As prefigured by John Dingell’s participation in the details of the CAFE component of the energy bill deal, the American auto industry is lending its support to the bill, a sharp reversal from its heavy lobbying against the standards in previous months.
Automakers, which have successfully blocked raising passenger car standards for more than two decades, objected to a 40 percent increase, saying it would cost them billions to comply and could force them to make fewer of their biggest, most profitable models.
But General Motors Corp. Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said in a statement Saturday that the Detroit automaker will meet the new challenge.
“There are tough, new CAFE standards contained in the energy bill before Congress that pose a significant technical and economic challenge to the industry,” Wagoner said. “But, it’s a challenge that GM is prepared to put forth its best effort to meet with an array of engineering, research and development resources. We will continue our aggressive pursuit of advance technologies that will deliver more products with more energy solutions to our customers.”
Toyota Motor Corp. praised congressional leaders for “taking this very important step toward establishing new, aggressive nationwide fuel economy standards.”
“Toyota will not wait for new standards to be set, but will move forward expeditiously to apply advanced technologies to improve the fuel economy of our fleet,” said Jo Cooper, Toyota’s vice president for government affairs in North America.
Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the trade group that represents Detroit’s Big Three, Toyota, Daimler AG and five other automakers, said “this tough, national fuel economy bill will be good for both consumers and energy security. We support its passage.” Mike Stanton, who is president and CEO and the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, the trade group that represents Toyota, Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co., among others, expects his members to support the compromise. “We wanted Congress to act,” Stanton said in an interview. “It’s not perfect, but I think we’re going to be pleased.”
There are various bills before Congress that would mandate a new target of 35 mpg by 2020 and require both cars and trucks to meet that standard. Our engineers tell us the requirements specified by these proposed measures are beyond what is possible. Toyota spends $23 million every day on research and development but, at this point, the technology to meet such stringent standards by 2020 does not exist.
Toyota has long supported an increase in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Moreover, Toyota has always exceeded federal fuel economy requirements. We are continuously striving to improve our fuel economy, regardless of federal mandates.
Toyota currently supports a proposal known as the Hill-Terry bill, HR 2927, that would set a new standard of up to 35 mpg by 2022 (up to a 40% increase) and maintain separate categories for cars and light trucks. Although this won’t be easy, we believe it is achievable.
House Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee chairman Ed Markey responds: “Apparently the only thing that separates Toyota from the ‘impossible dream’ of 35 miles per gallon here in the U.S., is a flight across the Pacific Ocean,” as Toyota meets Japan’s (and Europe’s) fuel efficiency standards of greater than 40 MPG, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation.
A Message from Irv Miller
Toyota is currently the target of a campaign by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) that accuses us of opposing increases in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for cars and light trucks. The assertion by this group that we are actively lobbying against increased fuel economy standards is just flat wrong, and we want you to be aware of the company’s position on this important issue and the facts.
FACT: Toyota has long supported an increase in the CAFE standards. Moreover, Toyota has always exceeded federal fuel economy requirements. We’ve never waited for federal mandates. Under the current CAFE standard, an automaker’s average miles per gallon for cars must exceed 27.5 and light trucks must exceed 20.7. Trucks weighing less than 8500 lbs. must average 22.5 mpg for model year 2008, 23.1 mpg in 2009 and 23.5 mpg in 2010.
FACT: There are various bills before Congress that would mandate a new target of 35 mpg by 2020 and require both cars and trucks to meet that standard. Our engineers tell us the requirements specified by these proposed measures are beyond what is possible. Toyota spends $23 million every day on R&D but, at this point, the technology to meet such stringent standards by 2020 does not exist.
FACT: Toyota supports a proposal known as the Hill-Terry bill, HR 2927, that would set a new standard of from 32 to 35 mpg by 2022 (up to a 40% increase) and maintain separate categories for cars and light trucks. That won’t be easy, but we believe it is achievable.
To help set the record straight, I have posted a message on this topic on the company’s blog. To learn more, visit the blog by clicking here—> http://blog.toyota.com/2007/09/irvs-sheet-a-ca.html
Toyota, maker of the 46 MPG Prius*, is lobbying against the Markey-Platts fuel-economy bill (HR 1506), which calls for 35 MPG by 2020, and for the significantly more industry-friendly Hill-Terry (HR 2927) as part of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. (An AAM rep has even commented on this site).Thomas Friedman in the New York Times:
Representative Edward Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who heads the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said to me that Toyota could meet a 35 m.p.g. standard in Japan and Europe today, “but here — even though they bombard Americans with ads about how energy efficient Toyota is — they are fighting the 35 m.p.g. standard for 2020.”
Mr. Markey said he has tried to persuade Toyota that “a lot of people have bought Priuses or Camry hybrids to fight global warming and reduce our dependence on foreign oil” and “they would be shocked to find out” that Toyota is lobbying against the highest m.p.g. standards for America.
Members of the House will hold a news conference to urge support for the inclusion of clean energy provisions in energy legislation that will be taken up by the House in order to address the problem of global warming and provide solutions the nation’s energy challenges. The bills supported are the Udall-Platts Renewable Electricity Standard (HR 969) and the Markey-Platts Fuel Economy Reform Act (HR 1506).
Contact: Liz Hitchcock at 202-546-9707, ext. 316
- Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, R-Md.
- Rep. Paul W. Hodes, D-N.H.
- Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass.
- Rep. Todd R. Platts, R-Pa.
- Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo.
- Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M.
Reps. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), Paul Hodes (D-NH), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Ed Markey (D-MA), Todd Platts (R-PA), Mark Udall (D-CO) and Tom Udall (D-NM) said they will work to ensure that a strong 35 mile per gallon fuel economy standard and renewable electricity standard are included in the final bill. The Renewable Electricity Standard (H.R. 969) is sponsored by Reps. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Todd Platts (R-PA), and the Fuel Economy Reform Act (H.R. 1506) is sponsored by Reps. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Todd Platts (R-PA).
“Not since I first came to Congress over 30 years ago has America seen such high gas prices and the political will to move forward on fuel economy standards,” said Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. “We need to ensure a strong 35 mile per gallon standard joins a renewable electricity standard in the final bill that heads to the President.”
Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA) said, “Energy is an economic, environmental, and national security issue. Higher fuel efficiency standards for cars, a renewable energy standard for electricity, and similar initiatives are important to saving consumers money, conserving our resources and protecting the environment, and lessening our dependence on foreign oil.”
The House energy bill includes important clean energy and energy efficiency measures, and the Senate has passed legislation that calls for an increase in fuel economy to 35 miles per gallon. The final congressional energy package could be further strengthened by adding provisions to increase renewable electricity and preserve a strong 35 mpg fuel efficiency standard. Twenty three states and the District have already passed a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), also called a renewable portfolio standard or RPS, which would require utilities to gradually increase the amount of renewable energy they use to generate electricity each year. It creates a market-based mechanism of tradable renewable energy credits – similar to the Clean Air Act trading system – allowing utilities to meet the requirements at the lowest cost.
Utilities would receive a credit for every kilowatt of electricity they produce from wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, ocean, and biomass energy – which includes capturing the gas from landfills and animal waste – as well as for improvements made to existing hydroelectric facilities. These credits could be traded or sold among utilities, or bought from the Department of Energy.
“As Congress prepares to address the many important energy issues facing our nation, we must consider the benefits of renewable energy. Establishing a federal renewable portfolio standard will balance a wide range of interests,” Rep. Tom Udall (D-NM) said. “Not only will it help us meet our growing demand for electricity, it will also reduce our exposure to fossil fuel price spikes and supply interruptions, increase economic development in the renewable energy industry, and improve our environment.”
A 2006 analysis by U.S. PIRG found that by obtaining 20 percent of our electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020 combined with a cap on global warming pollution, the U.S. would cut global warming pollution over 500 million tons, the equivalent of taking approximately 89 million cars off the road. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, an RES standard of 20 percent by 2020 would generate over 185,000 new high-paying jobs in manufacturing, construction and more. In addition, the policy would save consumers at least $10.5 billion on their electric and natural gas bills by 2020.
“The Udall-Platts Renewable Electricity Standard amendment will create public benefits for everyone. The renewable energy goals it sets are significant, and the requirement is not overly burdensome for states as it gives them flexibility to achieve these goals. The passage of this amendment will benefit farmers, save consumers money, reduce air pollution, and increase reliability and energy security,” said Rep. Mark Udall, who is co-chair of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus in the House of Representatives.
The Markey-Platts Fuel Economy Reform Act guarantees an annual four percent increase in corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards to ensure the U.S. achieves 35 miles per gallon for new cars by 2018. Experts say that by 2022, this action would reduce oil consumption by the same amount currently imported from the Persian Gulf, about 2.2 illion barrels of oil a day. In addition, the measure would save consumers $37 billion at the pump and lead to 241,000 additional jobs.
“Upgrading fuel economy standards is a commonsense step to decrease America’s dependence on foreign oil,” said Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL). “Increasing standards would save the average American family $2,000 per year. Additionally, a national renewable electricity standard will allow us to take advantage of the economic benefits of renewable energies.”
Several conservation groups have stepped up their lobbying on Capitol Hill in support of these amendments in recent days to ensure continued momentum on clean energy as House consideration of an energy bill approaches. The Senate passed its energy bill last month.
With a vote on CAFE legislation in the House expected to come next week, the Pew Campaign for Fuel Efficiency today released new bipartisan polling in Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida and Michigan that pulled from more than 30 congressional districts. The surveys found overwhelming voter support for the U.S. House of Representatives to pass CAFE legislation at least as strong as those passed by the U.S. Senate in June. One particular district surveyed was John Dingell’s, Michigan-15.
The polls compared the elements of the Markey-Platts bill (HR 1506) with those of the industry-supported Hill-Terry bill (HR 2927), and found overwhelming, across-the-board support for Markey-Platts across all demographic groups (partisanship, income, type of car, age, etc.). Voters just don’t buy the industry arguments against CAFE standards, believing that cars will continue to be safe and affordable and that the American auto industry and auto workers will be better off as they will be forced to innovate.
As Bill McInturff, the GOP pollster said in the briefing, “There’s really strong Republican support for higher standards, do it quicker, make it binding.” Voters see this as an economic, environmental, national security issue, and would feel better about Congress and their own representative if strong legislation is passed.
Voters in Dingell’s district look like the voters elsewhere.
The pollsters deliberately avoided global warming because they see it as a partisan issue.
Districts surveyed by The Mellman Group (D) and Public Opinion Strategies® July 13-16:
- OH-4, 6, 9, 11, 12 ,13, 17, 18 (Jordan, Tubbs Jones, Tiberi, Sutton, Ryan, Space)
- TN-1, 5, 6, 8 (Davis, Cooper, Gordon, Tanner)
- KY-3, 6 (Yarmuth, Chandler)
- PA-1, 3, 4, 11, 12, 17 (Brady, English, Altmire, Kanjorski, Murtha, Holden)
- NC-2, 3, 7, 11, 12 (Etheridge, Jones, McIntyre, Shuler, Watt)
- FL-2, 9, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 25 (Boyd, Bilirakis, Mahoney, Meek, Ros-Lehtinen, Wasserman Schultz, Klein, Diaz-Balart)
- MI-15 (Dingell)