03 Apr 2020 Black Activists Cheer Trump Administration for Easing Fuel Efficiency Mandate
“Realistic CAFE Goals… Don’t Force American Families to Choose Between Putting Food on the Table and Having a Modern Vehicle”
Washington, D.C. – A recalibrated fuel efficiency standard for American cars and light trucks is being praised by black activists for its potential to improve safety and reduce regulatory burden while still being mindful of the well-being of both the environment and the economy.
“American households have a great friend in the Trump Administration. Now, when families make one of their biggest expenditures, they will no longer be faced with excessive prices simply to have the safety they want for their loved ones,” said Horace Cooper, co-chairman of the Project 21 black leadership network.
Project 21 called for the elimination of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards in its “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America,” an outline of policy recommendations that would improve opportunity and economic mobility in black communities. Fuel efficiency mandates on automakers “make cars less affordable and less safe,” it said in the Blueprint.
Project 21 members also submitted two public comments supporting the Trump Administration’s proposed revisions, and discussed it in meetings with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and members of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The final version of the “Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles” (SAFE) rule resets high average miles-per-gallon (mpg) requirements imposed by the Obama Administration in 2012 in favor of an incremental increase to a more moderate 40.4 mpg average by vehicle model year 2026. In announcing the new rule, Secretary Chao said the new standards “are reasonable, realistic and achievable, and reflect the fact that times and technology have changed since the previous rule in 2012.” With lower CAFE standards expected to lower vehicle prices, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler predicted the rule will allow more people to replace their aging, less efficient methods of transportation. “Newer vehicles will be better for the environment than the ones that they replace,” he noted.
In their public comments, Project 21’s co-chairmen criticized the Obama CAFE increase, explaining that a “trivial moderation” in emissions was not worth “a very significant negative impact on vehicle safety” and higher vehicle costs. Arguing that “[i]ncreasing black hardship and placing drivers’ safety at greater risk for such a small payoff is simply irrational,” they wrote that it is “essential to have realistic CAFE goals that don’t force American families to choose between putting food on the table and having a modern vehicle.”
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