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May 20, 2020

Inhofe Questions Administrator Wheeler at EPW Hearing

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Environmental and Public Works (EPW) Committee, questioned the Honorable Andrew Wheeler, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency this morning at an EPW hearing entitled, “Oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency.”   

Inhofe: Nothing has been said so far about the disastrous Obama-era fuel economy standards. We all knew what was happening at that time and I'd like to have you look at the SAFE Vehicle Rule and specifically address the rule in terms of choice, in terms of vehicle price tags and in terms of passenger safety in the remaining time.

Wheeler: Absolutely sir. First, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Our SAFE Rule will save more lives than not and that has been shown in our joint analysis with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It will also help produce automobiles that Americans want to purchase. One of the problems that we've seen over the last ten years is the average age of cars on the road is increasing. It used to be eight-year-old cars on the roads. Today, it's 12-year-old cars on the roads. Older cars are inherently less safe and worse for the environment. We have proposed increases each year—1.5 percent better fuel efficiency. The Obama Administration did have a higher percentage but the companies were not complying with that. They were unable. In 2016, only four companies were able to compile. In 2017, only three— without having to cash-in credits or pay fees or penalties to the treasury. Those fees and penalties were to reach over one billion dollars. That is one billion dollars that would have been passed on to the consumer in higher prices of cars. Our regulation will save lives, it will reduce CO2 over the long-term and it will allow Detroit and the other automobile companies around the world to produce cars that Americans want to purchase.

Inhofe: Thank you.


In August of 2018, Inhofe praised President Trump and his administration for proposing new emissions and fuel economy standards for 2021-2026.

Inhofe further praised the administration’s actions in a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency

Lastly, Inhofe discussed the emission standards with then Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler during a 2018 EPW Committee hearing.

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