Back in 2007, a bipartisan group of lawmakers worked together to usher in the first statutory increase in fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks since 1975 and the first-ever standards for freight trucks. You read that right. It was Republicans and Democrats working together that first mandated a 40% increase in fuel-economy standards between 2010 and 2020, saving 2 billion barrels of oil.
Just a year earlier, facing record high U.S. oil imports, Republicans and Democrats opened an additional 2% of the Gulf of Mexico to oil drilling and in exchange removed the entire eastern third of the Gulf from consideration through 2022. That move also created revenue for coastal conservation, restoration and hurricane protection that has totaled $40 million since 2009. These funds are set to increase substantially starting this fiscal year under the law.
Believe it or not, there are opportunities for similar, practical cooperation on energy policy in this Congress by focusing on steps to reduce regulatory costs while still achieving benefits.