Fuel Economy and Futuristic Cars was Focus of Thursday Hearing

Denver — The Senate Select Committee on Energy and the Environment (SCEE) met for a second time at the Capitol Thursday, to hear from expert witness Chris Nevers, from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, on the past, present and future of federal fuel economy mandates.

Nevers was invited by SCEE Chairman Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction) to share his thoughts on whether those mandates have primarily helped or hurt consumers, manufacturers, the economy and the environment since they were first approved in 1975. Scott also was interested in whether the oft-stated goal of filling American roads with “zero emissions vehicles” was a possibility or a pipe dream.  

"The Alliance and its members are committed to zero emission technology but all such mandates and regulations must be made in a manner that account for market realities," said Nevers, which are not reflected in the Environmental Protections Agency’s most recent targets, which he described as hurried, truncated and unrealistically ambitious.

Because electric vehicles currently enjoy less than a 3% market share in Colorado, and 93% of vehicles in the U.S. currently use fossil fuel, Scott expressed skepticism about whether electric vehicles could continue to increase their market share without the favorable treatment from government they enjoy.  

“It will be interesting going forward to see if manufacturers of electric vehicles will continue production if mandates and subsides are removed and consumers continue to snub their noses at them,” said Scott. “Electric vehicles certainly have a place in the metro area, and are a personal choice, but we’re favoring ideology over mature engineering with this type of vehicle.”   

Scott has been using the SCEE hearings to take a “big picture" look at issues related to energy and the environment. Despite some discussion during the hearing suggesting the planet is in peril if motorists don’t shift en-masse to zero-emissions technology, Scott summed up Thursday’s hearing on a hopeful and optimistic note.  

“No one can argue that our air, water and quality of life haven’t gotten better and better, even as fossil fuel use has increased over the last eighty years,” said Scott.


Please direct media inquiries to Sean Paige at 719-337-0355.

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