Auto fuel economy policies fall short for consumers
Portland, ME— Maine’s
consumers will spend over $28 million more at the gas pump in
2005 than they should because of shortsighted automobile fuel
economy policies, according to a report released by the Environment
Maine Research & Policy Center.
On the anniversary of President
Bush’s release of his energy plan, Environment Maine Research
& Policy Center released a new report - “America Idles:
President Bush’s Inaction Costs Americans $5 Billion at
the Pump in 2005.” The report details what we could be saving
if the Bush administration had increased fuel economy four years
ago instead of pushing for his energy plan.
“Last month, President
Bush wished for a magic wand to lower gas prices, but with a stroke
of an ordinary pen, the Bush administration could require cars
to go farther on a gallon of gas,” said Matthew Davis, Advocate
of the Environment Maine Research & Policy Center. “Instead
they continue to push for an energy bill that won’t save
oil or protect consumers.”
According to the report, had
President Bush increased the fuel economy of cars and light trucks
to 40 mpg in 2001 instead of pushing his energy proposal, consumers
and the U.S. economy would already be reaping the benefits. Although
the policy would still be phasing in, more efficient cars would
already be entering the market.
The report shows in 2005 alone:
•The U.S. would be consuming
350,000 less barrels of oil per day. This is more than half
of our current imports from Iraq. Maine would be saving over
1,900 barrels per day this year.
•Consumers would be saving
more than $5 billion at the gas pump or about $300 per new vehicle.
Maine consumers would be saving over $29 million in 2005 alone
•The U.S. would be reducing
its emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary gas responsible
for global warming, by 23.9 million tons. This is equivalent
to taking four million average vehicles off the road. In Maine,
the effect would be similar to removing the equivalent of over
23,000 vehicles this year.
“The best way to reduce
America’s dependence on oil and save consumers money at
the pump is to make cars that go farther on a gallon of gas,”
continued Davis. “Unfortunately, the House energy bill and
the President’s plan are driving America in the wrong direction.”
In April 2005, the House passed
an energy bill that gives new tax breaks to the oil and gas industry
while doing nothing to make cars go farther on a gallon of gas.
The Energy Information Administration
(EIA) concluded that the policies outlined in last year’s
virtually identical bill would increase U.S. imports of foreign
oil by 85 percent by 2025 and do nothing to lower gasoline prices
in the short or long-term.
Similarly, EIA has reported that
drilling in the Arctic Refuge would not have any impact on world
oil prices and the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the oil
found in the Arctic Refuge would meet the energy needs of the
U.S. for less than one year. Increasing the fuel economy of cars
to 40 mpg, however, would save at least four times as much oil
each day by 2020 as the Arctic Refuge would produce each day at
“Congress has wasted four
years on an energy policy that won’t help consumers or reduce
our dependence on oil,” said Davis. “Congress should
once again reject this disastrous energy bill. The President should
pick up a pen and require cars go farther on a gallon of gas.”