Senators Feinstein and Snowe Introduce New Fuel Efficiency Legislation
Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) today introduced legislation to equalize fuel efficiency standards for Sport Utility Vehicles and all other light duty trucks with that of passenger cars.
"This bill would close the 'SUV Loophole' and require that SUVs meet the same fuel efficiency standards as passenger cars by 2011," Senator Feinstein said. "Simply put, this legislation is the single most important step the United States can take to limit dependence on foreign oil and better protect our environment.
"When it comes to the fuel efficiency of America's SUV's, surely we can do better. Surely we can do better for our planet, for our pocketbooks, and for our promise for the future," said Senator Snowe. "This bill is a critical first step that reflects the fact that the federal government must lead in ensuring consumers have a choice of vehicles with high fuel economy, an appropriate degree of safety, and a minimal impact on our environment -- as documented by a study by the National Academy of Sciences. Closing the SUV loophole will help us meet these goals -- an idea whose time has long since arrived."
In December 2002, the Bush Administration announced an initiative to increase corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards to 22.2 miles per gallon by 2007 - a modest increase of 1.5 gallons over three years. The legislation introduced today would pick up where the Administration leaves off and gradually increase the fuel efficiency standards for SUVs and light duty trucks over the next 8 years.
- By 2008, SUVs and light duty vehicles would have to average 23.5 miles per gallon;
- By 2009, SUVs and light duty vehicles would have to average 24.8 miles per gallon;
- By 2010, SUVs and light duty vehicles would have to average 26.1 miles per gallon;
- By 2011, SUVs and light duty vehicles would have to average 27.5 miles per gallon.
"The overall fuel economy of our nation's fleet is the lowest it has been in two decades - largely because fuel economy standards for SUVs and light trucks are so much lower than they are for other passenger vehicles," Senator Feinstein said. "The bill we are introducing today would change that - and would save a million barrels of oil a day."
At a time of rising gasoline and energy prices, this measure would:
- Save the U.S. 1 million barrels of oil a day;
- Reduce our dependence on foreign oil imports by 10 percent;
- Prevent about 240 million tons of carbon dioxide -- the top greenhouse gas and biggest single cause of global warming -- from entering the atmosphere each year; and
- Save SUV and light duty truck owners hundreds of dollars each year in gasoline costs.
However, SUVs and light duty trucks today comprise more than half of the new car sales in the United States. The explosive growth in light truck sales and SUVs has brought the average fuel economy of all the nation's new vehicles to its lowest point since 1980.
Last year, the National Academy of Sciences released a report which indicated that fuel economy can be significantly increased if automakers utilize existing technologies and include them in new models of SUVs and light trucks.
The legislation is also cosponsored by: Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jon Corzine (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Jim Jeffords (I-VT), and Charles Schumer (D-NY).
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