The Myth That a Cleaner Car Is Less Safe Than a Dirty One

By Dan Becker and James Gerstenzang


To justify rolling back auto gas mileage and emissions rules, the Trump administration has fabricated a false conflict between safety and improved fuel economy. The administration is wrong. Americans must have both, and can.

Encouraged by automakers to roll back President Barack Obama’s stringent fuel-efficiency rules, the administration unveiled a proposal on Thursday doing just that. Its preferred option: bringing progress to a halt by requiring no further mileage improvements in new cars and light trucks beyond 2020.

As written, the original standard would cut tailpipe pollution in half and deliver a new-car fleet in 2025 averaging an estimated 36 miles per gallon in real-world driving, equivalent to about 50 m.p.g. in test conditions. It is the biggest single step any nation has taken to fight climate change. Because automakers didn’t want to build cars under two sets of rules, they negotiated with the Obama administration in 2009 to set strong U.S. standards that California accepted.

The Trump plan would lower that average to 29 m.p.g. on the road and spew an additional 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide, the key global warming pollutant, by 2040, according to estimates by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The administration’s plan cooks the books: It claims clean-car technology would cost far more than the Obama team projected. It assumes that higher sticker prices for new cars will keep Americans in older, less safe vehicles. And it predicts they will drive far more miles than in the past — 1.3 trillion more than an exhaustive Obama administration analysis forecast, thus exposing them to greater risk.

The administration is ignoring three central facts:

Savings at the pump greatly outweigh the cost of gas-saving technology. Because cars and light trucks would need less gas, an average owner would save nearly $6,000 over the life of a 2025 vehicle under the Obama plan, even after paying for the gas-saving technology.

Click here to read the full op-ed.

Statement by Dan Becker on Trump’s Rollback of the CAFE Standards

This is a massive rollback of the biggest single step any nation has taken against global warming. This extreme rollback might just earn Trump a Nobel Prize for pollution. Driven by industry, the president is waging war on the environment and consumers.

Trump’s industry-driven rollback represents the triumph of anti-environmental ideology over common sense and will make America polluted again.

For an administration that is happy to let states set their own rules when it comes to weakening environmental protection, it’s the height of hypocrisy to deny California and a dozen other states their right to protect their people from global warming.

Trump is cynically attempting to justify the rollbacks with a parade of concocted horrors. None has occurred six years after the standards’ adoption. Now, his administration has trotted out the old safety canard that the government’s own data disproves. Better engineering, stronger materials and improved technology, including airbags and anti-lock brakes, deliver safer cars. Weight does not.

Click here to read the full statement.


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Global Warming 101

A Safe Climate for All of Us

The Safe Climate Campaign is working to solve the biggest challenge we face: Global warming. The technology exists today to protect our fragile climate by cutting our dependence on polluting fossil fuels, such as oil. We have a responsibility to our children and our communities to take sensible steps now to become good stewards of the…

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Opinion articles by Safe Climate Campaign

President Trump and the auto industry are teaming up to roll back gas mileage and emissions rules that would deliver a new car fleet in 2025 averaging 36 mpg in real-world driving. Fortunately, California — and a dozen other states — insist we need to keep the tough standard, which is the biggest single step ever taken against climate change.

The Trump administration’s counter-arguments make as much sense as buying a pickup truck to haul your latte home from Starbucks.

California’s leadership role grows out of its historic smog problems…

Read more…

Safe Climate Campaign in the News

Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change: Pt. I and Pt. II. The New York Times Magazine, August 1, 2018.


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From NOAA: History of atmospheric carbon dioxide from 800,000 years ago until January, 2016.






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