Thursday, May 21, 2009

End of a gas-guzzling era?

PBS's Newshour has a great overview of the Obama administration's new rules on auto emissions and fuel efficiency, which the Big Three automakers have gotten behind (because it presents the least worst solution for them):
The proposed fuel efficiency standards, known as CAFE for "corporate average fuel economy," would mandate 30 percent better mileage by 2016. Cars would need to get 39 miles per gallon; trucks, 30 miles per gallon.

The president said the U.S. could save 1.8 billion barrels of oil as a result. And together, he said the mileage and emissions rules would amount to taking 177 million cars off the roads.

The emissions target is to cut carbon dioxide coming from tailpipes by one-third as of 2016. And it could mean longstanding legal battles involving carmakers, the states, and the federal government will be abandoned.

Today's changes hew closely to a proposal long advocated by California. The industry and the Bush administration resisted that effort for years.
It's good to see Washington following California's lead in forcing Detroit's hand to do something it should have done a long time ago. I swear, it seems they spent as much time and money fighting these inevitable changes as it would have taken to just go along with them, for the greater good, I might add.

Indeed, the decades-long habit of GM, Chrysler, and Ford to rely on big cars in the wake of wildly fluctuating fuel prices has been seen as one reason why Japanese and Korean automakers have been gaining so much ground and Detroit has been floundering.

There is no reason why meeting these targets is technologically not possible, but the consumer savings will come with a cost: an average of $1300 will be added to each vehicle's price tag, but the savings over the lifetime of the vehicle would average about $2800.

[above: Americans like 'em big and able to get down in the mud.]


  1. “The industry and the Bush administration resisted that effort for years.”

    Wouldn’t this hearken back to the days of the Carter administration and the long lines, high prices, and short supply caused by the oil embargo? He should have had the cojones then to fix the problem. It sucks to no end that my options are limited to Japanese and Korean cars that don’t hold a candle to the diesel burning options available in Europe (even Ford is in on the action with a car that gets 65mpg: ).

    One thing Obama is screwing up is that our roads, and their upkeep, are funded via fuel taxes. How exactly does he plan on keeping the coffers filled when they are already running bare? Better gas mileage means less money going into the till to keep those potholes to a minimum. Oh, yeah, those aging bridges are a bit of a problem as well.

  2. i like the idea that people are opposed to restrictions on low fuel efficiency vehicles because it violates their personal liberties

    almost every conservative argument is slowly boiling down to them defending their rights to be inconsiderate dicks, for real

  3. I wouldn't mind a H3 like this:

    "Hatch shows off 100 mpg Hummer"

    Too bad the ex-big 3 couldn't get their act together years ago.


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