As questions swirl about whether President Donald Trump's rollbacks will harm the environment, one crucial factor looms large over the fate of emission standards: consumers' wallets.
The Trump administration proposes that a rollback on CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards will produce a $2,340 reduction in overall average vehicle ownership costs for new vehicles and save $500 billion in societal costs over the next 50 years. Yet, auto industry experts warn that the rollback could add thousands to consumers' fuel bills over the lifetime of a car.
"Consumers are going to lose," said David Friedman, vice president of advocacy for Consumer Reports. "Consumers are going to end up with cars that they're spending $3,000 more over the lifetime of a car and $5,000 more for the lifetime of an SUV, " he added, referring to greater fuel costs.
In 2012 the Obama administration initiated the gradual increase of federal fuel economy standards with the goal of reaching 54.5 mpg for new vehicles by model year 2025. Obama pushed for greater fuel efficiency to combat climate change and to "save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump." Instead, the Trump administration is attempting to freeze the standards to 37 mpg by the 2026 model year. Trump contends that the price of new vehicles will quickly become "out of reach for many American families" if CAFE standards continue to rise.