Chesterton Tribune

Support better fuel efficiency for American vehicles

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Voice of the People

Support for increasing fuel efficiency standards is higher than itís been in decades due to high gas prices, our dependence on foreign oil and rising concern over global warming. A broad, bipartisan majority in the Senate voted in June to raise fleetwide efficiency to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 and now the House of Representatives has a chance to show the same kind of leadership.

Legislation sponsored by Representatives Ed Markey and Todd Platts (H.R. 1506) would raise fuel efficiency standards to 35 miles per gallon over the next decade for all cars and light trucks, equaling a four percent annual increase. A four percent annual increase in vehicle efficiency is supported by President George W. Bush, national security experts and the National Academy of Sciences, whose findings show this standard is both technologically and economically feasible. By the year 2020, the Markey-Platt proposal would reduce oil use by 1.6 million barrels per day and save drivers $27 billion per year at the pump.

Unfortunately, a new proposal introduced by Representatives Baron Hill and Lee Terry (H.R. 2927) would prevent this progress. The Hill-Terry proposal results in an annual increase of only 1.9 percent. That bill would also, for the first time, place a cap on improved efficiency, preventing the auto industry from ever innovating beyond a 35-mile-per-gallon level. Furthermore, the proposal contains several loopholes, one of which allows automakers to delay fuel economy compliance for up to five years based on promises of future improvement. In comparison to the Markey-Platts bill, the Terry-Hill proposal would waste 1.1 million more barrels of oil per day and cost drivers $26 billion more per year at the pump by the year 2020.

Please ask congress to support the bipartisan Markey-Platts bill that utilizes sound science to implement technologically and economically feasible fuel efficiency standards, and oppose the Hill-Terry legislation that is dramatically weaker and provides major industry loopholes.

Helen Boothe


Posted 7/17/2007