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

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

Happy 5th birthday, Clean Car Standards! People across the United States are celebrating less air pollution and less oil consumption 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: Pennsylvania has saved 1.2 billion dollars since automakers, federal and state governments and other stakeholders agreed upon the rules on October 15, 2012. Therefore, clean car standards are beneficial to the environment and the economy simultaneously.

“It’s not every five year-old who can cut pollution and reduce oil consumption! These Clean Car Standards are working, and here in Pennsylvania we have already seen billions in consumer savings all while reducing dangerous emissions,” said Flora Cardoni, Lead Climate Defender Organizer with PennEnvironment.

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, harming our health and costing hardworking families money.

In response, the Philadelphia City Council, led by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and Councilman Derek Green, passed a City Council Resolution calling for those standards to be strengthened.

“The Trump administration’s flawed attempt to weaken the clean car standards threatens the progress we have made to protect our families from dangerous air pollution,’ said Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.  “The importance of clean air cannot be underestimated especially for the safety of our children, seniors and all of us to live healthier lives.”

These thoughts were echoed by Councilman Green: “Now, more than ever, it is critically important for our survival and that of future generations, to do whatever we can to prevent further damage from global warming. We cannot afford to allow the environmental progress made by the Obama administration to be undone, as the consequences would be devastating. My City Council colleagues and I are proud to support the efforts of organizations like PennEnvironment, Moms Clean Air Force and others to ensure the sustainability of our planet.”  

Thousands of Americans also 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, if protected and kept in tact, will cut carbon pollution nationwide by 6 billion metric tons.

“Climate change is real and we are causing it! Stronger storms. Floods. Droughts. Wildfires. Open your eyes! Fuel-efficient cars are absolutely essential to addressing this crisis. Reversing clean vehicle standards is absurd. Say no to the fossil fuel industry’s greed and the politicians who are granting corporate handouts!,” Dr. Matthew Schwartz, MyHealth360

“Along with ending the Clean Power Plan, eliminating the Obama CAFÉ standards will cost American lives, threaten the health of our communities, and suck millions of dollars from our wallets.”, Dennis Winters, Treasurer, The Sierra Club Southeastern Pennsylvania Group

A recent report released by PennEnvironment Research and 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.

PennEnvironment also released “Happy Birthday Clean Cars,” a 2-minute video celebrating the fuel-efficiency standards and highlighting the importance of defending them.

“The previously finalized commonsense standards for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions for cars protect public health, decrease our greenhouse gas emissions, and are cost effective.  As parents we know that with these standards in place, our children can get down to the business of playing, learning, and growing while breathing air that is as clean and healthy as possible,” Christine Dolle, Pennsylvania Field Organizer, Mom’s Clean Air Force

Nationally, the existing standards are set to save 6 billion metric tons of dangerous global warming pollution by 2025.

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.

As we continue to face the impacts of global warming, we know we must to move towards cleaner cars and trucks, not rollback existing successful programs. We must continue to make progress by cutting pollution while curtailing our oil consumption and the clean car standards are this country’s best climate program. Even so, on their 5th birthday, these 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 Flora Cardoni, PennEnvironment


To View the Clean Cars fact sheet for PA click here.


PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization. We are dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives. For more information, visit