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article imageOp-Ed: Pruitt's reason for allowing dirtier cars? Auto industry lobby

By Karen Graham     Apr 14, 2018 in Politics
Washington - On April 13, the EPA formally published in the Federal Register its decision to overturn the Obama administration's vehicle fuel efficiency standards. This latest action shows the EPA cares more about industry profits than the health of consumers.
It's hard to find anything nice to say about EPA chief Scott Pruitt's latest move, other than to note it was clearly expected. The public has known for weeks that the EPA was planning to rescind the Obama-era limits on exhaust from cars manufactured from 2022 to 2025.
Now, Pruitt is saying the EPA regulations were "locked in" just days before Donald Trump took office and the "fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for the 2022-25 model years were not appropriate."
"The administrator determines that the current standards are based on outdated information and that more recent information suggests that the current standards may be too stringent," the EPA said in the public notice. "The administrator believes that the current GHG emissions standards for MY 2022-2025 light-duty vehicles presents challenges for auto manufacturers due to feasibility and practicality, raises potential concerns related to automobile safety, and results in significant additional costs on consumers, especially low-income consumers."
The big problem with this statement is that it offers no evidence to support these arguments. But it does rely heavily on talking-points made by automotive industry lobbyists and their old data, and not expert technical advice.
The EPA move also shows that the automotive industry has Scott Pruitt stuffed deep in their pockets - as if he already doesn't have enough problems to deal with.
Losers and no winners this time
If the automakers think they have won a big concession, they are wrong. All it does is throw a boatload of uncertainty into what is a $2.0 trillion global business. And changing our emission standards will affect American car-makers in their pocketbooks.
Keep in mind that Trump pulled the US out of the climate change agreement and the rest of the world is not going to want to buy high-emission vehicles. And for those states in America that are working hard to address climate change, like California, which has some strict emissions standards - Well, need I say more.
Automakers complained about the rising costs to produce high-efficiency vehicles, and claim compliance with the existing standards has slowed as it becomes more difficult to wring out extra mileage. They also say using lighter materials to meet the standards could compromise consumer safety.
In almost all cases, the EPA sided with the automotive industry on these issues. However, as the Verge points out, loosening of the standards could result in more money coming out of consumers' pockets, especially in the price of gasoline, even if fuel prices do remain low.
The CAFA Standards are essential to lowering carbon emissions. Since the introduction of the CAFE standards back in 1975, along with advances in technology, consumers have seen a steady increase in fuel efficiency in new vehicles every year, as well as far less tailpipe pollution.
Carbon Dioxide Emissions From Energy Consumption by Sector -
 (Million Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide...
Carbon Dioxide Emissions From Energy Consumption by Sector - (Million Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide)
And here's a bit of information, and yes, it is factual - In December 2017, according to new data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. transportation sector — which includes cars, trucks, planes, trains, and boats — now emits 1.9 billion tons of CO2 annually.
The transportation sector has overtaken the electric power sector that had been the biggest emitter of CO2 for over 40 years. In 2017, the electric power sector emitted 1.8 billion tons of CO2.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Epa, CAFE regulations, tailpipeemission standards, industry lobbyists, CO2 Emissions
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