by Dan Becker and James Gerstenzang, Safe Climate Campaign
U.S. automakers are lobbying President Donald Trump and Congress to roll back rules that cut auto pollution and deliver better gas mileage, putting short-term profits ahead of long-term competitive interests. They’ve driven their gas hogs down this pot-holed road before. It led to their near-death experience less than a decade ago.
But Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler are not just jeopardizing their industry and the environment. The weaker rules they seek will increase our oil dependence, give China’s burgeoning clean-car industry an advantage in the race to dominate the global auto market, and cost consumers billions at the pump. If they succeed, so much for Trump’s promises to cut the trade deficit, revive American manufacturing, and help middle-income workers.
When President Barack Obama worked with automakers and California officials to set us on course to a 2025 new-car fleet averaging better than 50 miles per gallon, the United States took the biggest single step of any nation to cut oil use and fight global warming. In January, after exhaustive analysis, the Environmental Protection Agency found that so much affordable gas-saving technology exists that the mileage-and-emissions standard could even be strengthened.