Defenders of meters and liters told Congress that President Reagan's proposal to scrap metric system conversion efforts will cost more than it saves and hurt US trade.
The administration's 1983 budget proposal would eliminate $2 million for the seven-year-old US Metric Board, an independent agency created to educate the public about metric conversion and help industry switch systems.
The United States is the last industrial nation to retain English inch and pound standards, and most American industries sell all or part of their products under metric standards or with metric labeling.
General Motors is 98 percent metric now, and will complete its conversion next year. The budget proposal suggests voluntary conversion will continue throughout industry.
But Rep. Robert McClory (R) of Illinois, who predicted Congress will restore the funds, said US industry would lose foreign trade if it maintained a dual system. Rep. Eldon D. Rudd (R) of Arizona argued that as long as American products are superior, other countries will buy them.