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CAFE Standards: Fueling Our Economy Photo Credit: Flickr User Julianlim

CAFE Standards: Fueling Our Economy

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt recently announced that the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would reopen the midterm review of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards, which was completed in January 2017 during the final days of the Obama Administration. The decision to reopen the midterm review of CAFE Standards is unnecessary, wasteful, and harmful to American interests.

ASP wrote in support of these standards when they were first announced in 2011, noting that “setting strong fuel economy standards represents an opportunity to secure our national security by reducing our reliance on oil, to create jobs, unleash investment in the U.S. automotive sector, spark innovation, and save consumers money at the gas pump.” That remains true today.

U.S. dependence on oil hinders U.S. leverage abroad and “entangles America with unstable and hostile actors.” By lowering U.S. reliance on oil, and therefore hostile actors abroad, standards expand energy security. The standards simultaneously address the security threats of climate change. The Department of Defense has stated that climate change is a direct threat to our global and national security. Increasingly extreme storms, droughts and floods due to climate change are leading to greater instability both at home and abroad. If we lower these standards and continue to emit at the same levels, the United States will undermine the security of the country and world.

These standards are not only critical for American influence abroad and addressing the growing threats of climate change, but also for US consumers. By 2025, these standards are expected to nearly double fuel efficiency, save 6 billion metric tons of dangerous tail-pipe pollution, and save Americans billions over the lifetime of the vehicles. As the country continues to bounce back from the Great Recession, such savings should be common sense.

A review of these standards is unnecessary in large part due to the comprehensive review already completed less than a year ago. That review took over a year and thousands of man-hours of research and analysis. Only after that extensive review was a decision made to keep standards as they were. To reopen this review, after the earlier review, implies that the Administration has made the pre-determined decision to weaken standards already planned. This new review would be a colossal waste and outside the scope of the requirements, making this an unnecessary overreach with disastrous consequences for our environment, our economy, and our security.

The CAFE standards enhance American energy, economic, and national security. Last year’s review proved that the standards are well within reason. We should trust those thousands of hours of work and keep the benefits of CAFE standards in place.

ASP will be submitting this information for comment to the EPA and NHTSA. Other stakeholders are invited to submit comments on this review through the Public Comment Period. The comment period closes on August 25, 2017 and can be accessed here. In addition, the EPA will be holding a hearing on September 6, 2017 to discuss this review further.