How You Can Help
Push the federal government to keep new vehicle standards free of harmful loopholes.
In November, the Obama administration proposed new fuel efficiency and auto pollution standards for cars and light trucks, formalizing an agreement reached with automakers in July. As Earthwise went to press, UCS expected the new standards (which begin taking effect in 2017) to reach the equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, cutting carbon emissions and boosting new vehicles’ fuel economy substantially.
Improving vehicles’ environmental performance is one of the most important steps we can take to save consumers money at the gas pump, reduce the risks of global warming, and cut America’s oil dependence. The technology exists today—in the form of more-efficient engines, smarter transmissions, and better materials—to make any new car, truck, or SUV cleaner and more fuel efficient. Automakers are putting this technology to work: 39 models in showrooms now—varying in size from compact cars to pickups—already meet 2017 fuel economy targets.
However, the government’s attempts to help automakers comply with the proposed standards provide an opportunity for automakers to undermine them. For example, SUVs, pickup trucks, and minivans will be held to weaker standards than cars. This provision could easily become a loophole if automakers abuse the system and reclassify cars as trucks.
The Environmental Protection Agency and other regulating agencies are seeking public comment on the new standards over the next two months. Decision makers need to hear from consumers like you during this period, since you have the most to gain—or lose—from the outcome.
What You Can Do
Submit an official comment to the rule-making agencies and urge them to finalize the strongest possible fuel efficiency and auto pollution standards. Send an email via the online UCS Action Network at www.ucsusa.org/action, or mail a letter to:
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20460
Attn: Docket no. EPA–HQ–OAR– 2010–0799
Presented in the Union of Concerned Scientists Earthwise Newsletter, Volume 14, Number 1, winter 2011/2012