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PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Experts React to EPA Proposal to Reverse Obama-era Clean Car Ruling

August 2, 2018

“If adopted, this regulation would be another promise kept by President Donald Trump.” - Tim Huelskamp, Ph.D.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced this morning a proposed rule to reconsider fuel mileage mandates imposed by the Obama administration. The proposed rule would also eliminate a legal loophole allowing California— and states that choose to follow California’s lead—to flaunt federal mileage standards.

EPA and NHTSA point out the Obama mandates will impose increasingly costly and difficult-to-attain fuel mileage mandates on American automobiles. The mandates also cause thousands of preventable automobile crash deaths each year as manufacturers must build lighter, less crashworthy cars to comply with the mandates. The agencies seek to freeze the model year 2020 mileage mandates through model year 2026.

The following statements from environment and energy policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Media Specialist Billy Aouste at media@heartland.org and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 847/445-7554.


“For decades multiple administrations in Washington DC allowed liberal California to dictate environmental mandates to the rest of us

“Under the Trump administration and the regulations proposed by EPA administrator wheeler, no longer would Sacramento be imposing its alarmist climate agenda on the rest of the nation.

“Revoking Obama’s draconian fuel mileage restrictions, and California’s dubious exemption to federal standards, would make cars safer and more affordable. If adopted, this regulation would be another promise kept by President Donald Trump.”

Tim Huelskamp, Ph.D.
President
The Heartland Institute
thuelskamp@heartland.org
312/377-4000

Dr. Huelskamp represented Kansas’ 1st District in the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017.


“EPA and NHTSA are wisely reviewing the rash, unattainable fuel mileage mandates previously imposed by environmental zealots in the Obama administration. The agencies’ preferred alternative, freezing the model year 2020 mandates through model year 2026, will go a long way toward making cars great again. Rapidly tightening fuel mileage mandates make cars lighter and less crashworthy, which causes thousands of preventable road deaths each year. The fuel mileage mandates also reduce consumer choice and raise car prices above what many Americans can afford.

“The EPA and NHTSA proposal wisely eliminates a legal loophole that allows California to flaunt federal fuel mileage standards. California’s far-left politicians have imposed even more restrictions on fuel mileage and consumer choice than those imposed by the federal government. Because California comprises such a large segment of the American automobile market, and because of the high costs of producing cars under one set of restrictions for California and another set of restrictions for most of the rest of the nation, automakers must either impose the California restrictions on all American vehicle sales or comply with patchwork restrictions that result in higher prices for all American vehicles. California’s exceedingly liberal politicians should not be able to impose their costly and deadly restrictions on the rest of the nation.”

James Taylor
Senior Fellow for Environmental Policy
The Heartland Institute
jtaylor@heartland.org
312/377-4000


“EPA's freeze of fuel economy standards will save lives and money and maintain consumers' freedom and ability to choose the vehicles that best fit their driving needs. 

“EPA should end California's presumed ability under the Clean Air Act to set higher fuel economy standards.  The Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which came after the Clean Air Act, specifically forbade states from setting separate fuel economy standards. No administration should ever have allowed California and other states to set establish separate fuel economy standards, essentially letting their state officials delegate standards for the nation as a whole. It should end.”

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News
hburnett@heartland.org
312/377-4000


“This action by EPA is another indicator of a man who keeps his word and operates with common sense to benefit the entire public without worrying about the fallout from those intent on lowering our standard of living while making no positive contribution to safety or our environment.  It actually may dawn on the public when they go to the polls in November that Trump’s main concern is their well being.”

Jay Lehr
Science Director
The Heartland Institute
jlehr@heartland.org
312/377-4000


“Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the EPA’s actions a ‘dangerous assault on clean air and public health.’ In reality, this is an expansion of American citizens’ freedom to purchase the vehicles of their choice and not have to sacrifice safety in an attempt to control the uncontrollable.”

Gregory R. Wrightstone
Policy Advisor
The Heartland Institute
media@heartland.org
312/377-4000


“The roll back of the Obama fuel economy standards is great news. The rules would have made Americans pay more for cars they did not want to buy and that would likely prove more dangerous. Furthermore, almost all of the benefits claimed for the rules were invented by the EPA through a dubious application of behavioral economics.”

Daniel Sutter
Professor of Economics, Troy University
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute
dsutter@troy.edu
312/377-4000


“The automobile was not invented thanks to government regulation, nor did any of the improvements made to America's favorite form of transportation occur over the last century thanks to government meddling. The only possible exception was, of course, the catalytic converter. Every other improvement in efficiency, performance, to say nothing of safety, were all initiated and rolled out through the free-market—Lee Iacocca's introduction of the air bag at Chrysler being a salient case in point.

“If Americans want more efficient fuel economy, let them vote with their wallets!”

Mischa Popoff
Policy Advisor
The Heartland Institute
mischa@polyphase.us
312/377-4000


“The Trump administration is once again pursuing policies to make American consumers better off financially and safer. EPA policies that annually increased fuel miles per gallon on new cars from 2020 to 2025 could only be achieved by drastically cutting vehicle weight. This increased the cost of cars and made them less safe because low-weight cars would be encountering collisions with older cars that are stronger and far heavier. It would be like comparing a zebra running into an elephant.

“Because all cars get high miles per gallon compared to cars prior to the year 2000, higher miles per gallon for new cars after 2020 would be an insignificant savings. This would also certainly lead to higher prices for new cars because of increased use of exotic materials to facilitate weight loss.”

James H. Rust
Professor of nuclear engineering (ret.), Georgia Tech
Policy Advisor, Energy & Environment
The Heartland Institute
jrust@bellsouth.net
312/377-4000


“The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards are out of date and obsolete. The standards were first enacted in 1975 following the Arab oil embargo. They were renewed in 2007 with the Energy Independence and Security Act, when Congress feared the United States was about to run out of oil. They were intensified in 2011 by the Obama administration, which promoted the fear that carbon dioxide would cause dangerous global warming.

“History has shown the fears of running out of oil and carbon dioxide-caused dangerous global warming are unfounded, based on poor evidence. The advent of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling has made the United States into a world leader in oil production. There is no fear of running out of oil, based on evidence and reason.

“The fear of carbon dioxide-caused global warming is based on erroneous thinking and global climate models that fail basic tests. We now have almost 40 years of hard evidence showing the fear of greenhouse gas warming of the atmosphere is not occurring in any manner that can be considered dangerous. Any warming that may be occurring is well within natural variability.

“It is time the U.S. government abandon policies based on obsolete and sloppy thinking. Get rid of the CAFE standards.”

Kenneth Haapala
President
Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
Ken@Haapala.com
312/377-4000

Author
Tim Huelskamp is the president and CEO of The Heartland Institute.
thuelskamp@heartland.org @CongHuelskamp
Author
James M. Taylor is president of the Spark of Freedom Foundation and a senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute.
jamestaylorspark@outlook.com
Author
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
hsburnett@heartland.org
Author
Gregory Wrightstone is a geologist who has been investigating the Earth’s processes for more than 35 years.
info@inconvenientfacts.org @GWrightstone
Author
Daniel Sutter is Affiliated Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center and Professor of Economics at the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University.
dsutter@troy.edu
Author
Mischa Popoff is the author of the critically-acclaimed book, Is it Organic? He earned a B.A. from the University of Saskatchewan where he specialized in the history of nitrogen for fertilizer and warfare.
mischa@polyphase.us
Author
Professor of Nuclear Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology (ret.), Climate Change and Energy
media@heartland.org
Author
Kenneth Haapala is president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), compiler of The Week That Was newsletter, and a contributor to the NIPCC reports.
ken@haapala.com
Author
Jay Lehr, Ph.D. is the science director at The Heartland Institute.
jlehr@heartland.org

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