LePage Calls On Feds To Enact "Sensible" Fuel Standards

Fifteen Republican Governors, including Governor Paul LePage, today sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Administrator of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, asking that the Federal Government set “sensible” fuel standards.

The timing of the letter is no accident.  The EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are set to soon release new “Corporate Average Fuel Economy” (or CAFE) standards this fall.  The current administration has made clear already that they are looking for an average of up to 62 miles per gallon by 2025.

Were this to be the standard, it would mean that in only 14 years, the average car in the United States would have to have a fuel efficiency considerably higher than some of the best Hybrid cars today.  Hybrid cars, we should be reminded, that exist not because of a government mandate on specific fuel efficiency standards, but because the market developed them in response to consumer demand.  The Obama administration’s approach is a rather typical top down, punitive and restrictive way of trying to raise fuel standards.

A laudable goal, but a maddeningly foolish way to try to accomplish it.  Gone are the individual decisions in the hands of consumers about what kind of vehicle they need, and instead they will be forced to deal with whatever products are left over after manufacturers attempt to comply with the law.  Get ready for a drop in horsepower and vehicle size – to hell with what you working class stiffs think you need.

As the letter from the governors correctly states, the American people need a wide range of vehicles available to them – people with large families need large vehicles with a great deal of room, small businesses need vans, trucks and other large, less fuel efficient vehicles.  There are needs for large vehicles to tow, plow and haul.  To make vehicles that comply with standards that high would dramatically increase cost for consumers, putting a further squeeze on the middle and lower class families in the U.S.

The fuel standards already in place are quite ambitious as it is, and LePage and the other governors are simply asking for a more realistic balance between fuel standards, and the needs of the consumers.  A more than fair request.

Matthew Gagnon

About Matthew Gagnon

Matthew Gagnon, of Yarmouth, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a free market policy think tank based in Portland. Prior to Maine Heritage, he served as a senior strategist for the Republican Governors Association in Washington, D.C. Originally from Hampden, he has been involved with Maine politics for more than a decade.