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Freedom Fridays

July 27, 2018 – Rolling Back Unreasonable Fuel Economy Standards

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What is the history of fuel economy standards on cars and light trucks?

American fuel economy standards were first established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the 1970s as a response to the Middle East oil embargos.  For most of the past three decades, these so-called “corporate average fuel economy” (CAFE) rules attracted only intermittent attention.  That changed in 2012, however, when the Obama administration updated CAFE standards to require all new cars and light trucks to achieve a fuel economy benchmark of 54.4 miles-per-gallon by 2025—an enormous increase over the previous requirement of 35.5 mpg by 2016.  By this point, the stated purpose of CAFE standards had shifted dramatically from the original intention of conserving domestic fuel supply to the new aim of reducing carbon in the atmosphere.

 

What is the problem with the Obama administration’s CAFE standards?

Scientists continue to debate the precise environmental value of limiting vehicle emissions, but what is certain is that it will cost a lot more to make cars and trucks under the Obama plan—which means, in turn, that consumers will have to pay a lot more for their vehicles. When CAFE standards were changed to 35.5 mpg in 2009, the average price of a new car rose by $6,200 and demand for these vehicles decreased: a dire market situation for manufacturers and consumers alike.  More disturbingly, because fuel economy standards are often met by reducing the size and weight of vehicles, we could also see a decrease in automobile safety in the coming years.

 

What am I doing about it?

In April, the Trump administration announced that it intends to alleviate the EPA’s 2012 CAFE standards.  I strongly support that effort and have cosponsored legislation offered by Representative Roger Williams, H.R. 1593, to eliminate all CAFE standards.

 

What are they saying?

“President Obama reckless desire to appease the global warming alarmist resulted in new CAFE standard, forcing American companies to build fuel efficient vehicle that the American people didn’t want. As a result, the cost of cars and trucks increased substantially, unnecessarily putting the auto industry at risk, and rolling back consumer choice. I am proud to sponsor H.R. 1593, which would eliminate existing CAFE standards.” - Congressman Roger Williams (TX-25)