About 4 1/2 years ago, the Obama administration announced new strict gas mileage standards effective 2025. The rule mandates the U.S. auto fleet averages 54.5 miles per gallon. Industry leaders and environmentalist endorse the pending standard.
Announced by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa P. Jackson, the new standards will significantly cut U.S. oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA.
President Trump has proposed rolling back the standard. The Consumers Union and Consumer Federation of America is in disagreement.
With permission, following is the leader the two groups have written to the president:
President Donald J. Trump The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
February 23, 2017
On behalf of Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of America, we ask that you maintain the strong fuel economy standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency. These standards help to lower fuel costs for middle-class families across the country, support job creation and innovation, and improve air quality.
Rolling back fuel economy standards would hurt hard-working, middle-class Americans and small businesses that rely on a car or truck for their livelihood. Even at today’s lower prices, gasoline is a major expense for a majority of American families. Fuel economy standards are a cost-effective way to save consumers money on fuel.
In fact, Consumers Union’s research shows that consumers would enjoy net savings of $3,200 per car and $4,800 per truck, over the life of a vehicle that meet the 2025 standards, even at today’s low gas prices. If gas prices rise, which we expect they will, the savings would be significantly higher.
And when consumers save money, they spend it on local goods and services, helping to further boost the economy and encourage more job growth.
Rolling back the standards will rob consumers of these savings, providing them with less expendable income. For families struggling to cover basic needs, this would be an added burden. Improving fuel efficiency in cars and trucks not only saves money today, but help provide families with a bit of insurance against future gas price increases.
In fact, strong majorities of consumers across the political spectrum value fuel economy standards—our recent surveys and polls show that about 80% of Americans support the standards.
Thanks to fuel economy standards, the automakers have invested in innovative technologies to improve fuel economy, and their efforts have paid off. Automakers have not only met today’s fuel economy standards, but they have exceeded the standards in many cases, all while enjoying record profits and record sales.
Many cars and trucks available today outperform standards set for 2020 and 2021. And one of the great features of the fuel economy standards is that they are flexible and adapt to the vehicles consumers actually buy–as consumer demand has shifted toward larger vehicles, automakers’ targets have also lowered because larger vehicles have lower efficiency targets.
The standards help improve consumer choices across the entire fleet regardless of the size of vehicles consumers choose to buy. Finally, the standards will go a long way to keeping the car companies from again needing a bailout as they did when their lots were filled with unsold inefficient vehicles the last time gas prices peaked.
Consumers are relying on fuel economy standards to lower their fuel costs in the future. Staying the course on fuel economy supports working families and increases American jobs, which are top priorities for our nation.
Shannon Baker-Branstetter Consumers Union
Kevin Green, DOT
Bill Charmley, EPA
Chris Grundler, EPA
Michael Olechiw EPA
Rebecca Yoon, NHTSA
James Tamm, NHTSA
Mike McCarthy, CARB
Annette Hebert, CARB
Jack Gillis, CFA