Proposed rewrite of auto fuel economy rules threatens new “gas tax” for drivers

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U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is shown at his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst, fuel

“This will harm national security by spurring more oil imports, rewarding Russian oil companies and OPEC cartel”

By Gregory C. Staple, CEO of the American Clean Skies Foundation

The American Clean Skies Foundation responded today to pending action by the Environmental Protection Agency to re-visit the post-2020 goals for automobile tailpipe pollution and fuel economy or miles per gallon (mpg).

The current goals, set jointly with the Department of Transportation (DOT), require auto makers to achieve combined average fuel economy for their fleets of cars and light trucks of about 41 mpg in 2021 and about 49 mpg in 2025.

The EPA and DOT review could do away with or sharply reduce the approximately 20 per cent average improvement in fuel economy – at least 8 miles per gallon (some 100 miles per tank of gasoline ) – now set for these vehicles beginning with the 2022 model year.

President Trump says he wants an America First energy policy. According to the White House website, that means: “The Trump Administration is committed to energy policies that lower costs for hardworking Americans and maximize the use of American resources, freeing us from dependence on foreign oil.”

Scrapping better fuel economy for the country’s cars and trucks would have exactly the opposite impact. Halting the large benefits America now gets each year from more efficient engines — more miles per gallon — would:

— Amount to a huge, multi-billion dollar new gas tax on hardworking American drivers; and

— Harm national security by spurring more oil imports, rewarding Russian oil companies and the OPEC cartel.

Holding auto makers to their prior commitment for higher fuel economy each model year until 2025 would make good on the President’s vow to negotiate a better economic deal for ordinary Americans.

Re-opening talks with the car companies and putting an 8 mile per gallon give back on the table up front – roughly 100 miles per tank of gasoline — risks a far worse deal for consumers.

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Cutting back the current fuel economy goals for auto makers would also:

— Threaten tens of thousands of good US jobs, as auto companies reduce U.S. based spending on innovation and R&D;

— Put America last by encouraging the auto industry to sell out-of-date technology to U.S. consumers while shifting investment in state-of-the art cars and trucks overseas to meet higher fuel economy standards in Europe and Asia.

Finally, changing the current fuel economy goals for auto makers would undermine the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by states such as Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and California to promote CNG, EV and other alternative fuel vehicles,” said Gregory C. Staple, CEO, ACSF.

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