We Must Keep Automakers On Track To Deliver Clean Cars

by Chris Hagerbaumer, Deputy Director

More than a decade ago, Oregon joined California, Washington, ten other states and the District of Columbia to insist that automakers curb pollution that harms our health and heats our planet. 

These protections were so sensible and so cost-effective that in 2009 the federal government adopted them nationwide. Because of proactive states like Oregon, our cars are cheaper to drive, our air is cleaner, and our tailpipes are emitting fewer greenhouse gases. 

The nation’s clean car standards and complementary fuel-economy standards have led to important technological innovations. Contrary to automakers’ dire predictions, these regulations have not put them out of business. In fact, complying has cost them less than they anticipated, and the U.S. auto industry is in the midst of record sales and high profits. 

But these smart standards are in jeopardy. On March 15, the Trump Administration required EPA to “reconsider” a recent rule that keeps automakers on track to deliver improvements in fuel economy through 2025. And there’s reason to worry that the Administration’s next move will be to take away states’ rights to implement their own clean car programs that hold automakers responsible for reducing greenhouse gases and producing more electric cars.

This is personal for Oregon Environmental Council and for every Oregonian who wants clean air and a stable climate! 

Back in 2005, Oregon Environmental Council joined forces with Environment Oregon to bring together a coalition of more than 100 businesses, health professionals, faith leaders, elected officials and conservation groups in support of the clean car standards. Together with more than 5,000 individual Oregonians, our Clean Cars for Oregon coalition convinced the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission to adopt the clean car standards. 

Ever since, Oregon Environmental Council has been at the table, making sure the rules for implementing these tailpipe standards were strong and fighting back against any attacks. In addition, we’re working to make sure that a requirement shared by Oregon and eight other states, which requires automakers to sell a certain percentage of electric cars, remains intact.

Oregonians deserve clean car choices. Our fellow Americans deserve clean car choices. Clean cars protect our health and reduce our impact on the climate. They save car owners money and increase consumer choice. They make our nation more secure by using less oil. 

Appeasing polluters will do the opposite: It will harm our lungs and hearts and speed climate disruption. It will increase our dependence on oil. And it will make driving more expensive. 

We call upon the Trump Administration to keep the clean car standards in place and to allow states to continue to protect their residents. 

We call upon the Trump Administration to hold automakers responsible for their pollution. 

And we call upon the Trump Administration to protect our beautiful nation: no matter your party affiliation, everybody breathes the air.

And a special thanks to Senator Merkley for signaling to EPA Administrator Pruitt that Oregon opposes efforts to dismantle the rules that are saving consumers money at the pump, reducing climate pollution and ensuring our energy security: Senators Markey, Carper, and Merkley Join Environmental and Climate Leaders to Oppose Trump Effort to Roll-Back Auto Emissions Standards


For more background on how clean car and fuel economy rules work, read:

Trump’s plan to roll back Obama’s fuel economy rules for cars, Vox, March 15, 2017

For more information on how the  Trump Administration and clean car states may face off on states’ rights, read:

California Upholds Auto Emissions Standards, Setting Up Face-Off With Trump,New York Times, March 24, 2017


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