Businesses Say EPA Will Hurt Economy with Pull Back of Emissions Standards


In response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent announcement that current vehicle fuel economy and emission standards need to be weakened, investors and businesses have fired back, stating that such loosened regulations will hurt not only the auto industry, but the economy as a whole.

According to Carol Lee Rawn, director of transportation at Ceres, which works with investors and Fortune 500 companies on sustainability issues, “Major investors and businesses understand that rolling back the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and emissions standards will undermine the global competitiveness of the US auto industry at a time when the rest of the world is moving in the opposite direction, prioritizing clean vehicles and responding to consumer demand for cars that save them money.”

More than 40 national and international corporations, including General Mills, Nike, Inc., and Unilever, among others, recently sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on the matter. The companies, with combined annual revenues topping $400 billion, are members of Ceres’ Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) Network. The letter to Pruitt pointed out that strong fuel-efficiency and emissions standards “strengthen the U.S. economy, save business and consumers money, enhance the global competitiveness of the U.S. auto industry, provide regulatory certainty needed to spur innovation, reduce both our dependence on oil and climate risk, and create jobs.”

The letter concludes that, since states representing more than one-third of the US vehicle market have committed to these standards, weakening them would cause regulatory uncertainty and delay while undermining their intended economic and environmental benefits.

Rawn added, “Our analysis shows that weakening fuel-economy and emissions standards will harm the economy and the auto industry, particularly auto parts suppliers, who employ more than twice as many Americans as auto companies, and who, relying on current standards, have invested heavily in fuel-efficient technologies. Strong fuel-economy standards also offer automakers insurance against future gas price spikes; in the past, automakers lost significant market share when gas prices spiked and they couldn’t offer the fuel-efficient vehicles consumers wanted. Fuel efficiency savings at the pump means increased consumer spending elsewhere, which creates local jobs and boosts U.S. economic growth. We are deeply troubled by the EPA’s decision.”

In November 2017, a study co-authored by an MIT professor revealed that the best way for cities to reduce emissions is to focus on residential buildings, not transportation.

The research paper, “Intersecting Residential and Transportation CO2 Emissions,” analyzed how extensively local planning policies could either complement the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) of 2015 or compensate for its absence. The Trump administration has announced it intends to unwind the CPP.



The 3rd Annual Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference takes place May 15 – 17, 2018 in Denver. Learn more here.


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