The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued a new final determination reversing its previous conclusion that the greenhouse gas standards for light-duty vehicles set for 2022-2025 are appropriate and do not need to be re-evaluated. Unfortunately for consumers, this signals the first step towards lowering emissions and efficiency goals for new cars and trucks. Such a rollback will ultimately cost consumers up to $100 billion more to keep their gas tanks full.
“EPA’s decision defies the robust record and years of review that show these targets are reasonable and appropriate,” said David Friedman, Director of Cars and Products Policy and Analysis for Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports. “Undermining these consumer protections will cost consumers more at the pump while fulfilling the wishes of the auto industry.”
Since the standards were initially set, automakers have invested in fuel saving technologies for new cars and trucks while also delivering more comforts, safety, and horsepower. All of these efficiency technologies pay for themselves and more. Were this progress to continue through model year 2025 vehicles, new vehicle buyers would save about $3,200 per car and $4,800 per truck or SUV over the life of that vehicle even after accounting for the cost of adding the fuel saving technologies. Lowering emissions targets now will erode these consumer savings.
Surveys from Consumers Union show that car and truck buyers care about fuel economy and want to spend less on gas. CU’s latest survey found that over 70 percent of Americans want the government to continue to set higher fuel economy targets for cars and trucks. Nearly 80% of Americans, many of whom have gravitated toward crossovers, trucks and SUVs in recent years, want to see continued efficiency improvements in larger vehicles.
“The fuel economy program is working to save consumers a lot of money and accelerate innovation within the auto industry,” said Shannon Baker-Branstetter, Senior Policy Counsel for Consumers Union. “Thanks to emissions and efficiency standards, consumers have saved billions of dollars on fuel over the last 5 years. And if the standards were protected instead of undermined, consumers could expect to save a lot more over the next decade. It would be wasteful to discard those consumer savings, but EPA now appears poised to do just that.”