New Federal Fuel Economy Rules Challenge Mathaletes, True Believers

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
new federal fuel economy rules challenge mathaletes true believers

Surprise! The day after the president told the world that his administration is ignoring public opinion and re-bailing out Chrysler and GM, the Chief Executive’s minions have revealed their new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) targets. First, the dig [via the AP]: “Under the changes, which are slightly less stringent than those proposed by the Bush administration [emphasis added], new passenger cars will need to meet 30.2 mpg for the 2011 model year and pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles, and minivans will need to reach 24.1 mpg.” Why the roll-back? David Kelly, acting director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said Obama’s decision to adopt the old Bush figures “showed the agency had done a good job after two years of work. For as much as people wanted to criticize NHTSA, this is clearly the best step that is out there that is the best step to improve fuel economy and do so in a reasonable way that doesn’t force manufacturers into bankruptcy.” Right. Sorry, I forgot: can’t bankrupt Chrysler and GM. ’K. Math. Fallout. Jump.

The new fuel economy numbers may be lower than G. W. Bush’s goal, but they represent an eight percent hike above the 2010 model year requirements, and a [you figure it out] increase over the fuel economy mandated by the 2007 energy bill (35 mpg by 2020 for cars and trucks combined). Barack’s Boyz say the new standards will save 887 million gallons of fuel and eliminate 8.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

As for the future, today’s move doesn’t obviate California’s attempt to usurp (and raise) federal standards. “The Obama administration is expected to decide by May whether to give California and 13 other states permission from the Environmental Protection Agency to impose a 30 percent reduction in tailpipe emissions by 2016,” The Detroit News reports. “The regulation would have the effect of a fleetwide fuel economy of 34.5 mpg by 2015.”

Environmentalists have pronounced themselves satisfied [via the AP]. “Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign, a project of the Center for Auto Safety, said the 2011 standard would require the administration ‘to make up for it in the following years. The good news is that they’re promising that they will.'”

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  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Mar 27, 2009
    Whatinhell is wrong with taxing gas consumption? Why add another layer of bureaucratic complexity on us when we already have the consumption tax in place? If you have a 7L engine that can get 25mpg highway why should that be penalized relative to a 3.5L engine that gets the same mileage? Whats magic about displacement - it’s the fuel economy. Want to make a real difference? Get rid of the two tier CAFE for cars vs light trucks, SUVs and vans of various types and just tax gas. Solves the problem, and provides the funding for highway infrastructure repair/replacement everyone is yammering about.... Agreed. Who cares how the standard is met or what meets it. So, tax the vehicles that don't meet the standard. Institute a mileage based registration surcharge and you can dump CAFE. This way, those who chose to drive efficient aren't taxed the same as those who chose to drive guzzlers. A gas tax penalizes everybody.

  • Zammy Zammy on Mar 28, 2009

    I think the government should be free to set CAFE standards however they want, so long as it does raise the prices (or reduce the availability) of V8 powered five passenger vehicles that can go 0-60 in under five seconds.

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