Washington, D.C. — Today, the Consumer Federation of America provided written testimony for a joint hearing of the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce and the House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change for its hearing: Driving in Reverse: The Administration’s Rollback of Fuel Economy and Clean Car Standards.
CFA’s testimony highlighted the benefits of fuel economy standards and the cost to consumers if the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proceeds with their proposed rollback and freeze of the standards.
In CFA’s testimony, Jack Gillis, CFA’s Executive Director, provided seven key points as to why the fuel economy standards should not be rolled back:
- The current standards save consumers money. They have already saved consumers $500 billion. When macroeconomic, environmental, health, and other benefits are included, the savings increase to almost $900 billion.
- If the standards are rolled back, consumers will be robbed of $4,500 per household in savings and the country will see $200 billion in macroeconomic, environmental, health, and other benefits disappear.
- Low-income consumers, who primarily buy used vehicles, benefit the most from the standards and will pay dearly if the rollback is implemented. Under the current standards, low-income consumers would save over $900 during the typical six years that they own their used vehicles.
- Vehicles are safer than ever. By irrationally doubling the estimated increase in driving due to lower driving costs, ignoring advancements in vehicle crash safety, and disregarding the adoption of advanced safety features, the agencies grossly miscalculated their premise that lives could be saved by rolling back the standards. They were wrong on three key points: Improved fuel efficiency will not result in Americans dramatically increasing their driving; vehicles have become safer (and new safety features will continue to be added) since the standards were implemented in 2012; and, savings due to the standards have more than paid for the safety improvements.
- The standards are achievable. We have analyzed new vehicle introductions over the last 5 years and found that automakers have been complying with, and in many cases, exceeding the standards.
- Automakers will be at a severe disadvantage domestically and globally if the standards are rolled back. Automakers won’t be able to sell their less efficient, (but U.S. compliant) vehicles in other countries with stricter standards, or in 40% of the U.S. where 14 states and Washington, D.C. have adopted the California Clean Car Standards.
- Consumers support the standards. According to a recent CFA survey (May, 2019), a consistent, significant, and extraordinarily bi-partisan majority of consumers support the current fuel economy standards. Also, when asked what they would like their next vehicle’s fuel economy to be, the average response was 41 MPG, which is slightly above the current target for the current standard for 2025.
“We are calling on members of Congress to take every step possible to prevent the Trump Administration from rolling back the standards which are the product of one of the most elegantly drafted regulations in U.S. history,” said Gillis. “Rarely has a standard been implemented which addresses the needs of every stakeholder. The 2012 effort: 1) respects the fact that some manufacturers make and sell big vehicles and others sell small vehicles; 2) does not dictate what manufacturers have to sell; 3) keeps U.S. manufactured vehicles domestically and globally competitive; 4) saves consumers billions of dollars; 5) reduces our dangerous dependence on foreign oil; 6) helps sell vehicles; 7) benefits the environment; and 8) is eminently achievable. Furthermore, they were agreed to by one of the most diverse set of stake holders in regulatory history including the car companies, unions, consumer groups, scientists, and environmentalists, added Gillis.”
Links to supporting documents appear above and can be found at ConsumerFed.org.