WASHINGTON - March 4 - Today, General Motors (GM) announced that it is taking advantage of the Bush administration's recent extension of a loophole that gives automakers fuel economy credits for manufacturing dual-fuel vehicles. GM is planning to expand its production of these vehicles that are capable of running on both gasoline and ethanol. However, according to the Bush administration's own March 2002 study, over 99% of the 'dual-fuel' vehicles ran exclusively on gasoline. This means that the loophole may actually result in an additional 9-14 billion gallons of gasoline consumed between 2001 and 2008.
GM is touting its production plans as a way to "remove the automobile from the environmental debate." Promoted as an incentive "to spur the continued development and use of alternate-fuel-powered vehicles," by the Bush administration, this loophole will actually result in an additional 9-14 billion gallons of gasoline consumed between 2001 and 2008, but only a negligible increase in the use of alternative fuels, like ethanol.
Automakers use the dual-fuel loophole to evade federal fuel economy standards by getting extra credits towards meeting federal fuel economy standards. By extending this loophole, the Bush administration is allowing automakers to build more gas-guzzlers, increasing America's oil dependence and putting more heat-trapping global warming pollution into the atmosphere.
There is a better way. Instead of letting automakers off the hook, the Bush administration should require them to use existing fuel saving technology to make all vehicles go farther on a gallon of gas. If all vehicles averaged 40 miles per gallon, the United Stated would save more oil than we import from the Persian Gulf, while curbing global warming and air pollution.
Attached below is a link to the Sierra Club's statement from February 19th criticizing the Bush administration's extension of the dual-fuel loophole. If you have any questions, please contact Brian O'Malley at (202) 675-6279, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.