EPA Public Hearing Draws Heavy Traffic in Favor of Clean Car Standards

Hearing Is Part of Formal Reconsideration of Popular Standards to Reduce Pollution, Save Families Money on Gas

September 6, 2017
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – September 6, 2017) A public hearing today on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s effort to reverse America’s Clean Car Standards drew widespread support for keeping the protections in place.

More than a hundred people testified at the Washington, D.C. hearing, including EDF representatives. They overwhelmingly spoke in favor of the Clean Car Standards and praised the benefits they provide for climate security and economic prosperity for our communities and families. 

“EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s attempt to weaken America’s Clean Car Standards recklessly ignores their impressive record of success. The standards cut the pollution that causes climate change, drive the development of innovative new technologies, save families money at the gas pump, and improve our nation’s energy security,” said EDF Senior Attorney Martha Roberts, who testified today. “Automakers are already achieving pollution reductions faster and at lower cost than expected. America wants to move forward, but weakening the Clean Car Standards would throw us into reverse.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) moved forward on this second phase of Clean Car Standards in 2012. Under the standards, new cars and passenger trucks in model years 2017 to 2025 will have better fuel efficiency and emit less pollution. The standards were adopted with broad support from automakers, labor, states, consumers, and environmental advocates. 

Earlier this year, EPA did a “midterm evaluation” of the standards for the later model cars — years 2022 to 2025. That evaluation, which was based on an extensive technical record and public input, led to a final determination that the Clean Car Standards should remain in place. (The state of California also conducted its own extensive review and came to the same conclusion.)

However, EPA announced last month that it would formally reopen that final determination – a step that could ultimately lead to radically weakening or revoking the Clean Cars Standards for model years 2022 to 2025. Further damaging U.S. climate security, EPA and DOT are calling into question whether the standards for model year 2021 remain appropriate. 

Today’s hearing is the only one EPA will hold on its consideration of rollbacks to these common sense, eminently achievable protections.

The American public will lose vital benefits if the Clean Car Standards are reversed:

    • Under the standards already in place, people who bought a new car or truck in 2025 would save thousands of dollars on fuel over the lifetime of those vehicles. In total, EPA projects that consumers would save more than $1 trillion because of the standards.
    • The Clean Cars standards would reduce America’s oil consumption by two million barrels per day by 2025 – more than we import from any single country other than Canada.

The threat to undermine the Clean Car Standards comes at a time when both the U.S. and world automotive markets are moving in the opposite direction:

In the U.S., electric vehicles are on pace to comprise 10 percent of new vehicle sales by 2025, and there are already more than 100 car and truck models on the market that meet the 2020 or later Clean Cars Standards. Auto manufacturers and suppliers are developing and deploying fuel efficient technologies at a much faster rate – and at a much lower cost – than was forecast in 2012, which has resulted in the auto industry as a whole exceeding the Clean Cars Standards in each of the last four years.

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