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Did Trump Fabricate These Fuel Economy Claims?

  • Last week, the Trump administration removed California’s waiver that allowed them to set their own emissions standards.
  • The administration cited that this removal will be better for the environment and provide the public with cheaper and safer vehicles.
  • The Associated Press’ Michael Beisecker contends that the administration isn’t being entirely forthcoming with their claims. He says they are distorting the truth.

Last week, the Trump administration removed the waiver that allowed the state of California to set its own stricter mileage standards. Previously, the state was given permission by the government to establish different emissions standards than the mandated by federal regulations.

The Trump administration claims that requiring California to adhere to federal regulations will result in cheaper and safer vehicles as well as be better for the environment. National investigative reporter for the Associated Press Michael Biesecker contends that these claims are a distortion of the facts.

Electric Cars Are Not Affordable for Most Families

Administrator for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Andrew Wheeler claims that electric vehicles are “a product … which most families cannot approach.” The AP’s Biesecker believes this comment is an overstatement.

Although Wheeler states that it costs approximately $12,000 more to manufacture an electric vehicle (EV) than it does a gasoline-powered car, he didn’t take into consideration the operational and maintenance savings. Many EV manufacturers also offer tax credits or other discounts to help offset costs.

Electric Cares Have Little Impact on the Environment

Another claim by Wheeler is that EVs “[have] minimal impact on the environment.” Again, Biesecker believes that the administration’s claims are a bit misleading.

It seems that Wheeler’s comments are justified when EVs are compared to other new vehicles. EVs make up only 2% of new vehicles, so of course the impact is going to be minimal. But when compared on a car-to-car basis, EVs leave a much smaller carbon footprint than other gas-powered vehicles.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy states that gas-powered vehicles emit approximately 11,435 pounds of carbon-monoxide per year compared to the electric vehicles’ zero emissions. Once more EVs hit the market, the environmental impact will become more easily visible.

Removing California’s Waiver Is Good for the Environment

President Trump chimed in recently to say that revoking California’s ability to set their own fuel economy standard “will also be extremely good to the environment.” Wheeler echoed Trump’s sentiment, saying “This is… good for the environment.”

Beisecker maintains that these statements were flat-out lies. He says that the administration’s own documents report that fuel consumption will increase between 2% and 3% per day to 500,000 barrels. More fuel means more pollution filling the air–and the public’s lungs.

Removing California’s waiver to set their own emissions standards may make things easier for regulators, but the evidence that it’s better for our wallets or the environment doesn’t hold up under scrutiny according to Biesecker.

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