Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Trump's War Against Cleaner Cars

In March U.S. President Donald Trump directed the EPA to dismantle the Obama administration's vehicle emissions standards. These regulations mandated company wide averages of 51 MPG by 2025 and cut carbon pollution by 140 million metric tons per year compared to the Trump administration’s proposal.

Although Congress gave California the right to set its own mileage standards, Trump is moving to revoke the state's mpg waiver. California's Advanced Clean Car Rule forces automakers who sell cars in the state to reduce pollution from by 40 percent compared to 2012 levels starting in 2025.

Despite resistance from both foreign and domestic car makers Trump announced that he would sue California to prevent that state from implementing its own clean vehicle standards. In June, 17 automakers sent a letter to Trump saying his efforts to weaken California's standards hurt their bottom lines.  

Car companies including Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW have struck a deal with California to maintain the state's mileage standards. The four automakers have agreed to increase the average fuel economy of their vehicles by 3.7 percent each year and achieve an average efficiency of almost 50 mpg by 2026. In a bid to kill the move Trump's Department of Justice has launched an antitrust investigation into the agreement. A group of 30 U.S. Senators is working with GM and more than a dozen other automakers to expand support for these voluntary mileage standards.

California is already challenging the Trump administration's revocation of Obama's mileage rules and they will also fight the administration's efforts to revoke their waiver in court. Although these court battles will take years, many expect the state's challenge will triumph in the end. This fight is important for 13 other states and Washington D.C. which have all adopted California's mileage rules. 

Gov. Jay Inslee supports the lawsuits against the Trump administration and on September 18th he tweeted: "If the administration refuses to accept the scientific reality of climate change, they need to get out of the way and let states like Washington lead on this issue. Washingtonians deserve better than Trump’s dangerous anti-environmental policy."

This is a move that is injurious to the health of Americans and the fight against climate change. Tailpipe emissions are one of the largest sources of carbon pollution in the US. Obama's Vehicle emissions standards have reduced carbon pollution by 50 percent since they were introduced in 2010 and it has saved billions of dollars a year on fuel.

"This outrageous partisan assault is the latest example of the Trump Administration's toxic special interest agenda, which is destroying critical, lifesaving environmental protections across the country and putting billions of dollars into the pockets of big donors and dirty energy polluters," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

As cited in a Washington Post article, the Trump administration's freeze on mileage standards will add between 16 million and 37 million tons of GHGs between 2020 and 2026. This is the equivalent to the emissions from 3.4 million to 7.8 million cars.

This is but one example of Trump's anti-environment deregulation.  The administration has adopted a policy of energy inefficiency and the war against cleaner cars is consistent with their assaults on science, nature, renewables, and even reality itself.

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