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Don't roll back fuel economy standards, groups tell U.S. EPA

Obama White House

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held its second of three public listening sessions Tuesday, this one in Dearborn, on its proposal to freeze increases in fuel economy standards after 2020.

But even automakers that don't support the current standards say a freeze is going too far, as David Shepardson of Reuters reports.

Meanwhile, most health, consumer, and environmental groups oppose any loosening of the standards, which become stricter every year through 2026. Auto suppliers that specialize in fuel economy technology also oppose a rollback.

Former EPA officials also say the freeze would be a mistake.

Jeff Alson is a former EPA policy advisor who worked on the current standards for a decade, before leaving the agency in early 2018. He says a rollback will increase greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants, and force consumers to pay more at the pump.

And he says it could limit job growth.

"If we cut back on these standards while the Chinese and Europeans and Japanese continue to set more and more stringent standards, I'm afraid we're going to lose our technology leadership," says Alson. "And that could have a big impact on the health and well-being of our domestic industry."

The EPA says rolling back the standards will make cars more affordable. And the agency says cars will be safer, because automakers will not have to boost their reliance on lightweighting to make cars more fuel efficient.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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