Democratic Senators Call for Hearing on Trump Fuel Economy Emissions Standards Roll-back
New Trump plan would increase U.S. oil consumption by 500,000 barrels a day, cause loss of 60,000 job in auto industry
Washington (August 23, 2018) – Today, all Democratic members of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee called for an immediate hearing on the Trump administration’s effort to freeze the fuel economy and vehicle greenhouse gas emissions standards. The letter calls for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler and representatives from the Department of Transportation, the California Air Resources Board, auto companies, and organizations working on consumer, environmental, and transportation safety issues to come before the Committee and testify on the proposal. In their letter, the Senators highlight the fact that, according to the Trump administration’s own analysis, freezing the Obama-era standards would result in increased consumption of 500,000 barrels of oil every day by the early 2030s, cause the loss of 60,000 jobs by 2030, and pre-empt states such as California and Massachusetts from enacting stronger emissions standards to protect public health and the environment.
The letter is signed by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).
“The current fuel economy and vehicle greenhouse gas emissions standards will cut global warming pollution, save consumers money on gasoline, and cut our national oil consumption,” write the EPW Democratic Senators in their letter to Chairman John Barrasso. “Any changes to this critical program should not be taken lightly. This proposal needs to be thoroughly analyzed, critiqued and discussed by the Committee on Environment and Public Works.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced its proposed rule to roll back the fuel economy and vehicle greenhouse gas emissions standards, freezing the fuel economy targets at 2020 levels and essentially committing to no further improvements in fuel economy for cars and light trucks produced for model years 2021 through 2026. The proposed rule also attacks the Clean Air Act waiver that California has long used to maintain its strong state-level vehicle greenhouse gas emissions standards, and which Massachusetts and other states have adopted. This move would challenge the existing “One National Program” that automakers, California, and the administration finalized in 2012.
The United States will consume 500,000 more barrels of oil per day if standards are frozen at 2020 levels. In contrast, the current 54.5 mpg standard will cut oil use by nearly 2.5 million barrels per day by 2030, nearly as much oil as the United States currently imports from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other OPEC nations combined. Freezing the standards would also would cost American drivers an additional $20 billion in 2025 alone on higher gas spending.