Washington, D.C. — In case you missed it, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today heard public comments in favor of finalizing the strongest possible corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for light-duty cars and trucks.
WATCH: NHTSA CAFE Standards Hearing
Speakers from organizations including the American Lung Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, religious organizations, industry groups, as well as League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and state affiliates, spoke on economic, health, and environmental benefits of strengthening CAFE standards. In total, NHTSA heard over 150 testimonies during the hearing.
“The Biden-Harris Administration has already finalized strong short-term clean cars standards – now it’s time to finish the job,” said Darien Davis, LCV Government Affairs Advocate. “I urge NHTSA to create the strongest possible fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks. Ideally, this would align with the option that would increase passenger car stringency six percent a year, and light-trucks by eight percent.”
“We need to enact the strongest CAFE standards, combined with the EPA standards, to reduce the harmful health effects we are experiencing,” said Estefany Carrasco-Gonzalez, Chispa National Director and New Mexico resident. “These standards will provide much needed relief from the burden of diesel fumes and air pollution, and will improve our health significantly, which is a dire need for New Mexicans and communities of color across the country. Many recent analyses have shown that strong fuel economy standards will save consumers money at the pump, provide access to the most efficient versions of gas-powered vehicles and encourage transition to clean zero-emission vehicles.”
“As a first-generation Latina, I have been able to see and experience a lot of environmental injustices,” said Alexa Aispuro-Loaiza, Chispa National’s Digital and Creative Strategies Manager and Las Vegas, NV resident. “One of the main reasons I started my advocacy work was because I learned that the air quality here in Nevada is rated an ‘F.’ Our toxic air quality has impacted my community for far too long. Low-income [communities] and communities of color are disproportionately affected by air pollution, causing costly illness and hospital visits. [Pollution] has affected our mental health as well…My community is being harmed because of the air we breathe now; some are getting sick, and some are dying. More now than ever, we need to pass strong CAFE standards to ensure our communities aren’t affected by these injustices.”
“We believe that passenger fuel economy increases of 6% a year and light-duty trucks of 8% a year, in addition to the 10% a year increases for medium duty vehicles, are reasonable and feasible to do,” said Matthew Davis, LCV Vice President of Federal Policy and former EPA Health Scientist. “Those increases can be made with off-the-shelf technologies that are currently in many vehicles, and are making vehicles more efficient. We believe the reasons to make those standards stronger are to save consumers money, reduce the impacts of air pollution, and advance equity.”
“I want to express my deep concern as, over the past two years, my chronic allergy problems have worsened, something I had never experienced in the past,” said Frank Beltrán, a resident of Las Vegas, NV and Chispa NV volunteer. “I’ve heard similar concerns from members of our community, and this is because in our communities and neighborhoods, automobiles and trucks are polluting the air with toxic and carcinogenic emissions, which in turn contribute to worsening climate change. The ability of the United States to meet our climate goals depends on the Administration taking the strongest possible actions to reduce pollution from cars and trucks. Our communities are suffering, and they are calling for bold action.”
“I am here today because I am deeply concerned about my own health and that of my family,” said Maria Enriquez, Chispa Maryland Environmental Justice Leader. “I firmly believe that with the implementation of stringent CAFE standards, we can substantially reduce the pollution that taints the air we breathe each day. Moreover, skyrocketing gas prices over the past few years have placed a heavy financial burden on my family. Stronger fuel economy standards have the potential to provide relief, allowing us to redirect those savings toward other essential aspects of our lives. I demand this administration to set forth the most robust standards conceivable because lives depend on it.”
“I am testifying today in support of the Biden administration finalizing the strongest possible CAFE standards,” said Jessica Goad, Conservation Colorado’s Vice President of Programs. “Strong fuel economy standards will save consumers like me – stretched thin with daycare costs – money at the pump. They will also allow families like mine to have more choices when it comes to purchasing zero-emission vehicles.”
“As a recent graduate working my first job, saving money is incredibly important to me. When I purchased my first car, a 2013 used Honda Civic, the most important feature of the car was how fuel efficient it was,” said Michelle (Meech) Carter, Clean Energy Campaigns Director for the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters. “Besides the evident benefits to drivers like me at the pump, more fuel efficient cars can cut down on local air pollution, leading to healthier communities [and] reduce our dependence on foreign gas imports. “