Sierra Club and Partners Sue Trump Administration for Unlawful Delay of Automaker Fuel Economy Penalties


Lauren Lantry (202) 548-6599

WASHINGTON, D.C. --   Today, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Center for Biological Diversity, filed a petition for review of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) July 12 decision to unlawfully delay an Obama Administration rule that increased penalties for automakers that don’t meet the fuel economy standards. Last year, to account for inflation, the Obama Administration increased the penalty rate from $5.50 to $14 per tenth of a mile per gallon, as required by Congress under the Inflation Adjustment Act.

The transportation sector is now the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. With lower fines, automakers can easily manufacture cars with lower fuel efficiency by simply paying a small fine; higher penalties, on the other hand, encourage compliance with more stringent fuel economy standards, which in turn helps decrease carbon and conventional air pollution. 

In response, Sierra Club Attorney Alejandra Núñez released the following statement:

"By suspending higher fines that automakers must pay for cheating on fuel economy standards, Donald Trump is basically telling deceiving automakers ‘you don’t have to pay the pricey ticket, you can go to traffic school.’

"Without strict penalties, automakers will continue breaking the law at the expense of consumer savings, and Americans’ health and safety. The Trump administration cannot give automakers a green light to cheat on fuel economy standards, we’re filing this suit to pump the brakes.”



About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit