Sunday, February 5, 2012

Testimony of Pennsylvania Clean Air's John Comella At EPA/NHTSA CleanCar Hearing in Philly

I strongly support the move to raise fuel-efficiency requirements for automobiles for two obvious reasons:
  1.  It reduces our dependence on foreign oil and leaves more domestic (and foreign) oil in the ground for my and others’ grandchildren.
  2. It reduces obnoxious pollutants in the atmosphere, including CO2, which is also a greenhouse gas which causes global warming..
Greenhouse Gases Have Created A Crisis
A recent study issued a report which stated that, if we don’t lower the CO2 content in the atmosphere, within 5 YEARS, it may be impossible to reverse runaway greenhouse effect. That will be a catastrophe of the first magnitude.

Auto Companies Have Ignored Problem For Decades
This is not the first time that I've advocated for improvements in auto fuel economy. During the OPEC energy crisis (1973), I wrote a letter to the CEO of General Motors, whom I knew personally from 1963 because he was then the liaison to the University of Detroit GM scholars, of which I was one. I asked him to have GM produce more fuel-efficient cars
  • A) to save consumers money and aggravation
  • B) to help avoid events like the Saudi-caused oil crisis.
I told him that the “next” crisis would probably be worse due to diminishing reserves of oil. I also pointed out that I “got off” easier in the crisis because my VW Beetle got much better mileage than the cars around me.

An underling replied and said that the CEO had recently retired but that she would pass my message along to his successor. But, she said, “GM has to build what consumers want” (big, powerful cars back then). I felt like writing back, but didn’t, to remind her that GM's advertising in large part CREATED the demand for big cars. Ironic isn’t it?

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