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Clinton and Detroit

August 18, 1993

* Re "Clinton's Auto Industry Policies Delight Detroit," July 22:

While there is nothing necessarily wrong with the Clinton Administration enjoying good relations with auto manufacturers, there is reason to fear that the relationship is being built on a foundation of neglected campaign promises.

During the campaign, candidate Clinton supported a significant increase in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard for new motor vehicles, a step that would reduce U.S. oil imports, save consumers money and lessen emissions of carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas. He answered two different questionnaires from environmental groups by saying "the 45 m.p.g. standards should be the goal of auto makers and incorporated into national legislation." A Clinton energy position paper stated that he would "raise the CAFE standards for auto makers to 40-45 miles per gallon."

The Clinton Administration has yet to take any move to follow through on these promises. Instead, the Department of Transportation has proposed increasing the gas mileage of light trucks--the fastest-growing segment of the vehicle fleet--by a mere 0.1 miles per gallon for 1995.

We will soon find out whether Clinton values his harmonious relationship with the Big Three more than this commitments to enhance our environment and economy by boosting auto efficiency. The President's action plan for dealing with global warming is due this month. Any effective climate action plan should have a significant increase in motor vehicle efficiency at the top of its agenda.

BILL MAGAVERN

Director

Critical Mass Energy Project

Public Citizen, Washington

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