Calling "excessive regulation… one of the most significant non-racial obstacles to black economic progress," members of the Project 21 black leadership network filed public comments with the federal government supporting a halt to increasing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for cars and light trucks.
Declaring the proposal to retain model year 2020 miles-per-gallon mandates through at least model year 2026 a "smart move," Project 21 member Derrick Hollie wrote in a public comment submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration that the proposal "promises more vehicles that people want to safely transport their families, engage opportunities and fuel the economy." He added that it "respects the situations of the American consumer - particularly those at the lower rungs of the economic ladder."
In August, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially proposed a pause in fuel efficiency mandates enactedduring the Obama Administration that would require a car and light truck fleet equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The Trump Administration's "Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficiency (SAFE) Vehicles Rule" will keep CAFE requirements at 37 miles-per-gallon through model year 2026. Public comments are a part of the federal rulemaking process.
Project 21 called for reducing or rescinding CAFE standards in its "Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America" - a 57-point plan for reducing black poverty and promoting black upward mobility. The SAFE Vehicles Rule was deemed "Blueprint Compliant" and a benefit to the black community because it met the intent of the Blueprint's recommendation.
We've seen the increase in vehicle prices since 2009 – which was greater than other durable goods. Because the price increases hit all Americans equally irrespective of their ability to pay, CAFE regulations have a disparate negative impact on the poor, a significant portion of whom are black.
We also recognize higher CAFE standards have a very significant negative impact on vehicle safety while even the proponents of climate change regulation acknowledge that they will provide only a trivial moderation of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Increasing black hardship and placing drivers' safety at greater risk for such a small payoff is simply irrational.
Project 21's public comments can be found here and here.
In June, Project 21's leadership sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to similarly show its support for the initial announcement of the government's intent to reform CAFE mandates.
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