This week on our Facebook page, you saw this bit of good news: that new polling finds huge bipartisan support for standards that increase fuel economy and reduce carbon pollution in America's cars and trucks.
These standards, which were written jointly by EPA and the Department of Transportation, will increase the fuel economy of new cars to an average 35 miles per gallon by 2017 and to an average of 55 miles per gallon by 2025. While they are hugely popular today, their enactment was not always a foregone conclusion. It's a reminder that elections matter when it comes to clean energy.
Some Members of Congress Tried to Stop It
Members of Congress tried to repeal EPA's scientific finding that greenhouse gases like carbon pollution are dangerous. Forty seven senators voted to repeal the endangerment finding in 2010 and a majority of House members tried to repeal it on more than one occasion. If these folks had succeeded, EPA could not have gotten involved in reducing carbon pollution from vehicles. In fact, when the Tea Party took over the House of Representatives in 2011, their very first bill (H.R. 1), specifically tried to stop EPA from working on these standards.
Mitt Romney Wanted to Stop It
During his long campaign to win the Republican nomination for President, Mitt Romney flip flopped and said that he would "get the EPA out of its effort to manage carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles and trucks." Keeping EPA involved in the process means that we'll reduce more pollution and save more oil.
These new standards will save consumers up to $5,000 over the lifetime of one of these new vehicles. They will save approximately 4 billion barrels of oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2 billion metric tons. The net benefits to society could climb as high as $451 billion. It's no wonder that these standards are popular. And it's a good thing Big Oil and its political allies didn't get their way.