Romney Opposes Fuel Efficiency Standards Actually Moving U.S. Toward Energy Independence


Mitt Romney’s campaign has released a new statement on fuel economy standards: “Gov. Romney opposes the extreme standards that President Obama has imposed, which will limit the choices available to American families,” said campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “The president tells voters that his regulations will save them thousands of dollars at the pump, but always forgets to mention that the savings will be wiped out by having to pay thousands of dollars more upfront for unproven technology that they may not even want.”

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Last week, Mitt Romney unveiled a plan for “energy independence” by 2020, a proposal analysts called unrealistic, in part because he would roll back the same initiatives responsible for lowering U.S. foreign oil consumption.

Today, the Obama Administration is set to announce new rules that boost fuel efficiency to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, which would save 3 million barrels of oil per day, 2 billion metric tons of carbon pollution, and create 570,000 jobs by 2030.

Romney not only opposes these new rules, but he would undo existing standards requiring new cars reach an average of 35.5 MPG by 2016, the first improvement the fuel economy standards stalled for two decades. Last fall, Romney said he “would get the EPA out of its effort to manage carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles and trucks.” This spring, Romney blasted fuel economy standards again:

ROMNEY: In my view, the industry got in trouble because the UAW asked for too much, management gave too much and made other mistakes, and the government CAFE [Corporate Average Fuel Economy] standards hurt domestic automakers and provided a benefit to some of the foreign automakers.

The truth is the complete reverse, since higher mileage standards have prompted U.S. automakers to become competitive with efficient foreign cars, while reducing U.S. oil consumption by 2 million barrels per day by 2025. Romney’s own plan for “energy independence” uses Citigroup research based off the assumption that “‘the United States will continue with strict fuel economy standards that will lower its oil demand.” We’ll get even closer to that goal with 54.5 MPG standards.

These standards have helped revive the auto industry. Automotive News reported that new fuel-efficient vehicles are the key drivers of the 2012 increase in sales:

“The changeover to high-mpg models, in all segments is the key market driver this year. Dealers say it has been the release valve on pent-up demand as fuel prices soared.”

In addition, the new standards reduced U.S. gasoline consumption this year. The Energy Information Administration cites the improvements in fuel efficiency as one of these reasons, noting the standards “help reduce gasoline consumption, as more efficient vehicles use less fuel for each mile driven.”

Both the existing and proposed improvements in fuel economy have the support of domestic and nearly all foreign auto companies, the United Auto Workers, states, and other stakeholders.

Romney once supported fuel efficiency, by adopting California standards setting limits on carbon pollution from vehicles as Massachusetts governor. In 2002, he proposed tax breaks for fuel efficient cars and an excise tax for gas-guzzlers.

A few years later, Romney blasted achievable 35 MPG by 2016 standards as an “anvil” weighing down the industry. But since the auto industry bridge loans, and measures like CAFE standards, automakers have bounced back, with fuel efficient cars as a major driver of the 2012 increase in sales. The industry has created 139,000 jobs since 2009, with its strongest sales in the last quarter.

But Romney’s administration would allow our domestic auto industry to once again fall behind its competitors in the rest of the world. It would leave drivers vulnerable to oil and gasoline price spikes. And it would increase our demand for foreign oil imports. The only winners would be big oil companies and members of the OPEC oil cartel.


The RNC has just released its national platform. While the energy portion of the platform does not specifically mention fuel economy standards, it backs up aggressive use of fossil fuels and calls for an end to regulations that protect public health and reduce carbon pollution: “We call for a moratorium on the development of any new major and costly regulations until a Republican Administration reviews existing rules to ensure that they have a sound basis in science and will be cost-effective.”

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9 Responses to Romney Opposes Fuel Efficiency Standards Actually Moving U.S. Toward Energy Independence

  1. SecularAnimist says:

    Rebecca Leber wrote: “The truth is the complete reverse”

    That’s pretty much the case with anything that Romney says.

    I’ve watched presidential campaigns since 1972, and I’ve seen plenty of dishonesty, but I have NEVER seen a campaign so ENTIRELY based on outright lies as the Romney 2012 campaign.

  2. _Flin_ says:

    Noone sells cars with low mpg in Germany – at least to normal users, who do not get their gas bills payed by their employer.

    We currently pay 7,80 US-$ per gallon for gas, 7,30 for Diesel. Just got myself a car that I can drive with 42 mpg Diesel (with soot filter). Nevertheless it’s expensive to drive 50 miles a day to work.

  3. Tami Kennedy says:

    The GOP interpretation of scientific data to date has been questionable. I don’t get a comfortable feeling when they will base decisions on science. Especially when “cost-effective” is used in the same sentence. They will definitely give more weight to any cost benefit.

  4. Chris Winter says:

    “Last week, Mitt Romney unveiled a plan for “energy independence” by 2020, a proposal analysts called unrealistic…”

    Mitt Romney? He’s a member of the GUP — the Generally Unrealistic Party.

  5. gus says:

    If “cost-effective” looked any farther than the balance statement for the next year, it MIGHT mean something useful — when long-term costs are considered, even just in a fiscal sense, making changes makes LOTS of sense. But doing that is anathema to our millisecond-based stock trading system….

  6. Oblio A says:

    This is excellent news.

    Improved fuel-efficiency standards will reduce oil consumption and tailpipe emissions.

    Fuel-efficiency standards do not exist to lower prices at the pump or the car dealership; their purpose is to reduce oil consumption and tailpipe emissions.

  7. d. earle says:

    Better for the Feds to raise tax on motor fuels, which is not a good idea either, but is the lessor of two evils. Use the extra revenue ONLY to pay down the National Debt. Then the consumer will demand a more fuel efficient vehicle, but (and this is the important part) consumers can use individual choice as to their vehicle type. Enough of the Feds telling us what to do all the time.

  8. Diego says:

    They think the only way to win the election is to lie to get enough support from the right wing.

    We will soon see if America really is that desperate!

  9. I drive a Ford Hybrid Fusion and love the car and fuel savings etc.
    Most of the economic mess we are in is because of gas hogs and it takes close to a decade to get these vehicles off the road to the recycling center where they belong.
    We can create millions of American jobs with the billion dollars a day we currently send to foreign countries for foreign oil.