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Republicans Urge Obama to Raise Fuel Efficiency by 100 percent

The Obama green dreams have recently been awarded assistance by nearly forgotten former Republicans officials, desperate to find relevance.  The collection of fifteen former governors, congressmen & agency officials are joining in with the President and Democrats who have long been of the opinion that the American public will only do what’s “right” if they are left with no other options.  In the world of green, this translates into higher efficiency standards.

via Roll Call:

“I’m just very passionate about the environment,” said former Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.), who spearheaded the letter to President Barack Obama. “We want the administration to know there are serious-minded Republicans who are well informed on the issue who urge him to take aggressive action.” (emphasis mine)

One wonders if half of this effort is just to get kudos for being “one of the good ones” when reading appeals such as Boehlert’s.  But Boehlert and his fellow enlightened Republicans weren’t nearly done patting themselves on the back.  The actual letter proudly reads like a group that has really done their research on an industry that is the lifeblood of our economy.

Strong, forward-looking standards for new vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions will provide industry with needed certainty for investment in new technologies while also driving reductions in oil consumption and carbon pollution that fuels climate change.  In 2007, in response to overwhelming concerns about our oil dependency, Congress passed the bipartisan Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) that required the first substantial increase in fuel economy standards in 25 years.  In 2009, the Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency and the State of California worked together to adopt standards that raised fuel economy to 35.5 mpg by 2016 for cars, pickups, minivans and sport utility vehicles.  The final joint rule demonstrates that a single program to reduce oil consumption and carbon emissions can result in aggressive policy to meet the goals of both the EPA and the Clean Air Act and assure that we do not again lose valuable time in systemically improving fuel efficiency.

We strongly support the joint agency efforts to continue the success of these standards by strengthening vehicle standards for model years 2017 to 2025.  Recent analysis by your agencies, as detailed in the October 2010 Notice of Intent and accompanying Technical Assessment Report, demonstrate that strong efficiency standards – with improvements of six percent annually – are achievable and cost-effective for consumers.  We recommend that you promulgate aggressive standards for the 2017 to 2025 vehicles under a national program that will significantly reduce our oil dependence, cut pollution and fortify our economy and national security.

Unfortunately, the people that are actually in the industry, aren’t as impressed:

“There is clearly a special interest campaign to achieve a politically motivated fuel economy number that is not supported by the data,” said Gloria Bergquist, vice president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which lists its members online as Chrysler, Ford, GM, Mazda, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen, BMW and others.

“Here, we are seeing former public officials sign onto a letter supporting a 100% increase in fuel economy. … In effect, ex-officials have come to a conclusion about what the current data means before the current Administration has even finished analyzing it. This is not how good policy occurs,” she said in a statement.

Here’s a simple translation of what it equates to: “Green Cars of the Year” for 2009 & 2010?  Dirty polluters.  Your Honda Civic Hybrid?  Why don’t you just light children on fire?  Chevrolet Volt?  Don’t make me laugh.  By 2025 that car will be the equivalent of driving a vehicle made completely of baby seals.

And you can forget about Trucks and SUVs which have been credited as the saving grace for companies like GM who avoided further hemorrhaging at the hands of the administration by ignoring the green demands that were made on them.

Luckily this is a group of the usual suspects for this type of pandering to the cool kids.  But keep your eyes peeled.  These days it seems there are more than a handful of Republicans that might find this same type of environmental social experimentation to be quite appealing.

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