The days of Obama-era fuel efficiency rules for U.S. car manufacturers may soon be a thing of the past if Donald Trump and the EPA have their way, as Trump has now proposed much less stringent rules for automakers. This is something that could send greenhouse gas emissions spiraling even further out of control.
As Donald Trump is not an ardent believer in global warming, this should come as no surprise, and environmentalists, states, consumer groups, and even some automakers are fighting the proposed change, as the New York Times has reported.
While Obama pushed car manufacturers to build cleaner vehicles that were much more fuel-efficient than they had been in the past, Trump is now pushing hard against his predecessor’s work. And with many states believing that they should have their own standards for tailpipe pollution, Donald Trump’s proposed change for fuel efficiency rules will undoubtedly spark a fierce war between states and car manufacturers.
If Donald Trump is able to push his new proposal through with the EPA and the transportation department, the rule Obama enacted in 2012 for automakers to work on the fuel economy of vehicles would be nixed.
As it currently stands, car manufacturers have been pushing hard to reach the threshold where a car can get 54 miles with each gallon of gas, something which was meant to be accomplished by 2025 and would have dramatically lessened greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
Obama’s fuel efficiency rule would have also helped to save large quantities of barrels of oil, which was another added bonus of his plan. Yet some automakers have been fighting what they feel is a monumentally cumbersome task, and it seems that Donald Trump has listened to them and may soon end the 2012 law.
Appalling. Clean car standards not only reduce pollution but they save $$. Advancements in fuel efficiency pay for themselves and then keep saving you even more money at the gas pump. (BTW - gas prices are at their highest in 4 years...) https://t.co/D0AMe1HlQU— Seattle OSE (@SeattleOSE) August 2, 2018
In a comment that has shocked environmentalists and engineers everywhere, Donald Trump has said that it is his opinion that the production of light vehicles could cause even more traffic fatalities, with a figure he has placed at 12,700.
Discussing this figure, William Wehrum, who is the EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, explained that he feels there is a battle between those who wish for cars to be more fuel efficient and those who believe in safety first.
“There is a tension between calling for ever-increasing efficiency standards on one hand, and the obligation to have safe vehicles on the road.”
However, Obama’s 2012 fuel efficiency rules were also designed to help keep car drivers safer than they were before, and other data has shown that there should be at least 100 fewer casualties with these newer cars. Transportation technology expert John DeCicco noted that Donald Trump’s decision to roll back fuel efficiency standards is a slap in the face to the ability of automakers everywhere.
“The administration’s effort to roll back these standards is a denial of basic science and a denial of American automakers’ engineering capabilities and ingenuity.”
If Donald Trump and the EPA win this battle and do manage to change fuel efficiency standards from the 2012 rule that was enacted under Obama, states like California are expected to sue the administration, which would mean that litigation would continue for an untold amount of time, leaving automakers in the lurch.