WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), issued the following statement on the Trump administration’s final rule from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that directs automakers to improve fuel efficiency by 1.5 percent per year through model year 2026.

“I applaud the Trump administration for setting commonsense emissions standards for cars and trucks,” said Barrasso. “The old rule would limit consumer choice and increase the cost of purchasing a vehicle. Washington must consider what is best for the whole country. The government shouldn’t make rules that work in cities but not in rural communities. The administration is helping protect Americans’ freedom to purchase a car or truck that meets their needs.” 

The people of Wyoming drive longer distances and larger vehicles than residents in any other state. The average driver logs over 21,000 miles a year behind the wheel. Continued access to larger vehicles that run on gasoline and diesel is critical for the people of the state. In Wyoming, 87 percent of the vehicles sold in 2018 were trucks, vans, and crossover/SUVs. 99 percent of drivers use vehicles that run on gasoline or diesel fuel. In the entire state, there were just 165 electric vehicles registered in 2018.

The Obama-era standards projected to take away consumer choice. EPA indicated in its Midterm Evaluation that car companies would be forced to increase electric vehicle sales to meet standards even though consumers don’t want to buy them. Nationwide, battery electric, fuel cell, and plug-in hybrid vehicles accounted for only 1 percent of vehicles sold in 2017.

Background Information

On August 2, 2018, the Trump administration proposed new fuel economy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for cars and trucks in Model Years 2021 to 2026.

On April 2, 2018, the EPA announced that it would propose revisions to the GHG emissions standards for cars and light-duty trucks. The agency also committed to work with the U.S. Department of Transportation as it determines the appropriate fuel economy standards for Model Years 2022 to 2025. 

EPA first issued Model Years 2022 to 2025 standards in 2012 under the Obama administration. The Obama administration then refused to change the standards in 2016 during a so-called “Mid-Term Evaluation” despite a clear need for revisions. Changes to the standards are warranted because the projections made in 2012 no longer reflect market realities on a variety of issues, including consumer preferences and fuel prices.