In response to the rollback in vehicle fuel economy standards by the Trump administration, I appreciate the efforts of the Maine Attorney General’s Office to maintain strong air pollution regulations that protect my health, as reported March 30 in the Press Herald.
Improving the fuel economy of new vehicles hitting the road is important, but I would maintain that retiring old and inefficient used cars is also important. The average age for a vehicle on the road today is nearly 12 years, according to Automotive News; this has doubled since the 1970s.
This means that there is an ever-increasing number of aged vehicles that are significantly less efficient than today’s standards. Retiring these vehicles as soon as possible will somewhat mitigate any rollback in new fleet standards. Unfortunately for our atmosphere and climate, the continued decline in oil prices creates a disincentive to trade up to a more gas-efficient vehicle.
Since gasoline prices are projected to hold steady by the federal Energy Information Administration for the next few years, we would benefit from adding a carbon tax to all petroleum products being extracted or imported. There have been several market-based approaches proposed by Democrats and Republicans in Congress (the Climate Solutions Caucus) that would counteract the dismantling of Barack Obama’s climate protection regulations.
I hope this bipartisan trend to seek solutions can continue.