Pryor Sponsors Measure to Improve Fuel Economy
Senator Mark Pryor has filed a bipartisan amendment to improve the fuel economy of our nation's vehicles in an aggressive and achievable approach as part of the Clean Energy Act of 2007 currently being debated in the Senate.
Pryor said improving fuel efficiency standards is part of a long-term solution to reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil, protect the environment and lower the cost of fuel that consumers pay at the pump. He believes a balanced approach is necessary to ensure motor vehicle safety, American jobs and consumer choice are not compromised. In addition, Pryor said he is optimistic his practical, bipartisan measure will allow Congress to overcome the 30-year stalemate on fuel economy standards.
"Fuel efficiency technology has improved over the last 30 years, but the fuel economy standards for our cars have not," Pryor said. "To overcome the structural and political hurdles for improving CAFE standards, this bill offers a strong yet sensible approach. As a result, it enjoys support from members on both sides of the aisle, consumers, the automobile industry and the business community. This support is critical to making real progress this year."
The Pryor-Bond-Levin-Voinovich-Stabenow-McCaskill amendment increases Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for cars and light trucks, requires manufacturers to produce advanced technology vehicles and increases investments for leap-ahead technology research and development. Unlike the CAFE standard in the underlying energy bill, Pryor's amendment would not allow manufacturers to avoid new fuel economy requirements through loopholes or "off ramps." Specifically, the amendment:
· Requires a 30 percent ramp up in CAFE standards for passenger cars to at least 36 miles per gallon by 2022;
· Requires a 35 percent ramp up in CAFE standards for light trucks to at least 30 miles per gallon by 2025;
· Provides flexibility for the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) to set higher standards;
· Requires a NHTSA rulemaking to establish a fuel efficiency improvement program for medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles;
· Requires manufacturers to produce advanced technology or flexible fuel vehicles in 50 percent of their passenger cars and light trucks by 2015;
· Extends CAFE credits for flexible fuel vehicles through 2020 to help promote market penetration and consumer acceptance of these vehicles;
· Increases investment in leap-ahead technologies such as advanced batteries, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, clean diesel, diesel hybrids, flex fuel hybrid technologies, hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, as well as cellulosic-based ethanol and other biofuels.