Trump’s EPA Rolls Back Landmark Clean Car Standards

Scott Pruitt's latest move will speed up climate change, squander innovation, and dirty our air.
Credit: Getty

Scott Pruitt's latest move will speed up climate change, squander innovation, and dirty our air.

In a monumental blow to the fight against climate change, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced plans yesterday to backpedal on landmark clean car standards that not only cut climate-destroying carbon pollution but also save consumers $92 billion on gas and benefit the economy.

“The Trump administration’s decision will take America backward by jeopardizing successful safeguards that are working to clean our air, save drivers money at the pump, and drive technological innovation that creates jobs,” said Luke Tonachel, director of NRDC’s Clean Vehicles and Fuels Project.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt claimed these clean car standards were too tough for automakers to meet, but an exhaustive multiyear study completed in January 2017 proved that wrong. In fact, the report showed that the standards were not only effective, but also that auto companies could potentially meet even stronger standards at reasonable costs. Another study estimated that clean car standards would create more than 100,000 jobs in 2025, with that number growing to 250,000 in 2035.

Transportation is the greatest contributor to carbon emissions in the United States, and now they will only rise, further endangering the public’s health by creating dirtier air and accelerating climate change. “Pruitt would rather hand a bigger problem to future generations, resorting to the ‘can’t do’ arguments of auto industry lobbyists as opposed to the ‘can do’ approach that the United States has used to advance its technology and global leadership,” Tonachel said.

However, both NRDC and our allies—as well as the 13 states who have maintained state-level clean car standards—are ready to fight back. “Weaker standards increase the risks of climate change and endanger public health while sowing economic insecurity,” Tonachel said. “Pruitt is taking us in the wrong direction and we will use all legal means available to stop him.”