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Trump EPA steers clean car policy into a ditch

Trump EPA steers clean car policy into a ditch
A Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle is displayed during the California Air Resources Board (CARB) 50th Anniversary Technology Symposium and Showcase in Riverside, California in May. (Dania Maxwell / Bloomberg)

The EPA under Donald J. Trump plans to roll back fuel economy and emissions standards, claiming that bigger gas guzzlers will improve safety by preventing about 1,000 deaths a year — an argument that dates back to the beginning of fuel economy standards in the 1970’s (“Trump team wants to roll back Obama-era mileage standards,” Aug. 2). This is almost laughable on so many levels.

Yes, it might save the drivers of these behemoths — who ostensibly will drive less because of the cost of fuel, thereby reducing their crash risk — while resulting in killing more of everyone else through toxic emissions, which kill tens of thousands of people per year. Status quo for the me-first administration.

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The rollback effort also ignores the most telling fact of all — that electric cars (the ultimate in low emissions) have some of the highest safety ratings. The Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt were named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2011. The Tesla model S achieved the highest safety score of any vehicle ever when it came out in 2013. And the Prius Prime plugin and 240-mile Chevrolet Bolt EV were both named Top Safety Picks by the IIHS in 2017.

It's time to wake up. These are just four examples out of the 42 highly rated full-size electric cars and dozens of other high fuel efficiency cars now on the market. All the other countries and overseas manufacturers are racing to improve fuel efficiency and lower emissions just like we were until now.

Forcing U.S. auto manufacturers to roll back this steady advance in auto technology is sure to “Make America Last Again” just as U.S. automobiles were in the 1970's.

Bob Bruninga, Glen Burnie

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