President Donald Trump argued in the first of three presidential debates Tuesday night that completing the rollback of Obama-era fuel economy standards will make cars and trucks more affordable at the expense of higher emissions.
While the issue of climate change and policies dealing with it was not one of the topics initially agreed to, it was one in which there was some measure of give-and-take during a night of constant interruption between the candidates.
“What’s happening is the car is much less expensive and it’s a much safer car,” Trump said of the new rules issued earlier this year and being challenged in federal appeals court.
“The car has gotten so expensive because they have computers all over the place for an extra bit of [fuel economy],” he said.
Trump also asserted while debating the issue of climate change that he’s “all for electric cars, I’ve given big incentives for electric cars. But what they’ve done in California is just crazy,” he said, referring to the state using its authority to set its own emissions standards.
The final rule issued by EPA does not apply to heavy-truck emissions, but it will likely have policy implications for zero-carbon electric vehicle manufacturers.
In response, Biden defended his clean energy policy, which includes a $2 trillion “accelerated investment” that he has closely aligned with his infrastructure strategy. It has a goal toward economy-wide zero emissions by 2050.
“We’re going to build 500,000 charging stations on all of the highways we’ll be building in the future,” he said. “We’ll be creating millions of good paying jobs – not $15 an hour but the prevailing wage – by having a new infrastructure that in fact is green.”
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