The Trump administration today announced the final rule that rolls back Obama-era clean vehicle standards, a move that, according to the government’s own analyses, is expected to benefit the oil industry and harm consumers, public health, and the climate.
Experts also warn it will result in litigation and global market inconsistency to the detriment of automakers.
The Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles rule rolls back fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for new cars and light duty trucks in model years 2021 through 2026. Under the standards adopted by the Obama administration in 2012, light-duty vehicles would be required to meet the average fleetwide fuel economy equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon in model year 2025. Those standards were projected to save roughly 4 billion barrels of oil and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 2 billon metric tons while saving consumers more than $1.7 trillion in fuel costs.
The Trump administration standards require average fuel economy of only about 40 miles per gallon in 2025, with annual increases of 1.5 percent starting in 2021, as opposed to the 5 percent annual increase under the Obama standards. The laxer standards under the SAFE rule are expected to result in over a billion metric tons more climate pollution through 2040.
The move was condemned by former and some current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees.
“The new rule is a reprehensible debacle — our Climate Denier-in-Chief and his EPA and NHTSA political lackeys are massively rolling back our country’s most successful climate program, using the cover of the coronavirus pandemic to hide that they have no defensible rationale and opposition by many automakers,” said Jeff Alson, former EPA senior engineer and policy advisor in the Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “This senseless rollback will lead to a hotter and more dangerous planet for our children and grandchildren, and will take money from the pockets of American families to fatten oil company profits.” Alson has spent the last 10 years of his career working on the clean car standards.