Obama Bill Helps End Gridlock Over Increased Fuel Economy Standards
A bill sponsored by Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and a bipartisan group of Senators that would increase fuel economy standards provided the basis for legislation that passed the Senate Commerce Committee today. CAFE standards have not been increased for over twenty years.
"As the threat posed by climate change becomes more and more imminent, inaction is no longer an acceptable course," said Senator Obama. "I commend Chairman Inouye and members of the Commerce Committee for breaking the logjam and moving us closer to raising fuel economy standards. We have the technology available to implement these changes today, now we just need the willpower to pass them."
Provisions from S. 767, the bipartisan Fuel Economy Reform Act introduced by Senators Obama, Lugar, Biden, Specter, Bingaman, and Smith, were included in the bill approved by the Commerce Committee today. The legislation requires automakers to achieve significant annual improvements in fuel economy. The legislation also authorizes the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to establish different standards for different types of cars, providing increased flexibility to automakers and leveling the playing field for the US companies that sell a broader mix of vehicles than their foreign competitors.
Senator Obama has proposed increasing fuel economy standards by 4% annually as the long-term goal. Obama has also committed to improving the health of the domestic auto industry, by providing assistance for legacy health care costs, as it produces more efficient automobiles.
"I am committed to working with my colleagues to ensure that NHTSA discretion is carefully defined to ensure that we achieve the maximum fuel economy possible," added Obama. "We must also address the key transition concerns of autoworkers by sustaining existing protections and establishing retooling incentives."