Maine Celebrates 5 Years of Cleaner Cars, Trump Administration Attacks Program

Environment Maine Research & Policy Center


Happy 5th birthday, Clean Car Standards! People across the United States are celebrating less air pollution and more oil staying in the ground as the Clean Car Standards turn 5 years old this week. These standards aren’t just good for the environment, they’re good for the economy as well: Maine has saved $190 million since automakers, federal and state governments and other stakeholders agreed upon the rules on October 15, 2012.

“It’s not every five year-old who can cut pollution and save oil! These Clean Car Standards are working, and here in Maine we have already seen millions in consumer savings all while reducing dangerous emissions,” said Jacqueline Guyol, Campaign Organizer with Environment Maine.

But with the Trump administration working to undermine these standards, it’s unclear if they’ll make it to year 6. This summer,  President Trump reopened the EPA’s midterm evaluation on the Clean Car Standards, a process that opens the door for the administration to weaken the standards to benefit automakers while harming our health and costing hardworking families money.

In response, thousands of Americans submitted comments last week opposing any efforts to gut our best climate program. Cars, buses, trucks and other transportation modes are America’s top sources of climate pollution, and the forward-thinking Clean Car Standards, when fully phased in, will cut carbon pollution nationwide by 6 billion metric tons. Here in Maine, transportation makes up 53% of global warming emission. Locally, these standards will eliminate global warming emissions nearly equivalent to those from providing electricity to twice those from providing electricity to Portland.

“We are on the brink of rapid and sustained transformation to driving with electricity, which addresses a myriad of issues that result from the currently system’s 99% reliance on oil.  By driving electric we can harness local, renewable energy, save money at the “pump” and infuse more consumer dollars into our local economy.  Driving electric is the solution to the economic and environmental ills created by our reliance on oil,” says Barry Woods from ReVision Energy. 

A recent report released by Environment Maine Research & Policy Center,Renewables on the Rise: A Decade of Progress Toward a Clean Energy Future, highlighted the extensive growth in clean vehicle technologies over the past decade. In the first five months of 2017 alone, electric vehicle sales were up an additional 44 percent compared to 2016.

Environment Michigan also released “Happy Birthday Clean Cars,” a 2-minute video celebrating the standards and highlighting the importance of defending them. The Clean Car Standards are working, but now the Trump administration is trying to dismantle these important standards that have cut pollution and saved consumers money.

Nationally, the existing standards are set to save 6 billion metric tons of dangerous global warming pollution when fully phased in.

The standards are also projected save a lot of fuel and money —  nationally, they’re set to cut our oil use by 12 billion barrels and save Americans $67 billion to $122 billion by 2025. And that’s worth celebrating.

“On their 5th birthday, the Clean Car Standards are under attack. We’re calling on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to make sure we’ll be celebrating less pollution and cleaner cars for years to come,” said Jacqueline Guyol.