The Trump administration is making a big mistake messing with clean cars. Here are 5 reasons why.

Martha Roberts

Editor’s note: This post was updated on July 23, 2018.

Our clean cars standards – a win-win policy that reduces pollution while saving Americans money at the pump – are at risk, and the Trump administration’s attempt to roll them back has already spurred a multi-state legal challenge.

Even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s own Science Advisory Board has recommended a review of the underlying analysis and justification for this controversial decision. Yet, the administration is poised to go even further, attacking not just federal clean car standards but also state leadership on clean cars.

There are many reasons this counts as one of the worst attacks on our climate that this government has made to date.

1. It’s the biggest step America’s taken to cut climate pollution

The clean car standards would reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 6 billion tons over their lifetime, along with other dangerous air pollutants. Transportation contributes more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector in the nation, and the Trump administration’s rollback would significantly lower our ambition to tackle this pollution.

It’s why the American Lung Association and 12 other public health organizations have urged the agencies involved with the rollback to just drop it [PDF].

“Since the adopted standards are well within reach,” they noted, “no reason exists to alter them.”

2. Millions of Americans save money with clean cars

Over the lifetime of the historic clean car standards the federal government adopted in 2012, American families and businesses are expected to save more than $1 trillion. That’s not a typo.

A study [PDF] released July 23 shows that an average family could spend as much as $500 more each year if the standards are rolled back, with low-income and long-commuting Americans being hit especially hard.

Indeed, drivers are already benefiting from the rules that have gone into effect so far.

Because the clean car standards spur improvements in fuel economy, a Ford F-150 truck bought in 2015 uses about 180 fewer gallons of gas a year than earlier models, for example. That saves its owner eight trips to the gas station and enough money each year to easily cover a monthly car payment.

Such improvements also help insulate American families from the volatility of gas prices, which have risen nearly 50 cents per gallon on average over the past few months.

3. There’s no burden – we can already exceed these standards

Since 2012, we have roughly doubled the number of SUVs that get 25 miles per gallon or more, of cars that get 30 miles per gallon or more, and of cars that get 40 miles per gallon or more.

There are already more than 100 car, SUV and pickup models on the market that meet standards set for 2020 and beyond. In fact, technical reviews show that carmakers can meet the 2020-2025 model year requirements at a lower cost than first predicted. This isn’t rocket science, as other nations can attest.

4. This attack would undermine state leadership

A coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia, together representing more than 40 percent of the U.S. car market, have already sued the EPA to challenge the agency’s final determination to weaken the standards.

For decades, states have had authority to enforce more protective standards to address tailpipe air pollution problems than the federal government did. The Trump administration is now on a collision course with such states after a leaked draft of the clean car roll-back proposal showed that the administration is also planning to attack that state authority.

5. Even industry is concerned Trump has gone too far

As news of Trump’s proposal began to leak out, leading car manufacturers Ford and Honda highlighted the importance of working with state clean car leaders. What we need is “one strong national standard for our industry,” Honda wrote. A coalition of large automotive component suppliers also raised concerns.

And electric vehicle manufacturers Tesla and Workhorse are among a diverse coalition that just filed suit to oppose Pruitt’s final determination to weaken existing clean car standards.

It appears that very few people, when it comes down to it, want dirtier cars.


So the only people who benefit from this are the oil industry.

C.m lade
June 1, 2018 at 4:45 pm

Our main problem is the unwillingness of Congress to stand up to Donald Trump. Vote them out!!

Ginny Bennett
August 2, 2018 at 3:35 pm

In reply to by C.m lade

The EPA rules will soon not matter. Replacing fossil fuels can take place surprisingly fast. All combustion engines can be easily and cheaply converted to run on water. See MOVING BEYOND OIL at for an introduction to this seemingly impossible potential.

Future electric cars will have on-board chargers. They will sell electricity or power buildings when suitably parked. The EPA rules will soon not matter. Replacing fossil fuels can take place surprisingly fast. All combustion engines can be easily and cheaply converted to run on water. See Moving Beyond Oil at for an introduction to this seemingly impossible potential.

Future electric cars will have on-board chargers. They will sell electricity or power buildings when suitably parked. Future internal combustion engines will need no fuel. They will utilize ambient heat instead - a huge untapped reservoir of solar energy available 24/7.

The new science defies convention and is slow to gain acceptance as it departs from long established belief. However, as products enter the markets they will demonstrate the astonishing reality. The work is done by small firms, poorly supported at present, made difficult by Trolls who do not hesitate to lie and distort, as they are certain it reflects fraud and dishonesty.

Abrupt climate change chaos may be approaching. It is urgent to replace fossil fuels far faster than existing technology will allow. Pollution kills millions worldwide now. Breakthrough technologies will reverse the problem far faster than regulations. Change, as Margaret Mead pointed out, is always made by a small number of individuals.

This is a time in history where a few bold souls can make a huge difference by lending support and encouraging the rapid birth of 24/7 clean, green, power. Cars are the perfect place to start!

Mark Goldes
June 1, 2018 at 6:30 pm

Emissions from vehicles are not only adding to climate change, but also affecting the health of those cities breathing in the gases.

June 2, 2018 at 5:04 am

Trump, what is wrong with you?

Anita Gabriel
June 4, 2018 at 2:39 am

This is so wrong. I don’t understand how an agency with the word “protection ” in it is turning into the total opposite. It’s like a Trojan Horse with people being put in there to destroy it. Why can’t I understand?

Paula Dollins
August 3, 2018 at 8:16 pm

Trump wants it, Trump gets it.

Buck Reid
October 11, 2018 at 10:30 am

This is exactly the opposite of what is needed to help ensure clean air and water for our future generations. Green jobs are the way forward, invest in clean energy and policy. We only have one planet and we must be good stewards to keep it healthy.

Jennifer Chartrand
October 26, 2018 at 9:18 am

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.