Local voices at mpg hearing: Philly taxis would benefit

Officials expect today's hearing on proposed fuel economy standards that would boost the nation's average to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 are expected to continue through the evening.

So far, comment has moved along at a fast clip, with many industrial, environmental and religious perspectives.

Plus a lot of local ones.  Several groups held a lunchtime press conference, and here are some excerpts via a press release:

Philadelphia has more than 1,600 taxi cabs, "at least 98% of which are traditional, gas-guzzling vehicles like Ford Crown Victorias," said Jeff Hornstein, Executive Director of the Greater Philadelphia Taxi Association.

"At 10-15 mpg, cars like these hurt drivers, who pay for the gas, and they hurt Philadelphia’s environment, contributing to Philly’s inclusion on the Asthma Foundation’s ‘Ten Worst’ list. President Obama's clean cars standards will go a long way toward more rapid adoption of fuel efficient cars for Philadelphia's taxi fleet," he said.

Business owners have a stake in the new standards, too.  “Right now, bolstering fuel efficiency standards is a policy lawmakers should enact immediately for the sake of small businesses and our floundering economy,” said Ken Weinstein, owner of the Trolley Car Diner in Philadelphia.

“The real game changer in transportation is better fuel mileage,” said Walter Tsou, with Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Getting over 50 MPG would dramatically lessen our dependence on foreign oil, reduce greenhouse gases, and help the public's health.”

“In our current political climate, the proposed CAFE and GHG standards is the single most effective policy option on the table for addressing our overdependence on fossil fuels,” said  David Ross, chair of the Department of Economics at Bryn Mawr College.