A Win for Cleaner Cars: Court Upholds Fuel Economy Standard Penalties for Automakers

The decision overturns the Trump administration’s attack on rules that help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ramp up innovative efficiency technologies.


In a win for consumers and the environment, an appellate court rejected the U.S. Department of Transportation’s attempt to indefinitely delay penalties on automakers for violating fuel economy standards, ruling in favor of NRDC, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Sierra Club to restore the proper penalties.

These fuel economy standards help to immensely cut greenhouse gas emissions—the equivalent of taking 85 million cars off the roads. And despite claims by the Trump administration, the standards actually promote economic growth: Reports show that by 2025, they will create 100,000 jobs and increase GDP by more than $13 billion. And the public, who stands to save money, overwhelmingly supports the standards.

The court’s decision sends a message that gifts to industry will not come before the health of the people and our planet. “Federal agencies should do their jobs protecting the public health and environment,” said Irene Gutierrez, an attorney with NRDC’s Energy & Transportation program. “And when they don’t, here and elsewhere, we’ll be standing by to bring them into court.”

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