SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A national consumer group says a move by President Trump will increase gas consumption and pollution. Conversely, the Administration says its plan to relax standards on vehicle emissions (and fuel efficiency) will help automakers and consumers.
The EPA has indicated a plan to roll back emissions standards set by the Obama Administration, standards that would require mileage on new cars to be over 45 miles per hour by 2026. The Trump Administration proposal would be 37 miles per hour.
President Trump said relaxing standards on fuel efficiency and emissions from automobiles would make the cost of cars cheaper.
Jack Gillis from the Consumer Federation of America disagrees. “Cars will not cost less, there is no question about it, never in the history of the automobile industry have cars cost less than the year before,” he said.
Gillis said up to a dozen automakers had agreed to the Obama era standards and he questioned why the country should essentially go backward, especially in terms of emissions and climate change.
“Very few products pollute as much as a gasoline-powered vehicle,” said Gillis. “So that’s why it’s important to make vehicles as fuel-efficient as possible.”
Gillis said while a better mileage car can cost more, it essentially saves consumers on the cost of gasoline and does so far down the road. He said that idea may be especially important these days with word that gas prices could jump because of the issues surrounding Saudi Arabia.
“The more fuel-efficient cars become the less they pollute but also the less they cost for consumers to operate,” said Gillis. “We have no idea why the President would ever consider rolling back the standards.”
The Trump administration says it’s trying to set one national standard in terms of emissions because some states have set their own. The Administration is ordering states like California, which has set high- performance goals on automakers in terms of emissions and mileage, to stop doing that. It says California should have to follow the national standard. California officials indicate they will sue over the new plan.
We asked Congressman Buddy Carter (Republican from Georgia’s 1st District) for comments on the proposed emissions changes.
Here is his statement:
“The Administration’s push to revoke California’s waiver was done to lower costs for consumers, increase safety by incentivizing bringing new cars to the roadways, and to ensure California doesn’t have the power to set national standards. It is the federal government and only the federal government that should be setting national standards. Essentially, California and a few other states used the waiver to set their own, stricter emissions standards and have leveraged it to force automobile manufacturers to either be in compliance or be locked out of business in their state. This week’s announcement ensures that California won’t be able to export its whims, and higher costs, to millions of Americans.”
Meanwhile, Gillis told us he believes consumers may demand that standards keep moving upward.
“It is absolutely embarrassing for the United States that’s always been a leader in technology for the President to say don’t incorporate new technology, don’t be a leader on this,” said Gillis. He’s saying let’s roll back the standards to the bad old days. Well, that’s ridiculous and I think consumers are going to react very strongly to this problem.”