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Comment Period Open on Plan to Reverse Fuel Standards

Automakers say the current fuel-economy standards are costing them money. (
Automakers say the current fuel-economy standards are costing them money. (
September 8, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – Attempts to reverse course on vehicle fuel-efficiency standards are drawing strong opposition. Health, consumer, science and environmental groups were among those present at an EPA hearing this week to review Obama-era fuel standards that require cars and light trucks to average about 50 miles per gallon by 2025.

Director of the nonprofit group Ceres' Transportation Program, Carol Lee Rawn, was at the hearing and says the standards are driving innovation and keeping the U.S. auto industry globally competitive. She notes there are significant economic benefits for the automotive industry, particularly suppliers.

"Suppliers employ two and a half times more Americans than the automakers and they stand to see $90 billion in increased sales if the current standards are preserved," she says.

There are nine states with 10,000 or more workers building clean, fuel-efficient vehicle technology, supporting nearly 160,000 manufacturing jobs. Indiana is in the top five.

Critics of clean-car standards say they place a cost burden on auto manufacturers, but a review completed last year estimated those costs were overestimated by as much as 40 percent.

The EPA is taking comments on the review until October 5. 300,000 comments have been submitted in support of the existing standards.

David Cooke, senior vehicles analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists also was at the hearing and says the current standards are saving drivers about 50 million dollars a day - a number that will grow to more than 300 million a day by 2030 if the standards are maintained.

"Reducing the emissions from the average vehicle saves money from reduced fuel costs for drivers whether they buy new or used as the new vehicles make their way onto the market," he explains. "And so Americans benefit tremendously in their pocketbooks."

Besides saving drivers money, Cooke adds the standards are protecting public health and the climate from dangerous pollution. He says the transportation sector produces nearly 30 percent of all U.S. global-warming emissions.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN