Press Releases

Washington, DC -- Two senators whose states are battling for cleaner and more fuel efficient cars late yesterday urged Senate leadership to support making U.S. carmakers accept tougher emission standards, which would in effect yield cars that get more than 42 mpg by 2020. The Senate is expected to vote on an auto bailout package this week, which includes a similar provision in the latest draft circulated.

The letter, by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), is pasted below:

December 8, 2008

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
United States Senate
The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Leader Reid,

In recent letters both to you and the chief executives of America’s Big Three automakers, we have expressed our interest in the suspension of any efforts to oppose states’ work to adopt and enforce the California greenhouse gas emission standards.  As you know, these standards not only will reduce harmful emissions but also result in fuel efficiency that will surpass federal CAFE standards — thereby reducing pollution and our dependence on foreign oil.

Last week, Florida moved a step closer to adopting the landmark California greenhouse gas emissions standards.  We would regret to see any lobbying against the leadership demonstrated by our states.

In the past, the Big Three automakers have disputed the feasibility of attaining the California standards; however, GM and Ford laid out business plans that demonstrate that they plan to exceed the Ten-in-Ten Fuel Economy Act fuel economy standards.

  • In 2012, GM plans to have a car fleet at 37.3 mpg and a truck/SUV fleet at 27.5.  This would be a fleetwide average of 32 to 34 mpg. 
  • Ford’s plan states that “we will improve the fuel economy (from 2005) of our fleet by 14% in 2009, 26% in 2012, and 36% in 2015.”  Calculations show that this means Ford intends to reach 28.0 mpg in 2009, 30.9 mpg in 2012, and 33.4 mpg in 2015.

According to a report released today by the National Resources Defense Council, the fuel economy improvement GM and Ford are planning to attain will position the firms to comply with California's landmark global warming standards if they are applied nationwide.

We recommend, and would wholeheartedly support, language in the pending automakers’ bailout bill that would prohibit the industry from using any funds for litigation and/or advocacy against states’ efforts to either adopt or enforce the California greenhouse gas emission standards.

Senator Bill Nelson    Senator Dianne Feinstein