Bailout Watch 2: Energy Bill (a.k.a. The Great Detroit Bailout) is Good to Go

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
bailout watch 2 energy bill a k a the great detroit bailout is good to go

After stripping-out an alt energy directive to America's power providers, removing new taxes on oil companies and upping the ethanol mandate to 36b gallons by 2022, the Senate passed the Energy Bill. Huzzah! While the bumper sticker remains the same– 35mpg by 2020!– all the loopholes, subsidies and devious rule changes remain as well. As The Detroit News reports, we're still talking about $25b in federal loan guarantees to The Big 2.8 for "re-tooling"– in addition to a provision funneling 50 percent of fuel economy fines back to (domestic?) automakers. We're still looking at a switch to footprint (vs. fleet-wide) Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) calculations and separate numbers for cars vs. light trucks– which help protect the automakers' SUV heavy "blended families." [NB: the sticker mpgs you see are NOT the figures used for CAFE.] We're still going to see E85 "credits" for vehicles that raise their [theoretical] mileage figures. But most ridiculous of all, the Senate failed to establish whether the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) controls federal fuel economy standards, placing any and all such regulations in legal jeopardy. Oh wait, that wouldn't be the most ridiculous rider of the day. If Porsche got its exemption from CAFE regulations, THAT would be the icing on this saccharine cake. President Bush is set to sign this mishegoss next week.

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  • EJ_San_Fran EJ_San_Fran on Dec 14, 2007

    Regarding the E85 loophole. Here's where the 1.2 MPG comes from: the maximum E85 credit for a manufacturer's total fleet is 1.2 MPG. So, if GM made nothing but E85 Tahoes, their benefit would still only be 1.2 MPG. See section 32906 of the new energy bill. Again, this will last only till 2014 and gets gradually phased out by 2020 (unless it's extended by a future act of congress).

  • EJ_San_Fran EJ_San_Fran on Dec 14, 2007

    By the way, the $3000 tax credit for plug-ins is one of the financial matters that was stripped from the bill by a group of 40 out of 100 senators (39 Republicans and 1 Democrat). Congress, please get your act together and revive this!

  • Dinu Dinu on Dec 14, 2007

    I don't know what to say... DISGUSTING! Absolutely no change from the new (Democrat) Congress, no real mandate to improve fuel consumption, same old, same old... And 35MPG by 2020? Why not earlier? But the issue that bugs me the most is not 35 by 2020, but the idiocy of E85 and all that surrounds it. Is there not one person in power in the US that cares about this bill enough to actually research it before signing it?

  • Gentle Ted Gentle Ted on Dec 15, 2007

    I guess I am lucky maybe that I have a alt supply station within 30 kms of me, but why would I bother to use it as it costs 30 percent more per litre than does Gasoline, also in our Cold climate there are many issues with the alt supply, it also causes metal lines to age much faster than normal! Someone sold law makers a bill of "Rats" imho