Environmentalists are putting pressure on
As a member of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Toyota, which has artfully used the hybrid Prius to polish its green image, has sided with its American rivals — General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler — in opposing tougher fuel-economy standards.
The debate over fuel-economy standards could reach a climax this fall in the U.S. House of Representatives where the Alliance and the United Auto Workers union have been fighting a ferocious battle against standards approved by the U.S. Senate this past June that would raise fuel economy standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020.
"Congress is negotiating an energy bill that could raise the fuel economy standard to 35 miles per gallon, a move that would save America 1.2 million barrels of oil each day by 2020 — more than we import from Saudi Arabia,” said Deron Lovaas, the director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental activist group. “But
Lovaas estimated more than 8000 consumers have sent letters to
Facing growing pressure for higher fuel economy standards, the Alliance has shifted its tactics from outright opposition to any change in the current corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, rules to support a moderate proposal from an Indiana Democrat, Baron Hill, and Nebraska Republican Lee Terry, that would boost fuel economy to 32 to 35 miles per gallon by 2022.
Ron Gettelfinger, UAW president, said in a recent speech the tougher rules pending in Congress would shatter the
“There’s a much better bill before Congress — a bill that would require a sharp increase in fuel economy standards in a responsible manner that would help our industry and preserve American jobs," Gettelfinger said. “That would be the biggest increase ever since CAFE standards were first implemented in the 1970s,” Gettelfinger said.
“But unlike other, more extreme proposals, the Hill-Terry bill would phase in these requirements over a reasonable period between now and 2022. That gives automakers sufficient time to re-tool their plants to shift towards more fuel efficient vehicles,” Gettelfinger said.
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