Washington, D.C. — In a move that could cost consumers trillions of dollars, the Trump administration is turning its back on four decades of money-saving energy and fuel-efficiency standards. That’s according to a new report from the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), submitted today in support of its filing in the regulatory reform docket at the Department of Transportation.
CFA representatives released the following statements following their report submission. To schedule an interview, please contact Christina Heartquist, 415-453-0430, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior fellow for economic analysis at CFA and author of the report:
“Given the mountain of evidence that the agencies weighed and balanced to reach a standard that was strongly supported by consumers, automakers, autoworkers and environmentalists, there is simply no justification for a freeze or rollback.
Our analysis shows that the laws of physics and economics go hand in glove with the laws that Congress has written for fuel economy and energy efficiency.
The tired old arguments the industry will make to lower the standards are easily rebutted with the real world empirical evidence that they are both reasonable and achievable. The facts speak for themselves.
As the cost of standards compliance falls and new technologies surface, there is no excuse for weakening them. On the contrary, we should be strengthening the standards.”
Director of Public Affairs at CFA and author of The Car Book:
“Our report shows the enormous economic benefits of these standards, especially for those who are hit hardest and looking for help from the new administration. Rolling them back will have the biggest negative impact on those counting on President Trump to improve their economic welfare.
Low-income families are the greatest beneficiaries of spending less on gas and being exposed to less tailpipe pollution. They also have more to gain from the resulting economic growth.
Greater efficiency equals a growing economy because consumers who spend less on gas will spend more on other goods and services. That means more sales of everything, including cars, which creates jobs.
The first victims of a rollback in the standards are the hundreds of U.S. companies and thousands of U.S. workers who have geared up to build the technologies the car companies can use to reduce the fuel consumption of the vehicles they are selling.
Furthermore, CFA’s comments directly address many of the key issues that are being raised in the broad attack on regulation across a number of agencies.
From the consumer point of view, the comments show that the overall consumer impact is huge, but because low and middle-income households benefit disproportionately from efficiency standards, weakening the standards is a hidden tax on households in the bottom half of the income distribution.
From a legal and technical point of view, CFA’s comments demonstrate two critical points that contradict the broad effort to gut standards:
Independent technology assessments and the long history of declining costs of efficiency completely contradict industry complaints that the standards hurt them.
There is an inseparable link between pollution reduction, consumer pocketbook savings and macro-economic growth, which means that complaints about agencies exceeding their authority by counting “co-benefits” are illogical and contradicted by the statutes.”
Contact: Christina Heartquist, 415-453-0430; Jack Gillis, 202-737-0766
The Consumer Federation of America is a nonprofit association of more than 250 consumer groups that was founded in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education.