Press Releases

Washington, DC – In the wake of the decision of the 9th Circuit Court to throw out the inadequate federal fuel economy increases for light trucks and SUVs, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) today renewed calls for enacting the Senate-approved legislation to raise fleetwide fuel economy by 10 miles per gallon over 10 years.

The 9th Circuit today found that the Administration’s 2006 rules to raise fuel economy for light trucks and SUVs by approximately two percent per year, which were supposed to go into effect next year, fail to adequately address the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.

 “The 9th Circuit today found that the Bush Administration’s fuel economy increases for SUVs and light trucks simply don’t measure up. The Court said that the Administration must go back to the drawing board and develop a rule that fulfills the legal obligation to close the SUV loophole and acknowledges the problem of greenhouse gas emissions,” Senator Feinstein said.

The simple truth is this:  emissions from passenger vehicles account for about 25 percent of all U.S. emissions. But serious fuel economy increases have been blocked by the auto industry for more than two decades. The time for action is long overdue.

Today’s 9th Circuit decision only underscores the urgency for Congress to pass the Senate-approved legislation to raise fleetwide CAFE standards by 10 miles per gallon over 10 years.  By 2025, the bill would actually lower emissions from motor vehicles by 18 percent. So, this would be a major step in the right direction.

Right now, Senate and House negotiators are working together to increase fuel economy standards for the first time in 25 years.

Bottom line: Failure to pass the Ten-in-Ten Fuel Economy Act will only lead to more court cases, and more uncertainty for the auto companies.  Enacting the Ten-in-Ten fuel economy increases would achieve the dual goals of higher fuel efficiency standards and increased certainty – so, it would be a real win-win.”

“The 9th Circuit has affirmed what I have long believed, that carbon emissions must be considered in formulating CAFE standards,” said Senator Snowe. “This ruling further reiterates the necessity of passing a clear, bold, and long-term vision of fuel economy standards in our country.  The Ten-in-Ten legislation, passed by the Senate in June, will create unambiguous and intrepid fuel economy standards that will mitigate climate change and revive a long dormant energy policy.”

In June, as part of a comprehensive energy package, the Senate voted to raise fuel economy standards for new sedans, light trucks and SUVs by 10 miles per gallon over 10 years, or from 25 to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. The Senate-approved measure fully achieves the goals of the original Ten-in-Ten Fuel Economy legislation sponsored by Senators Feinstein and Snowe.  

By 2025, the fuel economy increases for cars and light-duty trucks would:  

  • Achieve up to 18 percent reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from anticipated levels, or the equivalent of taking 60 million cars off the road in one year.

  • Save between 2.0 and 2.5 million barrels of oil saved per day, nearly the amount of oil imported today from the Persian Gulf.

  • Save American families between $700 and $1000 per year at the pump, depending on household driving habits (with gas at $2.72 per gallon).

The bill requires the Administration to set standards based on the physical attributes of different types of vehicles, such as size or engine power. So, small cars would be compared against small cars, light trucks against light trucks, and SUVs against SUVs.