You may recall our recent discussion of HR1506, the Markey-Platts bill that would increase average fuel efficiency standards to 35MPG in ten years.
Republicans are apparently too beholden to the energy cartels to even consider such a modest step (it ought to be 50MPG in five years).
Rep. Duncan's office responds to our communication re. the bill with a form letter position paper (PDF copy attached):
I agree we need to protect our environment, however, there have also been some unintended consequences resulting from these standards. In fact, according to data published in 1991 by the Office of Technology Assessment, "A 40 percent increase in fuel economy standards would reduce greenhouse emissions by only about 0.5 percent, even under the most optimistic assumptions."
This is due in part to the fact that cars and light trucks subject to fuel economy standards make up only 1.5 per-cent of all global man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
Support for increasing CAFE standards for environmental reasons seems to be based more on rhetoric and a desire to increase federal regulation than sound scientific efforts to reduce pollution.
So many distortions, so little time.
Start with "cars and light trucks subject to fuel economy standards." There's a giant loophole you can drive a Hummer through for Big Manly Pickups and SUVs built on "light truck" frames which are subject to lower CAFE standards (which is why there are so many SUVs and Minivans on the road). HR1506 would apply to all vehicles up to 10,000 pounds.
Further, 1.5 percent of global emissions is a pretty huge number, if you think about it in relative terms of encompassing only US cars and light trucks mostly used for personal transportation. But at least Rep. Duncan admits there is such a thing as greenhouse gas emissions, and concedes that some are man-made.
But what about all the other economic and environmental and foreign policy benefits of reducing consumption, reducing pollution, and reducing dependence on foreign oil? Are these the "unintended consequences" Rep. Duncan wishes to avoid?
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