Donald Trump's proposal to rollback fuel economy standards
would have significant and dire environmental and financial effects. If it gets a green light, beginning in 2020 automakers would no longer have to make vehicles more fuel efficient every year. The Obama-era standards would have required cars to average 43 miles a gallon by the year 2025, and under current policy, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in Cuyahoga County were estimated to fall 24% between 2020 and 2040.
Instead, if Trump's teardown of the fuel economy standards goes forward, studies from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency
show GHG would instead rise 3%.
The net effect would be equivalent to adding 4 million additional cars to Cuyahoga County roads alone, producing an additional 1.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2040. That's to say nothing of other gases and pollutants and the resulting impact on public health for county residents and the hefty financial tab waiting on the other end.
"The total cost to Cuyahoga County residents could equate to $971.8 million in social costs like health care, flooding, changes in agricultural activity, additional demand for air conditioning, and more," according to NOACA.
“Air quality has improved greatly in recent years as we have cleaned-up much of the industrial air pollution of yesteryear,” said NOACA Executive Director Grace Gallucci in a statement. “Now transportation is the primary driver of the region’s air quality issues."