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White House plan to revoke states’ authority to set emissions standards would increase pollution, cost consumers 

WASHINGTON, DC — Today the White House announced its intention to strip 14 states of their long-standing authority to set vehicle emission standards, which have been instrumental in reducing pollution across the country and had the added benefit of saving consumers money at the pump.

Shannon Baker-Branstetter, Manager of Cars & Energy Policy for Consumer Reports says, “Today’s vehicles are safer, more reliable, and perform better than ever before, all while reducing harmful emissions and saving money on gas, thanks in large part to standards that the EPA is now trying to undo.”

Revoking states’ authority to protect consumers from harmful greenhouse gas emissions is part of a larger effort on the part of the administration to roll back rules on vehicle efficiency and emissions. A recent analysis by Consumer Reports found that the administration’s plan to freeze fuel efficiency standards would set consumers back about $3,300 per vehicle in net costs.

“The emissions and efficiency standards – as they were adopted – are fair, achievable, and save drivers money,” adds Baker-Branstetter. “This attack on the Clean Air Act only benefits oil companies, whose profits are being put ahead of consumer health and wellbeing.”

Because they led the world in addressing air pollution more than 50 years ago, the Clean Air Act specifically established California’s authority to adopt tailpipe pollution standards that are stronger than those set by the federal government. The Clean Air Act also explicitly allows other states to adopt that same stronger standard. Fourteen states covering more than 118 million people have chosen stronger pollution standards to protect public health and consumers’ pocketbooks, and these standards have played a key role in cleaning up the air in states across the country for decades.

“This effort is an expensive waste of time. It is going to fail in court because there’s no legal basis for revoking an existing emissions waiver, but the uncertainty it brings stalls innovation and progress on increasing consumer choices of efficient and electric vehicles,” says Baker-Branstetter. “The administration is looking to gut Clean Car standards, and states’ authority is a critical backstop, preserving benefits for millions of Americans while providing certainty for automakers.”