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OCTOBER 23, 2003
3:25 PM
CONTACT:  Sierra Club
David Willett 202-675-6698

Bush Fuel Economy Numbers Show No Improvement At Best
WASHINGTON - October 23 - The EPA's release today of their fuel economy numbers for model year 2004 automobiles is a stark reminder of the Bush Administration's failure to reduce America's oil dependence, curb global warming, and save consumers money. The release comes as the Bush Administration pressures Congress to pass an energy bill that does nothing to increase fuel economy and as 11 states and several environmental groups sue the EPA for failure to regulate global warming gases--including from cars, SUV's, and other light trucks.

The report fails to present a fleet-wide average for the new vehicle fleet or an evaluation of whether last year's estimates were accurate. Such numbers would more clearly illustrate the impacts of three auto industry trends: an increase in SUV's and other trucks, an increase in horsepower, and more loopholed vehicles.

"The Bush Administration glosses over the fact that fuel economy for cars, SUV's and other light trucks continues to fall," said Daniel Becker, Director of Sierra Club's Global Warming and Energy Program. "Americans have long wanted to reduce our dependence on oil. We know that automakers have the technology to give Americans what they want: cars and SUV's that go further on a gallon of gas. It's time automakers and the Bush Administration got out of reverse and into high gear.

Published by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, the report provides consumers with fuel economy information on every 2004 car and light truck. Over the past few years, the fuel economy of vehicles has continued plummeting to the lowest point since 1980.

"This report provides consumers with information on individual cars and trucks, but when you add it up we get increasing demand for oil," Becker added. "Gas guzzling costs drivers money at the pump, drives up global warming pollution and keeps America dependent on oil. The auto industry should put technology to work so Americans can reduce our oil dependence, spend less at the pump and curb global warming."

Next week Congress is expected to vote on an energy bill that does nothing to increase the fuel economy of automobiles and instead increases oil dependence with subsidies to the outdated and polluting fossil fuel industries.

Earlier today, twelve states, several cities, and over a dozen environmental groups joined forces to challenge the Bush Administration's continued failure to confront global warming. The plaintiffs are targeting the unprecedented ruling by the Environmental Protection Agency late last summer that summarily disavowed the agency's long-standing jurisdiction under the Clean Air Act to regulate global warming emissions.


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