Nevada Clean Car Advocates Respond to Federal Rollback of Auto Efficiency Standards

April 1, 2020

Travis Madsen, SWEEP, I 720-669-7488
Nadia Perl, NRDC, I (415) 294-1878
Sharyn Stein, Environmental Defense Fund, I (202) 905-5718
Sumer Shaikh, Nevada Sierra Club, I (774) 545-0128
Julianne Basinger, WRA, I (801) 406-8664
Andy Maggi, NCL, I (503) 720-4185


[CARSON CITY, NV] — The Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today finalized a rule to weaken rules which require auto manufacturers to produce cleaner, more efficient vehicles. The original rules, established in 2010, were designed to double fuel economy and to cut global warming pollution in half for cars sold in 2025. The weaker standards could result in more than 1.5 billion additional metric tons of global warming pollution in our atmosphere by 2040.

The Trump Administration is additionally attacking the authority of states, including Nevada, to adopt stronger tailpipe pollution limits than those set by the federal government—a move that would take away states’ rights to protect their own residents from harmful pollution.

Governor Steve Sisolak has stated that Nevada plans to move toward stronger vehicle emission standards, which could ensure that auto manufacturers continue to supply the state with fuel-efficient cars, as well as increase the availability of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. Additionally, last Fall Attorney General Aaron Ford joined a coalition of states to sue the federal government to preserve state authority to take action against vehicle pollution.

Air pollution has been linked to higher rates of lung disease like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Multiple studies have found that high levels of air pollution have also been linked to larger numbers of people hospitalized with pneumonia. Additionally, rolling back clean car standards could cost Nevada $2.5 billion in net consumer losses. Without these standards, fuel costs for an average new vehicle increase by $3,200 and the cost of ownership for the average new vehicle increases by $2,100.

Following are statements in opposition to today’s rollback from Nevada clean car advocates including Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, NRDC, Nevada Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, and Protect Our Winters:

Travis Madsen, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project: “Now is not the time to retreat on fuel efficiency. Automakers can and should make vehicles that go further on a gallon of gas or use no gas whatsoever. This federal action will unnecessarily waste energy and money. We thank Attorney General Ford for standing up for Nevada’s authority to choose a better path and Governor Sisolak for moving toward stronger state-level vehicle emission standards.”

Sam Gilchrist, Natural Resources Defense Council: “Clean car standards protect the air we breathe, reduce costs for drivers, and help us tackle the climate crisis. According to the EPA’s own data, these standards have prevented 455 million metric tons of climate-polluting emissions—equivalent to the annual emissions of 100 million vehicles—since President Obama put them in place in 2012. The Trump administration’s illegal and dangerous rollback is an attack on our health and climate, but the fight isn’t over yet. We’ll see the Trump administration in court.”

Brian Beffort, Nevada Sierra Club“The Trump Administration should be ashamed for exploiting the cover of a pandemic to roll back the clean car standards, which are crucial public health safeguards. As families face a growing health and economic crisis, Donald Trump and Andrew Wheeler’s action endangers communities, exacerbates the climate emergency, and takes money out of people’s wallets. The Sierra Club commends Governor Sisolak and Attorney General Ford for their work pushing back against this dangerous rollback and moving forward with clean transportation in Nevada.”

Alice Henderson, Environmental Defense Fund: “The gutting of our nation’s most significant protections against climate and air pollution is unconscionable at any time, but especially now, in the midst of a health crisis. This rollback will increase air pollution, resulting in asthma attacks, other respiratory ailments, and premature deaths – all while costing us more at the gas pump. Nevadans, and Americans, deserve better.” 

Lindsay Bourgoine, Protect Our Winters: “At Protect Our Winters, we work to protect the places and lifestyles passionate outdoor people love from the impacts of climate change. The outdoor community of Nevada inherently understands the need for systemic policy change to address our warming winters, and that includes drastically reducing emissions from the transportation sector. The Administration’s continued rollbacks of critical policies to slash climate-driving emissions is an attack on the state’s $4 billion dollar outdoor recreation economy.” 

Aaron Kressig, Western Resource Advocates“This Trump administration rule proposal to reduce fuel-economy standards would be a harmful step backward, increasing air pollution that causes respiratory illness and forcing drivers to pay more at the pump, all at a time when Americans are struggling with health and economic hardship. Increased electric vehicle use is also crucial to reducing the emissions that drive climate change and affect the health and welfare of our families as well as generations to come.”

Andy Maggi, Nevada Conservation League: “The Trump administration has shown once again they have no regard for the health and well being for the people who live in this country. His failed response to Coronavirus and his continued rollbacks of environmental protections is ample proof. His decisions have and will continue to hurt people. The same people that are most at risk from climate change and the type of pollution emitted by tailpipes are the same people who are getting hit hardest by Coronavirus. Fortunately, Nevada has some truly great leaders who care about the well being of the people they represent.”