A letter signed by the lawmakers and sent to 20 automakers was released today and appeared in an ad in The Hill.
Fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards, also known as clean car standards, took effect during the Obama administration and already have made the air cleaner and saved consumers at the pump. But as soon as President Donald Trump took office, automakers lobbied him to roll them back. It appears that Trump will comply; his administration issued a proposal last year to dramatically roll back the standards.
As the letter noted, “Preliminary analyses indicate that the administration’s proposal will result in an additional 2.2 billion metric tons of global warming emissions by 2040. Increasing emissions at a time when scientists are warning us that we must do everything we can to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, is a reckless U-turn that poses a grave threat to the health and future of the constituents we were elected to serve. What’s more, in exchange for increased pollution, Americans will face increased expenses at the gas pump—up to $500 more each year.”
In the letter, lawmakers also voiced concern at the Trump administration’s proposal to revoke the California waiver, which they noted “directly attacks our states’ authority to protect our citizens by proposing to revoke the right of states to put in place stronger safeguards to address harmful air pollution from vehicles. This directly threatens the 118 million people living in our states and assails the Clean Air Act’s longstanding recognition of state leadership on clean cars.”
The automakers receiving the letter are Aston Martin, BMW, FCA, Ferrari, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen.
The lawmakers are calling on automakers to publicly oppose the Trump administration’s proposal and to discontinue its lobby efforts for loopholes that would yield more pollution and higher gas bills. The letter also urges the automakers to remove themselves as parties (via membership in The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers) to a lawsuit challenging the midterm review as finalized by the Trump administration.
The full text of the letter and signatories can be found here.
Background: In January 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that the clean car standards that took effect in 2012 were working and achievable. Yet in April 2018, without any change in the facts, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reversed the decision, ignoring the thousands of hours of research and analysis that support keeping the standards. President Donald Trump’s EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have proposed a new rule that would freeze the standards at 2020 levels and revoke the California waiver, which allows the state and 12 others to protect their citizens’ health from harmful tailpipe pollution.
Despite helping craft the greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards, automakers have pushed to roll them back since Trump’s election. Automakers have attacked the standards at every turn – recently using their trade association to publish regulatory comments to NHTSA that cast doubt on climate science and the link between air pollution and adverse health impacts, and requesting loopholes in the official comment docket that would yield lost emissions benefits between 20 and 130 percent.
If the standards remain strong, consumers will save billions at the pump, and more than 6 billion metric tons of dangerous climate pollution will be avoided.