Why Cleaner Cars should be Your Priority

August 3, 2018

A plan released by the Trump Administration this week will abandon achievable and common-sense vehicle standards by 2026. And it will do so at our expense. The plan as proposed will limit you to less efficient vehicles, cost you more at the pump, and allow millions more tons of pollutants to be emitted into the air.

Many of us tend to think  about the miles per gallon (MPG) our vehicles get only when gas prices are high, or when choosing which vehicle to  buy.  After all, what does individual mileage really matter with over 260 million vehicles on American roads? But our national average MPG and the standards behind it are important for what we breathe and experience each and every time we go outside. It’s time to consider what it means to be part of the whole.

What’s being proposed by the Trump Administration?

AMC Pinkham Notch E-Car Charging Station
  • Retracting an existing rule and freezing targets for fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards in 2020. (The current standards would apply through model year 2025.)
  • Removing individual states’ rights to do more to protect their citizens from harmful air quality. This rule seeks to prevent California and 12 other states from implementing cleaner standards. Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, which have Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) standards, would all be affected, as would Delaware and Pennsylvania, which are Low Emission Vehicle (LEV)-only states.

What would keeping the stronger standards in place achieve?

  • Less fuel use per mile, which saves consumers money.
  • Less fuel use also means less pollution in the air. Vehicles contribute heavily to ozone and toxic air pollution and have now surpassed stationary sources such as power plants as the largest source of climate pollution.
  • California maintains the waiver that allows it and a dozen other states to improve upon federal standards in addressing regional air pollution.

Fighting for the current standards to stay in place is a no-brainer when it comes to preserving the environment, our health, and our pocketbooks.  All three are at stake in this dangerous plan, and we need to push back hard. Join AMC’s Conservation Action Network to be alerted when the public comment period opens, then help us oppose this rollback!

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Georgia Murray

Conservation and Nature Notes blogger Georgia Murray has been AMC's Air Quality Staff Scientist since 2000. She has an M.S. degree in Earth Sciences from the University of New Hampshire and currently oversees the AMC's air quality and climate monitoring programs.