Auto Industry Workers Say 35 MPG by 2020 Can Be Done

by Lorna Li
The Big Three Auto Makers in America – General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler – are spending millions to convince Congress not to pass a 35 mpg fuel efficiency standard in the new 2007 Energy Bill.
A large group of auto workers and dealers have broken from the industry in order to support the 35 mpg by 2020 fuel efficiency standard. As members of the American auto industry who have designed, built and sold automobiles in this country for decades, they state that 35 mpg is attainable with current technology, will, in fact, create auto industry jobs, and can help the U.S. end its foreign oil addiction.

Adam Lee, a third generation autodealer, makes this personal plea to the public to tell Congress that 35 mpg by 2020 is necessary for the survival of the auto industry.
“My family has been selling American made cars since 1936. My livelihood and the livelihood of over 350 employees who work for us depend upon the success of the automobile industry. Today that strength is severely compromised by the lack of fuel-efficient cars and trucks customers want to buy. …
Without a 35 mile-per-gallon mandate, I’m afraid, global warming and our dependence on foreign oil will continue to get much worse in the long run. And, in the short run, I’m afraid I’ll be stuck with a lot full of cars that no one wants to buy or even worse: This country will no longer have an American auto industry.”

Known as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standard, the legislative move to raise mileage for cars and light trucks to an average of 35 mpg by 2020 was, in fact, passed by the U.S. Senate in June. This is the first Congressional increase in fuel efficiency in 30 years, and yet the auto industry is pushing a counter-proposal of 32 mpg by 2022, which doesn’t seem like a big deal, until you do the math.
In their report titled Energy Bill Must Guarantee Real Oil Savings, the Union of Concerned Scientists calculated the difference between the 2 fuel efficiency proposals over time:
Barrels of Oil Saved Per Day:
– 500,000 Auto Lobby Proposal
– 1.2 Million Senate CAFE Compromise
Consumer Savings at the Pump:
– $11 Billion Auto Lobby Proposal
– $25 Billion Senate CAFE Compromise
Emissions Reductions
– 85mmt CO2 Auto Lobby Proposal
– 206 mmt CO2 Senate CAFE Compromise
As environmental and student groups lobby Congress, for stronger legislation on climate change and global warming, U.S. auto industry workers are lobbying for their livelihoods. Support a healthy and competitive American auto industry, by sending Congress this letter on behalf of U.S. auto workers.

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of has since grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.