Clean Air's Joe Minott: Fuel standards would double auto efficiency

A federal proposal to have the nation’s cars and light trucks reach an average fuel efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 would “effectively double the fuel efficiency” of the vehicles, said Joseph O. Minott, executive director of the Clean Air Council, a regional nonprofit based in Philadelphia.

He was testifying today at a hearing in Philadelphia — one of three nationwide — about the proposed standards.

The increased fuel efficiency “will have significant and far-reaching effects,” Minott said. It will save individual consumers thousands of dollars on gas, slash greenhouse gas emissions, reduce dependence on foreign oil and ensure that American automobiles “will remain the most competitive in the world,” he said.

He contended it was not surprising that the proposal is supported by environmentalists and industry alike. “I’ve been at the Clean Air Council since 1982, and I’ve not seen a coming together like this” before, he said.

Minott said he was surprised, however, that an automove industry official who testified earlier did not mention the public heath benefits.

Although Minott doesn’t own a car and does not smoke, he said he has a lung disease and both his wife and his son have asthma.

The limit on emissions will also is expected to reduce other pollutants that harm health, including particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, and volatile organic compounds.

Both the council (@CleanAirCouncil) and the Sierra Club (@SierraClubLive) are tweeting from the event.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a call-in number for listening in: 866-299-3188; then use conference code 734 214 4423#.

According to reports from the hearing, others testifying include cyclists, retired lung specialists, cancer victims and fathers.

Also testifying was Jillian Hertzberg, Federal Clean Vehicles Associate with PennEnvironment. ""Americans are ready to put the pedal to the metal to get cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars and trucks on the road," she said. “Thanks to the historic leadership of the Obama administration, new clean car standards will help move our country away from oil, cut dangerous carbon pollution that fuels global warming, and save Pennsylvanians money at the gas pump."