2001 Scorecard Vote
America's cars, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), and other light trucks consume 8 million barrels of oil every day--some 40 percent of U.S. oil consumption--and emit 20 percent of America's carbon dioxide, a major contributor to global warming. The U.S. could substantially reduce both its dependence on oil and its carbon dioxide emissions by raising the vehicle mileage-per-gallon for new cars and light trucks.
Under the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards that have been in place for 20 years, each manufacturer's fleet of SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks is required to meet a standard of only 20.7 miles per gallon, as opposed to the 27.5 miles-per-gallon average required for cars. With the light truck category growing from only 20 percent of the new-vehicle market in 1975 to nearly 50 percent today, this light truck loophole has led to a significant increase in both oil demand and carbon dioxide emissions. In 2001, gas-guzzling SUVs and other light trucks dragged the average fuel economy of all new vehicles sold down to its lowest point since 1980.
During consideration of H.R. 4, the House energy bill, Representatives Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) and Edward Markey (D-MA) introduced an amendment to increase fuel economy standards by closing the light truck loophole. The amendment would have combined light trucks and cars into one fleet that would have been required to meet a 27.5 miles-per-gallon average by 2007. This step alone would have saved 1 million barrels of oil per day and slashed carbon dioxide emissions. On August 1, 2001, the House rejected the Boehlert-Markey amendment by a 160-269 vote (House roll call vote 311). YES is the pro-environment vote.