Strong gas mileage standards long past due
Senate passes strong gas mileage standards–Tell the House to do the same!
Last week, an earthquake shook the energy policy landscape for American consumers. For the first time in twenty years, one house of Congress voted to increase the fuel economy standard for light duty vehicles (cars, pick-ups, SUVs and minivans).
On a voice vote, the Senate passed legislation that would raise the standard for vehicles from 25 miles per gallon (mpg) to 35 mpg by 2020. Similar “10 in 10” legislation has been introduced in the House (H.R. 1506) by Representatives Markey (D-MA) and Platts (R-PA). The U.S. House will soon vote on an energy package that can and should include this reform.
Research by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) shows that in the past five years, average household spending on gas has increased by over $1,000. Rural Americans pay even more – a $1,300 increase – because they tend to drive longer distances in older cars. As a nation, we spend $500,000 a minute for oil imports – leaving Americans vulnerable to oil price shocks.
Increasing fuel economy to 35 mpg passes both a consumer pocketbook test and a national cost-benefit test with flying colors.
• For consumers, increased fuel economy standards pay for themselves. Any increase in the cost of the vehicle is more than offset by the reduction in spending on gasoline.
• Achieving “10 in 10” will save the nation about 100 billion gallons of gasoline, reduce greenhouse gas emission by over 1 billion tons, and lower imports by fifteen percent by 2020. All of this can be done with investments of about $100 billion, making the cost of oil saved about $1 per gallon.
Increasing fuel economy alone cannot solve our nation’s energy problems, but it is the “sweet spot” in energy policy that addresses consumer, economic, national security and environmental concerns simultaneously. It is one of the most important first steps the nation can take to show that we are serious about ending our dependence on oil.
After 20 years of inaction, it is long past time to take decisive steps toward improving fuel economy standards. Opponents of meaningful increases in fuel economy standards must no longer be allowed to put off House debate on this issue.
Click here to take action now!
Posted June 28, 2007