PRESS RELEASE: Auto emissions rollbacks are step backward for nation’s health and environment

March 31, 2020

Melissa Schlag,
Laura McMillan,

Auto emissions rollbacks are step backward for nation’s health and environment

New Haven, Conn. – Today the federal government announced final rules that significantly roll back automobile fuel economy and tailpipe standards.

Under the new rule, average motor vehicle fuel economy would need to reach 40 miles per gallon by 2025, rather than 54 miles per gallon as required under 2012 regulations. The lower standard means that consumers will need to purchase approximately 80 billion more gallons of gasoline to run their cars and that nearly a billion more tons of carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere.

In 2019, California and four major auto manufacturers (the Ford Motor Company, Volkswagen of America, Honda, and BMW) reached an agreement on car emissions standards nearly as stringent as the Obama administration’s regulations.

Charles Rothenberger, Save the Sound’s climate and energy attorney, commented:

“The clean car revolution is already here, in ways that benefit all Americans. Fuel economy for gas cars and trucks continues to improve, saving families money at the pump. More people than ever are choosing electric vehicles. Strong standards are driving innovation and jobs at American companies. And lower emissions are reducing both damage to our climate and the pollution that exacerbates asthma, heart disease, and other chronic health conditions.

“Reversing all that progress would be foolish. There is simply nothing to be gained.

“Motor vehicle manufacturers had negotiated compromise standards, as part of an effort to establish regulatory certainty through a single robust national standard, which this new rule completely ignores. If the EPA had accepted the compromise, it would have created certainty for manufacturers, protected family pocketbooks, and helped ensure clean air for all. Instead, this administration has chosen a reckless climate policy and an uncertain future for one of the economic engines of the nation’s heartland. 

“This new federal action promises years of litigation while discouraging innovation, ensuring increased fuel costs, and prolonging the public health consequences of poor air quality. In the end, these lower standards will only hurt consumers.”


Note: Save the Sound is the new unified name of Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound. The organization’s mission and team remain the same.

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