Senators Feinstein, Cantwell, Others Call for Raising Average Fuel Economy Standards for All Vehicles to 35 mpg by Model Year 2019

By 2025, this would reduce vehicular greenhouse gas emissions by 18 percent below projected levels, save 2.1 million barrels of oil per day

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) today introduced a measure to raise the average fuel economy standards for all vehicles, including SUVs and sedans, from 25 miles per gallon (mpg) to 35 mpg by model year 2019.

If passed, the bill would save:

  • 18 percent reduction of vehicular greenhouse gas emissions by 2025; or 350 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. This is the equivalent of taking 60 million cars (or 50 million cars and light trucks) off the road in one year.
  • 2.1 million barrels of oil per day by 2025, nearly the amount of oil we currently import from the Persian Gulf.

“This bill is long overdue. That’s because the technology already exists to improve fuel efficiency standards,” Feinstein said. “Raising the fuel economy of the cars and trucks we drive by 10 miles per gallon over 10 years is the simplest step we can take. This would reduce 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles by 2025. And it would save nearly the amount of oil we currently import from the Persian Gulf.”

“Improving the fuel economy of America’s automobile fleet is a national imperative and should be a priority in this Congress,” Snowe said. “By simply improving the efficiency of our cars by 10 miles per gallon over the next 10 years with technology already available we will lessen our dependence on foreign oil, reduce the cost of gasoline, and significantly reduce pollutants in our air. This is a goal well within our reach that will pay dividends for generations to come, and I am pleased to join Senator Feinstein as we work to realize that goal.”

“For the sake of our nation, we must drive technological innovation and meet the needs of consumers by setting standards for improved fuel economy. This in turn will encourage the development of alternative, cleaner fuels,” said Commerce Committee Chairman Inouye. “Protecting our children’s health and our most precious natural resources should be reason enough to pursue an environmentally sound energy policy. However, there are very real national security reasons to increase our energy independence and reduce our reliance on oil and gas from foreign land.”

Durbin said, “Congress can no longer ignore the real solution to ending our dependence on foreign oil and reversing the growing and harmful effects of global warming. The road to energy security, a healthier environment and consumer relief begins with increasing the fuel economy for all cars and trucks.”

“We already have the technology we need to help families save hundreds of dollars a year at the gas pump, without having to change their choices in cars or trucks,” said Cantwell. “We need to find ways to end to our overdependence on fossil fuels, and this bipartisan, common-sense proposal to get Americans 10 more miles per gallon over the next 10 years will go a long way towards that urgent goal.”

“The only effective way to set America free from ever-rising gas prices and the whims of volatile foreign governments is to end the oil addiction of America’s vehicles. We can take a huge step in the direction of energy security without hurting our economy by substantially boosting the fuel efficiency of the cars and trucks sold in America,” Lieberman said.

“There is growing concern among scientists with the level of pollutants from gasoline emissions in our air. Implementing commonsense CAFE standards will enable us to limit our dependence on foreign oil and will help to address global warming,” said Collins. “Our environment, our economy and American consumers need this legislation.”

The bill would also:

  • Establish mandatory on-board fuel economy displays that show real-time fuel consumption to encourage more fuel efficient driving.
  • Improve safety rulemaking standards: The bill would require the Department of Transportation to set standards for the industry that will protect Americans in whatever car they choose to drive. The bill would mandate standards to mitigate the difference in weight and size between the largest and smallest vehicles, and improve bumper height compatibility between vehicles.
  • Create a program to identify vehicles that meet or surpass mandatory fuel economy standards – the green label and the gold star label.
    • The green label would be for vehicles that meet or exceed the applicable fuel economy standard or have the lowest greenhouse gas emissions.
    • The gold star label would be for vehicles that achieve a fuel economy at least 50 mpg, and for light trucks with 37 mpg or higher.

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