Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency announced they’d revisit the former administration’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. You’d think that any current review wouldn’t find bipartisan support. However, while many share the goal of reducing emissions, CAFE standards were developed as a one-size-fits-all approach, and can’t be achieved with our country’s current mix of vehicles. If left unaltered they’ll impact rural communities, forcing them into electric vehicles.

For 40 years, our organization has supported women in agriculture. Our members operate farms and ranches across the country, requiring heavy machinery and strong vehicles, the majority of which won’t adhere to stricter CAFE standards. These standards will force manufacturers to produce vehicles that rural consumers simply can’t use.

A recent Reason Foundation study notes, “A consumer who drives their pickup for 12,000 miles per year (the average, according to the Department of Energy) purchasing a two-year-old Ford F-150 in 2018 would have paid about $5,000 extra for a vehicle that saves them, on average, $150 per year in gas (at a gas price of $2.50/gallon).” The fuel savings aren’t enough to offset increased costs.

There is, however, an opportunity for bipartisan pushback. The EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are releasing options that would allow the government to consider more realistic fuel economy standards: either keeping efficiency standards as-is (eliminating the planned increase) or decreasing the future growth rate potential.

Across party lines, lawmakers must oppose the CAFE standards, which promote expensive subsidies at the expense of U.S. agriculture. The Trump administration must support balanced competition in the energy sector and solutions that work for all Americans and. Democrats and Republicans must unite to support U.S. farmers and ranchers.

All Americans must be allowed to choose a reasonably priced vehicle that works for their business.

Sue McCrum

past president, American Agri-Women

Mars Hill

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