Urges sound science and realistic assumptions on future gas prices

For Immediate Release March 23, 2009

Contact: Daniel Reilly 202-225-2836

Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of twin climate and energy panels in the House, today sent a letter to President Obama, urging the administration to change flawed assumptions in calculating fuel economy standards. The draft regulations currently being considered were developed by the Bush Administration.Republican Rep. Todd Russell Platts of Pennsylvania also authored the letter, which was co-signed by over 80 Democratic and Republican House lawmakers.

“We cannot allow American drivers to be shortchanged by overestimating the costs of implementing fuel economy standards and underestimating the benefits,” said Markey. “The draft regulations were based on flawed assumptions that must be fixed in order to get our national energy policy back on track.”

Rep. Markey was a principal House author of the first mandated increase in fuel economy standards since 1975, which was contained in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The new law directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to raise fuel economy standards for both cars and light trucks to a fleet wide average of at least 35 miles per gallon in 2020, starting with model year 2011 vehicles.

On April 22, 2008, the Bush Administration issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that included proposed standards that should result in a projected fleet-wide average of 31.6 mpg by 2015.  The proposal was based on a systemic overestimation of the costs of implementing fuel efficient technologies and a systemic underestimation of its benefits, including an assumption that the price of gasoline in the year 2030 would be $2.51/gallon.

“This decision on fuel economy standards provides you with a historic opportunity to promote the development of more efficient, climate-friendly and technologically advanced vehicles that will put the American automotive industry  back on a path to commercial viability,” Markey and Platts wrote in the letter.

The full text of the signed letter is available here.