EPA’s Wheeler Admits U.S. Will Consume More Oil If Fuel Economy Emissions Standards Are Rolled Back


Freezing current standards would mean an additional 2.2 billion metric tons of global warming pollution by 2040, equal to 43 coal-fired power plants


Washington (August 1, 2018) – At an Environment and Public Works (EPW) hearing today, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler admitted to Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) under questioning that rolling back fuel economy standards would increase oil consumption. During the hearing, Senator Markey noted that even the Trump administration’s draft report on the fuel economy emissions standards acknowledges that the United States will consume 500,000 more barrels of oil per day if we freeze standards at 2020 levels. However, 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.


“When you look at the $1 trillion that Big Oil will never receive from American consumers and the 12 billion barrels of oil they will never produce under current standards, it is clear why Big Oil wants fuel economy standards to go the way of the Model T,” said Senator Markey. “But freezing the standards would cost American drivers an additional $20 billion in 2025 alone on higher gas spending. That’s money transferred right out of consumers’ pockets into Big Oil coffers. We cannot let Big Oil put us in reverse on standards that are saving consumers money at the pump while saving the planet at the same time.” 


Additionally, today Senator Markey called on Acting Administrator Wheeler to respond to unanswered questions sent to former Administrator Scott Pruitt. The Senator has been calling for responses to his letters dated as far back as January. A copy of the letter can be found HERE.


In May, Senator Markey called on the major automakers to keep the promise they made in 2011 to support the historic fuel economy emissions standards that they negotiated. In April, Senator Markey led his colleagues supporting the 13 states and District of Columbia that have adopted the strongest fuel economy standards in the nation, pledging to oppose any efforts by the Trump administration to undermine those standards.


Senator Markey and six of his Democratic colleagues also introduced the Greener Air Standards Mean Our National Security, Environment, and Youth (GAS MONEY) Saved Act, legislation that would block Trump administration efforts to roll back the historic 54.5 fuel economy emissions standards.