For Immediate Release
Auto Industry Aid Must Be Linked to Better Fuel Economy, Union of Concerned Scientists Expert Will Tell Congress Tomorrow
WASHINGTON - David Friedman, an auto expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), will testify tomorrow at a House Financial Services Committee hearing that Congress should link any U.S. auto industry financial assistance to vehicle performance standards that will provide a return on taxpayer investment, strengthen the industry, curb U.S. oil dependence, and help prevent the worst consequences of global warming.
The hearing will start at 9:30 a.m. in room 2128 in the Rayburn House Office Building.
Auto industry executives, who are testifying before the Senate today, also will testify before the House Financial Services Committee tomorrow. UCS's Friedman will testify immediately after the automakers. (See below for a complete list of people testifying.)
"U.S. automakers are promising Congress they will make better cars and stay competitive," Friedman said. "But Congress can't just take their word for it and cut a blank check. If the automakers say they can make more fuel efficient cars with the money, they ought to be required, by law, to deliver on that promise."
Friedman's full testimony will be available online at the start of the hearing at: http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/clean_vehicles/Friedman-Automaker-Bailout-Testimony.pdf.
Some of the main points in his testimony include:
-- Congress should not weaken the $25 billion loan program it established in last year's energy bill. It requires a modest 25 percent increase in fuel economy for qualifying investments. Automakers already have to comply with this requirement under current fuel economy law and the plans they submitted to Congress are premised on using this initial $25 billion as Congress intended.
-- Taxpayers deserve a return on their investment. Toward that end, automakers should comply with fuel economy standard increases earlier than required by current law. General Motors indicated it could do so in the plan it submitted to Congress.
-- UCS estimates that if Detroit automakers met their projected 2015 fleetwide fuel economy target three years earlier, consumers would see net savings of more than $10 billion through 2020 and more than $30 billion through 2025, even if gasoline averages as low as $2 per gallon.
-- Congress should require automakers to drop their lawsuits against clean car laws passed by several states.
G. Richard Wagoner, Jr., General Motors chairman and chief executive officer
Robert Nardelli, Chrysler chief executive officer
Alan Mulally, Ford president and chief executive officer
Ron Gettelfinger, United Auto Workers president
Gene Dodaro, Government Accountability Office acting comptroller general
Felix G. Rohatyn, FGR Associates
Edward Altman, New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business
David Friedman, Union of Concerned Scientists Clean Vehicles Program research director
Jeffrey D. Sachs, Earth Institute director, Columbia University professor of sustainable development and professor of health policy and management
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The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading U.S. science-based nonprofit organization working for a healthy environment and a safer world. Founded in 1969, UCS is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and also has offices in Berkeley, Chicago and Washington, D.C. For more information, go to www.ucsusa.org.