Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, recently indicated the agency’s intent to roll back the nation’s world leading fuel economy standards. That is bad news for so many reasons. Suffice it to say, weakening fuel economy standards would negatively impact pretty much every American in some way. Sure, that’s a pretty lofty claim, but the facts back it up.
The fuel economy standards we have now have benefited Americans in so many ways. They’ve saved consumers money, and spurred technological advances that might otherwise have occurred overseas. They’ve also driven massive investment in our auto industry, which wasn’t doing great (to put it lightly). Under the standards the auto industry has also brought back hundreds of thousands of jobs that were lost during the recession, and become globally competitive and profitable again.
· The current fuel economy standards have saved drivers billions of dollars at the pump. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, since the fuel economy standards went into effect they have saved U.S. drivers around $60 billion. The equation is simple, cars that run more efficiently use less gas, meaning you don’t have to fill up as often.
· It doesn’t matter if you drive a truck, an SUV, or a sedan; no matter what you decide to drive, you can see the benefits of the standards. The way the standards were written sets different standards for different kinds of vehicles, so your new Ford F-150 doesn’t have to get the same mileage as your neighbor’s new Chevy Malibu, it just has to get better mileage than an older trucks, and it does. In 2010, the F-150 got about 15.9 miles per gallon. However, with the current standards in place, fuel economy increased to 19.2 MPG in 2015. That means that each F-150 bought in 2015 used about 180 fewer gallons of gas a year than it would have without the standards, and it saved its owner about eight trips to the gas station.
· Since the fuel economy standards took effect, automakers have invested billions in facilities across the U.S., creating jobs building the next generation of fuel efficient vehicles. That’s because the fuel economy standards leveled the playing field, giving automakers the confidence and certainty they needed to invest in developing fuel efficient technology. In fact, since 2008, U.S. automakers have invested $63.8 billion in U.S. facilities and have promised another $12.4 billion in investment through 2020. That investment means manufacturing communities across the nation are getting much-needed economic revitalization.
· It’s not just the workers making the automobiles themselves that are better off under the strong standards, but the people making the components and materials that go into fuel efficient vehicles as well. There are currently at least 1,200 U.S. factories and engineering facilities in 48 states — and 288,000 American workers — building the parts and materials that make our vehicles more fuel efficient. Rolling back the standards could spell uncertainty for these workers in nearly every state.
· Keeping strong standards keeps U.S. investment flowing and those jobs secure. Rolling back standards means we fall back in the race with China and other countries to design the best new vehicles and risk sending more American auto jobs overseas. Why willingly lose a race we’re poised to win?
So, there you have it, everybody benefits from strong fuel economy standards and rolling them back is a bad idea in every way, it would negatively impact consumers, workers, and our national economy, not to mention the environment.
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