In a time when millions have been laid off in the wake of the coronavirus and too many families are struggling to make ends meet, the Trump administration’s new vehicle emission standards are a step in the right direction that America needs.
During my nearly two decades of working with the trucking industry, I learned that regulations like fuel economy and emissions standards significantly increase the cost of getting goods from warehouses and factories to stores. Those costs are ultimately passed along to all of us in the form of higher prices.
Heavy-handed emissions regulations have the same unintended consequence on passenger cars. Increasing fuel economy may seem like a noble idea — and it’s an idea many support — but it ends up tying manufacturers’ hands and driving prices up. Manufacturers are forced to produce cars most customers don’t want, in order to make their fleets meet emission standards, and charge more for the cars they make. Car prices have been rising significantly faster than income in recent years, thanks in large part to these constantly escalating regulations.
Rather than take out hefty loans for more expensive vehicles, many people choose to keep their old cars longer. The average American drives a car that’s nearly 12 years old, the highest since researchers began tracking this data in 2002. Though continuing to drive an old car that still runs might be the frugal choice — and many families living paycheck-to-paycheck have no other choice — older vehicles also come with serious safety risks.
Given the new safety features and better overall design of new cars, the SAFE Rule is projected to save 3,300 lives over the next 10 years and keep 46,000 people out of the hospital following a crash—all because they were able to afford a newer car that was previously out of reach.
Even before the coronavirus struck our economy, far too many families were trapped in what public policy experts call “energy poverty,” meaning the inability to comfortably afford the energy we rely on every day, including electricity and natural gas bills as well as gasoline.