If you ask PennEnvironment, clean cars are the future.
That’s why the environmental advocacy group gathered outside City Hall Tuesday. In light of President Donald Trump’s efforts to roll back fuel efficiency standards, PennEnvironment threw a “birthday party” for the regulations, which were established in five years ago.
Attendees explored two shiny models of electric Tesla and Nissan cars.
“This is a great fall day that you inhale, you feel great, clean air in your system,” said Councilman Derek Green at the event. “However, we need to maintain that for years to come.”
In October 2012, the Obama Administration announced new fuel efficiency standards that required cars and light-duty trucks to run on 54.5 mpg by 2025. The goal, according to the former president, was to stray the U.S. away from foreign oil. And the standards aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 6 billion metric tons.
In March, Trump called for a mid-term review of the fuel efficiency standards, hinting that the regulations could provoke job loss. Earlier in the year, Ford CEO Mark Fields told Trump that one million jobs in the auto industry could be at stake.
But Flora Cardoni, PennEnvironment’s lead climate defender organizer, begs to differ, and so does the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit that studies clean energy.
In a 2016 review, the Union of Concerned Scientists predicted that the standards would create 650,000 jobs, rather than eliminate one million. 26,400 new jobs, UCS predicted in 2017, would form in Pennsylvania.
“We haven’t seen a dramatic downturn in jobs,” Cardoni said. “We actually think it fuels innovation and helps to stimulate the economy.”
Here are some scenes from the event: