So the government does, in fact, still work for the people! Yesterday’s signing of the Energy Bill — with its mandate to increase auto fuel efficiency to 35 mpg by 2020 — gives me a little hope for that The People may still be in charge. At least every now and then, anyway. And maybe even a little hope for a world that enough of us are talking about climate change that politicians no longer have to fear doing the right thing. Of course, the Energy Bill isn’t perfect (tax cuts for oil companies anyone?), but the fact that anything got through and has a chance to get signed by GW seems like a miracle to me. I have so very little faith in the system anymore.
I could probably prattle on for a long time. (In college I took a physics course in which I learned all about car fuel efficiency and what it would take to create a more efficient vehicle. We’ve had the technology for some time. We just haven’t been building a better auto.) But I think we all know the main points: This is LONG overdue; the only thing that has stood in the way has been the profiteers at the oil and car companies; and even an increase to a measly 35 mpg minimum is a big step in the right direction.
Maybe Phyllis Cuttino, director of the Pew Charitable Trusts Campaign for Fuel Efficiency, says it best (quote courtesy of the National Environmental Trust):
Americans demanded action on energy security and global warming and Congress responded. This new fuel efficiency standard shows how powerful these issues have become – and they’re not going away.
Just two years ago, 62 members of the Senate opposed any increase in fuel efficiency. Just six months ago, the auto industry was saying 35 miles per gallon was ‘unachievable.’ Today, in a triumph of policy, process and politics, an energy bill has passed the House that will save 1.1 million barrels of oil a day, $25 billion for consumers annually at the pump in 2020. And, it makes the auto industry the first major sector of the American economy that will reduce its global warming pollution — by the equivalent of taking 28 million cars off the road. There’s nothing underwhelming about that.