Energy independence implications of the auto bailout proposal 7

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 09 Dec 2008 15:00:00 GMT

As Congress considers a multi-billion dollar program of loans to America’s auto industry, many measures of success or failure exist for the industry and the government’s attempts to help the automakers. Chief among those measures of success is how effectively America’s auto industry, and the industry as a whole, is transformed to build cars for the future that reduce our dependence on oil. Will the auto industry meet the fuel economy rules passed by Congress and signed into law nearly a year ago, which could revitalize the industry? Should American taxpayers expect even higher fuel economy performance in return for their investment of additional billions in loans? Do the auto companies’ plans impair their ability to meet the current fuel economy regime?

A panel of auto industry and fuel economy experts will discuss these issues and other energy implications of the automotive industry loan program at a hearing tomorrow before Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Chairman Markey authored the House language that became the current fuel economy standards of at least 35 mile per gallon by 2020.

Today an analysis of the car companies’ own data revealed that General Motors and Ford are now positioned to comply with California’s landmark global warming standards if they are applied nationwide, which could represent a significant increase in fuel economy. According to the analysis of the companies’ data released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the two major automakers are in a position to meet the California global warming tailpipe standards. This analysis is important because some lawmakers in the House and Senate have proposed imposing a condition on the auto bailout that would grant the California waiver or prohibit the automakers from fighting the waiver in court or in state legislatures.

  • Joan Claybrook, President, Public Citizen
  • Reuben Munger, Chairman and Co-founder, Bright Automotive
  • Dr. Peter Morici, Professor of International Business, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland
  • Geoff Wardle, Director of Advanced Mobility Research, Art Center College of Design
  • Richard Curless, Chief Technical Officer, MAG Industrial Automation Systems