Senator Markey Blasts Fuel Economy Emissions “Big Oil Roll-Back”


Senator Markey is House author of provision in 2007 energy legislation that enabled Obama administration’s historic 54.5 mpg standard


Washington (August 2, 2018) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today released the proposed rule rolling back the fuel economy and vehicle greenhouse gas emissions standards. This plan includes a “preferred option” of freezing the fuel economy targets at 2020 levels – 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.


“President Trump and the Koch brothers might disagree these days on politics, but they are always in agreement on petroleum, which is what this roll-back of fuel economy standards is all about – petroleum,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “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 the current fuel economy standards, it is crystal clear why Big Oil has been masterminding the effort to weaken these standards. And all the auto industry has to do is sit back and watch this crime and drive the getaway car. 


“The Trump administration’s plan to gut our fuel economy standards will mean dirtier air for American families and will likely put the domestic auto industry into legal limbo for years, where they will lose out to competition from China and other countries as the rest of the world moves toward cleaner cars. Rolling back fuel economy emissions standards is the most harmful step yet taken by the Trump administration in its ongoing assault on clean energy innovation and climate action.


“The Trump administration needs to pump the brakes, sit down with California and with the auto manufacturers and make a deal instead of steering American consumers, our security and our planet toward disaster.”


In May, Senator Markey called on major automakers to keep the promise they made in 2011 to support the historic fuel economy emissions standards that were negotiated. In April, Senator Markey led his colleagues supporting the 13 states and District of Columbia that were 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 the Trump administration efforts to roll back the historic 54.5 fuel economy emissions standards.