UAW Supports Major Boost In Fuel Economy Standards

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Compromise bill includes safeguards for U.S. auto manufacturing jobs

December 05, 2007 -- The UAW “strongly supports” new fuel economy provisions in energy legislation being considered by Congress, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said today.

“The UAW strongly supports this historic bill, which contains aggressive but still achievable fuel economy requirements,” said Gettelfinger. “It will help consumers and the environment, and at the same time protect U.S. jobs.”

The new provisions on corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) require significant increases in the fuel economy standards for passenger cars and light trucks. By 2020 the average fuel economy for all cars and light trucks will have to achieve an average of 35 miles per gallon for the entire industry. This will guarantee substantial savings in gas consumption, thereby enhancing U.S. energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“There are no off ramps or other gimmicks,” said Gettelfinger of the compromise legislation. “The new rule cannot be gamed to avoid the higher requirements.”

At the same time, Gettelfinger said, the new CAFE standards contain key features which were strongly supported by UAW members and their families during the discussions that led to the compromise legislation. These include:

● Strong anti-backsliding language to require automakers to produce smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles in the United States. This will protect the jobs of tens of thousands of American workers who assemble and produce parts for these vehicles.

● A continuation of the distinction between passenger cars and light trucks in the CAFE program. Requiring different rules for these different types of vehicles will ensure that light truck production and jobs are not adversely impacted by the new rules.

● An extension and then gradual phaseout of flex-fuel credits under the CAFE program. This will continue the incentive for auto companies to produce these vehicles, while helping moderate the transition to tougher fuel economy standards.

● Assistance to auto manufacturers for retooling facilities to produce hybrid and advanced diesel vehicles and their key components. This will accelerate the introduction of these more fuel-efficient vehicles, while helping ensure that cars and trucks of the future are built in this country, creating jobs for American workers.

Gettelfinger applauded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, along with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair John Dingell, D- Mich.; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., and Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chair Daniel Inouye D-Hawaii, for their role in crafting the new CAFE provisions.

“These legislative leaders were able to achieve a historic breakthrough on CAFE legislation because they listened to members of our union,” said Gettelfinger. “UAW members want to save fuel and protect the environment – and we also want to preserve good-paying U.S. manufacturing jobs. The new CAFE rules accomplish all of these objectives.”

Gettelfinger also praised a number of other legislators instrumental in developing the new fuel economy rules, including Reps. Baron Hill, D-Ind.; Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich.; John Salazar, D-Colo., and Mike Ross, D-Ark., and Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, Democrats of Michigan; Mark Pryor, D-Ark.; Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Russ Feingold, D-Wis.

Source: UAW

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