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New Fuel Economy: How Trump’s New Fuel Policies Affect Car Owners and Gas Prices

By Charles Omedo , Mar 16, 2017 07:16 AM EDT
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US President Donald Trump has announced that he will either review or revoke former President Obama's policy to increase fuel consumption for American cars over a 10-year period. Obama ordered automakers to ramp up fuel economy as a way of combating climate change and protecting the environment through the production of green cars. Trump on the other hand disagrees and is seeking to ask automakers to go back to producing cars with lower fuel consumption and without much thought for the environment.

Trump Not Worried With Climate Change

During a meeting with automotive stakeholders at the American Center for Mobility in Detroit on Wednesday, President Trump made it clear he would rather focus on providing more jobs for Americans than give a hoot to auto carbon emissions, UPI reported. He added that he would not sacrifice auto jobs for some debatable climate change threat because the American people should always come first. He would therefore either modify or revoke Obama's existing guidelines on increased fuel economy aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

As can be expected, the president's announcement is already generating backlash from environmentalists and lawmakers alike. Greenpeace USA spokesman, Charlie Cray, says Trump's announcement shows he and automakers are "putting profits ahead of the health of the people and planet" by rolling back clean car standards. And Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders chided the president in a tweet that he is "acting like climate change is a hoax" by invalidating environmental protections.

Trump's New Fuel Economy And Its Impacts

USA TODAY analyzed the implications of the anticipated roll back fuel economy standards on car owners and gas prices among others. For starters, the paper reports that higher carbon emissions and ugly environmental conditions would be the direct result of Trump's fuel economy rollback, known as corporate average fuel economy (CAFE). This would arguably cause terrible weather conditions, biodiversity loss, rising sea levels, and unpleasant human health conditions.

It is also considered that CAFE would influence how automakers design and make cars since the trend now is for bigger crossover and SUVs among others. Automakers are trying to make these bigger and hybrid cars more fuel-efficient, but foreign manufacturers would never comply with these rules even when they bring their cars for sales in the US. Meanwhile, California is leading other states to market cars that are more fuel-efficient as well as alternative-powertrain vehicles, a trend that is definitely higher than any standards set by the EPA.

Meanwhile, automakers would generate more profit with fuel economy small cars which consumers can easily afford. In fact, 18 automakers had written Trump after his inauguration to review Obama's guidelines on increase fuel economy. So lesser fuel consumption will also lead to cheaper car production and purchase, while consumers will save more at the gas pumps.

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