by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Trump administration moved Thursday to replace strict Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for vehicles with weaker ones, claiming that less stringent mandates would make cars more affordable and safer.
The Environmental Protection Agency, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said that the preferred outcome of the administration’s proposed plan would freeze fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions targets at 2020 levels through 2026, instead of raising them each year as previously required.
This approach could prevent 1,000 fatalities from crashes annually, and save Americans an average of roughly $2,340 on every new vehicle purchased, the administration claims.
A proposal by the two agencies, which jointly administer the corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, program, lays out eight options for new national fuel-economy standards for model years 2021-2026, with the freeze being its recommended action.
“We are delivering on President Trump’s promise to the American public that his administration would address and fix the current fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards,” EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement Thursday. “Our proposal aims to strike the right regulatory balance based on the most recent information and create a 50-state solution that will enable more Americans to afford newer, safer vehicles that pollute less. More realistic standards can save lives while continuing to improve the environment.”