Press Releases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today sent a letter to Adam Sieminski, the newly confirmed administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration. EIA is responsible for analyzing energy information to help inform congressional decisions.

“I am writing to express my concern that EIA may publish an analysis of proposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards that does not incorporate up-to-date data in its Annual Energy Outlook 2012,” Senator Feinstein wrote. “I believe it is important that the analysis presented in the Annual Energy Outlook be accurate and up-to-date, and I encourage you to take the steps necessary to update EIA’s analysis.”

Senator Feinstein, along with Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), wrote the Ten in Ten Fuel Economy Act, which was enacted in 2007. That law requires corporate average fuel economy standards be increased at the “maximum feasible” rate.

Text of the letter follows:

June 21, 2012

The Honorable Adam Sieminski
Administrator
U.S. Energy Information Administration
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585

Dear Administrator Sieminski,

Congratulations on your confirmation as Administrator of the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA provides Congress with vitally important analysis of energy issues. I look forward to working with you.

I am writing to express my concern that EIA may publish an analysis of proposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards that does not incorporate up-to-date data in its Annual Energy Outlook 2012.

Senator Snowe and I authored the Ten in Ten Fuel Economy Act, which Congress enacted in 2007. The law requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to increase corporate average fuel economy standards at the “maximum feasible” rate. The Act also maintains California Air Resources Board (CARB) and US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) authorities to reduce pollution under the Clean Air Act.

As a result of this law, CARB, USEPA, and NHTSA have worked cooperatively to promulgate coordinated and harmonized state and federal pollution emission and fuel economy standards for model years 2011-2025. In order to assure that standards increased at the “maximum feasible” rate, the three agencies undertook an unprecedented effort to develop the most comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date database of efficient and low-polluting vehicle technologies anywhere in the world – and the modeling capability to estimate how automakers will cost-effectively comply with these standards and the resulting effects on new vehicle costs, fuel savings, and pollution reduction.

The final published technical analyses of CARB, USEPA, and NHTSA have been available since November 2011, but I understand that EIA analysts have not yet incorporated any of this data and analysis into the EIA models estimating the impact of the proposed fuel economy regulations. Simply put, EIA’s analysis will not accurately reflect the benefits of fuel economy and carbon pollution standards to our nation’s environment, our economy, and our energy security because EIA has not updated its models with current information.

I believe it is important that the analysis presented in the Annual Energy Outlook be accurate and up-to-date, and I encourage you to take the steps necessary to update EIA’s analysis. If EIA is unwilling to update its models to reflect current knowledge, I encourage you to add clear caveats identifying the deficiencies in the data, assumptions, and modeling that underlay EIA’s analysis of vehicle standards. Going forward, I hope EIA analysts will collaborate closely with CARB, USEPA, and NHTSA experts to develop consistent analytical tools based on the best data available.

Thank you in advance for addressing this matter. I look forward to working with you to ensure that the EIA is producing first-class energy analysis.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

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