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Relaxation of Mileage Standard

October 10, 1985

The Reagan Administration's decision to relax standards on minimum fuel economy requirements exemplifies the hypocrisy of our national energy policy. In reality, the Reagan Administration serves the interests of the oil companies and the car manufacturers, particularly General Motors and Ford.

In an attempt to justify changing his position on limiting offshore leasing, Secretary of the Interior Donald Hodel points out that the current oil glut is only temporary and we must continue drilling off of California's coast. Hodel, in a letter to The Times (Sept. 25), states, "to impose a moratorium at a time when geologists believe there is vast potential off this coast, is to invite a panic reaction in the next oil crisis." Thus, citizens concerned about the environment lose to the oil interests.

Incredibly, in the very next breath the Reagan Administration relaxes mileage standards, a move that will eventually cost millions of barrels of oil. Not only do General Motors and Ford benefit, so do the oil companies. At a time when lower fuel consumption is helping to lower gas prices, the oil companies get a little assistance at keeping consumption higher.

Furthermore, what happens to Chrysler, the company that spent the extra money General Motors and Ford refused to spend in order to meet the standards?

Nobody will argue that America does not need to plan for its energy future, but the Reagan Administration plans only for the needs of oil companies and auto manufacturers. Conservation remains the best way of protecting against an energy crisis, and the relaxation of fuel standards indicates President Reagan's true position on energy issues.

ROBERT KELTER

San Diego

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