Lowering Fuel Efficiency Standards 🛢️
Trump's Obama-rollback continues
Last week, the Trump administration announced a proposed rollback of Obama's mandatory fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. Obama's rule required passenger cars to effectively get 54 mpg by 2025. Trump's proposal would effectively decrease that to 37 mpg. The administration claims the rollback would keep vehicle prices lower for consumers and improve safety. The proposal also called for the elimination of California’s ability to set its own automotive emission standards. California and 18 other states have sued the Trump administration.
Why is California special?
The Clean Air Act of 1970 gave California the ability to set its own emission standards since it had already developed them in the 1960s. California developed those standards to control the dangerous smog that develops in southern California. These standards are subject to approval by the federal government. California agreed to follow the Obama's new mpg standards.
The right views the rollbacks as a warranted action against unneeded regulations. One of the goals of Obama's rules was to reduce US oil imports from OPEC. The right reminds readers that this goal has already been met due to the increase in domestic oil production by hydraulic fracking. Other articles highlight that both Trump's proposal and a 2012 analysis from the EPA concluded that the reductions would “negligibly impact the global climate”.
The left condemns the rollbacks due to their perceived economic and environmental impact. According to a referenced report, the rollbacks will cost the US economy “$450 billion through 2050 and increase emissions by 11% through 2030”. The left also notes that the administration's own proposal predicts that the rollback will cost 60,000 jobs by 2030. Articles argue that Trump's rollbacks are a handout to big oil that will cost consumers an additional $55 billion at the pump a year by 2040.
Will this impact new vehicle development?
Trump's rollback may disincentivize the production of more fuel-efficient cars in the immediate future. However, factors such as rising fuel prices and competition will continue to force automakers to create more efficient vehicles. In addition, stricter emissions standards in foreign markets like China will require automakers to continue developing those vehicles. Since new car development requires several years, many companies have decided to stick with Obama-era fuel economy requirements for now.
Meanwhile, all of this may never matter...⚡
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