One of the first major actions of the Obama administration was to develop new unified fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for cars and trucks. These standards represented the first major regulation to set limits on carbon emissions, with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) basing its standards on the Clean Air Act and its obligation to protect public health. The EPA, the US Department of Transportation (DOT), and the California Air Resources Board worked to craft a joint set of rules for the 2016 to 2026 time period that all three agencies could agree to, including a majority of automakers.
Now those standards and agreements are in danger, with the Trump administration proposing to freeze those standards at 2021 levels. Not only does this ignore the vast number of studies showing that the current standards are working (including from the EPA itself), but it also throws into disarray the careful regulatory balance with the State of California which is allowed to set its own standards. Freezing the standards would also, of course, ignore the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions, and the obligation of EPA to protect the public’s health.
We need to show that millions more Americans care about clean air and taking action to address climate change than in protecting the profits of oil companies. Strong standards will also support continued innovation by U.S. auto manufacturers, which will help to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and Michigan, while growing the economies that depend on them.
Please take a moment to submit an official comment in support of clean air, clean cars, and a healthy environment. The deadline for submitting comments is Friday, Oct. 26th.
One final note: the Clean Air Act requires submitted comments to be considered by the EPA before issuing a final ruling. Though the process for submitting comments can be somewhat cumbersome, it really can make a difference. Take the time to be heard today.
Re: Docket number: EPA-HQ-OAR-2018
To Whom It May Concern,
I would like to voice my opposition to the proposed rollback of the federal fuel economy and vehicle greenhouse gas standards. According to analysis by the EPA, the current standards would reduce carbon dioxide pollution by about six billion tons over the lifetime of all cars and trucks regulated by the standards. Given the threat of increasing impacts from climate change, which the EPA is required to regulate to protect public health, a freeze in these standards threatens to accelerate our pace towards serious, irreversible environmental consequences. The proposed rollbacks also threaten to cost the average consumer thousands of dollars in additional fuel costs, and jeopardize America’s auto manufacturing leadership.
Freezing the current standards, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, would cause the owner of a vehicle in model year 2025 to fill their gas tank 66 times more than they would have otherwise. They estimate that by year 2025, the proposed standards would increase America’s fuel consumption by 139 billion gallons a year. The Consumers Union further estimates that the current fuel economy standards would save Americans $3,000 per car and $4,200 per truck after all costs are considered. These savings would increase to $5,600 per car and $7,300 per truck if the prices at the pump climbed to $4.50 per gallon.
A freeze in U.S. standards could also put U.S. manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage in the global market. Regions with large auto-manufacturing industries such as the European Union, China, Japan, and South Korea have implemented comparable fuel economy standards to the U.S. which are likely to continue increasing in stringency. Weakening the standards in the U.S. could lead American manufacturers to forgo innovations in new technologies that keep them competitive, threatening manufacturing jobs and the economy in the Midwest region.
In summary, I strongly object to the proposed freeze in the standards and urge that the current standards be maintained. The Administration’s proposal to rollback Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards would drive up the cost of vehicle ownership, undermine America's leadership in auto manufacturing innovation, and significantly increase carbon emissions at a time when we must take even stronger actions to slow the impacts of climate change.
Published on October 18, 2018