Energy Crisis Requires a Smart, Feasible, Affordable Change (Sen. Barbara Mikulski)

Our world and our nation are facing a crisis.  When you look at the increased price of gas at the pump, it's hurting every single person. The time has come to raise the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standards.

It is time to conserve our energy resources and to deal with this crisis.  We need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  That is one of the most important things that we can ask the public to do in fighting the war against terrorism.  But the time has come, also, to put our thinking caps on, to be an innovation society, and to come up with new ideas for efficiency, new technologies for energy efficiency, and new composite materials to make cars lighter, but keep them safe.

I know that American automobile manufacturers and their workers are true patriots.  They want what is the best for our nation.  They've faced challenges before and they have met them.  And I believe that they will face these challenges now.  I believe they know and want to build vehicles that are safer and more energy-efficient.  However, we need a national effort, because they need to be able to help their own industry survive, and also because it is in the best interest of the nation.

Twenty years have gone by since the last increase in fuel efficiency standards.  I was here when we voted for those CAFE standards.  And now, after 20 years, I firmly believe it is time for a change.  Not any kind of change - a smart change, a feasible change, an affordable change.