Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

"The clean car standards can limit global warming pollution by six billion tons, save consumers $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, and reduce oil consumption by up to four million barrels every day," Sierra Club's Gina Coplon-Newfield observed. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)

'Among Stupidest Policies Yet Proposed,' Trump EPA to Lower Car Emissions Standards

"Weakening clean car standards is bad for the planet, public health, and the auto industry itself."

Jake Johnson

After more than a year of aggressively lobbying the Trump administration to gut Obama-era fuel efficiency standards aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emmissions, automakers are poised to finally have their wish granted on Sunday, when EPA chief Scott Pruitt is scheduled to officially declare the rules "not appropriate."

"The current iteration of fuel standards are based on sound science, which the EPA should be using to make its decision—not pressure from the auto industry."
—Natalie Nava, Greenpeace USA
As Reuters reports, Pruitt is then planning to deliver a speech on Tuesday celebrating the regulatory rollback from a Chevrolet dealership in Virginia—a fitting location, given that representatives of Chevrolet's parent company General Motors met with Pruitt frequently last year to demand less stringent fuel standards.

Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, argued that Pruitt's plan to lower emissions standards "ranks high among the stupidest policies yet proposed" by the Trump administration.

"Weakening clean car standards is bad for the planet, public health, and the auto industry itself. Ford Motor Company and other automakers...have been actively fighting the clean car standards and have been instrumental in pushing for this development," Natalie Nava, project leader at Greenpeace USA, added in a statement on Thursday. "The current iteration of fuel standards are based on sound science, which the EPA should be using to make its decision—not pressure from the auto industry."

In a tweet on Friday, Public Citizen similarly accused the EPA of "pandering to auto executives and their Washington lobbyists."

While it is not yet known what specific changes Pruitt plans to make to current fuel efficiency standards, states and environmental groups are already gearing up to challenge what is expected to be a significant rollback in court. Under the current rules, put in place in 2012, automakers would be required to "nearly double the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025," the New York Times explains.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led the opposition to Pruitt's rule changes on Friday, declaring: "California is prepared to take any steps necessary to protect our planet and people."

Though companies like Ford and General Motors have publicly expressed their "commitment to sustainability," Sierra Club's Gina Coplon-Newfield argued in a series of tweets on Thursday that their relentless push for weaker efficiency standards exposes the shallowness of their pro-environment rhetoric.

"The clean car standards can limit global warming pollution by six billion tons, save consumers $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, and reduce oil consumption by up to four million barrels every day," Coplon-Newfield observed. "Ford has been working with Scott Pruitt and Donald Trump to roll these standards back to pollute our communities and increase what people pay at the pump."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Mark Meadows 'Did Seek That Pardon, Yes Ma'am,' Hutchinson Testifies

The former aide confirmed that attorney Rudy Giuliani also sought a presidential pardon related to the January 6 attack.

Jessica Corbett ·


UN Chief Warns of 'Ocean Emergency' as Leaders Confront Biodiversity Loss, Pollution

"We must turn the tide," said Secretary-General António Guterres. "A healthy and productive ocean is vital to our shared future."

Julia Conley ·


'I Don't F—ing Care That They Have Weapons': Trump Wanted Security to Let Armed Supporters March on Capitol

"They're not here to hurt me," Trump said on the day of the January 6 insurrection, testified a former aide to ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Jake Johnson ·


Facebook Removing Posts About Mailing Abortion Pills—But Not Guns

"Corporations are not your allies in the advancement of civil rights," said one observer.

Kenny Stancil ·


'Morally Bankrupt' G7 Slammed for 'Caving' to Fossil Fuel Lobby on Climate

"People in poverty around the world will pay the highest price for this backtrack by some of the wealthiest countries," one activist warned of the group's new statement on gas investments.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo