The bookends create quite a contrast. Last week, Mitt Romney unveiled an energy policy that ignored, among other things, the climate crisis, oil consumption, and energy efficiency.
On other hand, President Obama is taking a major step in the right direction today.
The Obama administration will finalize strict new fuel-efficiency vehicle standards Tuesday, requiring the U.S. auto fleet to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, according to individuals briefed on the matter.
The new rules, which expand on existing standards requiring American-made cars and light trucks to average 34.5 mpg by 2016, will significantly cut U.S. oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by the time they are fully implemented, the Environmental Protection Agency says.... Phyllis Cuttino, director of the Pew Clean Energy Program, said the fact that so many people now accept the idea of greater fuel efficiency does not lessen the rules' "historic" importance.
The Obama administration doesn't need Congress for this, so there's no way for congressional Republicans to ruin the policy or undermine the progress.
At least for now, that is. Mitt Romney has vowed to kill the higher efficiency standards if he's elected president, going so far as to promise voters he "would get the EPA out of its effort to manage carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles and trucks."
But in the meantime, today marks a pretty significant breakthrough on emissions, oil consumption, and even foreign policy. Let's also not forget the economic benefit -- when consumers need to purchase less gas, demand drops and prices go down, keeping more money in Americans' pockets.
I've never fully understood why Romney is so eager to go backwards -- he's never offered a coherent explanation -- but his strange agenda notwithstanding, Obama deserves a lot of credit for his steps forward on this.