Fuel rules will jack up vehicle sticker prices
When the Obama Environmental Protection Agency set greenhouse gas emission standards for vehicles, they set a half-way “check-up” to see if the standards are working as intended.
Under this Mid-Term Evaluation Review, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and EPA were supposed to jointly give their takeaways from the review and thoughts on the next half of the rule, for the years 2022-25, by April 2018.
However, the Obama EPA unilaterally issued its own final determination just seven days before President Trump was sworn into office.
The purpose of the review was to adjust the targets if circumstances change. When the rule was originally finalized, EPA projected gas prices near $4 per gallon by now, and sales of electric vehicles and hybrids growing rapidly. However, technology has helped find new oil across the U.S., keeping prices well below $3 per gallon. Consumer preferences have also reflected a strong preference for SUVs, crossovers and pickups. As a result, updated standards must reflect these realities.
If the environment is truly the consideration, the goal must be one nationwide standard for industry that allows it to produce affordable vehicles with better fuel efficiency that consumers can afford to buy. Why? This will allow our nation to get older, less fuel efficient, dirtier vehicles off our roads to improve air quality.
EPA estimates that the Obama-era rules would add more than $2,800 to sticker prices when fully implemented. Family-sized vehicles are likely to be hardest hit.
The standards are developed and the review was scheduled precisely to ensure the process is working properly. To succeed, our nation’s fuel efficiency standards must be balanced with air quality, safety and consumer preferences in mind. The government is not here to dictate or pick winners and losers to achieve a predetermined outcome. We must allow the data to drive the process, not politics.
Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, is vice chair of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee.