Legislation to Increase Fuel Economy Standards
Reps. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, with Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA), member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure, Education and Labor, and Government Reform Committees, introduced legislation that will require vehicles classified as cars and light trucks to improve their fuel economy standards by at least 4 percent every year. By 2018, the fuel economy standards of the automotive fleet must be at least 35 miles per gallon, an improvement of about 10 miles per gallon from current levels.
Rep. Markey said, “Our nation’s oil dependency drives our national security policy, and our failure to reduce this dependency is a national scandal. Just as in 1975, we are once again at an energy security tipping point that demands our urgent attention and bold action. We are introducing legislation that empowers American families to fight our addiction to oil, much of it from this dangerous and unstable part of the world. Our bill requires the combined car and light truck fleet to achieve 27.5 miles per gallon by 2012 and 35 miles per gallon by 2018, which amounts to an average 4% a year improvement – an increase that is mandatory over this first 10 years.”
“At the time of OPEC’s first oil embargo over 30 years ago, America was 30% dependent on foreign oil. That number has doubled to an all-time high of 60%,” said Congressman Todd Platts. “Only a comprehensive approach to energy policy — one that promotes conservation and alternative energy sources and helps diversify our energy supplies — will break this cycle of dependence and provide real economic security for the American people. Technological advances allow us to increase fuel efficiency standards to 35 miles per gallon without compromising passenger safety or choice.”
The legislation also includes provisions for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require an annual 4% improvement in fuel economy standards after 2018, unless it can show that it is technologically or economically impossible to achieve. By ensuring that fuel economy standards keep pace with technological or other developments, automobiles will become more efficient over time instead of replicating the fuel economy stagnation of the past two decades.
“Improving fuel efficiency also brings important environmental benefits. 22 percent of our nation’s emissions of carbon dioxide come from cars and trucks. If we make these vehicles more efficient, we help reduce greenhouse gas emission,” Rep. Markey concluded.
Congressmen Markey and Platts were joined at a press conference today by R. James Woolsey, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Vice President of Booz Allen Hamilton, retired Lt. General William E. Odom, former Director, National Security Agency and adjunct Professor at Yale University, Stephen Brobeck, Executive Director for the Consumer Federation of America, Eli Hopson Washington Representative of the Clean Vehicles Program, Union of Concerned Scientists, Cassandra Carmichael, Eco-Justice Program Director of the National Council of Churches, and other Members of Congress.