"Odd Bedfellows" Unite Over Common Message: U.S. Needs a 60 MPG Standard for 2025
National Security Experts, Business Groups, Republicans, Environmentalists Agree on the Need for Strongest Possible Fuel Economy Standard for 2017-2025 Fuel Economy and Emissions Rulemaking Published on Jul 7, 2011 - 12:10:10 PM
WASHINGTON, D.C. July 7, 2011 - Just how important is it that the Obama Administration sets the strongest possible fuel economy standards for the 2017-2025 period currently under consideration?
Apparently, it's crucial enough that a diverse range of organizations and individuals – including national security experts, business groups, Republicans and environmentalists agree: a U.S. vehicle fleet average of 60 mpg in 2025 is achievable, would provide significant cost-savings for consumers, would make a big impact in U.S. dependence on oil, and would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
1. National security groups support 60 MPG by 2025.
A June 2011 report from the national security group Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE) states: "Increased vehicle efficiency is one of the most effective tools for decreasing the petroleum intensity of our economy, thereby enhancing economic and national security. … Just under 40 percent of total U.S. primary energy demand is met by oil, giving it an economic significance unmatched by any other fuel. … Seventy percent of the oil we use in the United States—14 million barrels per day (MBD)—is consumed in the transportation sector, more than is consumed by any other nation's entire economy."
Analysis in the SAFE report shows that if the Obama Administration enacted the most stringent standard under consideration of a 6 percent improvement in fuel economy each year between 2017 and 2025, America would save 1.6 MBD of oil by 2025, 4.4 MBD by 2040 and 5.2 MBD by 2050. In other words, we would reduce our dependence on oil by more than one-third by 2050.
Through its Operation Free campaign, the Truman National Security Project released an October 2010 report titled, "Tackling Oil Addiction: Reducing Dependency on Our Enemies," which points out: "The U.S. sends nearly $1 billion a day overseas to import oil. … America depends heavily on troubled nations who are (or have recently been) on the U.S. State Department travel advisory due to long-term, protracted turmoil. The nations that pose the greatest security risk to the U.S. (listed in the table) account for 43% of U.S. oil imports. Reducing U.S. dependence on the most dangerous or unstable nations for nearly one-half of U.S. oil supplies is prudent and in our long term strategic interests."
A group of major Republicans – including former governors, members of Congress and EPA administrators serving every Republican president since Richard Nixon -- sent a letter on June 22, 2011 to president Obama urging him to write "aggressive" fuel-economy standards for 2017 to 2025 to "help relieve the United States from its dangerous dependence on oil."
Over 100 economists from across the country, including Nobel Prize-winner Kenneth Arrow, a Stanford University economist, sent a letter on June 7, 2011 to the Environmental Protection Agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Air Resources Board calling for strong fuel efficiency standards which would: "provide consumers with a wider choice of cleaner and more fuel efficient vehicles that save drivers money," "support robust employment," and "reduce the heat-trapping emissions that cause global warming."
Over 300 business leaders sent a letter on June 30, 2011 to the president which stated: "Building and selling clean, fuel-efficient vehicles will encourage greater innovation and put America on the right path to a stronger economy, a safer climate, and less reliance on oil. Analysis by EPA, the Department of Transportation and the California Air Resources Board, shows that a fleet average of 60 mpg in 2025 is achievable and cost-effective for consumers, saving drivers $6,000 over a vehicle's lifetime. Additionally this standard will cut America's oil dependence by at least 44 billion gallons of fuel and prevent at least 465 million metric tons of heat trapping carbon pollution in the year 2030. Your administration should embrace the enormous benefits to the American economy from these oil savings."
The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) was joined by 21 state and regional consumer groups in sending a letter on September 22, 2010 to President Obama asking him to set a 60 MPG by 2025 fuel economy standard.
Consumers Union stated: "It would be … better for consumers and the country to aim for ... 62 mpg. At the same time, the government must limit loopholes to ensure compliance and the true accomplishment of the fuel-economy standards. This would further reduce the nation's dependence on petroleum, cut emissions, and help drivers go further on a gallon of gas. … In a recent (May 2011) survey of car owners by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, 62 percent of respondents said they expected their next vehicle to be more fuel efficient than their current one and 58 percent said that they would be willing to pay extra for that performance."
A total of 19 major national environmental groups sent a letter on September 9, 2010 to President Obama urging him to set fuel economy standards that achieve at least 60 MPG by 2025. The letter states: "The technology exists to boost fuel efficiency and cut tailpipe pollution for all types of vehicles. Strong standards are needed to unleash this country's greatest resource – American ingenuity. It will revitalize our economy and keep jobs in America. History has shown that without strong pollution and fuel efficiency standards, U.S. automakers lag behind the competition, costing us jobs, increasing oil dependence, creating more pollution, and limiting technology innovation."
If President Obama is going to meet his oil savings goals, innovation targets, and help protect consumers at the pump, America needs the strongest fuel efficiency and pollution standards that are possible. It is clear from analysis that a 60 mile-per-gallon standard delivers the greatest benefits. But it is not just the 60 MPG that is important. It is critical that the program have integrity and deliver the oil savings and pollution reductions we need by ensuring a consistent annual reduction in emissions for the full nine years of the program.
The Obama Administration, including the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the California Air Resources Board, who are involved in the rulemaking, also need to be wary of loopholes the auto industry is pushing, which could dramatically undercut the standards and the essential oil and consumer savings and pollution reductions Americans deserve. The agencies responsible for setting these standards – the Environmental Protection Agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Air Resources Board -- have a responsibility under law to set the strongest standards based on technical feasibility and cost.
Go60MPG is a joint effort of Environment America, the National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Safe Climate Campaign, the Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. We know that American ingenuity and technology can make all-new cars and trucks cleaner and more fuel-efficient. It's one of the biggest steps we can take towards saving money at the gas pump, cleaning up our air, and ending America's oil dependence. That's why we're rallying public support to raise fuel efficiency standards for new cars to at least 60 miles per gallon and no more than 143 grams per mile of carbon pollution by 2025. We also want to see improvements in America's big rigs and other work trucks.
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