Trump wants to freeze fuel economy standards and it's the right thing to do

Rea S. Hederman Jr. Sep 05, 2019

This opinion piece appeared in The Hill.

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to freeze the ever-rising Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards at the current benchmark of 37 miles per gallon — suspending the increase to 51 miles that had been scheduled for 2025.

And that’s a good thing. Indeed, it’s usually a good thing when administrative agencies flip through the federal register and find ways to root out inefficient redundancies and relieve regulatory burdens.

The Trump administration has not been shy about rolling back expensive federal regulations and mandates that have outlived their usefulness, so this proposal to freeze the market-distorting CAFE standards should not come as a surprise. But it should come as welcome relief to every American family shopping for a new car.

Federal CAFE standards are relics of President Gerald Ford’s response to oil and gas shortages, a leftover piece of President Jimmy Carter’s “malaise” that permeated the 1970s. They were part of Washington’s misguided attempt to ease the pain of high gasoline prices by requiring automobile manufacturers to meet designated fuel efficiencies averaged across their entire fleet of vehicles.

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