Americans save hard-earned money with Clean Car Standards that Trump may soon roll back

The latest rumblings indicate the Trump administration is poised to advance a proposal that would dramatically roll back America’s Clean Car Standards, one of our biggest climate success stories.

Thanks to the Clean Car Standards, we’ve made major strides in reducing climate pollution while at the same time spurring fuel efficiency gains that save Americans money at the gas pump. But the Trump administration’s proposal reportedly would recommend flatlining the standards at 2020 levels through 2026, and would also include an attack on states’ long-standing authority to enforce more protective clean car standards.

A new analysis shows that this proposal would cost Americans in every state. With the anticipated rollback, an average family will spend $200 more per year, and could spend as much as $500 more every year if gas prices continue to rise — with low-income and long-commuting Americans particularly hard hit.

Here’s what you need to know about this reckless attack:

With strong clean car standards, Americans save money every time we fuel up

The Clean Car Standards are a win-win. The new analysis by M.J. Bradley & Associates concludes that with the current Clean Car Standards in place, owners of model year 2025 cars would see net savings of up to $5,000 over the lifetime of their cars compared to model year 2020 vehicles, and trucks owners could save up to $8,000. The vast majority of families will start saving money as soon as they drive a car off the lot — and for all families, their savings continue as long as they own their vehicle.

Drivers are already benefiting from the Clean Car Standards. For example, each Ford F-150 truck bought in 2015 uses about 180 fewer gallons of gas a year than prior models, which saves its owner more than enough to cover a monthly payment each year.

The administration’s proposed course of action —  hitting the brakes on this progress — would risk hundreds of billions of dollars of fuel savings for American families.

Climate progress hangs in the balance

EPA estimated that the clean car program would reduce climate pollution by six billion tons over its lifetime. That’s how much climate pollution America emits in a year, from all sources and all sectors.

The dramatic rollback reportedly recommended by the Trump administration’s proposal would risk more than two billion tons of climate pollution reductions.

Addressing pollution from the transportation sector is particularly crucial because it has become America’s largest contributor of climate pollution, and is also a significant source of harmful soot and smog-causing pollution. The American Lung Association and twelve other public health organizations have all underscored the importance of maintaining protective clean car standards.

Strong clean car standards support American jobs and innovation

Strong clean car standards are a key part of a healthy American auto industry because they foster the deployment of innovative solutions.

Over the past several years, automakers have brought lower polluting, more efficient cars and trucks to market with record sales and strong profitability.

Since the clean car program began in 2012, there has been roughly a doubling in the number of SUVs that achieve 25 miles per gallon or more, the number of cars that achieve 30 miles per gallon or more, and the number of cars that achieve 40 miles per gallon or more. Today there are already more than 100 car, SUV, and pickup models on the market that meet standards set for 2020 and beyond.

Other countries –- including China, the world’s largest new vehicle market — are pushing toward a zero-emissions future. U.S. automakers can’t afford to fall behind.

Auto sector leaders are raising concerns about a rollback

In March, Ford publicly disavowed a rollback of the Clean Car Standards, and Honda has urged that any changes to the program be made “without a reduction in overall stringency.”

Automotive suppliers, electric vehicle manufactures, and power companies have expressed support for the clean car program. A coalition including electric vehicle manufacturers Workhorse and Tesla filed a lawsuit challenging the determination to weaken the existing standards – a regulatory precursor to the forthcoming proposed rule.

The United Automobile Workers has noted that their members “know firsthand” that these standards “have spurred investments in new products that employ tens of thousands of our members.” UAW President Dennis Williams recently stated that he did not support the administration’s efforts to rollback these standards:

"We had an agreement … I don’t think that we ought to be rolling back the standards. I think we ought to use some common sense here."

State leadership is at risk

The proposed rule reportedly takes aim at long-standing state authority to enforce tougher standards than those implemented at the federal level.

Over the last half century, state leadership has played a key role in spurring the development and deployment of clean car solutions like smog-fighting catalytic converters.

Under long-standing provisions in the Clean Air Act, California has authority to set its own vehicle pollution standards, and other states are authorized to adopt these standards. Today more than a third of U.S. new car sales are covered by the coalition of states that have committed to protective clean car standards: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Vermont.

Automaker public comments recognize this history and have committed to working with California to build a path forward. Yet the proposed rule would attack and stifle these successful state-led programs.

It’s time to move forward, not head in reverse

Strong Clean Car Standards save families money at the gas pump while also giving us cleaner air to breathe, helping protect us from the growing threat of climate change, and driving the technological innovation that leads to jobs and economic growth.

We should be strengthening our clean car standards, not hitting the brakes.

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