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Press contact: Jon Coifman, 202-289-2404 or 202-320-8026 (cell); Dan Lashof, 202-289-2399 or 703-725-8364
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New White House Fuel Economy Move a Drop in the Bucket

WASHINGTON (December 12, 2002) -- Reaching for a fig leaf in the growing debate over America's foreign oil dependence, the Bush administration today announced a paltry measure that would boost SUV and light truck fuel economy standards by just 1.5 mpg over the next five years.

"This is an embarrassing response to a serious security threat. Americans deserve a better answer. The President's plan would save just a few drops from the ocean of Middle East oil," said Dan Lashof of NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council). "We have the technology to improve safety and fuel economy in cars and trucks of all sizes. Detroit and the White House are standing in the way."

The new proposal would not even make up ground lost since passenger vehicle fuel economy levels peaked fifteen years ago. According to the National Academy of Sciences, we could raise fleet-wide fuel economy by more than 10 times the amount proposed by the administration.

"Detroit has fought every fuel economy standard ever proposed. This administration helped them fight progress by opposing real fuel savings offered in the Senate earlier this year," Lashof said. "We can meet our transportation needs without making ourselves dangerously dependent on foreign oil."

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 500,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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