Sierra Club top officials promote fuel efficiency, but drive gas-guzzling Jaguars

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Members of the Sierra Club’s board of directors are driving around in gas-guzzling vehicles, despite the group’s support for the Obama administration’s increased fuel efficiency standards.

The Sierra Club strongly supported the Obama administration’s increase in minimum fuel economy standards to 54.4 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025, but it seems the Club’s top officials don’t practice what they preach.

The Sierra Club’s 15-member board of directors own a combined 32 vehicles, less than one-fifth of which are hybrids or electric vehicles. Seven of the 32 vehicles are sports utility vehicles while only six are hybrids and electric cars, according to data gathered by the Environmental Policy Alliance.

“Many celebrities have been called out in the past for their hypocritical positions on ‘saving the environment,’ but for Sierra Club’s own board of directors to open themselves to such criticism is truly remarkable,” Anastasia Swearingen, senior research analyst at the Environmental Policy Alliance, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The average fuel economy for the for 30 of the Club’s measurable vehicles was only 27.4 mpg, far below the 54.5 mpg the Club publicly supports. Only two members of the Club’s Board of Directors own cars meeting the 54.5 mpg threshold that environmental activists push for. The Alliance used insurance and vehicle registration data to find out exactly what top environmental activists were driving.

Two of the Club’s directors buck environmental protection for riding in style, by owning luxury Jaguars which have an average fuel economy of 18 mpg — much lower than the U.S. average fuel economy of 24.8 mpg in 2013.

The Sierra Club heavily supported the White House’s proposed fuel efficiency standards back in 2011, saying that requiring cars to get 54.5 mpg would help the environment, public health and save consumers at the pump.

“President Obama has secured a decade of progress toward breaking our dangerous addiction to oil, creating American jobs, curbing life-threatening pollution and tackling climate disruption,” said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune in 2011. “To put it in perspective, in 2030 these standards will save American families $44 billion at the gas pump, reduce our oil use by 23 billion gallons, and cut carbon pollution by an amount equal to the annual emissions from 72 coal-fired power plants — and that’s all just in one year.”

In 2011, President Obama proposed increasing mandated fuel economy standards from 35.5 mpg by 2016 to 54.5 mpg by 2025. The administration argued that increased standards would save consumers at the pump and help the environment.

The Obama administration finalized the new fuel economy standards in 2012, which was greeting with praise from the Sierra Club.

“Today, President Obama has taken the most significant action by any President in history to move our country off oil and slash dangerous, climate disrupting pollution that threatens our children’s future,” Brune said in 2012, hailing the new fuel standards.

But it seems the Sierra Club’s directors aren’t jumping to buy more fuel efficient vehicles.

“It just goes to show that the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ hypocrisy permeates all levels of the environmental movement,” Swearingen added.

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