Scientists Analyze President's Fuel and Gas Mileage Proposals: President and Congress Should Turn 34 MPG by 2017 'Assumption' Into Reality

State of the Union Response by David Friedman, Research Director, Union of

Concerned Scientists

Jan 23, 2007, 00:00 ET from Union of Concerned Scientists

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following is a statement
 from David Friedman, the research director of the Union of Concerned
 Scientists, regarding a possible fuel economy requirement:
     "This could be the breakthrough we have been waiting for on fuel
 economy. The president joins leaders in Congress calling for increasing the
 gas mileage of cars, SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks to 34 mpg by 2017.
 This is the equivalent of a four percent improvement per year. However,
 this will only be a breakthrough if the president and Congress work
 together to pass a law guaranteeing that this goal becomes reality, while
 avoiding loopholes and escape clauses. They must also work together to
 continue these improvements beyond 2017. Only then will we be able to
 reduce our oil dependence, save money at the pump and put the auto industry
 on the road to recovery.
     "According to UCS research, if this fuel economy goal is required by
 law, it would save 550,000 barrels of oil per day in 2017, more than we
 currently import from Iraq. The increase would also cut global warming
 pollution by 95 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in that same year.
 This is equivalent to taking 14 million of today's cars and trucks off the
     "UCS analysis also shows that producing 35 billion gallons of renewable
 fuels by 2017 would cut our projected oil demand by 1.5 million barrels per
 day in 2017, reducing our oil dependence by 6.4 percent. If 18 billion
 gallons came from corn ethanol, then the remaining 17 billion gallons must
 come from cellulosic ethanol or other renewable fuels by 2017. These fuels
 must be produced without polluting the air, water and soil. If the
 president's renewable and alternative fuel goal is met primarily with
 ethanol, it would reduce global warming pollution by 160 million metric
 tons in 2017, the equivalent of taking nearly 24 million of today's cars
 and trucks off the road.
     "If alternative fuels are made from coal instead of renewable
 resources, the president will not meet his stated goal of stopping the
 projected growth in carbon dioxide emissions from cars, light trucks and
 SUVs. Instead of cutting global warming pollution, making gasoline or
 diesel from coal would double the amount of global warming pollution
 produced from gasoline today.
     "To address global warming, the president needed to go much further. We
 must set an overall cap on global warming pollution for the entire economy.
 This step will complement policies that directly address transportation,
 electricity and other sources of pollution. For example, we need
 legislation that would require utilities to produce 20 percent of the
 nation's electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar power by
 2020. The renewable electricity standard is the best way to cut power plant
 emissions, reducing emissions by 434 million metric tons, the equivalent of
 taking nearly 63 million of today's cars and trucks off the road."
     Formed in 1969, the Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading
 science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer
     Contact: Emily Robinson, +1-202-331-5427, or Aaron Huertas,
 +1-202-331-5420, both for the Union of Concerned Scientists

SOURCE Union of Concerned Scientists