Steve Forbes: A little thing to help keep the economy humming -- Here's one EPA rule worth keeping

By virtually any measure, the American economy is roaring back to life.

A major force in this economic rejuvenation has been President Trump’s decision to slash burdensome regulations. When the president entered office, he signed an executive order declaring that for every new regulation, two must disappear from the books. So far, he’s surpassed that ambitious goal: for every new regulation implemented, the Trump administration has repealed five.

Moreover, President Trump has set his sights on reforming another major regulation: President Obama’s CAFE standards, which set utterly unrealistic, unscientific requirements for the average miles per gallon for cars and light trucks. The Trump administration is absolutely right to revise those standards to meet more realistic expectations.

But there is one element of the regulation that he should keep, an element that—unlike the rest of the regulation—actually helps American industry: the mobile air conditioning (MAC) credit system.  The MAC credit system gives automakers who use American-made next-generation refrigerants a credit of roughly one mile per gallon toward compliance with the vehicle emissions standards.

Part of the thinking behind this credit is that American MAC technology is superior and better for the environment, which makes up for the lower gas mileage. But the credit is important for American industry in large part because American companies have invested more than $1 billion to establish their superiority in MAC technology.

With the credit, American car companies are more likely to buy American technology rather than second-rate refrigerant from abroad. There’s also a clear environmental benefit, as better technology allows mobile air conditioning units to run clear – a win-win.

We’re not talking about red tape or a burdensome regulation; we’re talking about a valuable incentive. The MAC credit allows manufacturers to hire more people, work on new technologies, and expand their companies. It is a rare opportunity to give the American people products they want while expanding the American workforce.

Why risk all these by revoking it?

There is another factor here that ties into our growing dispute with Being:  the biggest competition in the refrigerant market is none other than China.  Their products are outdated but they are cheap. 

So, without the financial incentive the credit currently provides, American car companies may well be tempted in order to save costs in their highly competitive market to resort to the Chinese competition.

Keeping the MAC credits is a small but important step in maintaining the American economy’s remarkable growth. It’s growth-oriented policy that fosters innovation and puts American ingenuity and manufacturing first; keeping our companies as leaders in the global marketplace.

America is already leading the world in refrigerant technology. Trump should make sure it stays that way.