By Printus LeBlanc
On April 2, 2018, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt EPA’s Administrator, Scott Pruitt, announced the completion of the Midterm Evaluation (MTE) process for greenhouse gas emission standards. Pruitt concluded the current standards for vehicles in 2022-2025 were unrealistic and needed to be revised. Of course, environmental radicals went crazy, refusing to care how many people might be hurt by government regulations. Thankfully President Trump and Administrator Pruitt are not scared of the big green radicals and have set a course of prosperity for the American people.
The Obama administration didn’t even try to hide its hatred for the fossil fuel industry. The industry was attacked from every angle. It restricted oil drilling, imposed excess regulations on transportation of oil and gas, and raised Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for the future to unrealistic levels. The increased CAFE standards were a direct attempt to social engineer the population. The administration didn’t like the fossil fuel industry, so it imposed regulations it believed would lead to the death of the light truck and SUV.
When the Trump administration took over, one of its priorities was to ensure excessive regulations from the EPA were not putting people out of work. The CAFE standards were one such set of regulations.
The CAFE standards are rules regulating the fuel economy of a given fleet of vehicles. The regulations were part of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, which came about as a result of the 1973 oil embargo. Congress wanted to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, and they believed CAFE standards would help with that. The first year for CAFE coverage was 1978, and it was intended to double fuel economy to 27.5 mpg by 1985.
The Obama administration moved aggressively once in office. On May 19, 2009, Obama proposed new CAFE standards for model year cars 2012 through 2016. The new standards required 39 mpg for cars and 30 mpg for trucks for an average of 35.5 mpg in 2016. This was a massive increase from the from the 2009 average of 25 mpg.
Obama continued the assault in 2011, announcing another astronomical hike in CAFE standards. The administration increased the average for model year 2025 vehicles to 54.5 mpg. A number intended to push all Americans out of light trucks and SUVs and into Prii (plural of Prius). The high threshold for mpg was designed to do one thing and one thing only, put Americans in cars they didn’t want to drive.
When the Trump administration took over, it vowed to update or end burdensome regulations, and the CAFE standards were squarely in his crosshairs. The CAFE standards were hurting the automobile industry, and the President wanted a review of the issue conducted.
Scott Pruitt went to work and concluded the previous administration’s goals were not only unreasonable but reckless and not based on market conditions.
The original EPA report failed to take into effect basic market principles such as supply and demand. The report released by Pruitt’s EPA stated, “the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance) stated that the level of technology modeled by EPA is insufficient to meet the standards and that the actual level of technology needed is misaligned with market realities. Global automakers similarly charged that “decline in vehicle sales, lower gas prices, an increased preference for light trucks over cars, and sluggish demand for high fuel economy vehicles – are taking place as the stringency of the standards increase at an unprecedented rate.”
An issue no one is thinking about is the disabled community. People that need a vehicle with wheelchair access choose SUVs or minivans for a reason. These are the only vehicles that are affordable, spacious, and can handle the stress load. Mechanical wheelchairs can get up to 500 lbs. and when the lift system or ramp is included the added weight can be up to half a ton. The vehicles used for this task do not get the best gas mileage simply because of the additional weight. If automakers were going to be fined for making the vehicles that don’t meet the excessively high CAFE standards set by the Obama administration, why would they make them?
The Obama era CAFE standards would have eliminated an entire class of vehicle hundreds of thousands of people depend on for transportation. Thankfully the Trump administration halted this assault against the handicapped community.
President Trump promised action at the EPA and Scot Pruitt is delivering. Despite made up controversies flung at him daily, Pruitt continues to set the EPA on the right path balancing the economy and jobs with protecting the environment for future generations. The CAFE standards are an important step in restoring sanity to the EPA. President Trump and Administrator Pruitt are to be commended for listening to the American people, something most people in D.C. forgot how to do.
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Printus LeBlanc is a contributing editor for Americans for Limited Government.