The latest decision by President Trump and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to re-evaluate President Obama’s draconian emission level standards should be a welcome sign to anyone who cares about the economy and America’s safety.
Under President Obama, the EPA and Department of Transportation instituted rules designed to promote electric vehicles at the expense of consumer choice.
Obama’s EPA stated that by 2025, NHTSA’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards mandated that cars in the United States would need to travel at least 55 mpg. Everyone wants more miles per gallon, for perspective, the engine in today’s cars travel under 25 mpg. To achieve the regulation mandated by Obama, customers would have to pay much more for very expensive electric vehicles and would see their options extremely limited.
This is all at the benefit of electric vehicles, which make up only two percent of sales across the country, clearly showing they aren’t desired vehicle.
That’s why the reevaluation by President Trump makes so much sense. Two of the most popular vehicles in this country are trucks and SUVs. The most fuel-efficient trucks available now have a mile per gallon of 25. Without reforming these CAFE standards, the federal government is essentially spitting in the eye of anyone who doesn’t live directly in the middle of one of our major cities.
Prices on heavy vehicles, like trucks, are relied on every day by those in rural areas. The price on these types of vehicles is steadily climbing, and in order to meet these CAFE standards, costs will go up even more.
In fact, one study shows that electric vehicle pickups would still be thousands more than a truck with a combustion engine, even with the improvement in the life of electric vehicle batteries.
That doesn’t even address the impracticality of driving an electric vehicle in rural Texas. Sure, major cities have electric vehicle charging stations, but drive into any rural area and try and charge your Chevy Bolt. You’d be in for a rude awakening as there won’t be anywhere to power your car.
Beyond the impracticality and costs of these standards lies an even scarier issue – our national security.
Electric vehicles rely on rare minerals to create their lithium batteries which power the cars. Right now, China produces 90 percent of rare earth materials.
The process of extracting and mining these materials in so dangerous and hazardous to the environment that it is impossible to think that it would ever be allowed in the United States. Therefore, we are exporting our reliance on energy to one of our greatest global competitors.
For a country that has always worked towards energy independence, why would we completely abandon those goals and instead choose to rely on China?
The simple fact is that yes, we all want a clean environment, but the ridiculous CAFE standards put in place by Obama directly harm consumers and exports the pollution issue to China along with our national security.
It’s just too impractical to force Americans to pay so much more for electric vehicles, especially when they can’t be used on farms or in rural areas – or many other places Americans choose to live and work. Plus they endanger a good portion of working Americans who are tirelessly building vehicles with combustion engines across the country.
I’m sure these standards sound good in Los Angeles, but they won’t work outside Laramie, Wyoming.
Reforming these standards are just common sense.
What do you think? Reply to me on Twitter @laurenfix
Lauren Fix is a nationally recognized automotive expert, media guest, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host. A trusted automotive expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics, energy and safety issues for both the auto industry and consumers. Her analysis is honest and straightforward.
Follow Lauren on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram