STATEMENT: CAP’s Weiss on President Obama’s Fuel Economy Proposal

Washington, D.C.—Today, Daniel J. Weiss, Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement on President Barack Obama’s fuel economy proposal:

President Obama’s fuel economy proposal will provide welcome relief for families suffering from high gasoline prices. It would save them thousands of dollars in fewer fuel purchases over the life of their new cars. This measure would also reduce United States oil consumption by millions of barrels of oil.

Unfortunately, it includes a midpoint ‘technology review’ loophole that could prevent achievement of the 2025 standard. This review is a self-destruct button that could enable auto companies to escape the most efficient standards, dramatically reducing relief for families. It creates a perverse disincentive for automakers to innovate and improve efficiency because the less they achieve, the stronger their argument that the 2025 standard is technologically unachievable.

European automakers will easily pass the review because they must make cars that get 65 MPG by 2020. Japan must make cars that get 50 MPG by 2014. Once again, the Detroit Three may eat their foreign competitors’ dust because the proposed review gives them an excuse to avoid technological advancements. But since our competitors will likely demonstrate that 54.5 miles per gallon cars are technically and economically achievable, the loophole could cost us the very autoworker jobs the companies claim it was designed to protect

The combination of the improved standards beginning in 2012 with a loophole-free version of this proposal would make President Obama the one who finally kicked Americans’ oil habit, accomplishing the goal that eluded his seven predecessors.

To speak with Daniel J. Weiss, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202-481-8181 or