Rolling Back Cleaner Cars Standards Would Harm Americans

Americans deserve healthy air. The Trump administration's plan to roll back cleaner cars standards will result in dirtier cars that pollute the air and harm public health. It's also an attack on states' rights.

The American Lung Association strongly opposes the Trump Administration's effort to roll back cleaner cars standards.

  • Doing so would halt important steps to clean up vehicle pollution and address climate change.
  • The oil industry is the big winner if the vehicle standards are weakened, while public health and consumers lose.
  • We urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to fulfill their responsibility to protect the health of all Americans and maintain the cleaner cars standards, as well as respect states’ rights to protect their citizens by adopting stronger standards.

Cleaner cars standards have a track record of public health and consumer benefits.

  • Cleaner cars standards, put in place in 2012 by the EPA and NHTSA, have successfully limited harmful emissions and increased fuel efficiency for consumers.
  • Standards currently in place will increase fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new cars.
  • These standards are achievable. Independent analyses show that automakers are currently on track to meet the standards at lower cost than originally anticipated.
  • Polling shows nearly 7 in 10 voters support keeping strong clean cars standards in place.

Cleaner cars standards are essential for protecting public health from the impacts of climate change.

  • The cleaner cars standards have proven successful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which cause climate change.
  • From heat waves and droughts to wildfires and floods, climate change degrades air quality and puts children and people with lung disease at even greater risk; these impacts are taking a toll on Americans' health today.
    • For example, 2016 was the second hottest year on record. Our recent "State of the Air" report shows that the high heat contributed to an uptick in unhealthy air days across the nation.
  • Rolling back cleaner cars standards will weaken our nation's ability to reduce vehicle emissions and protect Americans from the worst impacts of climate change on Americans' health.

The Trump Administration's plan threatens states' rights to limit dangerous vehicle pollution and take more aggressive steps to protect their citizens.

  • Under the Clean Air Act, states have the authority to adopt vehicle emission standards that are more stringent than the federal standards. This authority allows states to set stronger limits on vehicle emissions that can trigger asthma attacks, cause cancer and even kill.
  • Thirteen states and the District of Columbia, representing 113 million people and more than a third of the automotive market, have exercised this right to adopt stronger standards.

An even larger 18-state coalition, representing nearly 50 percent of the nation's auto market, is suing EPA to maintain the current national standard that protects all Americans from dirty air and saves them money when they fill up.

Page last updated: March 12, 2020

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