Pruitt also lied about cafe standards, paving the way for ‘factory closures and massive layoffs’ gas in back trapped


As Scott Pruitt rampages through environmental law, one of the actions he has taken has been to throw the CAFE standards—the standards for fuel economy and emissions used for passenger motor vehicles—into chaos. After first indicating that the EPA would no longer follow the guidelines set down during the Obama administration, Pruitt testified to Congress that the issue was still under study and, critically, that the EPA was not seeking to interfere with California’s unique right to set its own standards, a right that is encoded in the law.

Two Democratic lawmakers asked Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt on Monday for documents related to proposed changes to vehicle fuel emission standards and California’s authority to set its own measures, and accused him of misleading Congress of the agency’s plans.

U.S. Representatives Doris Matsui of California and Paul Tonko of New York sent the letter after reports on Friday that the EPA and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration had prepared a proposal that would likely freeze fuel economy standards from 2020 through 2026 and assert that a 1975 federal law pre-empts states from imposing their own emissions rules.

It’s not just a recipe for putting American car manufacturers a generation behind the rest of the world, and an enormous blast of hypocrisy from the “state’s rights” party. It’s also a recipe to destrpy tens of thousands of American manufacturing jobs.

The rules that Pruitt is putting in place are designed to do one thing: Allow American auto-makers to sell larger vehicles that deliver lower fuel-economy, but generate higher pollution—and also higher profits. Just a week ago, Ford’s new CEO made a decision that shows where American auto makers want to go— out of the business of making autos.

This new business plan puts their average vehicle weight at three tons. They’re going there because SUVs and trucks are expensive. While a pickup may be regarded as the quintessential working-man’s ride, the average Ford F-150 sold in 2017 went for a staggering $44,000. Luxury SUVs are racking up even higher numbers. So Ford is running with a strategy that allows them to make just the high-margin, high-profit tanks priced well above the national individual income, and skip out on smaller, more affordable vehicles.

It’s also a strategy that might run into issues with the CAFE standards, which are meant to push American manufacturers toward steady improvement while reducing the nation’s need for oil and improving the environment. Those standards generally require manufacturers to produce a fair number of high mileage autos to bring up their overall fleet numbers. It’s not something that can be met with an all-truck, all-massive lineup.

Hackett is also betting President Donald Trump will withdraw the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standards that [Former Ford CEO] Mulally signed up for in 2012. They require automakers to double fuel efficiency to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

Pruitt’s lie to Congress covers up how Trump, and Pruitt, are moving to do exactly what Hackett wanted—make it easier to simply stop making American cars. It’s a move that is already generating “factory closures and massive layoffs.” Which could also be a problem for Trump.

Except … Trump was in Michigan the same week as the Ford announcement, playing to a loving crowd that cheered for him to win the Nobel Prize. They clearly won’t mind if Pruitt clears the last hurdles to giving away their jobs. After all, Donald Trump gave his fans a “ submarine sandwich.” That’s all they need.