As the summer driving season continues, prices at the pump are on the rise. Unfortunately, that's the last thing struggling families and businesses need right now. While there are no silver bullets to bring down gas prices, reducing the demand for oil is one way we can try to address the problem before it gets any worse.
Congress has already taken some important steps to do just that. In late 2007, we passed an historic increase in the fuel economy standard for new cars and trucks to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. This was the first increase since 1975, and will save Hoosier families an estimated $700-$1000 per year.
But the policy will only work if Americans can afford to purchase these new, more fuel efficient vehicles. So this week, the House voted to make it a little easier by approving a program called Cash for Clunkers. The idea is simple. Consumers can trade in their old, gas-guzzling vehicles and receive vouchers worth up to $4,500 to help pay for new, more fuel efficient models.
And, as automakers and suppliers close their dealerships and factories, Cash for Clunkers will encourage the sale of up to 1 million new vehicles.
This is a common sense program that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and help save local jobs. I was proud to support it, and I will continue to look for smart policies that put our country on a permanent path toward energy independence and reduce our addiction to oil.