Strengthen the rules against auto pollution
By James Gerstenzang
and Dan Becker
Over the past eight years, strong mileage-and-emissions rules have improved auto efficiency by 5 miles per gallon, saving Americans money even after the cost of gas-saving technology is factored into car prices. Under the rules, the United States has cut oil use and reduced global warming pollution.
Despite its fearful warnings that the standards would cost autoworkers jobs, the auto industry has added nearly 700,000 positions during this period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Now, taking advantage of technology, we need to strengthen the standards to protect consumers and the climate.
A report issued last month by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents two crucial facts in the program, which is central to the Obama administration’s effort against climate change: The government’s cost estimates are on target — or may even have been too high — and there is ample technology on automakers’ shelves to meet these anti-pollution standards and go beyond them.
But automakers have declared war on the rules. Their aggressive sales of pickups and SUVs forced…
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Volkswagen’s cheating on diesel emissions tests isn’t the first pollution scandal to rock the auto industry. Here’s how the Obama administration can make it the last. VW should be ordered to fix the diesels, or buy them back and scrap them, begin large-scale production of electric vehicles and face civil and criminal penalties, including a fine large enough that no automaker will even…