Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposal to dramatically roll back clean vehicle regulations that currently require car makers to cut carbon pollution by half and almost double the fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles to an average of more than 50 miles per gallon by 2015. The current standards would save car owners money due to the increase in fuel economy as well as reduce U.S. oil consumption. The Union of Concerned Scientists predicts a total oil savings of 2.4 million barrels per day by 2030 under the current standards.
The proposed change in vehicle regulations would result in increased carbon emissions and poor air quality created by those emissions as well as negate the savings in oil consumption. The EPA’s proposal would also end the ability of individual states, such as California, to implement their own fuel efficiency standards for cars sold in that state. California was first granted this right via a waiver in 1970 when the Clean Air Act initially set federal air pollution limits and it was reaffirmed in 2012.
Do you want cleaner air? Lower vehicle emissions? A future that isn’t dependent on fossil fuels?
We know three things that highlight why the EPA’s proposed vehicle regulation rollback is both bad policy and simply a bad idea:
The proposal from the current administration would result in an increase in carbon emissions. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates the fuel standards rollback puts an extra 130 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2030 – that’s the equivalent of adding 30 coal-fired power plants to the nation’s electric grid.
Since people typically keep their cars for many years, the impact would continue beyond 2030. An analysis by Energy Innovation found that by 2035 U.S. transportation emissions will be 11% higher than they would be if the previous administration’s standards and California’s waiver were kept in place.
No one is asking for this rollback. Even automakers, the group most highly affected by fuel economy standards, did not seek this change. The industry has largely embraced the new fuel standards and has benefitted from looking toward innovative fuel-efficient technologies. Car companies have also benefitted from aligning their fleets with the global marketplace, as other parts of the world are still moving forward with policies that lower emissions, improve fuel economy standards and encourage more electric vehicles on the road.
How can you take action?
Right now the EPA’s rollback remains a proposal that will entail legal battles and public hearings, and the proposal is published in the Federal Register. This allows the public to include its opinion in this policy debate. This link takes you to a webpage where you can submit your comments to the current administration. You can also visit the EPA’s webpage on the proposal with information on public hearings to be held at the end of September 2018 in Fresno, California; Dearborn, Michigan; and Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, as well as instructions and a link to formally submit comments to the EPA.
After letting the federal government know how you feel about the EPA’s proposed change to passenger vehicle fuel economy standards, you can amplify your message by sharing your opinions online and through social media platforms as well as encouraging your community to speak out against the current EPA proposal.