15 Prominent Republicans Urge President Obama to Strengthen Fuel Efficiency Standards

By Christina DiPasquale Today, leading Republicans released a letter urging President Obama to set aggressive motor vehicle efficiency and emissions standards. Signatories include ten former Republican members of Congress, two former Republican governors and four former EPA Administrators (Christine Whitman having served both as a governor of New Jersey and EPA Administrator).

Citing the United States’ dependence on foreign oil and oil price volatility the group writes:

“Reductions in fuel consumption could not come at a more important time. With thousands of U.S. troops fighting overseas, unrest in the Middle East and consumers at home feeling the pain at the pump we must resolve to unshackle ourselves from the world oil market… If oil continues to be a primary driver of our economy and security, we will hand our destiny to other nations, many of which do not share our interests.”

The signatories argue that new fuel efficiency and emissions standards are vital to provide automakers with an investment climate that would allow them to continue to bring more fuel-efficient vehicles to consumers. This letter both acknowledges that these standards will simultaneously serve our national security needs and strengthen our economy “while also driving reductions in oil consumption and carbon pollution that fuels climate change.”


In recommending a national program that implements strong standards for 2017–2025 vehicles, the letter mentions that the first substantial increase in fuel economy standards in 25 years was passed by a bipartisan bill — the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Weighing in on the issue, The Center for American Progress, Sierra Club, and League of Conservation Voters released the “Cleaner Cars, Less Foreign Oil” plan, by John D. Podesta, Carl Pope and Gene Karpinski, which also called on President Obama and Congress to further improve fuel economy standards and modernize our transportation infrastructure by providing more transportation choices to consumers. Specifically, this plan to save Americans money, create jobs, restore America’s manufacturing might and cut oil use requires that we “build 21st century cars that get 60 miles per gallon by 2025, trucks with a 15 percent improvement in fuel economy, and invest in electric cars.”

GO60mpg, a joint effort of Environment America, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Safe Climate Campaign, Sierra Club, and Union of Concerned Scientists, is also advocating for better standards with the goal of reducing carbon pollution 6 percent per year between 2017 and 2025. Last month, Environment America released an analysis which showed that if our cars and trucks today met a 60 mpg standard, Americans would save $67 billion at the gas pump and cut gasoline consumption by 17 billion gallons this summer — savings of $513 in just three months for the average American family.

— Christina DiPasquale