As the nation awaits news on the success of operation “Top Kill,” Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has introduced legislation that would seek a permanent halt to offshore drilling the United States—and a drastic increase in fuel efficiency standards beyond targets already set by the Obama administration in April.
Senator Sanders praised a recently announced six-month moratorium on new drilling projects, but said that it does not go far enough. “I think a moratorium is obviously a sensible idea,” Sanders told MSNBC. “I would go further—I think you need a permanent ban on the West Coast, East Coast and parts of Florida.”
But an offshore drilling ban isn’t the only solution that the legislation aims to provide. Senator Sanders would like to see the United States go above and beyond Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards that will raise the average the average gas mileage of cars sold in the United States to 35.5 mpg by 2016. Sanders’ Clean Coasts and Efficient Cars Act of 2010 would raise fuel economy standards to 55 mpg by 2030.
The Senator says that escalating fuel standards would keep the United States on par with other leading car markets and decrease gas prices well beyond any cuts that could come from more drilling. “In Europe, for example, cars already get the equivalent of 42 mpg and by 2020 cars in Europe will be required to get at least 65 mpg,” read a press release from the Senator’s office. “The improved fuel economy would translate into a savings of $1.43 per gallon of gas. Opening all of America’s coastal waters to drilling would yield such a modest boost in petroleum supplies that the price of gas would dip by only 3-cents a gallon.”
Sanders appeared on the Ed Shultz Show on Thursday as live video of oil shooting from the damaged well streamed alongside him on the screen.
“If there is a silver lining in this terrible ecological disaster, it should be that we wake up and understand that right now we’ve got to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel, away from offshore drilling and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy.”