Philly hearing on 54.5 mpg by 2025: Testimony begins

"Time is up," said Sierra Club president Robin Mann, a Delaware County resident, at at today's hearing on about proposed national fuel economy standards that would require an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

"It is a national disgrace brought to us by the oil lobby that we have squandered so much time and opportunity to embrace such common sense solutions as maximizing fuel efficiency and cut emissions," Mann said.


She added that "the arguments in favor of the proposed new standards are beyond compelling." The technology is there, jobs will be created and the economy boosted, national security will be enhanced, and public health benefits will mount, she said.

The hearing, one of three in the nation, is being held in Philadelphia at the Crowne Plaza, and there is plenty of time for interested folks to head over. The list of people who want to testify 5 has grown just since yesterday, an official with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said. They now expect the hearing to last through the evening.

If you can't make it, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a call-in number for listening in: 866-299-3188;  then use conference code 734 214 4423#.

I'm listening now, and a Toyota official is saying that his company supports the proposal. "Absent these regulations,  we face the possibility of overlapping and potentially conflicting regulations" from two federal agencies and many states, he said.

But, he said, acceptance of new technologies -- such as the company's Prius and other hybrids -- is key.   "If consumers do not respond, the proposed standards are unlikely to be met."

Also, the Sierra Club is tweeting from the hearing. Search for @SierraClubLive. I'll retweet when I can.

A fact sheet about the proposed standard is available on EPA’s Website