It is no surprise that news of the Trump administration’s action to loosen the U.S.’s clean car standards would spark criticism, outcry, response.
As the Environmental Protection Network noted, “‘The Trump administration’s rollback of President Obama’s historic Clean Car Standards is an environmental and economic disaster,’ said EPN member Jeff Alson, who served as a Senior Engineer and Policy Advisor in the EPA [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] Office of Transportation and Air Quality from 1978-2018. ‘The rule will yield a hotter and more dangerous planet for our children and grandchildren, and will transfer money from the pockets of hard-working Americans to oil companies through higher gasoline costs,’” as is so-cited in a Mar. 31, 2020 EPN press release.
The expectation is that this action will prompt a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rise through 2040 of in the billion-and-a-half-metric-tons neighborhood, “contributing to global warming and the wildfires, extreme weather and environmental degradation caused by a warming planet,” the EPN submitted. Any increase in the burning of fossil fuels due to the light-duty motor vehicle fleet or network becoming less fuel-efficient, what this, in turn, will mean, is both higher prices to consumers at the pump and further degradation of air.
Alson’s words, furthermore, were, in effect, echoed by co-EPN member Patricia Koman, PhD, who warned, “‘The rollback of effective greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards will not bring safer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles to U.S. roads as the administration asserts.’”
And, added, “‘The rollback does not follow what we know from health science; it will instead make air quality worse and threaten the health of our children, the elderly, outdoor workers, and people who suffer from respiratory illnesses and heart disease,’ …” Koman, presently a University of Michigan School of Public Health researcher also served in the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, her title there being: Senior Environmental Scientist.
In providing additional perspective, the EPN, in no uncertain terms, expressed: “Earlier this year, seventeen automakers, representing nearly 90% of domestic auto sales, called on the Trump administration to reverse course, raising concerns that the administration’s rollback could result in an extended period of litigation and market instability. China, Japan and India have all announced stricter fuel economy standards.”
“The final Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule replaces previous greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for new cars and light trucks in model years 2021-2026. The 2012 Clean Car Standards, which set average greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy that manufacturers must meet for new vehicles in their fleets, were adopted with broad support from the American and foreign auto industry, labor and consumers.”
The EPN emphasized the 2012 standards provided for average “real-world” fuel efficiency in new cars and light trucks to increase from 28 miles per gallon (mpg) this year to approximately 36 mpg in five years hence. Now, with the now-finalized new rule, by 2025, new light-duty vehicles operating domestically are now required to only have an average fuel-efficiency rating of some 31 mpg, a 5 miles-per-gallon reduction.
For more on the matter, see the Environmental Protection Network’s Mar. 31, 2020 press release here and the Environmental Defense Fund’s “Trump Administration moves ahead with harmful Clean Cars rollback” fact sheet here.
Image above: Copyright © 2020 Environmental Defense Fund. The original material is available at: https://www.edf.org/federal-clean-car-standards
This post was last revised on Apr. 3, 2020 @ 4:52 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.