Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are less than 72 hours left in this Mid-Year Campaign and our independent journalism needs your help today.
If you value our work, please support Common Dreams. This is our hour of need.

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.

Cars on highway

"Amid a spiraling health crisis and economic turmoil, Trump is recklessly driving us over a climate cliff," said Dan Becker, director of Safe Climate Campaign. (Photo: Sarah Nichols/Flickr/cc)

Trump to Kneecap Obama-Era Fuel Efficiency Standards, Hurtling Nation 'Toward a More Dangerous Climate'

"Of all the bad things President Trump has done to the environment, this is the worst."

Andrea Germanos

As the nation grapples with the coronavirus outbreak crisis, the Trump administration intends to further threaten public health and advance its attacks on environmental regulations with a new rule neutering Obama-era vehicle mileage standards, according to multiple news reports Monday.

The administration is expected to announce the new rule Tuesday.

The Obama administration in 2012 ordered automakers to have a 5% annual increase in fuel efficiency for model years beginning in 2021‚ a standard that would bring the equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.  The Trump administration will significantly weaken that standard and instead require a 1.5% annual increase, putting the 2025 at 40 mpg.

"Of all the bad things President Trump has done to the environment, this is the worst," said Dan Becker, director of Safe Climate Campaign.

"Amid a spiraling health crisis and economic turmoil, Trump is recklessly driving us over a climate cliff," Becker added.

As Bloomberg reported,

The final regulation's release will conclude a years-long effort to dismantle the ambitious standards, which supporters have called the most effective policy ever enacted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change.

The expected regulatory change drew criticism from climate experts who said it spells bad news for consumers and the planet alike.

"This is an enormous license for car companies to lock in and profit from decades more pollution from SUVs," meteorologist and journalist Eric Holthaus said on Twitter Monday. "This rule change alone is expected to result in a billion tons of needless CO2."

Ken Kimmell, president of Union of Concerned Scientists, concurred.

"This new rule leaves the country worse off. In the near term, it's a massive transfer of tens of billions of dollars from drivers to oil companies, as consumers will spend more on gasoline due to less efficient cars. It also cedes American leadership in vehicle manufacturing, putting the automakers at risk in a global market. In the long term, it's even worse—a deliberate decision to steer us at high speed toward a more dangerous climate," said Kimmell.

"To add insult to injury, the Trump administration has barely even attempted to justify this new rule, basing its decision on flimsy or outright false arguments," he continued. "The stated rationale defies common sense, science, and the public interest. This new rule will face a difficult test in the federal courts, which should have no patience for this kind of shoddy reasoning."


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.

Ocasio-Cortez Says US 'Witnessing a Judicial Coup in Process'

"It is our duty to check the Court's gross overreach of power in violating people's inalienable rights and seizing for itself the powers of Congress and the president."

Brett Wilkins ·


Critics Say Biden Drilling Bonanza 'Won't Lower Gas Prices' But 'Will Worsen Climate Crisis'

"President Biden's massive public lands giveaway in the face of utter climate catastrophe is just the latest sign that his climate commitments are mere rhetoric," said one campaigner.

Kenny Stancil ·


Grave Warnings as Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case That Threatens 'Future of Voting Rights'

"Buckle up," implores one prominent legal scholar. "An extreme decision here could fundamentally alter the balance of power in setting election rules in the states and provide a path for great threats to elections."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Urged to Take Emergency Action After 'Disastrous' Climate Ruling by Supreme Court

"The catastrophic impact of this decision cannot be understated," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, but "we cannot accept defeat."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Now We're Talking!' Says AOC as Biden Backs Filibuster Carveout for Abortion Rights

"Time for people to see a real, forceful push for it," said the New York Democrat. "Use the bully pulpit. We need more."

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo