New Senate Legislation Is a Step Toward Rolling Back Successful Fuel Economy Standards

Weakening federal vehicle standards is unpopular with a majority of residents in Missouri and Michigan

WASHINGTON – New legislation introduced today by primary sponsor Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) would weaken federal fuel economy standards. The bill would give automakers concessions that would undermine public health protections and the future competitiveness of American manufacturers.

The following is a statement by Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“This bill is another step in the automakers’ push to roll back clean car and fuel economy standards that are reducing pollution and saving drivers money at the pump.

“By providing windfall fuel economy credits to automakers, this bill undercuts current investments in advanced, clean car technologies that are driving innovation and job growth in the auto industry.

“As recent polling demonstrates, citizens of Michigan and Missouri overwhelmingly support strong clean car standards. They understand how strong fuel efficiency standards help protect our air and climate for future generations, save drivers money, and help create jobs developing the latest technologies.

“If Senators want to help the industry, auto workers, and consumers, they should reject this bill and instead support incentives for manufacturers to invest more in clean technologies, and focus on smart policies like extending tax credits to advance hybrid and electric vehicles.”

Recent surveys commissioned by NRDC and conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for Michigan, and by Kiley & Company and American Viewpoint for Missouri, find that a strong majority of Michiganders and Missourians support standards that require U.S. automobiles to increase from 25 miles per gallon (mpg) today to 40 mpg in year 2025.

For a blog post outlining the findings from these polls, click here. Key data points include:


·         71% of Michigan residents favor the 40-mpg proposal, with nearly half (47%) who strongly favor it. After hearing balanced arguments in favor of and in opposition to increasing fuel efficiency, 67% of Michigan residents support the proposal.


·         74% say that increases in fuel efficiency requirements should either remain on pace to meet 40 mpg or be increased even more. Just 21% of Michigan residents support a decrease in the standards.


·         73% of Missouri residents favor the 40-mpg proposal. Nearly six-in-ten Republicans (59%) favor the requirement, with Independents (71%) and Democrats (92%) favoring it by even wider margins. After hearing balanced pro and con statements on the proposal, 64% of Missouri residents support it.


·         Only 22% of Missouri residents believe that the 40-mpg requirement should be lowered, with 60% saying that it should be 40 mpg or higher.


A new report by NRDC and the BlueGreen Alliance finds that strong federal standards have spurred innovation and investment that supports 288,000 manufacturing and engineering jobs making clean vehicles technologies in the U.S. today. To view the report, click here, and for a blog post, click here




The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.


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