Unlike the recent years, this year's Detroit Auto Show is full of optimism. As I discuss in an op-ed in Tuesday's Detroit Free Press and in my speech today in Detroit at the annual Automotive News Congress, the environmental community is committed to doing its part to keep the auto industry moving forward.
That's why we have joined forces with the 13 automakers, the UAW, consumer advocates, and others to support the Obama Administration's new proposal to strengthen standards to deliver 54.5 mpg by 2025.
The technologies used to meet the Obama administration's proposed 54.5 miles-per-gallon carbon pollution and fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks will generate as much as $300 billion for the U.S. auto industry, put $200 billion back into the pockets of consumers while securing a global leadership for Detroit in advanced auto innovations for the 21st century.
Unfortunately, there are still some ideologues in Washington D.C., especially in Congress, that want to return us to political gridlock on clean cars. My message today to the auto industry is simply "let's work together" to build markets for clean cars, cut our dangerous dependence on oil, and re-invest in American Manufacturing Leadership.
The full text of my remarks are below:
Statement of Roland Hwang at the Automotive News Congress
January 10, 2011
Good morning. Thank you for that kind introduction.
I am pleased to be here today on behalf of the natural resources defense council.
A few years ago, I felt something like daniel in the lion's den addressing this audience. But the truth is there has been amazing progress in the last few years ... a real coming together of the minds. No longer is there a huge gulf everywhere between environmentalists and the auto industry.
While it is true that some elements of the industry have been slow to warm up to outside perspectives ... others have been very receptive. For my part, I have tried to be a better listener and to find common ground where possible. It seems to me there is just too much at stake here for everyone involved ... the auto industry ... car consumers ... and, in fact, americans in general. We have to continue to find ways to work together ... and I am committed to doing so.
Today ... I am going to address one of those topics where more and more people are finding a way to agree – and not just reflexively oppose everything the other side has to say.
Imagine if our nation was offered a choice of how to spend half a trillion dollars of our wealth over the next two decades.
One option would be to send $350 billion overseas to the middle east and other oil exporting countries, and the remainder on increasing oil industry revenues.
An alternative option would be to take that half a trillion dollars and invest $300 billion directly into the U.S. Auto industry, put $200 billion back into consumers' pockets, and create half a million new jobs while cutting emissions of dangerous carbon pollution.
Is this choice just a pipe dream? Is it too simplistic a way to look at things?
In fact, what I just outlined is the promise, broadly speaking, of the historic new clean car agreement between the obama administration, california and major carmakers. They joined together last summer in a grand bargain to deliver cars that get, on average, the equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by the model year 2025, roughly double the average for cars on the road today.
The additional technology to meet this target will result in $300 billion in greater revenues for the U.S. Auto industry and ensure it will be a global leader in advanced vehicle innovation.