Four US Senators—Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)—introduced the “Ten-in-Ten Fuel Economy Act” to raise the average fuel economy standards for all light-duty vehicles—including trucks and SUVs—from 25 miles per gallon (mpg) to 35 mpg by model year 2017.
The current targeted average fleet economy for new passenger cars is 27.5 mpg—the same level set as a target for 1985 by Congress in 1975. In March, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced an increase in the light truck CAFE standards to an estimated 24.0 mpg by 2011. (Earlier post.)
The Ten-in-Ten Fuel Economy Act would require the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration to increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for all vehicles to 35 miles per gallon by Model Year 2017. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency would be required to update its testing to reflect actual fuel economy.
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.
Americans today are spending more than 45 percent more for gasoline than they were in 2003. If the US. had increased the fuel economy of all cars sold in America ten years ago by only five miles per gallon, we would be using more than one million fewer barrels of oil per day—saving $33 billion annually in the US economy and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.—Senator Durbin
In 1975, when American cars were averaging 14 miles a gallon, Congress passed the CAFE law, which required manufacturers to double the fuel economy of their vehicles to nearly 28 miles a gallon in 10 years.
Durbin, who has proposed new fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks on three occasions in the past four years, noted that many of the same arguments against new fuel efficiency standards—more expensive cars, impossible technical hurdles, loss of car-making jobs—were also raised back in 1975.