to stay. At a recent EPA public hearing, nearly 100 different speakers gave testimony supporting the 2025 standards and describing how their benefits far outweigh costs.

The Blue Green Alliance testified how clean vehicle technology supports 288,000 manufacturing and engineering jobs at more than 1,200 facilities in 48 states. Dan Boone, president of United Steelworkers Local 970 in Cleveland, said the regulations push innovations that in turn create jobs, such as lightweight steel to improve fuel economy. A former Marine and chief executive at Securing America’s Future Energy, Gen. James Conway talked how the standards represent one of the “greatest weapons” against reliance on foreign oil. Consumers Union testified how their surveys indicate the overwhelming public supportfor strong fuel economy standards.

The most likely reason for the irrational behavior of auto companies is an anachronistic belief in boardrooms that regulatory rollback means higher profits. These board members need to take a step back and consider the companies seizing the future. Tesla, born and bred on California’s historically stricter environmental standards, has seen its market cap explode over the past five years from around $3 billion to over $56 billion, roughly the same as GM’s valuation and well ahead of Ford or Fiat Chrysler. Uber, the company that made ride-sharing a global phenomenon, went from a market cap of virtually nothing to nearly $70 billionearlier this year.

Perhaps these companies’ behavior can best be explained by former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s 2011 quote, “Corporations are people, my friend.” And people, as Thaler explained, are perfectly irrational individuals. I can only hope they see that their long-term viability depends on an unequivocal commitment to the future of transportation—a future that is clean, smart, and shared. They can’t shift into reverse and drive forward at the same time.

作者马戈·欧格在1994年至2012年期间担任环境保护署交通与空气质量办公室的主任。他还是《驶向未来:利用更清洁、更智能的汽车对抗气候变化》一书的作者。

Margo Oge, who served as the director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality from 1994 to 2012, is the author of Driving the Future: Combating Climate Change with Cleaner, Smarter Cars.

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