Securing America's Future Energy

SAFE Welcomes Review of Fuel Economy Standards, Urges Compromise Incorporating New Technologies and Business Models

Contact: Leslie Hayward
Number: 202-461-2364

“There’s no reason for environmentalists, automakers, and conservatives to risk a nuclear war over these rules, which will result in zero progress for all sides.”

Washington, D.C.—Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) welcomes the Trump administration’s reexamination of existing fuel economy rules provided that the opportunity is taken for federal regulators, auto manufacturers, the state of California, and the environmental community to collaborate toward producing a more effective regulatory framework. Fuel economy rules are critical to boosting American national security, undermining the unfair and illegal practices of OPEC, executing an America-first energy plan.

“There’s no reason for environmentalists, automakers, and conservatives to risk a nuclear war over these rules, which will result in zero progress for all sides,” said SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond. “On one hand, there is the need to reform the system, enable new innovation, and protect American jobs. But if federal regulators eviscerate the regulatory framework, it will cause real damage to the automotive sector and various environmental protections. Meanwhile, if environmentalists overplay their hand, they risk a serious backlash from administration and a reopening of the clean air act and removal of California’s waiver. Given the level of uncertainty for auto manufacturers and the investments already made, we have an opportunity to compromise and make these standards powerful and relevant—we look forward to working with all stakeholders to make it happen.”

As the Trump administration returns to the originally established review schedule, SAFE encourages regulators to take the following steps:

  • Over time, recommit to one national program and avoid competing regulations at the federal and state level.
  • If necessary, grant some flexibility to the auto industry in the final years of the standards and extend the national program through 2030 and 2035. Doing so can provide stringency to meet environmental and energy security goals, while granting longer-term regulatory certainty that benefits the automotive industry.
  • Modernize fuel economy standards to incorporate new technologies, such as autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles, and new business models, such as ridesharing. Moving toward regulating the entire mobility system over individual vehicles will increase reductions in oil demand while placing a lower regulatory burden on companies. SAFE recommends incentives to encourage more efficient vehicles to be used in high-utilization deployments.
  • Institute five-year reviews into the new program to ensure that regulations keep pace with current technologies, fuel prices and market dynamics.

“On the battlefield, I have seen the consequences of our oil dependence first hand—too much blood and treasure of the United States has been spilled feeding our oil addiction,” said General James T. Conway, 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps and co-Chair of SAFE’s Energy Security Leadership Council. “Combating this dependence requires a three-pronged strategy: producing more oil here at home, diversifying the fuels available in our transportation sector, and getting more out of every barrel we do consume through efficiency rules. The Trump administration has a rare opportunity to bring these rules into the 21st century, I urge them to seize it.”

“Our energy security priorities are so fundamental to jobs and our economy that all parties should now focus on defeating oil dependence and OPEC together,” Diamond continued. “Officials today have the opportunity to provide certainty that works for everyone—offering automakers greater flexibility to achieve the standards, while reducing oil demand at a faster pace by integrating new technology and providing greater consumer choice.”

Ninety-two percent of U.S. transportation is powered by oil, a volatile commodity supplied and controlled by countries that do not share U.S. strategic priorities. This singular dependence on oil jeopardizes American economic sovereignty and reorders U.S. foreign policy priorities. The OPEC cartel and national oil companies, which hold 90 percent of global reserves, exact undue influence over the global oil market. In contrast to free-market American producers, these companies serve as government entities which take non-market considerations into account, such as social and defense spending.

About Securing America’s Future Energy

 Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil. Near-total dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector undermines the nation’s economic and national security, and constrains U.S. foreign policy. To combat these threats, SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency, and transportation sector innovations including electric vehicles, natural gas trucks, and autonomous vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing the United States’ dependence on oil. Today, the ESLC is co-chaired by Frederick W. Smith and General James T. Conway (Ret), 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.


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