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Trump’s Wrong Turn on Clean Cars: The Effects of Fuel Efficiency Rollbacks on the Climate, Car Companies and California

October 29, 2019

President Trump was right to freeze the fuel economy increases the Obama administration had put in place, and he's wrong now to rescind that freeze.

From the testimony:

The SAFE vehicle rule’s proposed freeze of fuel economy standards at the 2020 levels through 2026 will have significant consumer benefits. The rule should make new cars more affordable to millions of low- and middle-income households. New cars are safer, cleaner, and more fuel-efficient than older vehicles. Consequently, the SAFE rule should lead to fewer fatalities and serious injuries, less pain at the pump, and improved air quality.

The SAFE rule should also help ensure that in future deliberations on greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will give due consideration to the potentially adverse impacts of such standards on vehicle affordability, consumer choice, and occupant safety. 

For these reasons, the Trump administration's decision to now unfreeze fuel economy standard, and mandate them to increase, though at a slower rate and by a smaller amount than the Obama administration would have required, is a mistake. It will do nothing to halt climate change, but will make affordable mobility more difficult for the poor and middle class, and could result in unintended injuries and fatalities.

Marlo Lewis, Jr. is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), where he writes on global warming, energy policy, and other public policy issues.