Cantwell Statement on Trump Administration Rollback of Fuel Efficiency Standards

March 31, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, released the below statement on the Trump Administration’s plan to move forward with a harmful rollback of fuel efficiency standards through the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026. This rule would eliminate current clean car standards and pose serious threats to American consumers and the environment.

“Injecting uncertainty into the economy with this short-sighted action will degrade public health, pollute our environment, and negatively impact job growth,” Ranking Member Cantwell said. “Improving fuel economy standards has spurred American innovation and made our automakers more competitive internationally, while benefitting families by reducing transportation costs in the long term. Lowering these standards moves us in the wrong direction.”

Current standards require, on average, a 5 percent reduction in annual fleetwide greenhouse gas pollution. The Trump Administration is eviscerating these standards, requiring only 1.5 percent annual improvement. The pollution that this rollback would produce will not only negatively impact the environment, but also put people’s health at risk. The rollback will result in increased premature deaths, asthma attacks, other respiratory ailments, job losses, and costs. The new SAFE rule eliminates aggressive gas mileage and emissions requirements put in by President Obama in 2012.

Senator Cantwell has been a leader in fighting to protect the climate and clean car standards. In 2007, she was a leader in introducing a measure to raise the average fuel economy standards for all vehicles to 35 miles per gallon by 2019. This bill introduced the first mandated Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards in 32 years. She has opposed the Trump Administration’s proposed rollback since it was announced and joined her colleagues in urging the Department of Transportation to reject the revised rule. Senator Cantwell introduced a resolution to protect vehicle efficiency rules and called for bipartisan action on climate change. She joined her colleagues in introducing a bill to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.