With New York State gas prices hovering around their highest levels in just about three and a half years, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on a conference call with reporters today (June 13), sounded the alarm and urged the Environmental Protection Agency to abandon forthcoming plans to roll back an already-in-place rule that required automakers to nearly double the fuel economy of passenger vehicles, to an average of more than 50 miles per gallon.
Schumer said if the EPA gets its way and the rule is rolled back, consumers will feel the impacts directly on their wallets and at the pump.
“You don’t have to be an economist to understand that scrapping plans to increase the fuel efficiency of our cars will force us all to shell out even more and more money for gas down the road,” Schumer said. “Filling up at the pump is not only a drain on our wallets but also a significant contributor to global warming. So the rule that the EPA is working to undermine hurts our pockets and our planet. To make matters worse, automakers know that the cars of the future will rely more and more on electric and hybrid power, so scrapping this rule could upend the competitiveness of the American auto industry just as the rest of the world evolves, gets more fuel efficient and smarter about maximizing the resources that keep our cars moving. That is why I am telling the EPA to make a U-turn on this very bad decision and drive forward with original plans to ensure our cars—and wallets—get more miles per gallon.”
The national average price for a gallon of gas has increased by $0.58 in New York over the past year, according to the American Automobile Association and this recently proposed rollback would compound price spikes like this year’s by stopping advancements in efficiency for vehicles of the future, leading to even more trips to the gas station and the shelling out of even more money for fuel costs.
According to an analysis by the Rhodium Group, freezing fuel economy standards at 2020 levels would cost drivers an additional $193 billion to $263 billion cumulatively between now and 2035.
On May 31, the EPA submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a proposed rollback of rules that required automakers to just about double the fuel economy, or the miles per gallon, of passenger vehicles to an average of more than 50MPG by 2025.
The rules aimed at reducing car emissions were enacted during the Obama Administration.
According to the University of Michigan Transportation Institute, the average fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the United States is currently 25 miles per gallon.
The New York Times reported that the rollback of this EPA rule could spell trouble for automakers because some states, including New York, have special status under the 1970 Clean Air Act.
Those states could keep stricter emissions regulations on the books, upending the auto industry by requiring automakers to manufacture cars to meet different sets of fuel efficiency standards across different states.
Schumer warned that scenarios like this could have major financial consequences for the auto industry and the millions of people they employ.
Reports indicate that the proposed rule may attempt to prevent California and these other states from enforcing the more stringent standards, which would certainly lead to legal challenges.
In April, Schumer joined Senator Markey and a number of other senators in publicly expressing support for the states that have adopted the strongest fuel economy standards in the nation, and opposition to attempts to undermine those standards.
The EPA sent this proposed rollback rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget for initial review.
Schumer said that is why he is making the case today to try and prevent the proposed scrapping of the rule from going through.
Schumer said the proposed rule could be fully public in a matter of weeks and that once the rule is officially published it will be open for public comments before being finalized.
According to the American Automobile Association, the average price of gas in New York is around $3.07, a $0.0583-increase from last year’s price of $2.487, and now gas prices in each and every major region of New York State have also been spiking.
· In Albany-Schenectady-Troy gas prices were $2.382 per gallon last year and are currently $2.977 per gallon, a $0.595 increase
· In Syracuse gas prices were $2.381 per gallon last year and are currently $2.997 per gallon, a $0.616 increase
· In Utica-Rome gas prices were $2.432 per gallon last year and are currently $3.056 per gallon, a $0.624 increase
· In Rochester, gas prices were $2.420 per gallon last year and are currently $3.013 per gallon, a $0.593 increase
· In Batavia, gas prices were $2.422 per gallon last year and are currently $2.992 per gallon, a $0.570 increase
· In Buffalo-Niagara Falls gas prices were $2.414 per gallon last year and are currently $3.010 per gallon, a $0.596 increase
· In Binghamton, gas prices were $2.432 per gallon last year and are currently $2.986 per gallon, a $0.554 increase
· In Ithaca, gas prices were $2.428 per gallon last year and are currently $2.976 per gallon, a $0.548 increase
· In Elmira, gas prices were $2.386 per gallon last year and are currently $2.960 per gallon, a $0.574 increase
· In White Plains, gas prices were $2.619 per gallon last year and are currently $3.200 per gallon, a $0.581 increase
· In Dutchess-Putnam County gas prices were $2.547 per gallon last year and are currently $3.107 per gallon, a $0.560 increase
· In Kingston, gas prices were $2.393 per gallon last year and are currently $2.966 per gallon, a $0.573 increase
· In Glens Falls gas prices were $2.399 per gallon last year and are currently $3.016 per gallon, a $0.617 increase
· In Watertown-Fort Drum gas prices were $2.455 per gallon last year and are currently $3.094 per gallon, a $0.639 increase
Schumer, today, said the rollback of rules to mandate more fuel efficient vehicles, coupled with higher gas prices being experienced right now, could spell disaster for American consumers down the road.
He said the future impacts on consumers could diminish confidence in the economy and drive down consumer spending, especially if the price of gasoline continues to creep up.