Jon Coifman, 202-289-2404
Spots Urge Senators to Support Fuel Economy Increase, Highlight Technologies to Improve Safety and Reduce Foreign Oil Dependence
WASHINGTON (March 11, 2002) -- New radio ads featuring actor Robert Redford are appearing this week in six states urging U.S. Senators in to support tougher fuel economy standards when the issue comes to a vote in the next few days. The ads are a challenge to high-pressure lobbying by the auto industry against the measure.
Redford reminds Americans that they can have safer, more fuel-efficient cars, SUVs and pick-ups that reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but only if the Senators stand up to scare tactics and obfuscation from the car companies -- the very same companies that once opposed seat belts and air bags.
"Senators will make a choice between two plans: one that guarantees better gas mileage, and another that does not," Redford says in the ads, which are sponsored by members of NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council).
A provision by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) would require new cars and light trucks to get an average 36 miles per gallon by 2015, which would save more than a million barrels of oil each day. The U.S. currently imports half its daily oil supply, a figure that is growing steadily. Sixty-five percent of the world's oil reserves are in Persian Gulf countries.
"The technology exists right now to build cars, minivans and SUVs that deliver much better mileage and are just as safe as any on the road today," Redford says. "Now is the time to use it."
In fact, fuel savings are historically associated with better vehicle safety. Fuel efficiency for cars and passenger trucks nearly doubled between 1975 and 1999 while the fatality rate plunged by more than half. But the last time fuel economy standards were updated was 1985.
In addition to reduced import dependence, the oil savings would bring dramatic health and environmental benefits, including cleaner air, fewer oil spills, a reduction in global warming pollution and less pressure to drill for oil in places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
NRDC Robert Redford/CAFE Ads
Sample Ad: North Dakota
Robert Redford: What would you say about a plan that gives Americans safer, more fuel-efficient cars, and reduces our dependence on foreign oil?
I'm Robert Redford, and I think we'd all agree that's a good idea -- especially reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
You'd think Congress would get behind this plan, too.
But they aren't.
In the next few days, Senators Conrad and Dorgan will make a choice between two plans: one that guarantees better gas mileage; and another -- backed by special interest lobbyists -- that doesn't.
The technology exists right now to build cars, pickup trucks and SUVs that get 35 miles per gallon -- and are just as safe as any on the road today. Now's the time to use it.
Call Senators Conrad and Dorgan at 202-224-3121, and ask them to support the McCain-Kerry plan. Reducing our dependence on foreign oil is the right thing to do for America.
Sponsored by North Dakota members of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
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.