Tuesday, July 03, 2007

John Dingell's response to the CAFE standard letters

Dear Weiwen:

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for H.R. 1506,
the Fuel Economy Reform Act. I appreciate hearing from you.

As you know, H.R. 1506 was introduced by Representative Ed
Markey (D-MA) on March 13, 2007. The bill was immediately referred to
the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where I have the pleasure
of serving as Chairman. H.R. 1506 requires an average fuel economy
standard of 27.5 miles per gallon for automobiles manufactured for model
year 2012, and an average fuel economy standard of 35 miles per gallon for
automobiles manufactured for model year 2018, with a minimum increase of
4 percent in the average fuel economy from the level for the prior model
year for model year 2013 and beyond.

I believe the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) system has
served an important purpose, but it is time to move beyond what has become
a stale and sterile debate over CAFE standards. As the needs of the Nation,
and the technology of vehicles and fuels, have evolved, it is becoming clear
that regulating miles per gallon is no longer adequate. Consider this: Car A
gets 36 miles per gallon burning Middle Eastern oil. Car B gets 30 miles
per gallon burning a carbon neutral biofuel grown right here in the USA.
Which car better serves our national goals? With this in mind, we need to
move beyond CAFE to encouraging and even requiring renewable fuels,
new technologies and new ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Moreover, I am working to craft an economy wide cap-and-trade policy.
This way, every industry will have to tithe. I am very optimistic that we can
get a bill signed into law during this session of Congress and that the bill
will mark the beginning - not the end - of our work on climate change. We
will have to constantly monitor our progress to ensure that we have created
policies that protect our environment while allowing American industry to
remain competitive.

Again, thank you for being in touch. For news on current federal
legislative issues, please visit my website at www.house.gov/dingell; you
can also sign up there to receive my e-newsletter. In the meantime, please
do not hesitate to contact me again if I may be of assistance with this or any
other matter of concern.

With every good wish,

Sincerely yours,

John D. Dingell
Member of Congress

My response is that for too long, American automakers have stalled improvements to fuel efficiency and environmental standards. Congresspeople like Dingell have enabled them.

The "everyone must do it first" argument is morally bankrupt. It is an argument the the US government used when stalling the Kyoto Protocol - developing nations must sign on, or the treaty is useless. Developing nations, in turn, said it's not fair to us to restrict emissions, Western nations must restrict emissions first. Nothing gets done.

Instead of stalling, the auto industry should started coming up with ways to improve fuel efficiency and emissions years ago. They did not. Well, hopefully they will soon have incentives to do so.

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