The Real Road to Energy Independence: Clean Car and Fuel Economy Standards

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Co-authored with Mark Drajem

Spiking gasoline prices triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine are hitting consumers hard and putting renewed attention on the need for American energy independence. However, despite claims by the oil and gas industry, we cannot drill our way out of the problem. Instead, the best path to energy independence lies with using less fuel, not producing more. Over the past five decades, adopting clean car and fuel economy standards have been one of the most significant actions the United States has taken to reduce its reliance on oil and save drivers money at the pump. As a result of federal clean car and fuel economy standards, vehicles in the United States are getting more efficient and less polluting. Efficient vehicles mean fewer trips to the gas station and more money in drivers’ pockets. Fuel economy improvements have saved more than two trillion gallons of gasoline since 1975, enough to run every car and light truck in the U.S. for more than 15 years.

In deciding how to react to the current crisis, policymakers once again can deliver for America by adopting strong fuel efficiency and tailpipe emission standards, accelerating the transition to electric vehicles, and investing in a cleaner, more just transportation system that serves the needs of all.

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