Industry Doesn't Heart New CAFE Standards

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
industry doesnt heart new cafe standards

To celebrate Earth Day, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters unveiled new CAFE standards: 35.7 mpg (cars) and 28.6 mpg (trucks) and 31.8 mpg (combined) by 2015. The Detroit News (DtN) condemns the announcement for "moving the goal post." Fair enough; Congress has already mandated a CAFE standard of 35mpg by 2020. The DtN reckons compliance with the new, new standards will cost automakers $47b over the next seven years. Why bother? The ed board reckons consumers are already voting for more efficient cars with their pocketbooks, pointing to a 12 percent drop in light truck sales in the first quarter of '08. Either way, the industry is the victim. "The federal government… continues to draw a bead on the auto industry and is doing nothing to ensure that there will be a market for the smaller, lighter vehicles its fuel mandates will require if gasoline prices decline from their current levels." In defense of the paper's stance, a gas tax would accomplish all of the government's goals with less intrusion and regulation. But congress and consumers ("Where's MY fuel tax holiday?") simply don't have the backbone to turn and face the strange.

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4 of 16 comments
  • Kph Kph on Apr 23, 2008

    The federal fuel tax is laughably low at 18.4 cents per gallon. Say you use 15 gallons/week, which would be about 65 gallons/month. That amounts to about $12 a month. I'm not going to drive any more or less with that. So yes, I don't mind a higher fuel tax as long as it's properly used. Stein brings up a good point, to a certain extent it is a social issue, which is extremely controversial to legislate. Why should we let the government tell us what's best for us? The simpler the law is, the better it is for everybody to understand, and the easier it is to analyze the effects. CAFE standards can be needlessly complex and just end up involving lawyers when things go wrong.

  • Quasimondo Quasimondo on Apr 23, 2008

    Why do people have this obsession with being taxed? Do you not want to hold on to your money?

  • EJ_San_Fran EJ_San_Fran on Apr 23, 2008

    Why the separate standards for cars and trucks? Keeping it all in one pot would be so much simpler... Also better for the industry if the shift to cars continues...

  • Incitatus Incitatus on Apr 24, 2008

    I don't think this is government bussines no matter if it's CAFE or gas tax. Let the market regulate itself. Let the gas get to $7-8 or $10 a gallon (europe anyone?) and that will get rid of all the trucks/SUVs/gas guzlers in US. The car manufacturer will adapt to it by selling smaller more efficient cars (europe anyone?). Pople will adapt to it by walking more, using the bus and bycicling. Problem solved. All we need is just sit back, relax, enjoy the good times while they last and wait for the free market to regulate itself. That's the way capitalism is suppose to work. Am I wrong?