Fuel Economy Saves Drivers Money, U.S. from Dependence

In two consecutive State of the Union addresses, President Bush has talked about the importance of increasing renewable energy research and decreasing the nation's dependence on foreign oil. The American people support this, yet it still has not happened. Other moderate Republicans and I who believe our energy security demands immediate attention introduced H.R. 656, a bill to raise Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for the cars, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), minivans and pickup trucks that are sold in the United States.

According to a 2002 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study, technologies exist today that can allow cars and trucks to go much farther on a gallon of gasoline – without sacrificing today's features or safety. Knowing that increasing CAFE standards is feasible and safe, the bill would direct the Secretary of Transportation to raise CAFE standards from the current level of 25 miles per gallon (mpg) to 33 mpg over the next 10 years. By 2025, this move would save 2.6 million barrels of oil each day.

The potential savings the bill would offer consumers are enormous. Buyers of large SUVs and pickup trucks would save $2,000 in fuel costs over the life of the vehicle, even after paying the additional costs of the new technologies. Families buying minivans would save over $1,000. And these savings were calculated assuming gasoline cost $2 per gallon. At today's prices, the savings would even greater.

Not only will reducing the amount of oil the average American family uses for their transportation needs save families money, but reducing the nation's dependence on oil will increase our energy security. Right now, our dependence on oil makes us vulnerable because we are relying on unstable Middle Eastern countries and Venezuela to meet our energy needs. We cannot wait to address the need to increase renewable energy research, reduce our dependence on oil and to strengthen our energy security.