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Fuel Efficiency and EVs Get Big Boost from Elections

Roland Hwang

Posted November 8, 2012 in Curbing Pollution, Moving Beyond Oil, Solving Global Warming

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Clean energy emerged a big winner Tuesday night. Big polluters emerged a clear loser.

The American people chose many candidates who campaigned on clean, renewable sources of energy–starting with President Obama.  In the past four years, the President took unprecedented actions to protect our air and produce clean energy jobs, including doubling fuel efficiency standards and investing $10 billion in manufacturing electric and other fuel efficient vehicle technologies.

Despite oil, gas, and  coal companies spending more than $270 million in campaign ads in just the last two months of the elections, voters rejected their outdated vision for our country.  A new survey of voters in key battleground states demonstrates these energy attacks failed to resonate with voters, including voters in Midwestern states where the energy attacks were most heavily focused.

The strong, clear message from the voters is that they want to move forward with clean energy, including fuel efficiency, electric cars, and cleaner gasoline.

Automaker will now be able to invest with confidence in innovative fuel efficiency technologies to meet the stronger standards.  And consumers are responding, with model year 2012 average fuel economy and sales fuel-efficient vehicles hitting record highs. A survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that 80 percent of car owners support raising fuel efficiency standards to 55 miles per gallon by 2025

The US DOE will now be able to get its stalled retooling loan program (ATVM) into gear that prior to the election season enjoyed bipartisan support.  Combined with the battery loan program, the Obama Administration has invested $10 billion in retooling the auto industry to be more competitive, supporting about 40,000 jobs.  With about $16 billion left and plenty of applicants, we expect this program to soon get back on track.

The US EPA also should now move forward with requiring the oil refiners to produce ultra low sulfur, cleaner burning gasoline, the so-called Tier 3 standards.  This common sense proposal has been delayed over the past year by oil company-led opposition in Congress.  This would cost just a penny a gallon. Oil companies hopefully have learned their lessons and instead of wasting their money on fighting to weaken pollution laws, they should invest in cleaning up their products.

We look forward to working with all stakeholders in moving America forward to a clean energy future.

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Comments

AlexNov 8 2012 06:11 PM

Congratulations for marginalizing the enthusiasts and throwing us under the bus. We'll keep our "gas hogs", please don't shove down our throats those electric wussmobiles that aren't selling despite complaints to the contrary.

If you think the Mitsubishi i (13.5 seconds to 60) or smart car electric (so slow that Car and Driver magazine charitably called it a rolling roadblock) are what people want, you're so wrong I don't know where to start. And before you play the Tesla card, they lost major money last quarter and they're falling behind their delivery schedules.

Please, I'm begging you, leave us alone. Treating us as outcasts isn't going to win us over.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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