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During the past week, The Detroit News has published two columns heavily critical of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards that establish fuel efficiency requirements for cars and trucks.

Let’s be clear: For people living in Detroit, fuel efficiency standards are the right policy. They’ll save money and reduce dangerous pollution in the years to come. Any effort to roll back these standards is harmful to people in Detroit and across the nation.

When it comes to reducing pollution, the stakes are too high to reverse course. Detroit families live among the most polluted ZIP codes in the country. It’s well-documented that vehicle emissions are a significant player in dirtying our air and causing serious health problems, from asthma to heart disease. A recent report from the University of Michigan School of Public Health shows more than 18,000 hours per year of lost productivity and $5 billion per year in negative economic impact due to poor air quality. The CAFE standards are an important element for protecting the health of our families, children, seniors and the local economy.

While The Detroit News and many auto industry analysts appear to cling to the hope that gas prices will stay low and SUV sales will stay high, history isn’t on their side. Every family knows prices at the pump are volatile – and sparking innovation in fuel efficient cars and trucks will help them mitigate the problem in the coming years. That’s why the existing CAFE standards are estimated by Consumers Union (2016) to save families $3,000 per car and $4,200 per truck over the life of vehicles covered by the standards.

Fuel efficiency standards are already working for Detroiters, and will create tremendous benefits in the coming years. Rolling back or dismantling the standards would be deeply short-sighted and harmful to our city.

Guy O. Williams

president & CEO,

Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice

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