A new economic study looking at the impacts of national and state clean car standards shows these programs will benefit the economy, create more jobs, and cut pollution. The report, conducted by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., finds that the current standards will save U.S. households nearly $40 billion in gasoline fuel by 2025 annually and $90 billion by 2035. As households re-invest those fuel savings back into the broader economy, the standards will create more than 100,000 additional jobs in 2025 and more than 250,000 in 2035.
Employment in auto and component manufacturing will also get a strong boost as consumers invest in more fuel efficient-technologies for vehicles. Overall, the U.S. gross domestic product would see an increase of more than $13 billion in 2025 and $16 billion in 2035.
A Trump Administration Weakening Would Increase Pollution, Harm Job Growth
Despite the popularity and success of the clean car standards, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is planning to declare the standards from model years 2022 to 2025 to be “not appropriate” later this week, the first step to weakening clean car rules. The move will largely benefit the petroleum industry, as consumers are provided less efficient passenger cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs and will ultimately spend more on gasoline. The global competitiveness of the U.S. auto industry will take a hit, as the world’s largest markets including China and Europe have adopted similar or even more aggressive requirements.
But the efforts by the Trump administration may be headed for a car-wreck, as the pathway to weakening the rules will run into a wall of state attorney generals and a bevy of stakeholders all opposed to weakening standards, with years of administrative and legal battles to come, absent cooler heads prevailing.
Correction of Auto Industry’s Own Analysis Shows the Standards Are Benefiting the Economy
In conducting the analysis prepared for the Union of Concerned Scientists, Natural Resources Defense Council and American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Synapse also analyzed the findings of a jobs report sponsored by Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and being used to weaken standards, published last year and conducted by Indiana University (IU). Several analytical errors and methodological inconsistencies were found that biased the Alliance’s results including under-counting fuel savings. While IU corrected for two of these errors in a subsequent publication, when Synapse corrected for the remaining inconsistencies such as consumers never finance their vehicle purchases, the economic and job findings were positive across all years.
Such strong findings point to one conclusion. The Trump administration’s efforts to weaken the standards will only hurt U.S. jobs, the economy, and the environment. NRDC is committed to protecting strong standards and the benefits they provide.