EPA/NHTSA San Francisco Public Hearing
January 24, 2012
Thank you for the opportunity to speak at this joint hearing of the Environmental Protection
Agency and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
I am here today, on behalf of AJC’s San Francisco regional office, and on behalf of AJC national
and its more than 175,000 members and supporters, to urge that your agencies safeguard—
and further strengthen— the fuel economy standards agreed upon in July 2011 between the
automakers and the Obama administration. AJC strongly believes that these standards are a
critical element of the U.S. commitment to decreasing dependence on foreign oil through
enhancement of vehicular efficiency.
As you well know, pursuant to the announcement made last July, fuel economy standards are
to be raised to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks between 2017 and 2025, and
standards are to be issued for the first time for medium-duty and heavy duty vehicles. This
improvement in fuel efficiency for passenger vehicles marks an important step forward in
ending U.S. dependence on imported oil. And, importantly—even as we are convinced that we,
as a nation, must be prepared to incur additional costs in the cause of reduced dependence and
enhanced security—any increased cost associated with making our vehicles more fuel efficient
will be offset by the overall savings on gasoline that will come from operating more fuel
Each day, the United States sends 1 billion dollars overseas to pay for the needs of a
transportation sector that is 95% dependent on petroleum-based fuels. A quarter of our oil
imports come from the Middle East and Venezuela, nations whose interests are inimical to our
own. Our nation’s expenditures on imported oil fund the very same nations whose radical
movements and unstable regimes pose significant threats to America’s national security.
Raising fuel economy standards sends a clear signal that America is on the path toward ending
its oil addiction and the flow of petro-dollars to the coffers of these regimes.
AJC has long called for the United States to set as a primary national goal a comprehensive
energy policy aimed at a substantial reduction in U.S. dependence on imported oil. Toward that
end, AJC has unveiled a national energy strategy that would reduce total current U.S. imports of
petroleum and petroleum products by a minimum of 2.75–3.25 million barrels a day by 2020.
Increasing fuel economy standards is an essential element of that strategy—even as it is far
from the last step to be taken. We urge you and the Obama administration to continue this
important effort by working to ensure that our nation’s vehicle fleets continue to be held to the
highest feasible standard, and by looking for opportunities to further raise fuel economy
standards, as well by expanding the availability and variety of alternative fuel vehicles (through
open fuel standard, electrification and enhanced use of natural gas).
Thank you again for providing us the opportunity to express our views.