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August 02, 2018 01:16 PM UTC

Trump Administration to Gut Fuel-Efficiency Standards

  • by: Colorado Pols
What, you don’t want a car that averages 8 miles per gallon of gasoline?

As the Washington Post reports, President Trump is moving ahead with plans to gut fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles:

The Trump administration announced plans Thursday to freeze fuel-efficiency requirements for the nation’s cars and trucks through 2026 — a massive regulatory rollback likely to spur a legal battle with California and other states, as well as create potential upheaval in the nation’s automotive market.

The proposal represents an abrupt reversal of the findings that the government reached under President Barack Obama, when regulators argued that requiring more-fuel-efficient vehicles would improve public health, combat climate change and save consumers money without compromising safety.

[mantra-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”60%”]“We will fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible.”

— California Gov. Jerry Brown[/mantra-pullquote]

President Trump’s plan also would revoke California’s long-standing legal waiver to set its own tailpipe restrictions, granted under the 1970 Clean Air Act, which the state has used most recently to try to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. It also would restrict the ability of states to follow California’s lead — something a dozen states and the District of Columbia already have done.

The likely legal clash over the policy threatens to rupture the nation’s auto market, doing away with uniform national standards negotiated by the Obama administration and potentially forcing automakers to produce different vehicles to meet standards in different states — something the industry has said it does not want. [Pols emphasis]

That last sentence is particularly important to note. The big automobile manufacturers don’t want this policy implemented any more than American farmers want Trump to introduce more tariffs, but considering the input and interest of others isn’t exactly a top priority for this administration.

An analysis from the Trump administration claims that halting fuel-efficiency targets at 2020 levels could save $500 billion in something they call “societal costs.” Of course, that same analysis also shows that U.S. fuel consumption would increase by about half a million barrels of oil each day — contributing to further Climate Change problems because of increased greenhouse-gas emissions.

Municipal leaders from Colorado spoke out forcefully in opposition to these new policies during a press conference on Tuesday.


22 thoughts on “Trump Administration to Gut Fuel-Efficiency Standards

  1. The states have options for encouraging fuel efficiency beyond regulation.

    (1) Raise gas taxes by 50c per gallon. Use the income to fund mass transit and electric vehicle infrastructure.

    (2) Put a graduated sales tax and rebate based on mileage for sales of new and used cars and trucks, including private sales. Use a target average milage of 30mpg. Add a $200 sales tax for every mpg below 30mpg, and rebate sales by $200/mpg above 30. So your 20mpg gas-hog will cost you $2,000 more, and your 40mpg hybrid will cost you $2,000 less. Your 100mpg electric will cost $14,000 less.

  2. I figure the court challenges to this move MIGHT be settled by the end of 2020.

    Juliana v. US (aka YouthVGovt) amended case was filed 09/10/15. After various appeals, they now have a court date set for October 29, 2018.  I'm figuring the various state attorneys general who have already indicated their interest in bringing suit can find ways to stay implementation for at least as long as the youth & their nonprofit attorneys.

  3. If Americans want efficient cars they will buy them and the market will change. Government intervention is unnecessary and never does what it should. Persuade me, don’t coerce me!

    1. If Americans want efficient cars to give birth they will buy them and the market will change number of abortions will decrease. Government intervention is unnecessary and never does what it should. Persuade me, don’t coerce me!

    2. So, I guess you can forget about outlawing abortion and we can legalize weed nationwide right MAGAt?  Because:

      Government intervention is unnecessary and never does what it should.

    3. So are the bailouts of soybean farmers also unnecessary government intervention to pick the winners and losers in the great Tariff Wars of 2018?  Inquiring minds want to know.

      Maybe we should also cut off ALL the government subsidies to fossil fuel corporations.  After a 100 years of it, they should be able to stand on their own without government assistance.

    4. Moderatus —

      What is your mechanism for those of us who appreciate the abolition of the Brown Cloud and want less air pollution? Can we "buy" it and have the market change?

      Seems to me that in this instance, government intervention WAS necessary and would up doing EXACTLY what it intended to do.

        1. I remember differently.

          We still get brown clouds when we have temperature inversions on the front range, but it's much better now than it used to be. Most days, we can see the mountains, and can't taste the air.

          Most of that is due to the Clean Air Act and tougher emissions standards.

          1. So, you're saying that Government intervention can be a good thing. Not that it will "coerce or persuade" Nutlid, since you can't coerce or persuade stupid.

              1. MAGAt-anus felt that was an example of government intervention that shouldn't have occurred.  That's why he is all in with Benedict Donald and family separations, which is also government intervention.

          2. The brown cloud was mostly dust.  The dangerous part of it, cured by catalytic converters, was carbon monoxide — which ain't brown, it's colorless.

            1. The old brown cloud was made up mostly of fine particulates from internal combustion engines and power plants. The particulates in the modern brown cloud, are, as you said, mostly dust. 

              Abstract "Visibility-reducing species in the denver “brown cloud”—II. Sources and temporal patterns"

              The chemical and optical measurements collected at the General Motors Research Laboratories' site during the 1978 Denver “brown cloud” study are combined with data on energy consumption and emissions, as well as the use of tracer techniques, to estimate the contributions of the various sources to the fine paniculate mass (FPM) and the visual range reduction (VRR). Although no single source dominates either the FPM or the VRR, combustion processes account for over 80% of both(emphasis mine) The major contributors to both the FPM and VRR are: motor vehicles, 26 and 27% (diesel trucks, 8 and 12%; light-duty noncatalyst vehicles. 14 and 9%; light-duty catalyst-equipped vehicles, 4 and 5% and tire rubber, negligible and 1%), coal combustion, > 20 and > 25%, and wood burning, 12 and 18%.

              The EPA report said essentially the same thing, but not as concisely. Bottom line: vehicles and power plants made up most of the brown cloud particulate and CO / ozone pollution in the 80s and early 90s.

              But hey, you did catch my mistake on the "high – density area" on the other thread, so you have not posted in vain today.

              1. Good points on the old v. new visibility issues.  But the major health threat in what was called the brown cloud was carbon monoxide — a colorless killer.   It was mainly catalytic converters that solved that problem — score one for government regulations!


        2. The holocaust was no myth.  It was an example of free markets proving that gas chambers could murder people more cheaply than bands of men armed with rifles and machine guns .

          It's also why some of us, though never Nutter, believe in including externalities i n our cost analyses.

      1. You're mostly right, John, as long as you remember that government can set goals but it is usually best to leave it up to markets as to how to achieve them.

        In the brown cloud case, the real killer was carbon monoxide.  The law mandated bringing it down.  It didn't mandate electric cars.  Turned out catalytic converters were better and cheaper way to meet the goal than electric cars.  In general, regulation works best when government sets the goals and lets markets find the means.

        1. CAFE standards were the result of extensive negotiation between government regulators, car manufacturers, auto maker unions, and experts from a wide variety of specialties. Throw in legislative or judicial review, and you get a sense of the complexity.

          The simplicity of average gas mileage standards winds up with unexpected consequences — such as people driving more miles, shifting between types with different mileage goals, and people holding on to older cars as auto manufacturers price vehicles to accomplish their "average." Critics (Trump admin) can point to extraneous justifications for the "freeze" — and now, we'll go to a round of public comment, and then no doubt another round of litigation to find out if they REALLY have the power to change the standards.

          Standards are well and good — flexibility in ways to meet the standard are probably economically valid — but it is difficult to have the standards, technology alternatives to meet the standards, and be able to read the future in order to accomplish all that the original ideas without unexpected consequences.

    5. So how come the government coe rced me into joining the army to defend the rights of freeloaders like moddy and Trump who demand all the benefits of citizenship while refusing to pay their fair share of taxes or to serve in the military.  


    6. So Fluffy, . . .

      . . ,  what would you do, (. . . hypothetically . . .), about those folks, ( . . . maybe like those sorry ijuts in your mirror . . .), who might just be too fucking stupid and misinformed to be persuaded to do anything that would benefit their own sorry, ignorant, dumb, asses, . . . and whose (. . . hypothetically apparently willful . .) ignorance is an actual existential threat to humanity, and the entire planet???

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