SC group: Clean car standards should stay

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Trump administration's plans to roll back federal Clean Car Standards will cost South Carolina consumers and hurt the environment and public health.

So say members of a coalition of transit, travel and environmental organizations who spoke out Tuesday at the State House.

The rules established five years ago under President Obama are designed to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions from cars and light trucks with an emphasis on the development of electric vehicles.

In March, President Trump announced plans to scale back the standards, a move applauded by some carmakers.

Critics say the standards have already saved South Carolinians $530 million in fuel and other costs and will lead to the creation of an estimated 9,000 jobs.

AAA Columbia spokesman Ernie King says giving consumers a chance to buy vehicles with better gas mileage is a "guaranteed way" for them to have as much control as they can over how much they spend on fuel.

King says under existing EPA and DOT standards, American drivers have saved more than $48 billion at the pump and by 2030 will save the average South Carolina household as much as $2,900.

The Union of Concerned Scientists says the standards have made the auto industry stronger. The Environmental Defense Fund says countries including China, France, Canada, and Sweden have experienced explosive growth in demand for fuel-efficient and electric cars.

The organization says if the U.S. wants to export American-made cars to those nations, the standards should stay in place.

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