Driven by Green ideology, the Obama Administration set unrealistic fuel standards (a.k.a. “CAFE” rules) for cars sold in America.

Yesterday, the Trump Administration announced it is putting a freeze on their implementation before any serious damage is done.

As recent as the Bush administration, the fuel efficiency standard was 27.5 miles per gallon. The Obama approach was set to jack up the CAFE mandate to a whopping 54.5 mpg by 2025. It was inspired by the eco-topian standards set in California and designed to force Americans to either buy electric cars or force them to drive unsafe, matchbox-sized gasoline powered ones.  Most Americans did not want to voluntarily buy either.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler highlight exactly this point in an important editorial in the Wall Street Journal:

The 2012 standards were designed to encourage the development and sale of electric vehicles. Today electric vehicles are only about 1.5% of new vehicles sold. Some data conclude that nearly half of consumers who purchase an electric car do not buy another because of challenges with range and recharge times. Yet to meet the previous administration’s fuel-economy and greenhouse-gas standards, manufacturers would have to produce vehicle lineups that are 30% electric or more over the next seven years—far more vehicles than buyers are likely to want.

Further, the effect of the last administration’s standards was to subsidize these expensive electric vehicles at the expense of affordable traditional cars and trucks. Our goal is to ensure that consumers have a variety of safe, fuel-efficient choices so they can decide for themselves which options suit them best. This includes electric vehicles, for those who want them.

The President, by putting a freeze on the Obama CAFE rule, is also ending California’s practice of using its large market power to dictate Green ideology to the rest of the nation from the Left Coast.

The framers crafted the U.S. Constitution to safeguard the rights of individuals and of the states.  At the same time they realized that there were some powers they could not entrust to the states.  The Commerce Clause was crafted specifically to prevent the states from taxing and obstructing the flow of goods across state lines.  They reserved regulation of interstate commerce to the federal government.  The federal government has since wildly expanded its Commerce Clause powers far beyond the framers’ intent.  California’s practice of setting national environmental policy from Sacramento in cahoots with a compliant EPA is just the sort of thing the Constitution was written specifically to prevent.

Crafting smarter fuel efficiency standards is a needed reform.

Standing up to California’s heavy-handed eco-bullying is courageous.

CFACT applauds both wise moves.


  • Craig Rucker

    Craig Rucker is a co-founder of CFACT and currently serves as its president.