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Cook Organic not the Planet Campaign

Auto Companies Faking Tests to Conceal Greenhouse Gas Damage of U.S. Gas Guzzlers

PRESS RELEASE JULY 13, 2006

CONTACT: Environmental Working Group Lauren Sucher, EWG Public Affairs, (202) 667-6982 Danielle Fugere, Bluewater Network, (415) 544-0790

WASHINGTON - July 13 - The U.S. would reduce oil imports by 20 percent if auto companies met mileage standards using realistic driving tests according to a new analysis by Environmental Working Group (EWG).

That's a savings of 710 million barrels of oil per year  more than 1.3 times the 525 million barrels that the nation imported from Saudi Arabia last year.

Consumer concern is rising with gas prices, and there is renewed talk about increasing federal mileage standards for cars and trucks. But most consumers do not know that automakers use bogus testing methods to show they "follow" federal mileage standards.

The driving test that automakers use to meet federal gas mileage standards assumes that drivers never exceed 60 miles per hour, never accelerate rapidly, never use air conditioning, never drive up or down hills, never carry passengers, and never encounter potholes or wind.

"It's ridiculous that we still rely on an inaccurate 30 year old test to determine automakers' compliance with national fuel efficiency standards," said U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA). "The EWG report is more proof that simply by applying a real-world standard to our nation's current fuel economy requirements, we can take a big step toward energy independence."

"Congress has the opportunity to enact higher CAFE standards, reduce oil imports and increase energy security, but we have to know where the goalposts are to capture the largest savings," said U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME). "EWG's report is of great value in aiding us to help consumers make vehicle choices that will save them money at the pump."

"The most successful energy efficiency initiative ever undertaken by the United States has been undermined by fake tests demanded by auto manufacturers and false stickers foisted on the car buyer," said Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA). "We need to return to what works  an honest accounting of fuel economy and an aggressive exploitation of technology to improve efficiency."

"Congress is letting automakers test their own products and deceive the consumer about the results," said Richard Wiles, senior vice president of EWG. "The price of this deception is increasing dependence on oil from unstable regions, increased pollution, and more pain at the pump."

Documents show that a quarter century ago, Congress called the situation a "needless waste of automobile fuel," but for 25 years car company lobbyists and Congress have blocked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using a valid test.

"Automakers have been cheating on their fuel economy test scores for over 20 years," said Danielle Fugere, global warming program director for Bluewater Network. "It's time for Congress to clamp down and enforce its own mileage standards."