For reducing air and greenhouse gas pollution by ensuring that cleaner, more efficient cars reach Maine consumers
Adam Lee grew up in the car business. His grandfather started a small dealership in 1936, and his father began selling cars the day after he graduated from college in 1947.
Today, Lee Auto Malls is one of Maine’s largest dealerships, and Adam is at the wheel as president. Lately, however, he has been doing a different kind of selling—selling the virtues of cleaner, more efficient cars and calling on the state to require manufacturers to deliver more makes and models of them to the marketplace.
Car emissions are the single largest source of air and global warming pollution in Maine. In 2004, the Natural Resources Council of Maine and our coalition partners were on the brink of convincing the state to set sales goals for cleaner, more efficient cars.
In passing this program, we were up against formidable opponents: the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Maine Auto Dealers Association. These powerful industry groups decided to fight Maine’s decision to set sales goals for cleaner, more efficient cars. We needed an industry insider to support the bill—to assure lawmakers that it was feasible for manufacturers to achieve the sales goals set out in the proposed program. We turned to Adam.
Adam had long advocated for cleaner cars, testifying previously for NRCM at legislative hearings and sponsoring clean car events to educate decision-makers and opinion leaders. This bill, however, would put his commitment to the test. Adam participated in nearly ten months of back-to-back rulemaking and legislative processes. Along the way, he was criticized by the industry, competitors, and even the press for his endorsement. But he did not waiver.
Earlier this summer, Governor Baldacci signed the bill into law. By 2009, nearly eleven percent of all vehicles sold in Maine must be hybrids or super-clean vehicles.
For years, Adam has been the voice of reason on cleaner, more efficient cars for Maine. This year, his voice was heard. He proves that nice guys do finish first—when they drive hybrids.