The Trump Regime Uses a Fantastical Argument Against Fuel Efficiency Standards

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Trump regime formally announced this morning that they plan to roll back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards that require cars and trucks to achieve a certain mileage per gallon of gasoline in future years.

A group of 18 states and the District of Columbia led by California have already announced their intention to challenge the rollback in court.

The administration billed the rollback it announced on Thursday, which would also revoke California’s authority to set its own strict vehicle emissions rules, as a way to lower auto prices for consumers. Critics said it would accelerate climate change and increase fuel prices.

The 19 states, and Washington D.C, announced what is likely to be a legal showdown over the proposal. [...]

The states that have adopted California’s emission rules together make up about one third of the U.S. auto market.

The idea that they want to roll back fuel efficiency standards to save consumers money would hold more weight if Trump weren't also planning to impose tariffs on cars and cart parts, but that's far from the most fantastical arguments the Trump regime is using against the standards.

According to the Associated Press, the Trump regime intends to argue that gas-guzzling vehicles are safer.

The Trump administration says people would drive more and be exposed to increased risk if their cars get better gas mileage, an argument intended to justify freezing Obama-era toughening of fuel standards. [...]

It contends that freezing the mileage requirements at 2020 levels would save up to 1,000 lives per year.

At the same time, the draft says that people will drive less if their vehicles get fewer miles per gallon, lowering the risk of crashes.

Even if you accept this argument at face value -- and I think you'd be a fool to do so -- theoretically saving 1,000 lives per year is a drop in the bucket compared to the millions threatened by climate change. And climate change doesn't just threaten lives; it also threatens business and property. The cost of doing nothing about climate change is infinitely higher than engineering cars that get 5 more miles per gallon of gas.

For their part, automakers say they'd like to see the Trump regime and the states reach a settlement, but if that happens I'll eat my hat.

Even if the Trump regime ultimately prevails in this fight, I believe it will only hasten the adoption of electric vehicles that are eventually going to replace all internal-combustion vehicles anyway.

  • katanahamon

    When will the ridiculousness be called out? Like we aren’t enjoying the current levels of pollution enough? Yeah, too much regulation..let’s go back to twelve miles per gallon gunboats cruising the highways. Then, why have auto insurance? Why have airbags? Why have speed limits? Oh, but if you want sudafed for your sniffle, be prepared to be fingerprinted, and if you need opioids for chronic pain, good luck. This bullshit has to be stopped! How stupid is America going to get??

    • muselet

      How stupid is America going to get??

      MURCA: Hold my beer and watch this.


  • Badgerite

    The government rationale for lowering gas mileage standards is as about as convincing as the ‘war on Christmas’.
    This is ridiculous stuff. And they know it. They are trying to put together some kind of ridiculous argument that a court filled with their appointees can try to hang their hats on. It won’t work. The idea that high gas prices will save lives is ridiculous. Lower speed limits save lives. That can be documented statistically. But the only way higher gas prices saves lives is that fewer people can afford to drive. That isn’t making the roadways safer. That is just making them a luxury item.

  • muselet

    Forget the car companies. They’re not the intended beneficiaries of this madness. Rolling back—a useful euphemism for “killing”—the fuel consumption/emissions standards is an early Christmas present for the oil companies.

    That it’s also a thumb in the eye of anyone who cares about the environment is a bonus. I’m actually surprised Donald Trump hasn’t ordered the presidential limousine fleet converted to diesel so he can roll coal along with his mouthbreathing, 1-ton-tandem-dually–driving supporters.

    Every morning, every member of this administration must look in the mirror and wonder, “What’s the stupidest or most destructive thing I can do today in my official capacity?”


    • ninjaf

      You never know. It may be included in the new Air Force 1 contract.

      • Tony Lavely

        Ah, the perfect answer: a diesel airplane. Only a step down from kerosene, amirite? How hard could it be? Lovely plumes of black smoke. The heart thrills.