Reps Lott and Stevens oppose fuel efficiency bill
Senate panel sets 35 mpg car standard by 2020
May 8, 2007
Tuesday the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee approved a bill that would raise the passenger fleet automobile fuel standard to an average 35 miles per gallon by 2020, reports Reuters.
Ted Stevens of Alaska and Trent Lott of Mississippi “expressed reservations” about the bill that supporters say would significantly reduce U.S. dependence on oil and would likely force U.S.automakers to become more competitive. Ford and GM have been losing market share to overseas-based firms that are designing more fuel-efficient vehicles. Last month it was announced that Toyota’s first quarter sales for 2007 exceeded those of GM for the first time.
The race for the title of “Largest carbon dioxide emitter” pits the United States versus China. The United States had a large head start but China is expected to surpass it in emissions this year or next.
“I am very concerned about the overall fairness,” Reuters quoted Lott as saying. “We need to make sure we are fair across the board to all manufacturers. There are some inherent disadvantages, especially on the truck issue.”
The bill also calls for higher fuel standards on medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks.
Automakers oppose the bill, claiming it would be too costly to achieve.
The bill will go to the Senate for debate and a vote in June. A House of Representatives committee is working on its own revision of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.