Last week, the Trump Administration laid out its long-anticipated plan to roll back fuel efficiency standards for passenger vehicles sold between 2021 and 2025. In short, the administration is proposing to freeze the standards at 2020 levels instead of maintaining the more ambitious schedule of improvements through 2025 set forth by the Obama Administration. It is also planning to revoke California’s Clean Air Act Preemption Waiver, thereby prohibiting the state from setting its own greenhouse gas emission standards and maintaining other related policies such as zero emissions vehicle mandates.

Without question, the proposal represents an important shift in U.S. energy and climate policy. Some have even suggested that this rollback is likely the Trump Administration’s most significant climate policy rollback to date. The impending court battle over California’s waiver is perhaps the most consequential element—if the Trump administration prevails in the now more right-leaning Supreme Court, the state could lose its current authority to set independent vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards.

But as opponents of the proposal gear up for a fight, it is worth asking what specifically they hope to gain. The truth is that nothing we have done so far as a society has cracked the code on addressing carbon emissions in transportation, even as the case for doing so has become radically stronger. Rather than engage in a heated battle over the final phase of the Obama-era standards, the timing may be right to begin exploring alternative policies.

Continue reading at Forbes…

Areas of Focus: Climate Change
Definition
Climate Change
Climate change is an urgent global challenge. EPIC research is helping to assess its impacts, quantify its costs, and identify an efficient set of policies to reduce emissions and adapt...
Climate Law & Policy
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Climate Law & Policy
As countries around the world implement policies to confront climate change, EPIC research is calculating which policies will have the most impact for the least cost.
Transportation
Definition
Transportation
Mobility is central to economic activity. Yet, a lack of fuel diversity and continued demand growth have made the transportation industry a major contributor to global pollution and carbon emissions....
Fuel Economy Standards
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Fuel Economy Standards
Fuel economy standards are the United States’ cornerstone transportation policy aimed at reducing both oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. EPIC research is exploring whether these standards are structured optimally...