Automotive Safety and the Trump Fuel Standards Rollback

Automobile Safety and the Trump Fuel Standards Rollback

The Trump administration and EPA is giving out automobile safety as the reason for not increasing the fuel efficiency standards. They are using a rather specious argument that with better fuel economy, people will pay less for gas, and therefore drive more. Driving more will lead to more auto accidents and deaths. This article explores that approach as arguments that we can submit during the comment period on the newly proposed, non-progressive, fuel economy standards.  By the way, the above argument can also be used to oppose offshore oil drilling.  (Hoisted by their own petroleum rig.  Apologies to Hamlet and Shakespeare.)

Following this logic of saving lives and accident injuries, the Trump administration should be putting a lot of effort into vehicle safety. They should also be weighing into their arguments the deaths and asthma attacks, and days lost at school and work because of the increased smog from more vehicles on the road, as urban population grows. They also should be investing in public urban transportation with clean vehicles in order to prevent accidents and lessen harmful air pollution. Under the blog topic “Air Quality” on the right, I have written a few articles presenting data on the cost of air pollution in early deaths and health, and economic losses to schools and employment.

On vacation this year, I rented two recent cars which had new safety features. It is apparent that car rental companies know that investing in these features prevent accidents and deaths, and save renters and their companies in insurance and repair costs. New car buyers, saving money from not having to buy improved fuel economy technologies, will have that money available to spend on required or even optional safety measures, to please the Trump argument.

Both of my rental cars had rear view cameras. One of the cars had lane departure warnings. The other had automated high beams which helped driving on unlit roadways, and automatically dimmed when sighting car headlights coming, or when driving behind cars. My own newer car has a backup camera, a right side passing camera, and collision warning. These cars all had fuel economy driving modes, and one of the rental ones was a hybrid, without my requesting it. Requiring safety features nationwide will greatly bring down the cost of these features.

Not being a newspaper, I don’t have the staffing environment to monitor the Trump administration’s requirements of new safety features. Since “requirements” is actually a dirty word in the Trump administration, I am willing to bet that they are not only not suggesting safety requirements, but are removing whatever ones exist or have been proposed. They might also be attacking the ability of various states to impose their own, or a coalition of state requirements. This is what they are doing in trying to remove California’s and other states’s waivers to impose their own fuel economy standards.

So their argument of safety to oppose increased fuel economy standards is just another Trump sham.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in Air Quality, Autos, CAFE Standards, California Smog, Donald Trump, Energy Efficiency, EPA, Equivalent Electric Car Emissions, Fossil Fuel Energy, Regulations, Smog worldwide, Transportation, Trump Administration, Trump on Climate Change, World Smog. Bookmark the permalink.

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