Press Releases

Senate Panel Approves Measure Sponsored by Senators Feinstein and Snowe to Raise Fuel Economy Standards for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks by 10 Miles per Gallon over 10 Years

- Committee-approved consensus legislation would raise nationwide fuel economy from 25 to 35 miles per gallon by 2020; with adjustments based on a class-by-class basis -

Washington, DC – The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation today approved a consensus measure to raise fuel economy standards for all passenger cars and light trucks by 10 miles per gallon over 10 years. The Committee-approved bill is based on legislation sponsored by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and a bipartisan coalition of 13 senators, to raise the fleet-wide average fuel economy standards for all passenger vehicles and light trucks from 25 to 35 miles per gallon by Model Year 2020, based on size, weight, and other relevant characteristics.

Late last week, Chairman Inouye and Ranking Member Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) announced a compromise amendment to the Feinstein-Snowe bill that would also require that the fuel economy of medium and heavy duty trucks be improved by 4 percent per year, a comparable rate to passenger vehicles. And it would extend the fuel economy increases of the entire fleet beyond 2020 by an additional 4 percent per year.

By 2025, if passed, the bill would reduce vehicular greenhouse gas emissions by 18 percent below projected levels; and save 2.1 million barrels of oil per day.

“The Commerce Committee today took an historic step by approving a bill to raise fuel economy standards by 10 miles per gallon over 10 years,” Senator Feinstein said. “This is a true victory. And after more than two decades of inaction on fuel economy issues, this is a step that is long past due.

The bill approved by the Committee will help keep the American auto industry competitive by leveling the playing field when it comes to class-based fuel economy increases. And it will satisfy the desire of American consumers to have more fuel efficient vehicles available – all without sacrificing safety or performance. So this is a win-win.

This bill would also target two major policy concerns:  limiting our nation’s energy consumption and reducing our carbon footprint. Specifically, by 2025, it would reduce oil consumption by 2.1 million barrels per day, which is roughly the amount of oil imported by the United States from the Perisan Gulf today. It would also reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from the use of vehicles by 18 percent below projected levels. So, this would be a major step in the right direction.

I would especially like to thank my colleagues, Chairman Inouye and Ranking Member Stevens. Without their leadership, and the hard work of the Committee staff, this important compromise would have never been achieved.

Simply put:  it’s time for this bill to become law.”

The bill will now need to be approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives, before it can be sent to the President for his signature or veto.