ISSUE: Clean Car Rollbacks

Tomorrow, March 31, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce their final rollback to the Clean Cars Rule under the Clean Air Act. Learn all about this issue below, including how you can take action!

What’s the issue?

  • The current federal administration is in the process of rolling back federal standard meant to offer Americans cleaner cars, reduce emissions, and boost the economy

Who’s involved?

  • The Trump administration
  • The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

What’s the history of this?

  • Part of the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) requires new engines and equipment bought or sold in the United States to meet certain EPA standards meant to reduce vehicle emissions
  • One part of this requirement under the CAA allows California to set more stringent standards than those at the federal level (this is known as the California Waiver and is modeled after cooperative federalism which was notably supported by President Reagan)
  • The CAA also allows other states to adopt these California standards as well, which fourteen states and Washington, D.C. have already done

What’s happening now?

  • The current federal administration has been working to rollback these important standards
  • Specifically, the admin is looking to weaken this rule by freezing the fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards at 2020 levels for model year 2021-2026 cars, SUVs, and light-duty trucks
  • The administration has also threatened to revoke the California Waiver, taking away the promised authority in creating stronger standards that states have
  • 23 states and 11 environmental groups are suing the administration to protect these rights
  • Ford, Honda, VW, and BMW – which collectively represent about 30% of the U.S. auto market – have all made separate agreements with states for pollution standards that are stronger than the federal rollback proposal
  • Additionally, seventeen of the world’s biggest automakers told the federal administration that these rollbacks would create market uncertainty that would hurt profits, investments, and jobs
  • Over 350,000 comments were submitted to the administration in opposition of these reckless rollbacks

What’s at stake?

  • The federal administration’s over analysis found that these rollbacks could cost Americans 60,000 jobs
  • An analysis by the BlueGreen Alliance estimate that as many as 202,000 jobs could be at risk
  • Modeling by the Energy Policy Simulator estimates these rollbacks could cost consumers $300-$400 billion through 2050 – in other words, if this loss was a gas tax, it would add 35-50 cents per gallon from 2030-2050
  • Analyses also predict these rollbacks would increase transportation emissions up to 10% in 2035, climbing to over 1,500 million metric tons
  • The clean car standards are the most effective policy we have on the books to fight climate change, and the transportation sector is the country’s largest source of the carbon pollution that causes climate change, by rolling these standards back we are reversing our nation’s progress

How can I help?

  • Reach out to your federal lawmakers and urge them to oppose these rollbacks in the name of public health, state rights, and jobs (Senator Romney and Representative McAdams have both come out in opposition to these rollbacks)
  • Encourage your state lawmakers and regulators to adopt the California Waiver standards
  • Stay in the loop and vote!