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Democrats elaborate on car mileage views

The Democratic contenders to the presidency respond to an Associated Press question about fuel efficiency standards for cars and SUVs.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Democratic contenders for the presidency were recently contacted by The Associated Press for their views on fuel efficiency. Below are their responses to the question:

What increases, if any, do you favor in the requirement that automakers produce cars with a fleet average of 27.5 miles per gallon; and SUVs, pickups and passenger vans averaging 20.7 mpg?

Wesley Clark: “We now have the know-how and technology to make cars and SUVs that go twice as far on a gallon of gas by using more efficient engines and transmissions, including hybrid cars that use both gasoline and an electric motor. As president, in consultation with scientists, environmental groups, industry, and others, I will set new standards to raise the fuel economy and reduce the emissions of cars, SUVs, and light trucks. The choice of specific goals and timetables will depend on a careful analysis of the existing data on technology, trends, and emissions from this sector as well as policy approaches to help industry meet those goals. We can clearly achieve a great deal in this area. With better, cleaner cars, we can fight global warming, reduce our oil dependence, and strengthen our economy.”

Howard Dean: “I support an across-the-board corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard of 37.5 mpg by 2015. This would apply to all passenger vehicles, and would require a closing of the SUV loophole. By harnessing Americans’ unparalleled ingenuity, we can move our nation towards a clean and efficient energy economy — one that will stimulate economic growth, reduce our reliance on Middle East oil, and protect the environment.”

Sen. John Edwards: “I support real increases in CAFE standards. As we implement those increases, we must also invest far more in fuel-efficiency technology. These increases can not only make our environment cleaner, they can help create high-paying jobs of the future.”

Sen. John Kerry: “I support updating CAFE standards to 36 miles per gallon by 2015. This proposal will reduce America’s dependence on oil by saving 2 million barrels of oil per day — almost as much as we currently import from the Persian Gulf. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, smog and ozone pollution. Fuel efficiency can be significantly improved through better use of technology, without limiting vehicle choice, without harming safety and without injury to the industry.”

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: “The technology already exists to make light trucks that achieve 40 mpg and cars 45 mpg, and I will establish those standards as one early step in a major shift away from the use of fossil fuels. I will spur research and investment in ethanol, hydrogen, solar, wind, and ocean energy sources. We will have hybrid and fuel-cell cars dominating the market and 20 percent of our overall energy use from renewables by 2010.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman: “My ’Declaration of Energy Independence’ calls for CAFE standards to be set at a level that will save 2 million barrels of oil per day by 2015. According to estimates provided during last year’s energy debate, this would require CAFE standards to be raised to 40 miles per gallon. Such a measure would also reduce carbon emissions by 15 million tons a year. In addition, the fuel efficiency standards should apply to SUVs as well as to passenger automobiles; this embarrassing loophole must be closed.”

Al Sharpton: “I have said they should go up to at least 33 on vehicles and up to 24 to 25 with SUVs.”