Talking Points on EPA Plans to Roll Back Clean Car Standards and Attack States’ Authority

The clean car standards are the most effective policy we have on the books to fight climate change.

  • The transportation sector is now the country’s largest source of the carbon pollution that causes climate change; cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks are the largest source of pollution within this sector.
  • Rolling these standards back will expose millions of Americans to more climate-changing carbon pollution and jeopardize our health.
  • This push for dirtier, less efficient vehicles would pump more carbon pollution into our air – which in turn could lead to more intense and destructive extreme weather events like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

The clean car standards deliver the safe, clean, fuel-efficient cars that we want and need.

  • American innovation has ensured that today’s new cars and trucks are some of the safest ever built, and thanks to the clean car standards they also cost less to operate and pump less pollution into our air.
  • This rollback isn’t about making families safer; it’s about doling out special favors for segments of the auto industry and Big Oil.
  • Fuel efficiency standards have made drivers safer. Scientists studying federal Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standards found that the original CAFE program saved hundreds of lives every year on average since it was introduced in 1975.
  • Reversing the clean car standards would hold back the most advanced and fuel-efficient vehicles the American people have ever known—harming their health and costing them money.
  • We need safe and fuel-efficient cars.

Gas is a big part of a family’s budget. The plan to dramatically roll back clean car standards will force American families to spend billions more at the pump at a time when gas prices are already soaring.

  • Gas prices are at their highest level in four years, and families can’t afford to spend any more of their money at the pump. Clean cars standards protect family budgets from the gas price rollercoaster, and they especially protect households with the lowest incomes.
  • Gas prices have jumped 60 cents per gallon in the last year and a half, meaning the average American family is already paying hundreds of more dollars a year for gas. Rolling back the clean cars standard will make matters even worse.
  • These plans will ensure Americans pay more at the pump no matter what.
    • Gas prices always spike, and when they do, you pay more. Clean cars standards make sure you pay less, no matter the price at the pump.
    • The rollback will make America’s cars and trucks less fuel-efficient, meaning that you’ll have to fill up more often even if you drive the same number of miles.
  • America’s clean car standards have saved drivers more than $50 billion and counting. Advancements in fuel efficiency—spurred by clean car standards—are designed to save consumers money. These advancements pay for themselves and then keep saving us even more money at the gas pump.
  • The current standards could save consumers as much as $5,700 per car and $8,200 per truck over the lifetime of their vehicle. Rolling back the standards breaks a promise to the American people, making these savings vanish into thin air.


Americans deserve clean air.  Rolling back clean car standards will allow automakers to make dirtier cars that pollute the air and harm our health.

  • The clean car standards not only put more money in our pockets, they also have the added benefit of reducing pollution that affects all Americans’ health, especially the most vulnerable among us.
  • 25 million Americans – including more than 6 million children – suffer from asthma. We shouldn’t be rolling back safeguards that protect them.
  • The rollback ignores thousands of pages of research showing that the current standards are achievable, protect public health, and reduce air pollution.
  • No one voted for more pollution and dirtier air. But that’s exactly what we’ll get if the President and the EPA succeed in rolling back clean car standards.

The Trump Administration is revoking states’ legal authority to limit dangerous tailpipe pollution and gutting the Clean Air Act.

  • Under the Clean Air Act, states have the authority to put in place stronger limits on tailpipe pollution when federal standards fail to protect their citizens. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia, representing 113 million people and over a third of the automotive market, have exercised this right.
    • These states are backed up by an 18-state coalition, representing nearly 50 percent of the nation’s auto market, that are suing EPA to maintain the current national standard that protects all Americans from dirty air and rising gas prices.
  • But new rules will reduce states’ authority to put stronger pollution protections in place and force states to follow Washington’s orders instead of doing what’s best for their citizens. This power grab would force Americans across the country to breathe air contaminated with toxic pollutants like nitrogenous oxides and sulfur dioxide.
  • According to the American Lung Association, more than 40 percent of Americans breathe dirty, unsafe air. The head of the EPA should do his job and reduce toxic air pollution
  • This plan to revoke states’ authority to adopt stronger limits on tailpipe pollution would gut the Clean Air Act and harm millions of Americans, especially the elderly and children.