By Brendan Moore
Hillary Clinton proposed a much tougher average fuel efficiency requirement for vehicles yesterday, saying she thought the fleet-wide average mpg requirement should be 55 mpg for each auto maker by 2030, not the current 35 mpg average by 2020 proposed by the U.S. Senate. The auto manufacturers are fighting hard against the current Senate proposal now, trying to derail the proposal before it gets approved by the House. Under Clinton’s proposal, 2020 would see a 40 mpg requirement on the way to the 55 mpg required by 2030.
The 55 mpg requirement is one of the linchpins of Senator Clinton’s all-encompassing energy and climate change plan that is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by a projected 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. Clinton spokespeople state that such a reduction would wipe out 730 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 alone. Clinton’s plan also has provisions to knock down oil imports by two-thirds; which is more than 10 million barrels per day from the forecasted 2030 level of need using current consumption models. It is projected by the Clinton team that this will save American consumers approximately $180 billion USD by 2030.
Currently gasoline demand accounts for nearly 50% of the average daily U.S. consumption of 20.9 million barrels of oil.
Clinton plans to dole out some sugar in order to make the medicine go down; a $20 billion bond program is promised for the car companies so that they can produce vehicles that run on something other than gasoline, and funding that will also accelerate battery research and production of plug-in hybrids.
Concerning the main focus of her plan, the auto companies, Clinton said: “I want to be a partner, a good partner, to help them transition to the clean economy.” She also said she would work with them on legacy health care and retiree costs.
Clinton explained her ambitious mpg goal in terms of national security. “This is the biggest challenge we’ve faced in a generation, a challenge to our economy, our security, our health, and our planet,” Clinton, the leader in all national polls concerning the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, said in a statement yesterday at a campaign stop in Iowa.
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