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Hey, EPA head Andrew Wheeler: you’re an idiot and a liar — op-ed

Andrew Wheeler, head of the Environmental “Protection” Agency (EPA), argued today that his administration’s rollback of auto efficiency standards “sets realistic standards, will reduce pollution, and save lives.”

The problem is, he’s objectively wrong on all three counts. And in his statement, he also proved that he doesn’t even know the name of the regulation he’s attempting to undermine.

The administration’s rollback of mileage standards has been pending for years now. Its implementation been pushed back several times, mostly due to the incompetence of those writing the new rules. There was also the little issue of the ouster of former corrupt EPA head and oil industry stooge Scott Pruitt, which threw a wrench into the EPA’s own wrench-throwing plans.

But just yesterday the rules were finalized, and now we’re seeing a bunch of the same old lies trying to justify the administration’s effort to kill Americans and cost them money.

Wheeler’s statement on the issue read thusly:

Too many reporters fail to mention one very important point: the Obama era CAFÉ standards were not attainable by the auto industry. The truth is, the SAFE rule sets realistic standards, will reduce pollution, and save lives!

But the “one very important point” that Wheeler fails to mention is: Everything in this statement is wrong.

If he knows that his points are wrong but made the statement anyway, then he is a liar. If he doesn’t know that these points are wrong, despite having the resources available to him as titular head of the EPA, then he is an idiot.  I will now show how he is both a liar and an idiot.

Lie 1 — Yes, they’re attainable

Firstly, the standards were indeed attainable by the auto industry. The auto industry was involved in the negotiation of these standards, and all involved parties, including the automakers, had agreed on them.  The standards took years to finalize and relied on lots of data from the EPA, and it turned out that by the end of Barack Obama’s term, the automakers were ahead of schedule and under budget in their implementation of them.

Further, there are even stronger upcoming standards in other countries, and those should be attainable as well. Besides, we already have an incontrovertible example of a company that has attained the 2025 CAFE standards — and exceeded them. In model year 2017, eight years before the 2025 standards are meant to go into effect, Tesla already exceeds them by almost 10 times (518 mpg actual vs. 54.5mpg required). And Tesla is the most valuable auto company in America.

Finally, several companies are still sticking by these standards, which they wouldn’t really be doing if they weren’t attainable.  Of course, some companies like GM, Toyota and Fiat-Chrysler have sided against the interest of Americans and support the rollback, so do let that influence your buying decisions.

So we know for a fact that these standards are attainable. Strike one for Wheeler.

Lie 2 — No, it won’t reduce pollution

Second, he states that this rule “will reduce pollution,” which is an obvious lie on its face. It doesn’t take much to understand that if cars pollute more per mile, then cars will pollute more overall. The administration tried some tortured math to “prove” that this would be the case, but only could do so by refusing to use standard EPA calculation methods, refusing consult of any scientists whatsoever, and forgetting to divide by four and accidentally deleting 700 billion miles of driving.

Lie 3 — No, it’s not safe

Third, he states that this rule “will save lives.” The administration considers this the core point of their plan, even going so far as to give it a corresponding Orwellian acronym: “SAFE.”

But this assertion relies on the same tortured math mentioned above. The administration has tried to claim that their new rule will make new cars cheaper, which means more people will buy new cars instead of keeping old cars, which means that cars on average will be safer. But at the same time, they also claim that people will drive less because the cost of fuel will be higher for cars with lower fuel economy, and if people drive less there will be fewer accidents, which means cars will be safer.

So these Schrödinger’s cars will be both more expensive and less expensive at the same time, depending on which dishonest argument the administration is attempting to advance at that particular moment.

Realistically, as we reported in the past, according to the EPA’s own numbers, this rollback will kill Americans and cost them money.

Those numbers were found using the standard, robust scientific analysis that generally underlies efficiency rules. Not using lies and handwaving by political appointees like Wheeler the climate denier and ex-coal-lobbyist (a lobbyist for Bob Murray, no less).

And finally: it’s not a coffee date, dummy

Finally, to prove that Andrew Wheeler is not just a liar, but an idiot: He refers to his own agency’s standards as “CAFÉ,” which is wrong. CAFE is an acronym that stands for Corporate Average Fuel Economy. In speech, it’s often pronounced as “café,” like the French word for coffee, or a place one drinks coffee. But this measurement is not itself derived from a French word — it’s just an acronym. As such, it is not written with an accent over the “E.”

You’d think the person charged to lead the agency responsible for these measures would know this.  But instead, he needs to be reminded of it by one of those “reporters” who seems to know more about his work than he does.

Thankfully for all of our lungs and pocketbooks, this incompetence may serve to hamper the administration’s actions to implement their “SAFE” (or should we say “SAFÉ”) rules.  Because their rulemaking is so riddled with holes, and clearly “arbitrary and capricious,” they’re going to have a big fight ahead of them trying to defend these rules in court (and so far, their court battles have relied on similarly tortured logic). Many states have already filed suit against the agency’s actions on fuel efficiency.

Unfortunately, this fight isn’t over. In a time where we ought to be fighting multiple global crises — a pandemic and the climate crisis just to name a couple — Wheeler is wasting everyone’s time with idiotic, harmful moves like this. While everyone’s attention is on trying not to get coronavirus, he pushes through a regulation meant to kill more of us.

Andrew Wheeler, you are an idiot and a liar.

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Avatar for Jameson Dow Jameson Dow

Jameson has been driving electric vehicles since 2009, and has been writing about them and about clean energy for since 2016.

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