The Mackinac Center joined a coalition of 30 free market organizations urging President Trump to press on with his administration’s efforts to reform Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.
The Mackinac Center has been active in this policy area, consistently advocating for reform. In a May 2018 piece in The Hill, I argued:
Automobile manufacturers are on record supporting continuous improvements in fuel efficiency. They’re working with regulators to achieve demonstrable improvements in fuel efficiency and to reduce emissions. But layering unaffordable regulatory schemes onto the American consumer ultimately damages both the economy and environment.
In an October 2018 piece in The Hill, I continued the push for reforms that balanced economic reality with safety concerns, energy efficiency, and fuel economy:
Demanding higher fuel efficiencies may seem like a great idea; after all … Americans want cleaner air and more efficient cars. At the same time, they want those cars to be affordable. But the EPA and Department of Transportation have reported that the 2012 mandates would add massive costs to the U.S. economy and actually put more people at risk of being injured or killed in traffic accidents.
I also testified before a joint EPA-National Highway Transportation Safety Administration hearing in Detroit in September 2018, arguing:
In 2012, the EPA published new standards for light vehicles that mandate average fleet fuel efficiencies of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 — almost double the previous standard. The EPA and Department of Transportation argue that the standard would impose more than $500 billion in additional costs on the American economy through the lifetime of model year 2029 vehicles. The 2012 standard would also add $2,340 to the price of new cars and could lead to as many as 12,700 additional crash-related deaths as a result of lighter, smaller cars colliding with heavier SUVs and trucks.
Compounding the issue is the unlawful pressure that the state of California has placed on every other state in the nation, and on Michigan’s automobile manufacturers. I stated in the press release for coalition letter:
Existing law restricts any state from setting a national fuel economy standard. But the previous administration’s extreme CAFE standards have paired with California’s unlawful demands, effectively allowing one state to mandate a national fuel efficiency standard. One state forcing the other states to abide by their regulatory structures ignores the concept of federalism and, in this case, ends up increasing automobile prices for every other American.
American drivers have repeatedly demonstrated that a primary concern when considering a new car purchase is the ability to afford their monthly payments. Michigan residents and our big three auto manufacturers should not be forced to buy and build more expensive cars to meet the whims of California regulators. The proposed CAFE standards represent the best option to ensure free-markets continue to operate, technological advances are implemented, and American consumers can purchase the vehicles they want at prices they can afford.”
We continue our support for reasonable and effective standards and concur with the coalition when they tell the President:
The fundamental question associated with the CAFE mandate is clear: who should decide which cars and trucks consumers can buy – consumers and their families, or unelected bureaucrats in Sacramento? The current mandate compels automakers to design vehicles to meet the preferences of regulators, not consumers.
Your administration’s proposed rulemaking goes a long way to correcting that imbalance. We urge you to stay the course.
The full letter and list of signatories can be viewed here.
Permission to reprint this blog post in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author (or authors) and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy are properly cited.
Permission to reprint any comments below is granted only for those comments written by Mackinac Center policy staff.
Get insightful commentary and the most reliable research on Michigan issues sent straight to your inbox.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonprofit research and educational institute that advances the principles of free markets and limited government. Through our research and education programs, we challenge government overreach and advocate for a free-market approach to public policy that frees people to realize their potential and dreams.
Please consider contributing to our work to advance a freer and more prosperous state.