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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Stormy weather ahead: Federal agencies begin to roll back efficiency policy


By Lowell Ungar, Senior Policy Advisor

More than 600 days into the Trump administration, amid constant reports of regulatory rollbacks, there’s been surprisingly little damage to energy efficiency…yet. But now the administrative winds are starting to blow, rulemakings are under way—with a couple open comment periods—and we are working hard to hold onto the energy savings we have been helping to build.

The Obama administration had some remarkable successes on energy efficiency. We estimated that its appliance, vehicle, and power plant standards alone should save over 10 quadrillion Btu per year by 2030 (equivalent to about half of US home energy use), and should cumulatively save consumers over $2.5 trillion in energy bills by 2040.

How resilient are those policies and programs? Here are some local weather reports:

Vehicle standards are facing a gale. The Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed to roll back the fuel economy and emissions standards for cars and light trucks for 2021-2025 (EPA had already determined that the standards set in 2012 are too high), and to block California and other states from implementing higher standards. This would waste 14 billion gallons of fuel a year. The draft is open for comment through October 26, and ACEEE already gave preliminary testimony

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