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Consumer groups support steps to stabilize gas prices

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Consumer groups support steps to stabilize gasoline prices and reduce oil consumption
Groups urge immediate action on CAFÉ standards

(Washington, D.C.) – Consumer groups today announced their support of a new Senate Energy bill and called on Congress to act immediately on legislation to deal with those forces that are driving up gas prices.
The bill, Clean Energy Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE), introduced today by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), outlines legislative fixes to curb America’s growing demand for oil and addresses price manipulation by the oil industry. These issues were recently highlighted in Congressional testimony from Consumers Union and Consumer Federation of America.
“While not a panacea, the bill offers Congress the opportunity to protect consumers against future gasoline price shocks and establishes meaningful targets for reducing America’s fuel consumption,” said Ann Wright, senior policy analyst for Consumers Union. “Consumers’ gas usage needs to be part of the solution, and this opens the door for measurable improvements in mileage standards for automobiles.”
In addition, consumer groups are asking Congress and the Administration to set mileage targets for CAFE standards no lower than 33 miles per gallon and to require the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to use updated EPA testing methodology for calculating how far a car goes on a gallon of gas.
“Policy fixes for today’s gas prices must combine legal authority to combat price manipulation by the oil industry, and aggressive fuel reduction targets,” said Mark Cooper, research director for the Consumer Federation of America. “To meet those targets, we need to see Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards (CAFÉ) set no lower than 33 miles per gallon by 2015 for both passenger cars and light trucks,” he added.
A full report entitled, “An In-Depth Comparison of Consumers Union’s Passenger Vehicle Average MPG Estimates With Those Published by EPA and NHTSA” (August 11, 2005) can be accessed at: http://www.consumersunion.org/pub/core_product_safety/002632.html.
To get a copy of a recent report on oil company price manipulation and Congressional testimony, go to: www.consumersunion.org.
Contact: Mark Cooper, CFA, 301-807-1623
Jennifer Fuson, CU, 202-462-6262, fusoje@consumer.org