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Letter to Ray LaHood, Secretary of U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator

U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) have joined 28 of their Senate colleagues in voicing support for the Obama Administration's proposed fuel efficiency and auto pollution standards. In a letter sent late last week to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood, the Senators highlighted the cost savings associated with the proposed standards.

"Consumers will save thousands of dollars at the pump over the lifetime of their vehicles, and both our economy and our security will be less dependent on imported oil," the Senators wrote.

The Obama administration is finalizing new standards that would nearly double the fuel efficiency of new cars and trucks by 2025. By making cars and trucks go farther on a gallon of gas, these standards would save New Jersey drivers between $5,200 and $6,600 over the lifetime of the vehicle sold under these standards. The new standards, combined with already finalized standards for model years 2012-2016, would cut U.S. oil consumption by 3.8 million barrels per day in 2030--more than twice as much oil as the U.S. currently imports from the entire Persian Gulf.

Lautenberg and Menendez were joined on the letter by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Carl Levin (D-MI), John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Al Franken (D-MN), Patty Murray (D-WA), John Kerry (D-MA), Mark Udall (D-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mark Begich (D-AK), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Jon Tester (D-MT).

A copy of the letter can be found here and the text is copied below:

February 17, 2012

Dear Secretary LaHood and Administrator Jackson:

We are writing to express our support for your efforts to establish a coordinated national program for fuel economy and emissions standards for model year 2017 to 2025 cars, light trucks, and SUVs. The proposed regulations will increase nationwide fleetwide fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The standards will implement Federal law in a manner that provides industry with certainty, saves consumers billions of dollars at the pump, reduces our dependence on oil, and improves the health of American communities.

These proposed regulations implement the policies set forth in the 2007 Ten in Ten Fuel Economy Act (Title I of Public Law 110-140) in a manner supported by many automotive manufacturers, as well as the labor and environmental community. Industry groups such as the National Association of Manufacturers praised the agreement on the proposed standards as a "positive step." The regulatory certainty created by this proposal, which unifies state and Federal regulations into a single regime, will help automakers to design and build advanced technologyvehicles and compete in an increasingly global marketplace. In addition, the "mid-term" review for the model year 2022-2025 standards will require your agencies to evaluate whether the stringency required in the second phase of the program is stillappropriate or whether the standards should be revised upwards or downwards.

The proposed standards have broad industry support, but they will also reduce petroleum use and pollution on an aggressive schedule, as Congress required in the 2007 statute. As the latest Energy Information Administration's Annual Energy Outlook has concluded, increases in fuel economy have contributed to our declining dependence on oil imports. Further progress will be made with the implementation of the proposed standards, which taken together with the recently adopted standards for model years 2012 to 2016, will remove the need for as much as 3.8 million barrels of petroleum per day by 2030. Consumers will save thousands of dollars at the pump over the lifetime of their vehicles, and both our economy and our security will be less dependent on imported oil.

We appreciate your efforts to achieve your statutory mandates of reducing oil use and pollution in a manner that will allow the automobile industry to grow and thrive. We encourage you to continue working with stakeholders to attain the critical national objectives of reduced pollution, improved energy security, and lower consumer gasoline costs while reducing compliance costs.


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