SCHUMER REACTS TO BUSH BUDGET DEFICIT ANNOUNCEMENT
 
Today the Bush Administration announced that the projected budget deficit is $205 billion, slightly less than last year’s $248 billion budget shortfall.  U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, reacted to the administration’s forecast in light of the $5.6 trillion projected surplus President Bush inherited.
 
"The bottom line is that President Bush has pushed deficits and deficit spending to the max in the first seven years of his Administration.  Today's announcement is not proof that the Bush budget deficit is under control, in fact, it is proof-positive that it could not get any worse.  Having inherited budget surpluses in January 2001, this Administration will leave Americans trillions in debt by January 2009.”
 
  The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
 
 
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SCHUMER: EYE-POPPING CHINESE TRADE
SURPLUS MADE WORSE BY DANGEROUS
QUALITY DEFICIT WITH CHINESE GOODS
THREATENING SAFETY AND HEALTH OF
AMERICANS
 
Today, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee and a member of the Senate Finance Committee, reacted to the increasing record Chinese trade surplus, nearly $27 billion for the month of June alone.
 
"Our eye-popping record trade deficit with China continues to frustrate those of us that are working to hold the Chinese government accountable, both for its misaligned currency and its faulty products and tainted foods. It is bad enough that we have a record trade deficit with China – it is even worse that there is a dangerous quality deficit threatening the safety and health of American consumers.”
 
In light of a rising tide of hazardous imports from China in recent weeks, Sen. Schumer has called for an “Import Czar” to oversee all matters pertaining to consumer protection from Chinese imports, including coordinating the efforts of more than a half dozen agencies currently charged with consumer safety related to imports.
 
Schumer, joined by Senators Max Baucus, Chuck Grassley, and Lindsey Graham, authored legislation that would force the Treasury Department to take action against countries that misalign their currencies, which would result in punitive action against China if Beijing continues to slow-walk the revaluation of the Yuan.
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
 
 
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U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee and a member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement in response to China's execution of its chief food and drug minister, Zheng Xiaoyu, who was found guilty of being bribed to approve untested, dangerous medicines:
 
"If China thinks that its issues with food and product safety are going to be fixed with these types of executions, it shows how much they just don’t get it. China’s surreal response to a very real problem demonstrates just how far it has to go before the U.S. can trust Chinese imports. It is increased oversight and serious inspections that will move us in the right direction."
 
Sen. Schumer has called for an “Import Czar” to oversee all matters pertaining to consumer protection from Chinese imports, including coordinating the efforts of more than a half dozen agencies currently charged with consumer safety related to imports.
 
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SENATE DEMS SHOW THAT ENERGY EFFICIENT U.S. FAMILIES SPEND $1,600 LESS ON UTILITIES AND GASOLINE, BOLSTER CASE FOR SENATE ENERGY BILL
 
Joint Economic Committee Report Shows Improving Efficiency Could Save the Average Family an Estimated $750 a Year in Household Energy Costs and $875 a Year on Gasoline Costs
 
Increased Efficiency Would Also Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and U.S. Dependence on Foreign Sources of Energy
 
Washington, DC: Today, the Senate Democratic leadership team released a report highlighting the energy savings potential for American families that embrace energy efficiency.  Senators Harry Reid (NV), Chuck Schumer (NY), Dick Durbin (IL), and Patty Murray (WA) of the Senate leadership will be joined by Senators Bob Casey (PA) and Amy Klobuchar (MN).   The Joint Economic Committee (JEC) report entitled, “Energy Efficiency Is a Bright Idea,” shows that families that take advantage of energy efficient practices, appliances and vehicles could save an estimated $1,600 each year in energy costs, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, and our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of energy.  As the energy bill is debated on the Senate floor, Schumer, who chairs the JEC, initiated the report to shed light on the benefits of increasing energy and fuel efficiency to American families and the environment. 
 
Reid stated, “This report shows clearly the benefits of energy efficiency for all Americans, including savings every year in household energy and gasoline costs. Democrats are moving forward with energy legislation that will lower energy costs, strengthen our national security by reducing our dependence on oil and protect our environment by reducing global-warming emissions. Unfortunately, while Democrats fight for national and economic security, this Administration continues to be more interested in giving tax breaks to oil and gas companies even as prices have doubled and oil company profits have soared.”
 
Schumer said, “You don’t have to be Thomas Edison to know that better energy efficiency is a win-win-win for American families.   Families will save up to $1,600 on their annual energy costs, reduce U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that harm our environment.”
 
“A responsible national energy strategy must ensure that we do three things -- reduce our dependence on foreign oil and non-renewable resources; turn toward more environmentally responsible energy options and provide more efficiency so that American consumers and their families save money,” Durbin said.
 
“This report shows that the average American consumer will pay lower household energy costs and contribute less pollution and greenhouse gases by being informed and taking simple steps to conserve energy around their homes.  Reducing energy costs while ensuring that our children and grandchildren having clean air—now that’s a good deal,” Murray said.
 
Casey said, “Energy efficiency is the gift that keeps on giving – to consumers through annual cost savings, to the environment because of reduced emissions, and to our security by lowering our dependence on foreign oil.”
 
Klobuchar said, “Today we’re pushing for lights out on old, outdated, and wasteful energy products. Energy efficient technologies will lead the way to the future.  They save consumers money, help the environment, and create competition to develop the best possible products.”
 
The Joint Economic Committee report (www.jec.senate.gov) estimates that the average energy-efficient household spends approximately 40 percent less on the energy it uses than the average household that is not energy efficient.  Using data from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a leading provider of energy efficiency data and analysis, the report highlights significant savings from using more efficient heating and cooling systems, ENERGY STAR household appliances, lighting, and fuel-efficient vehicles. 
 
Reducing household energy consumption also results in a decrease in emissions and reduces U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The Department of Energy estimates that the average American home emits twice as many greenhouses gases as the average car, and heating and cooling homes alone emits 150 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. According to ACEEE, energy efficient households can emit nearly 9,000 fewer pounds of CO2 into the air each year.
 
Household Energy Costs Reduced with Efficiency Increases:
The average family spends nearly $1,900 each year on utility bills and this number will only increase as energy prices rise.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, total residential spending on energy in 2005 was approximately $215 billion.  Some examples of how energy efficient households can cut their energy costs are highlighted below:
 
  • Heating and CoolingHome heating currently accounts for approximately 30 percent, or about $610, of the average household’s energy costs ($270 for cooling costs). Improving efficiency in heating and cooling can save families over $500 a year in utility costs.
 
  • Home Appliances account for about 30 percent of total household energy use, which currently amounts to approximately $550 per year.  A refrigerator bought in the 1970s uses 75% more energy than those on the market today; families could save about $100 a year on electricity by switching to an ENERGY STAR refrigerator and washing machine.
 
  • Lighting currently accounts for about 5 to 10 percent of total energy use in the average American household, or $50 to $150 in electricity costs per year.  Replacing just five 60-watt incandescent light bulbs with 13-watt ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) can save households about $30 a year in lighting expenses, assuming the lights are in use for four hours a day.
 
Gasoline Costs Reduced with Fuel-Efficient Vehicles:
Transportation is the single largest sector of consumer spending on energy, representing $475 billion in total spending in 2005 and represents 68 percent of our nation’s oil usage. 
 
A household that operates vehicles with an average fuel efficiency of 35.0 miles per gallon (mpg) can expect to spend 27 percent less on fuel than a household that operates vehicles with an average fuel efficiency of the U.S. fleet average of 25.4 mpg.  Using the Department of Energy’s gas price forecast, the average family with two vehicles driving each 14,600 miles per year a family will spend around $3,200 this year on gasoline if they drive vehicles with the fleet average of 25.4 mpg.  But a family that drives just as much, but with more efficient 35.0 mpg vehicles, would spend approximately $880 less on gasoline. 
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
 
For the full report, please go to www.jec.senate.gov.
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WORK-FAMILY POLICIES FROM ABROAD WOULD BENEFIT U.S. ECONOMY, WORKERS, AND FAMILIES JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE HEARING FINDS
 
GAO Report Released at JEC Hearing Shows U.S. Lags Far behind Other Industrial Nations in Supporting Working Families
 
Maloney, Dingell, Schumer, Reed Urged GAO to Examine Child Care, Family Leave, and Flex Time Programs in U.S. and Around the World
 
Washington, DC- The United States lags behind other industrialized nations in supporting working families, witnesses told Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Vice-Chair of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), today during a hearing, “Importing Success: Why Work-Family Policies from Abroad Make Economic Sense for the U.S.” The report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) was requested jointly by Maloney, Jon Dingell (D-MI), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI).
 
Maloney convened the hearing to examine the need for family-friendly work policies, such as paid family leave time, increased access to quality child care, and flexible work schedules. Stronger work-family policies in other developed countries allow more women to work, enhance employers’ profitability, and improve overall economic productivity. Family-friendly work policies also help employers recruit and retain workers, significantly reducing the costs of employee turnover and retraining.
 
“The U.S. is failing its working families. American parents work longer hours and get less time off than parents in other countries,” said Maloney. “Balanced work-family policies are a win-win – the help create stable families, a productive workforce, and positive economic outcomes.”
 
Sen. Schumer said, “If we’re going to continue to lead the world in trade and economic policies, we need to revamp sub par work-family programs here at home. The GAO report reveals a tough road for many families to balance work and family life, yet we know the right work-family balance is critical for families and the U.S. economy to protect our economic leadership.”
 
“The GAO findings show that the U.S. is behind many other countries in public and corporate policy that fosters a productive work-family relationship,” Rep. Dingell said. “Indeed, policies that balance work and family life will help our overall economy to produce workers that are compensated well, lead healthy lifestyles, and enjoy the work they do. I hope that these findings will encourage U.S. businesses, and the Congress, to create policies with our working families in mind.”
 
At today’s hearing, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) presented findings from a new report on policies used abroad to help workers – especially women – balance the competing demands of employment and care-giving responsibilities. While American families often send both parents to work and spend more time at work than parents in other countries, the U.S. lags far behind other countries in providing paid leave or flexible schedules for care-giving responsibilities.
 
Expert witnesses at today’s hearing included:
  • Kay Brown, Acting Director of Education, Workforce, and Income Security, GAO
  • Janet Gornick, Professor of Political Science, Baruch College, City University of New York, Director of the Luxembourg Income Study, and the co-author of Families That Work
  • Ellen Bravo, Coordinator, the Multi-State Working Families Consortium, former Director of 9to5, and the author of Taking on the Big Boys
  • Laura Wallace, Director of the Work Life Program, Statistical Analysis Software Co.
  • Tim Kane, Director, Center for International Trade and Economics, Heritage Foundation
 
“Parents in all countries face competing demands on their time. But American families struggle more than families elsewhere – in part because American public policy offers less help to them than what’s available for working families in many other countries,” Gornick testified. “We’d do well to draw some lessons from the collective experience of many of our neighbors across the Atlantic.”
 
“Our bottom line savings from investing in our people has been estimated to be $75 million annually. In turn, those savings help improve our profitability as a company. Just as important, people represent the company’s principal and certainly most important ‘asset,’” Wallace said. 
 
 “We hear a lot of talk about family values and personal responsibility. And yet, in the United States today, being a good family member can put you job or your health
at risk,” said Bravo. “Employers can do a lot by implementing effective practices, many of which cost little or nothing and all of which strengthen the bottom line.”
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
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MOMENTUM BUILDS FOR SCHUMER’S CALL FOR ADDITIONAL FEDERAL FUNDS TO AVERT SUBPRIME FORECLOSURE CRISIS
 
In Separate Speeches, Fed Chair Bernanke and Housing Secretary Jackson Give Support for Counseling as a Way Out of Subprime Foreclosure Crisis
 
Schumer Called for $300 Million in Increased Federal Funding for HUD to Distribute to Community Groups to Bolster Counseling for Families to Aver Home Foreclosures
 
Washington, DC – Today the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Ben Bernanke, endorsed the basis of a proposal made by U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), the chairman of the Senate Housing Subcommittee and chairman of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), to increase federal funds for community non-profits engaged in helping families in unsuitable subprime loans avoid losing their home to foreclosure. Yesterday, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Alfonso Jackson made similarly supportive statements at a speech at the National Press Club.
 
Sen. Schumer said, “It is good news for homeowners and the economy that they momentum is building to boost federal funds for community groups that specialize in foreclosure prevention. In the last 24 hours, Chairman Bernanke and Secretary Jackson have given support to a proposal I made weeks ago to avert the subprime foreclosure crisis. This policy will help hundreds of thousands of families save their homes, and save billions in spillover costs from a surge in foreclosures. This seems like a cost-effective investment to me, and one that will help restore confidence in our shaky housing market. And to ensure that we don’t get into this mess again, I urge Chairman Bernanke and Secretary Jackson to join me in sealing the cracks in our regulatory system to prevent future widespread lending abuses.”
 
Chairman Bernanke gave his remarks via satellite on housing and subprime lending this morning to the International Monetary Conference in Capetown, South Africa. He endorsed housing and counseling as an effective tool for current and future homeowners. And Yesterday, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alfonso Jackson in a speech to the National Press Club similarly endorsed non-profit counseling programs and additional federal funding for foreclosure prevention and counseling to help stem the tide of foreclosures in the subprime housing market.  
 
To enable community non-profits to successfully accommodate increasing caseloads, Schumer and other are proposing that Congress appropriate $300 million to provide to assist HUD-certified nonprofit organizations, with proven track records, in foreclosure prevention and intervention. Additional funding will allow non-profits to increase training and capacity to focus on default and foreclosure prevention counseling, to outreach to homeowners for early intervention, to improve the communications between refinances. The fund will be administered by HUD.
 
Bernanke’s relevant remarks are below:
 
“Whatever their effects on the broader economy, the problems in the subprime sector are causing real distress for many homeowners. To help mitigate the situation, the Federal Resere and other federal supervisory agencies are encouraging the banks and thrift institutions that we supervise to work with the borrowers who may be having trouble meeting their mortgage obligations, including identifying and contacting borrowers before they enter delinquency or foreclosure. Federal Reserve Banks around the country are cooperating with community and industry groups that work with borrowers and affected communities. We also continue to work with organizations that provide counseling about mortgage products to current and potential; homeowners. Studies suggest that counseling can be effective in helping borrowers make better financial decisions.
 
“In addition, we at the Federal Reserve, other regulators, and the Congress are evaluating what actions may be needed to prevent a recurrence of these problems. In deciding, we must walk a fine line: We have an obligation to prevent fraud and abusive lending; at the same time, we must tread carefully so as no to suppress responsible lending or eliminate refinancing opportunities for subprime borrowers.”
 
Jackson’s relevant remarks from yesterday are below:  
 
“...We also learned that while most people facing foreclosure are afraid of the banks, they are much more open to talking to a local non-profit counseling agency about their problems.”
 
“That’s why housing, counseling, and financing education are so important. This Administration has increased the budget for counseling over 200 percent, with the President requesting another increase, to $50 million, in the coming fiscal year.”
 
After a Joint Economic Committee report “Sheltering Neighborhoods from the Subprime Foreclosure Storm,” which found that a rise in subprime delinquencies in the early months of 2007 indicate more foreclosure trouble to come, Schumer made a proposal for $300 million in new federal funds to be directed to community non-profit groups via the Department of Housing and Urban Development to boost refinancing programs to help homeowners to avoid foreclosures.
 
Over the next two years, nearly 2 million homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages will experience payment shocks as their loans reset in a weakening housing market, a harbinger of more foreclosures to come. Acting to prevent these foreclosures is not only important from the perspective of protecting entire communities, but it also makes good economic sense. Foreclosures can cost up to $80,000 for all stakeholders – homeowners, neighbors, cities and local governments, lenders, and loan services. Meanwhile, estimates suggest that foreclosure prevention counseling can cost as little as $1,000 per household. To be successful, these programs require one-on-one counseling with the homeowner and negotiations with a variety of stakeholders – making them very resource-intensive. The rising wave of subprime foreclosures has caused existing programs to become overwhelmed by requests for assistance, and they are struggling to give homeowners in trouble the assistance they require in order to successfully workout a suitable payment plan with the lenders.
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
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JEC CHAIRMAN SCHUMER QUESTIONS BUSH JOBS RECORD, URGES SHIFT IN OVERALL ECONOMIC POLICY
 
President Bush Virtually Tied with Father for Worst Job Creation Record of Any U.S. President Since Hoover
 
Bush Would Have to Create Nearly 1 Million Jobs a Month to Equal Clinton’s Job Creation Record
 
Washington, DC:  Today U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), the chairman of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), responded to May’s employment figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  According to BLS the unemployment rate remained at 4.5 percent in May, 157,000 total payroll jobs were created, and job creation in March and April was revised down slightly from earlier estimates.
 
Sen. Schumer stated, “While these jobs numbers aren't as bad as expected, they're still not close to where they should be.  On balance, the disappointing patterns in recent monthly jobs reports are a drumbeat for a change in the direction of our economic, energy, and trade policies.  Even if you don’t compare the Bush administration’s job creation record with the successes of his immediate predecessor, it is still the worst since President Hoover.  The Bush administration would need to create nearly a million jobs a month to equal the gains made by the Clinton administration."
 
The Clinton administration created 22.7 million jobs, while the Bush administration has added only 5.4 million jobs so far. The Bush administration would need to create another 17 million jobs in the remainder of their term to be on par with the previous administration’s employment record.  That would require the unlikely creation of nearly a million jobs per month for the remainder of his presidency. 
 
The May Employment Report in Perspective:
Overall, there are 6.8 million unemployed Americans, and 4.9 million additional workers who want a job but are not counted among the unemployed (including about 1.4 million who have searched for work enough to be considered marginally attached to the labor force). An additional 4.5 million people work part-time for economic reasons.
 
The unemployment rate would be 8.2 percent if the figure included those who are marginally attached to the labor force and those who are forced to work part-time for economic reasons. 
 
Growth in payroll employment has been modest by the standards of past economic recoveries.  Payrolls have grown by 1.4 percent over the past year, and the 12-month pace has declined since the start of last year.  By comparison, at the same point in the 1990s recovery, 12-month growth in payrolls was 2.1 percent and rising.
 
Moreover, while the unemployment rate has come down from its peak of 6.3 percent in June 2003, May’s 4.5 percent rate is still higher than the 4 percent rate achieved in the expansion of the 1990s. 
 
Many labor market indicators remain weaker than they were at the start of the 2001 recession in March 2001. The labor force participation rate is 1.2 percentage points lower than when the recession began and the fraction of the working-age population with a job is 1.3 percentage points lower.  Long-term unemployment also persists. About one in every six unemployed people – 1.1 million Americans – have been jobless for more than 26 weeks, the maximum number of weeks for receiving regular unemployment insurance benefits.
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
 
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JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE CHAIR CALLS REVISED GDP FIGURES ‘ANEMIC’
 
Schumer: Anemic Growth a Wake Up Call for Major Policy Shift in Trade, National Investments, Energy, and Housing
 
0.6 Percent Growth Is Far Below 3-3.5 Percent GDP Growth Deemed Sustainable by Economists
 
Washington, DCToday U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), the chairman of the Joint Economic Committee(JEC), released the flowing statement in reaction to the Department of Commerce revised estimates that the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew only 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2007. The GDP is the most comprehensive measure of our domestic production.
 
Sen. Schumer stated, “Today’s anemic GDP growth rate should serve as a wake-up call for all those who argue that this administration’s economic policies have been working. It’s time to change direction, rein in out trade deficit, and strengthen investment in innovative industry, kick our dependence on foreign oil, and bolster confidence in our housing market by stemming the tide of subprime foreclosures.”
 
The Bureau of Economic Analysis in the Department of Commerce includes more complete and more accurate first-quarter data leading to a downward revision for the GDP. The change from BEA’s earlier estimate of Q1 growth at 1.3 percent reflected a downward revision to inventory accumulation and an upward revision to imports.
 
Over the past year, the economy has grown at a 1.9 percent rate. That’s also well below the 3 – 3½ percent pace most economists believe to be sustainable over the longer run.
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
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AS MEMORIAL DAY DRIVING SEASON BEGINS:
NEW JEC ANALYSIS REVEALS THAT RAISING FUEL ECONOMY STANDARDS WOULD SAVE AMERICAN FAMILIES THOUSANDS
 
Schumer, Klobuchar and Casey Release Joint Economic Cmte Report Revealing that American Households Could Save Thousands if CAFE Standards Were Raised
 
With Gas Prices at New Record Highs, $3.23 per Gallon Today, Raising Fuel Efficiency Standards Could Help Bring Prices Back Under Control
 
JEC Reports that Record Gasoline Prices Will Raise Families’ Spending on Gas to Almost $3,180 This Year Alone
 
Washington, D.C:  As Memorial Day weekend approaches and the average gas prices hit record-highs of $3.22 a gallon, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, released a report today that reveals that the average American family could save thousands if the federal government increased fuel economy standards.  Sen. Schumer was joined by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), also member of the Joint Economic Committee.  The report entitled “Money in the Bank, Not in the Tank,” will also show that the average American family will spend approximately $3,180 on gas this year alone, due to record-high gas prices. 
 
Sen. Schumer said, “Instead of families sticking a little extra money into their banks, they’re sticking lots of extra money into their gas tanks.  Increased fuel economy standards for our cars and trucks will save American families thousands of dollars, bring down out of control gas prices, clean our air, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”
 
“American families feel it first when gas prices hit record levels – especially during this time of the year when families in my state pack their cars and head up north for what we call ‘Lake Season,’” said Sen. Klobuchar. “They deserve real solutions that will reap real savings and raising fuel economy standards can do exactly that.”
 
“That CAFE standards are the same now as they were 20 years ago is a disservice to consumers, the environment and innovation that can reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Sen. Casey.  “This report makes clear the benefit of increased fuel efficiency to the pocketbooks of Americans struggling to pay gas prices that have doubled since 2001.”
 
The full report is available at www.jec.senate.gov.
 
In 1992, the average household spent about $973 (or 3.26 percent of its budget) on gasoline and motor oil. In every year since 1992, annual average household spending on gasoline has increased faster than the rate of inflation.  This year, the average family can expect to spend about $2,442 on gas, based on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) projected average gas price of $2.72 per gallon for 2007.
 
Households that increase their average fuel efficiency to 35 miles per gallon would save about 22 percent of their current expenditures on fuel, and those increasing their average fuel economy to 40 miles per gallon would save about 30 percent.  Based on the DOE’s projected average annual gas price of $2.72 for 2007, families with teenagers can save $865 a year, or about $4,300 over five years, by upgrading to vehicles that get 35 mpg; the same families could save $1,320 a year, or $6,600 over five years, by driving vehicles with 40 mpg fuel efficiency.  These savings only increase in value as gas prices rise.
 
The U.S. ranks last in the industrialized world when it comes to fuel efficiency. As of 2002, when the U.S. average fuel efficiency was 24.1 mpg, the following countries were far ahead:
* The European Union (EU) fleet fuel efficiency was 37.2 mpg, which may be raised to 51.5 by 2012. 

* Canada averaged 25.6 mpg in 2002, which could be raised to 32.0 mpg by 2010.

* Australia averaged 29.1 mpg and is expected to raise its fuel economy to 34.4 mpg by 2010.

* Japan averaged 46.3 mpg, and could be up to 48.0 mpg by 2010.


* China averaged 29.3 mpg in 2002, and is projected to reach 36.7 mpg by 2008. 
 
The current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which were put in place in 1975, require a fuel efficiency standard of only 27.5 miles per gallon, and the overall U.S. fuel economy is only 25.4 miles per gallon, lower than it was in 1987, when overall fuel economy peaked at 26.2 miles per gallon.  While this was a 53 percent increase over the average fuel economy of cars 32 years ago, the federal government has done little to increase fuel efficiency for passenger vehicles over the past thirty years.
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
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