Debate on Fuel Economy Turns Emotional

Senate opponents to Democrat energy bill paint the measure in apocalyptic terms.

Published: 10-Mar-2002

With a hearty shove from Detroit, Senate opponents of a bill to raise automotive fuel economy standards -- part of broader energy legislation now on the Senate floor -- are painting the measure in apocalyptic terms, sketching dire consequences for the nation's armada of SUVs and minivans.

Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) calls the proposal -- by Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) -- an example of "nanny government" that would deprive him of the SUV he uses to haul around his three grandchildren.

Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.), whose wife drives a Nissan Pathfinder, warns that higher fuel standards will force such drastic reductions in vehicle size and weight that traffic fatalities will increase "by the thousands."

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