Big Auto to host fuel-economy rallies in Midwestern cities

Revved up over fuel-economy rules, Detroit’s Big Three automakers and the United Auto Workers will hold rallies in Chicago and St. Louis this week and next. The demonstrations are a reaction against the U.S. Senate energy bill, passed in June, which would raise fuel economy for both cars and trucks to 35 miles per gallon by 2020; Big Auto is throwing its steely heft behind a lamer House fuel-economy bill, which would keep car and truck standards separate and make improvements more slowly. “This is a bottom line, food-on-the-table concern for these workers,” said John Bozzella, a Chrysler VP who is one of many seeking to paint the ol’ environment vs. economy picture. “It’s all about whether auto plants in the Chicago area will continue to operate.” But David Friedman of the Union of Concerned Scientists shot back, “It’s the kinder, gentler scare tactic that’s based on misinformation … Are they really telling these workers if fuel economy standards go up, they are going to shut down their plant?”