Senate Bill Would Roll Back Vehicle Efficiency Standards, Hurting Consumers and Climate

Statement by Michelle Robinson, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published May 25, 2017

WASHINGTON (May 25, 2017)—A small group of senators has introduced a bill that would weaken federal vehicle efficiency standards, using the pretense that “small technical changes” to the regulations are needed—regulations that automakers had agreed to. In reality, the bill is a giveaway to auto companies that will cost Americans real money at the pump and undermine progress addressing climate change, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. The measure would delay automaker investment in vehicle efficiency, resulting in an extra 350 million barrels of oil burned.

Below is a statement by Michelle Robinson, director of the Clean Vehicles Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Automakers helped write these standards. Now, however, they’re trying every way they can to back out of the promises they made to the American people. Even while they’re working the administration to weaken the program, they are asking Congress to give them extra retroactive credits that will allow them to stall innovation.  Instead of paying their engineers to innovate, they’re paying lobbyists so they don’t have to make more efficient vehicles.

“Vehicle efficiency standards have been a popular and successful policy—saving drivers money at the pump, reducing pollution, cutting our oil use, and spurring innovation that has made American manufacturers more competitive in the global market. Rolling back these standards is simply the wrong decision. Automakers have met these standards, while having their two best sales years on record, and they don’t need the loopholes and windfall of additional credits this bill would provide. This bill would cost Americans well over $30 billion at the pump and slow our progress addressing climate change.

“There’s no reason to backslide on standards that are working and delivering real benefits to America’s drivers. Senators shouldn’t be giving auto companies special treatment at our expense. They should oppose this bill and support continued progress toward cleaner cars.”