Higher fuel efficiency standards will get us there

August 14, 2011

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IN HIS Aug. 7 op-ed column “ ‘Energy independence’ is a pipe dream’’ Jeff Jacoby is wrong to claim that higher fuel efficiency standards will not reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Here are the facts: The latest phase of fuel economy standards that raise fuel efficiency to 54.5 miles per gallon for model year 2025 passenger vehicles will result in total savings of 3.5 million barrels of oil a day by 2030, helping to finally shatter the bonds of our dependence on Middle East oil. The fuel efficiency standards I co-authored in the 2007 energy bill that triggered President Obama’s historic announcement also required the deployment of advanced biofuels. Combined, the fuel efficiency and biofuels provisions will save 5.1 million barrels of oil per day by 2030. The United States currently imports 4.6 million barrels of oil per day from OPEC.

Jacoby also argues that fuel efficiency standards will only lead to increased driving. However, studies show that better fuel economy doesn’t persuade drivers to spend more time sitting in traffic. Americans would have to increase their driving by an amount equal to driving from Boston to Los Angeles 18 times to lose the benefits that would result from these new standards.

Representative Edward J. Markey
The writer, a Malden Democrat, is the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee and a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.