Cantwell, Murray Introduce Resolution to Protect Vehicle Efficiency Rules, Defend Washington State’s Right to Lower Air Pollution

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Patty Murray (D-WA) blasted the Trump Administration’s unilateral decision to roll back national fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards, despite a broad coalition of support from business, labor, consumer, and environmental groups.

In response, Senators Cantwell and Murray introduced a resolution with 32 of their colleagues to protect the current standards, which are expected to cut U.S. oil consumption by 200 billion gallons by 2040.

“The Trump Administration’s misguided proposal to roll back fuel efficiency standards and undermine Washington state’s ability to set our own clean car standards will force drivers to pay more at the pump and lead to more air pollution,” Senator Cantwell said. “This is the wrong way to go for American consumers and will make the American auto industry less competitive in a global economy where consumers want more efficient cars, not less."

“Families, businesses, and communities in Washington state and across the country will not be bullied by this latest attempt by the Trump Administration to deny the science of climate change and undermine the progress we’ve made to protect our air, wildlife, and other natural resources that are so vital to our state’s economy and culture,” said Senator Murray. “I join the chorus of Washingtonians raising their voices against this absurd move that will put communities needlessly at risk and inflict unnecessary damage on our environment, and I stand ready to work with my colleagues in the United States Senate to oppose this shameful money grab being driven by wealthy special interests.”

Currently, under the Clean Air Act, California and 12 other states, including Washington, can implement more stringent fuel efficiency requirements to address state air quality standards. The Trump Administration’s proposal would rescind the ability of Washington and other states to implement more stringent standards and freeze nationwide fuel economy at 2020 levels through 2026. This decision is expected to result in Americans using 20 percent more gasoline per year by 2035.

According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, blocking planned fuel economy increases will force the owner of an average model year 2025 vehicle to fill up the gas tank 66 more times and drive up ownership costs by $1,620 over the life of the vehicle. The rollback of the current fuel efficiency standards comes as average summer gasoline prices in Washington state have reached their highest point in the last four summers. It will force consumers to buy more gasoline to fuel inefficient vehicles, putting pressure on supply and resulting in even higher prices at the pump.

The move will also hurt U.S. auto manufacturing competitiveness around the world – as other countries increasingly implement stricter standards – and undermine job growth in the industry. The current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards have been credited with supporting more than 288,000 automobile manufacturing jobs across 1,200 facilities throughout the country.

Senator Cantwell has long fought to increase fuel economy standards, including chairing a key Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the issue in 2006. She helped author and pass legislation ultimately included in the bipartisan 2007 Energy Bill that included new fuel economy standards for the first time in over two decades. Senator Murray, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has also fought to strengthen vehicle fuel economy standards, and has vocally opposed previous efforts from the Trump Administration to undermine states’ ability to improve upon the federal standards.

In addition to Cantwell and Murray, U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tom Carper (D-DE), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Chris Coons (D-DE), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tina Smith (D-MN), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Bill Nelson (D-FL) also cosponsored the resolution.

The full text of the resolution can be found HERE.