The following article was submitted by the Rhode Island Sierra Club chapter:
With gas prices still high through the summer, several Rhode Island elected officials have called upon President Obama to adopt fuel economy standards that will reach an average of 60 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks by 2025.
The Rhode Island Sierra Club is leading a local effort to steer the "Go 60 MPG campaign," having recent sent a letter to the President urging his administration to adopt the strongest possible standards for savings at the gas pump and for reductions to carbon pollution from tailpipes.
Signers include Governor Chafee, Lieutenant Governor Roberts, Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, Speaker Fox, Providence Mayor Tavares, Warwick Mayor Avedisian, Pawtucket Mayor Grebien, and members of the Rhode Island General Assembly that includes Senator Lou DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton, Little Compton).
“Increasing the fuel economy standard to at least 60 miles per gallon will decrease our dependency on oil and reduce the pollution that spews from our tailpipes. By setting the strongest possible standards today, we will make strides toward preserving our environment for future generations,” said Ben Jones, Chairperson of the Rhode Island Sierra Club.
In the next few weeks, it is anticipated that the Obama Administration will formally announce proposed fuel economy and global warming pollution standards for cars and light trucks built in model years 2017 to 2025. Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency began the process to consider a new federal standard proposed between 47 MPG and 62 MPG. President Obama and his Administration are currently negotiating with the automotive manufacturing industry to set the new standard. At 60 miles per gallon, the standard would reduce global warming emissions by 6% annually.
“President Obama has expressed interest in reducing foreign oil imports by one-third by 2025 and increasing our fuel economy standards to at least 60 miles per gallon is a good place to start.” said Nicholas Oliver, Go 60 MPG Campaign Coordinator for the Rhode Island Sierra Club. “U.S. automakers possess the technology to productively implement a 60 mile per standard and Rhode Islanders and the rest of the country need President Obama to set the highest standard to save drivers money at the gas pump and help protect our environment.”
In addition to the environmental benefit, Rhode Island drivers would financially benefit from the increased standards. At 60 MPG, the state could have saved over 215 million gallons of oil and could have saved up to $474 per household on average at the gas pump this summer alone. This data was released in May 2011 in a report on summer gas prices by Environment America.