Consumers Union Tells EPA to Strengthen, Not Lower Emissions Standards

The EPA is adding another model year to its greenhouse gas emissions review, and the Consumers Union is asking it to reconsider.

The 2017-2025 greenhouse gas standards were settled upon back in 2012, after agreements between automakers, labor groups, environmental groups, and both the California and federal governments. The deal called for a 5 percent improvement in greenhouse gas emissions each year of the standard. At the time, it was predicted to save 6 billion tons of greenhouse gasses and 12 billion barrels of oil during the lifetime of vehicles in those model years.

Because 2025 was a long way from 2012, the EPA and NHTSA agreed to a midterm evaluation of the emissions and CAFE fuel economy standards. The agencies committed to decide by April 1, 2018, if they would keep, strengthen, or weaken the standards for model years 2022-2025.

SEE ALSO: Consumers Union Study: Almost 90 Percent Of Americans Want Better Vehicle Fuel Economy

In January, the EPA announced that the midterm review was complete and that the 2022-2025 requirements would be upheld. It found that automakers could meet the targets at an even lower cost than originally expected. Then this March, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that the EPA had changed its mind. The first final determination would be reconsidered.

Now the EPA has announced that it is reopening and reviewing model year 2021 as well.

The Consumers Union, the political side of Consumer Reports, has long advocated for increased fuel economy standards and lower emissions and has released a statement about the new review.

“Consumers want to save money on gas and they want government to help them by continuing to set strong standards for cars, trucks and SUVs, according to our latest surveys,” said Shannon Baker-Branstetter, policy counsel for Consumers Union.

“In fact, consumers are especially concerned about the fuel efficiency of the crossovers and SUVs they’ve been gravitating toward in recent years,” Baker-Branstetter added.

Reducing exhaust emissions saves fuel. That benefits consumers because it saves them money. So the Consumers Union is in favour of it. That’s why they are against reopening the standards, which will likely lead to reducing the emission and economy improvements in the existing legislation. Adding another model year to the review could make that situation even worse.

“By expanding the review to include Model Year 2021, EPA is opening the door even further to eroding standards beyond what was previously contemplated,” said Baker-Branstetter.

“If progress toward more efficient vehicles is put in reverse, consumers are the ones who will bear the financial burden,” she said.

 


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