With congress deadlocked on the debt ceiling, President Obama used today’s ceremony announcing (although not fully revealing) a 2025 CAFE standard to contrast fuel economy standard negotiations with the chaos on Capitol Hill. ABC quotes the President saying
You are all demonstrating what can happen when people put aside differences. These folks are competitors. You’ve got labor and business. But they decided: We’re going to work together to achieve something important and lasting for the country. So when it comes to tackling the deficit or it comes to growing the economy… the American people are demanding the same kind of resolve, the same kind of spirit of compromise, the same kind of problem solving that all these folks on stage have shown. They’re demanding that people come together and find common ground… That’s what I’m fighting for. That’s what this debate is all about. That’s what the American people want.
But getting a bunch of auto CEOs in the same room to agree on one 2025 “number” is a lot easier than breaking a political deadlock: after all, the standard could well be changed during the 2017 review period, so nobody is agreeing to anything set in stone past 2016. And the saber-rattling continues, as industry consultants predict doom for the post-2016 period, when the truck standard hits the same 5% annual improvement rate as cars. Besides, Volkswagen and Daimler are the equivalent in this situation of holdouts in the congress, refusing to appear at today’s ceremony and protesting the proposed standard in the media. And when the final rules is announced, this coalition of exemplary compromise could fall apart, as the Sierra Club threatens
As the administration moves forward to finalize the standard, it is critical that they avoid weakening loopholes and giveaways for the industry, and we look forward to working with them to ensure the strongest 2025 fuel efficiency and pollution standards possible to benefit American families and workers.
Defections on the right and left? Continued saber rattling? No concrete agreement yet in any case? Sounds a lot like congress, actually…