Alexander Statement on President’s Adoption of Tougher CAFE Standards

Posted on May 19, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW)—and original cosponsor of a bipartisan amendment enacted as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that increased the fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks for the first time in more than 30 years—made the following statement today regarding President Obama’s proposed tougher CAFE standards: “Sensible vehicle-efficiency standards that protect jobs by giving auto companies time to adjust will do more than any other government action to create clean air. This is good for the health of Tennesseans and for attracting tourism and industrial jobs. These standards will encourage electric cars and trucks, which can be plugged in at night for a lower fuel cost, reducing our dependence on foreign oil. There is so much unused electrical capacity at night that the U.S. can electrify half our cars and trucks without building one new power plant. “An efficiency standard, like the one the president proposed today, is much better than a cap-and-trade program to control carbon emissions from cars and trucks. Also, a cap-and-trade scheme regulating carbon from fuel would be inefficient, raising gasoline prices now but not lowering emissions until years later. Today’s action further weakens the argument for an expensive, job-killing, economy-wide cap-and-trade program, since emissions from car and truck tailpipes produce 30 percent of carbon. The focus should now turn to encouraging carbon-free nuclear power and developing new technologies to deal with carbon from coal plant smokestacks, which produce 40 percent of carbon.”