Press Room

Trump Administration Plan to Reverse Progress on Car Fuel Standards “Reckless,” says Audubon

Transportation is now the greatest source of carbon pollution; rolling back fuel efficiency standards undermines one of the most effective federal policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions in the U.S.

WASHINGTON — “This misguided plan is bad for the environment, expensive for consumers and needlessly disruptive for the auto industry and its suppliers. Manufacturers and suppliers, in particular, were geared up to make huge improvements that would be good for birds and the environment. This is just one more example of the administration’s blind rush to undo anything related to Obama’s legacy — and even the new head of the EPA has expressed reservations about this reckless decision," said David Yarnold (@david_yarnold), Audubon's president and CEO, in response to the Trump Administration’s proposal to weaken fuel efficiency standards for cars, trucks and SUVs.

“The growing political consensus around taxing carbon emissions shows widespread understanding that there is a real cost to this kind of pollution that we can no longer afford to bear. The transportation sector is now the biggest source of greenhouse gases and we are finally reducing its impact. We cannot afford to play games with policies on which our kids’ and our planet’s future quite literally depend.”

The proposed plan, released today by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, would freeze fuel economy standard goals at 2020 levels, 43.7 mpg on average for any company’s fleet of vehicles; the plan would also eliminate the Obama-era goal of 54.5 mpg by 2025. The plan would also revoke California’s authority, under the Clean Air Act, to set its own standards; that state’s higher standards are currently followed by more than a dozen other states.

“California has long been a leader in protecting our people, birds and natural beauty from the dangers of our changing climate, and the White House’s effort to thwart that progress is a huge mistake,” said Sarah Rose, executive director of Audubon California. 

“Reducing emissions from cars is one of the single best ways we can protect the health of our communities, and reduce carbon pollution overall. California’s ability to set our own fuel standard is the best tool we have to act on climate. We don’t have time to waste,” said Rose.

The National Audubon Society reports that climate change is the greatest threat birds face, because it is shifting and shrinking their ranges. Audubon has already identified 314 species of birds that are at risk because of changing climate. Audubon will mobilize its one million-plus conservation-minded members to make their voices heard in effort to prevent implementation of the plan.

In 2014, Audubon published its Birds and Climate Change Report. The study shows that more than half of the bird species in North America could lose at least half of their current ranges by 2080 due to rising temperatures. These species include the Bald Eagle, the American Kestrel and the Bullock’s Oriole. Given the urgent threat our changing climate poses to birds and people, Audubon supports common-sense, bipartisan solutions that reduce carbon emissions at the speed and scale necessary.

To learn more about Audubon’s Climate Initiative, please visit

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at and @audubonsociety.

Contact: Anne Singer,, 202-271-4679

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