New Energy Bill CAFE Regs: Huh?
OK, so, I called up the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers to chase-up a few loose ends regarding the new Energy Bill headed for the President's John Hancock. Wayde Newton sent over a pdf. I'm bushed (so to speak), so if TTAC's best and brightest can give the Energy Bill the once-over and report their major and minor findings below, I'd consider it an important demonstration of the power of citizen journalism and a bloody great weight off my shoulders. Anyway and meanwhile, Wayde gave me some important insights. It seems the actual calculations that will determine what any given manufacturer's car or truck must achieve mpg-wise is STILL up in the air, headed over to The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) for their boffins to unravel (ravel?). Truth to tell, I was wrong about two key points. First, the bumper sticker– 35mpg by 2020– refers to the entire U.S. auto industry's annual output of both cars and trucks combined. No one manufacturer has to hit that target. They all have to do it together. Second, the new regs will NOT be footprint based. They'll be based on a range of potential "attributes" as determined by NHTSA, that could include engine size, torque, payload, four wheel-drive, towing ability, etc. In other words, the regs will vary by both manufacturer AND vehicle type. And that means that the Energy Bill fuel economy provisions are a nightmare for NHTSA's hard-working bureaucrats and a bit of a con for the average citizen.
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