Energy & Environment

Obama urges voters to ‘demand better’ after Trump rolls back fuel standards

Former President Obama on Tuesday urged voters to “demand better” of the government after the Trump administration rolled back a key Obama-era fuel standard intended to combat climate change.

“We’ve seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can’t afford any more consequences of climate denial,” Obama tweeted. “All of us, especially young people, have to demand better of our government at every level and vote this fall.”

The Trump administration on Tuesday slashed Obama-era standards that require automakers to produce fleets that average nearly 55 mpg by 2025. Instead, the Trump rule would bring that number down to about 40 mpg by 2026, bringing mileage below what automakers have said is possible for them to achieve.

The Trump administration has primarily argued that cutting Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards will allow automakers to produce cheaper cars, allowing consumers to buy newer vehicles with upgraded safety features and lower gas consumption.

But experts are skeptical about the actual benefits of the newer vehicle safety features in comparison to the threat of climate change. The Obama-era standard was one of the administration’s most prominent efforts to mitigate pollution.

The 44th president’s tweet weighing in on the decision marked one of his more direct rebukes to his successor. Obama has largely stayed out of the political fray since leaving office aside from endorsing and campaigning for Democratic candidates ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

The tweet appeared to double as a jab at Trump over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 165,000 people in the U.S. and killed more than 3,000 Americans.

Trump repeatedly downplayed the threat of the virus in January and February, saying it was “under control,” suggesting it would dissipate with warmer weather in April and predicting the number of cases domestically would quickly drop to “close to zero.”

Trump has blamed Obama and his other predecessors for his government’s slow rollout of testing kits, and sought to shift attention to how the Obama administration handled the H1N1 outbreak.

Tags Barack Obama Climate change climate rules Coronavirus Donald Trump Environment EPA Fuel standards

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