Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

Re-opening Vehicle Standards Defies Science, Hurts Drivers and Climate

Statement by Michelle Robinson, Union of Concerned Scientists.

The Trump administration is set to announce that it will re-open and revise emissions and efficiency standards for light-duty vehicles, upending a successful policy that has resulted in cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars every year since it was finalized in 2012. The administration will likely weaken the standards, clearly contradicting the science showing that, if anything, they could be stronger. This change is indefensible and will stall the progress that has been made on improving vehicles, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Michelle Robinson, Director of the Clean Vehicles Program at UCS.

“It seems that the Trump administration is dead-set on undoing vehicle standards, one of the most important—and successful—policies we have to cut oil use and global warming pollution. It’s an indefensible and frankly embarrassing decision.

“We have years’ worth of research by federal and state agencies showing that these standards are both technically feasible and cost-effective. We’ve seen automakers putting out cleaner models every year as they’re enjoying some of the best sales years in history. America’s drivers have saved more than $57 billion on gasoline thanks to these standards and we’ve reduced emissions by 228 million metric tons. The best available evidence shows that these standards are important for both the climate and the economy. Reinvesting fuel savings domestically means more jobs. And in an increasingly competitive global marketplace, it’s critical that manufacturers continue to develop the next-generation of fuel-saving technologies here in the U.S.

“Clearly, this administration is not interested in what the evidence shows. In their eagerness to undo the previous administration’s policies and fulfill the wish lists of industry lobbies, they’re willing to throw the facts aside to roll back these rules. 

“This decision also undermines today’s successful national program, in which state clean car standards are aligned with federal emissions and fuel economy standards. California and 13 other states are moving ahead, ensuring that their residents have access to clean, affordable cars and trucks, while the lack of national leadership would leave consumers in other states behind. This decision could create needless uncertainty and conflict between the federal government, states, and automakers. 

“The Trump administration should respect the facts and recognize that its job is to act in the public interest. That means keeping the standards in place, so they can continue to cut pollution, save consumers money, and drive innovation. We have to keep moving forward—but this decision would take us backward. It’s simply wrong.”


The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.

'Utterly Shameless': Former Democratic Senators Join Fossil Fuel Lobby Group

"This is climate denial and shameful bullshit," scoffed one scientist. "Also the future for Manchin and Sinema."

Brett Wilkins ·

'When You Don't Change People's Lives, People Get Upset,' Says AOC

To reverse slump in Democratic approval ratings, the congresswoman said Biden should start by cancelling student loan debt.

Julia Conley ·

Sioux Tribe Withdraws as Cooperating Agency Over Dakota Access Pipeline Threat

"The prospect of an oil spill during such low water is truly scary," says the tribe's Water Resources Department administrator.

Jessica Corbett ·

New Report Shows How US Transportation System 'Fuels Inequality'

Favoring cars over public transit has "consequences for racial and economic justice, the environment, and more," the Institute for Policy Studies warns.

Brett Wilkins ·

Gas Stoves Even Worse for Climate, Health Than Previously Thought

New study shows methane leaks from U.S. gas-burning stoves have a climate impact comparable to emissions from about 500,000 cars.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo