March 30, 2018

Re-opening Vehicle Standards Defies Science, Hurts Drivers and Climate

Statement by Michelle Robinson, Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (March 30, 2018)—The Trump administration is set to announce that it will re-open and revise emissions and efficiency standards for light-duty vehicles, upending a successful policy that has resulted in cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars every year since it was finalized in 2012. The administration will likely weaken the standards, clearly contradicting the science showing that, if anything, they could be stronger. This change is indefensible and will stall the progress that has been made on improving vehicles, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Michelle Robinson, Director of the Clean Vehicles Program at UCS.

“It seems that the Trump administration is dead-set on undoing vehicle standards, one of the most important—and successful—policies we have to cut oil use and global warming pollution. It’s an indefensible and frankly embarrassing decision.

“We have years’ worth of research by federal and state agencies showing that these standards are both technically feasible and cost-effective. We’ve seen automakers putting out cleaner models every year as they’re enjoying some of the best sales years in history. America’s drivers have saved more than $57 billion on gasoline thanks to these standards and we’ve reduced emissions by 228 million metric tons. The best available evidence shows that these standards are important for both the climate and the economy. Reinvesting fuel savings domestically means more jobs. And in an increasingly competitive global marketplace, it’s critical that manufacturers continue to develop the next-generation of fuel-saving technologies here in the U.S.

“Clearly, this administration is not interested in what the evidence shows. In their eagerness to undo the previous administration’s policies and fulfill the wish lists of industry lobbies, they’re willing to throw the facts aside to roll back these rules.

“This decision also undermines today’s successful national program, in which state clean car standards are aligned with federal emissions and fuel economy standards. California and 13 other states are moving ahead, ensuring that their residents have access to clean, affordable cars and trucks, while the lack of national leadership would leave consumers in other states behind. This decision could create needless uncertainty and conflict between the federal government, states, and automakers.

“The Trump administration should respect the facts and recognize that its job is to act in the public interest. That means keeping the standards in place, so they can continue to cut pollution, save consumers money, and drive innovation. We have to keep moving forward—but this decision would take us backward. It’s simply wrong.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.