The Trump administration today released a rollback of national clean car and vehicle efficiency standards. These widely-supported standards save Coloradans money at the gas pump, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce smog and toxic pollution.
“Make no mistake: these rollbacks will hurt Coloradans,” said Sophia Mayott-Guerrero, transportation and energy advocate at Conservation Colorado. “Less efficient motor vehicles are a significant contributor to air pollution and climate change, and the Trump administration is putting more of them on the road to appease industry interests. Colorado must take bold action now to protect our health and environment.”
In anticipation of these federal rollbacks, Governor John Hickenlooper in June issued an executive order directing Colorado air quality officials to begin a process to adopt state clean car standards. Colorado could join 13 other states and the District of Columbia as leaders in clean car technology and clean air. Through this process, environmental, public health, and consumer groups will encourage the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to explore Colorado clean car standards that include both low emissions and zero emissions components. The AQCC will begin consideration of the clean car standards on August 16.
“Trump’s proposed rollback of vehicle pollution standards is yet another move to satisfy corporate interests at the expense of Coloradans,” said Zach Pierce, Senior Campaign Representative for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Colorado. “Here in Colorado, rolling back the standards means more air pollution and more money spent at the gas pump. Since the White House isn’t looking out for Coloradans, Governor Hickenlooper is defending clean air and family budgets with our own strong policies.”
This rollback will increase carbon emissions in Colorado by 3.9 million tons per year, undercutting Governor Hickenlooper’s goals to address our changing climate. Emissions of smog-causing air pollutants from vehicles would increase by about 15 percent, making it harder for places like Colorado’s Front Range to meet federal ozone standards that protect our health. For Coloradans, especially the 343,000 people who are living with asthma, more air pollution means more coughing and wheezing, increased risk of infection, and permanent damage to lung tissue.
“Coloradans must now protect their own clean air,” said Noah Long, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s outrageous that the Trump administration is trying to not only roll back basic health and environmental safeguards, but also remove the ability of states like Colorado to cut pollution.”
Coloradans have saved $550 million at the pump since the federal government set standards in 2012 to double fuel efficiency for cars and light trucks by 2025. Under these standards, the average Colorado household would have seen $2,700 in savings by 2030 – savings that won’t happen with this rollback.
“Inefficient cars are just wasteful – they cost consumers every time we go to the pump, and they hurt our health when they produce unnecessary pollution,” said Danny Katz, director of CoPIRG. “As technology continues to advance, we need to take advantage of even cleaner, more fuel efficient cars. That’s why we applaud Governor Hickenlooper’s action to make Colorado a leader around fuel efficient, cleaner cars.”