Despite Overwhelming Evidence of Success, Trump Administration Stalls EPA Vehicle Standards

Statement by Ken Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Mar 15, 2017

WASHINGTON (March 15, 2017)— The Trump administration will announce today the withdrawal of EPA’s recent decision to maintain the model year 2022-2025 car and light truck fuel-efficiency and emissions standards.  This means that the EPA will now reopen a review of these standards. This action signals that the Trump administration intends to weaken them, despite the fact that automakers are already complying and will be able to continue to meet these standards. 

Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

“The Trump administration is trying to derail a policy that has delivered benefits to millions of Americans.  

“These science-based emissions standards are a remarkable success. They’re the reason America’s drivers are going farther on less gas, and they’re one of the most important policies we have to cut oil consumption and cut the pollutants that cause climate change and endanger our health. 

“Evaluating these standards has taken years of work by the engineers, economists, scientists and other experts at EPA, NHTSA, California’s Air Resources Board and a wide array of researchers outside of government. The results are clear. This policy is getting the job done, in a cost-effective way. That’s why the EPA’s decision to keep these standards moving was the right one—and why it makes no sense to withdraw the final determination. 

“The automakers agreed to these standards in 2012 after receiving massive taxpayer help during the recession, and were key architects of these rules.  Since that time, automakers are innovating to meet and even exceed these standards. New vehicles are more efficient every year, and automakers are thriving, breaking sales records in 2015 and 2016. Americans are paying less at the pump and using less oil. That’s the point of the standards—to give consumers cleaner cars no matter whether they drive a pick-up truck, SUV or sedan. 

“Administrator Pruitt and President Trump may have re-opened this process, but that doesn’t change the rules of science and math. Whether or not Administrator Pruitt is willing to accept the evidence, climate change is real, and these standards are a critical tool to reduce the emissions that cause it. 

“The EPA has a job to do. The administrator must not let industry pressure or ideology overwhelm the evidence. The decisions we make now will set the course for generations—we cannot let this administration take us backwards, and we cannot let the automakers renege on the promise they made to build more efficient cars.”  

For information about the combined effect of weakening the fuel-efficiency and emissions standards and dismantling the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which the administration is expected to announce, please see Kimmell’s blog post, which shows the United States would experience a 439 million metric tons increase in energy-related emissions, or 9 percent, in 2030.