President Bush’s State of the Union address set important and laudable goals for decreased gasoline consumption to be achieved in part through increasing the fuel economy of passenger and light duty vehicles. The goal is set; the challenge now is to establish the programs and policies that will translate the goal into reality. The next, most important and perhaps most difficult step is for the administration and Congress to work together — post haste and on a bipartisan basis — to codify new CAFE standards that can ensure realization of the gas savings sought by the President, said Alliance President Kateri Callahan.
“We commend the President for committing to reduce our gasoline consumption by 5 percent by increasing CAFE standards,” Callahan continued. “But we urge the administration to pursue a course of action that will expedite establishment of these long-overdue and much needed increases in fuel economy standards.
“The most direct route to increasing fuel economy — and to protecting our national energy, environmental, and economic security — is for the administration and Congress to work together to establish, through law, specific CAFE increases for cars and light trucks,” Callahan said. “Asking Congress only for the authority to have the Secretary of Transportation ‘develop a plan’ is a too circuitous, time-consuming, and uncertain route to realizing a goal that multiple studies indicate is very achievable in the near term.”
Noting that car and light truck fuel economy is down to 24.6 miles per gallon from its 1987-88 peak of 25.9 mpg, Callahan added, “We could save roughly 1 million barrels of oil per day just by increasing fleet-wide fuel economy by only 2 mpg, which we could easily do with currently available technologies.”
The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business, government, environmental, and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, economy, and national security.