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Mullin Calls Out Transportation Secretary on New Fuel Economy Standards

Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) sent a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg today in response to his recent announcement to increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for passenger and light duty trucks. Mullin refutes the Secretary’s claim that this mandate will help rural America, citing the inevitable rise in cost of new vehicles and the push for more electric vehicles to appease the president’s anti-fossil fuel agenda.

To full text of the letter can be found here and below.

Secretary Buttigieg,

I write today in regard to your recent announcement to increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Your new mandate of 49 miles per gallon (mpg) for passenger and light duty trucks by model year 2026 will add undue burdens on consumers yet again. 

In your announcement, you stated that this will help rural Americans because they will be spending less money on gas. However, these standards will inevitably raise the cost of new cars. Reports have shown that these new CAFE standards will increase new car prices by nearly one thousand dollars. The median household income in my district is $45,000. In 2021, the price of a new car raised by $6,220 to a new high of $47,000. These new standards will make buying new cars, which is already unattainable for some of my constituents, even more challenging. 

This announcement also comes at a time when you and the Biden Administration are conducting a full court press for people to replace their gas-powered cars with electric vehicles. These new standards will artificially make electric cars look more reasonable because the standards will increase the prices of internal combustion vehicles, even though electric vehicles cost an average of $10,000 more. Instead of making cars more fuel efficient, auto manufacturers will simply produce more electric vehicles to comply with this standard. 

Government mandates pick winners and losers, and, in this case, the consumer is the loser. The government needs to step back and let consumers and the market decide the types of cars to buy.

I can appreciate wanting to increase fuel efficiency. However, this is nothing more than a coercive government mandate to encourage auto manufacturers to build more electric vehicles to appease your anti-fossil fuel agenda. Electric vehicles and more expensive cars in general will not help my constituents that are already facing record inflation and paying more for just about everything. These new standards are only going to hurt the very people you claim to be helping.

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