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Although the Senate voted to increase fuel economy standards, the standards are too low and take effect too far in the future.  (See below)

New  Mileage Standards: Too Little Too Late

By Joel Peskoff

At the end  of World War II, we turned a similar challenge into an historic opportunity  and, I might add, an historic achievement. An old order was in disarray;  political and economic institutions were shattered. In that period, this Nation  and its partners built new institutions, new mechanisms of mutual support and  cooperation. Today, as then, we face an historic opportunity. If we  act imaginatively and boldly, as we acted then, this period will in retrospect  be seen as one of the great creative moments of our Nation's history.

The whole world is watching to see how we  respond.


                       -President  Gerald R. Ford, January 15, 1975


President  Ford’s 1975 State of the Union address proposed ambitious programs to cut  long-term energy consumption.  The  programs included legislation for thermal efficiency standards in new  buildings; a tax credit for homeowners who install insulation equipment; and  legislation which would improve automobile gas mileage by 40 percent by 1980.

Indeed,  the world was watched to see how we responded and they saw us deliver very  little.  Fast forward to 2007 - the Senate passed  energy legislation on a meager energy plan that  mandates vehicles achieve a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.  2020?  Big  deal.  To illustrate how feeble these new  mileage standards are, China  imposed a 45 mpg standard to go into effect next year.  Next year!

Once  we consider that only 5% of the automobiles are replaced each year, it’s  apparent how modest this plan is.  By the  55th anniversary of Gerald Ford’s speech, only half the vehicles  will have been built under the new standards, resulting in fuel economy of 32  miles per gallon for the average car on the American road– 13 mpg less than what  China is mandating for next year. 

What  makes it worse is that the automobile industry had to be dragged to the table  kicking and screaming, as if the new rules were unbearably strict, which they  aren’t.  It’s a far cry from Gerald  Ford’s vision of "mutual support and cooperation."  It shouldn’t surprise anyone.  American auto executives historically are the anti-Jobs, as in, Steve Jobs.  In  the 1960’s, the auto industry resisted seat belts and safety glass; in the  1970’s, they fought removing lead from gasoline.

Carmakers  cry that new mileage standards will cost the industry tens of billions of  dollars in development and retooling costs and ask Congress for tax breaks to  pay for it.  It’s a tired and false tune  and Congress should dismiss their claims outright.

Let’s  not forget that American automakers manufacture and sell cars for the Chinese  market.  GM China alone has an 11.2%  market share in China.  That means that on one hand GM tells our  Congress that they can’t meet the American standards within 15 years but on the  other hand they’ll have to meet the much stricter Chinese standards in  2008.  The two are mutually exclusive  concepts.

Adam Lee, president  of Lee Automalls in Maine  said,

"Almost every single one of these safety devices [mandatory seat belts,  front air bags and anti-lock brakes] was shot down at one time or another by  almost every automobile manufacturer.  They  all claimed that they were too expensive and they would quote absurd figures as  to what it would cost to put an air bag in a car... The American automobile  manufacturers have a long history of pleading financial ruin, or that their  competition has an unfair advantage, or of trying to prove that some technology  like catalytic converters and unleaded gasoline, really is not better for us..."

&

The  reality is that carmakers are constantly retooling and doing it without  government handouts.  It’s absurd that  the industry needs public money to pay for advances set to go into effect in 12  years.  Within that time, every  car model sold today will already be redesigned several times and their factories  retooled accordingly.  The government’s  mandated requirements can easily be built into those plans.

Carmakers  make it seem as if these mileage requirements are difficult to achieve and  requires investment in breakthrough technology.   Once again, that’s not the reality.   Over the last two decades huge advances in technology, paid by company  R&D budgets, not government charity has made automobiles far more  efficient.  However, instead of improving  mileage, automakers channeled those efficiencies into performance.  The average new vehicle has horsepower  equivalent to 1960’s muscle cars.

It  would therefore seem that an obvious way to improve mileage is just to scale  back horsepower.  Other mileage improving  technology has already been developed.   Honda has an engine already in production that runs its V6 engine on  three cylinders when power isn’t needed.   Other companies have reduced weight with super-strong materials.

Automakers  would have us believe that greatly improving mileage is onerously difficult, requiring  unavailable technology.  It just isn’t  so.  Solutions are readily attainable.  All that’s required is that we act  imaginatively and boldly so that this period will be one of the great creative  moments in our Nation’s history.

 

Originally posted to jpeskoff on Fri Jun 22, 2007 at 04:00 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Japan will invent the technology (5+ / 0-)

     or some other country -- by engineers who attended US Universities --

      the technology has probably already been invented -- or is almost there.

      The car manufacturing company that can bring out a very fuel efficient car will sell those cars to Americans who see the value of spending money on things other than fuel for their cars.

     Of course it would be nice of the Senate and House could grow spines and put fuel efficiency into legislation -- but so far I very little evidence of spines in Washington.

    •  The technology already exists (9+ / 0-)

      ...otherwise China couldn't mandate it for next year.

      I wrote the diary mainly as a response to the front page diary exclaiming this Senate measure as a momentous achievement, when in fact, it's quite mild and set to go into effect probably after we've past the point of no return on global warming.

      •  it is little cars..... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JoeWPgh, slowheels

        and we love big cars.  And big cars kill people in little cars.  And Chinese have very few big cars, so this is less risk.  Oh, electric, hybrid, all those are great, but our big problem is overcoming inertia- real inertia to move a 3000 pound car or truck up a hill.

        You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

        by murrayewv on Fri Jun 22, 2007 at 05:23:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks to the Japanese, (6+ / 0-)

          I can take 4-5 people up from sea level to 4000 feet in 30 minutes at 20 mpg, then come back down using no fossil fuel and while making electricity.

          I drive daily in a moderately hilly region and get 50 mpg with 3 passengers.

          The idea of a fleet average of 35 mpg is pathetic.

          If huge pickup trucks are so necessary for occasional heavy work, put a large number of them into a carshare pool.  That way, when you buy a new sofa, you don't have to make payments on a behemoth.  Our family hobbies are horses, boating and camping, and I'm sure we could adapt to a truck-share coop.  Contractors don't haul half a ton of tools on every errand - use an efficient vehicle most of the time and learn to save the big guns for big needs.

          We just don't WANT to change.  Oh, and we conveniently forgot to plan for mass transit.  

          1. Withdraw. 2. Apologize. 3. Pay reparations. It's called Honor.

          by skwimmer on Fri Jun 22, 2007 at 05:59:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The European standards are much higher now (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          linnen

          and their safety standards are more on a par with our standards.  GM, Ford, Chrysler et al build cars for the European market.  They have the technology and they just aren't sharing it with us here in the United States.

          http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...

          CSI found that the number of vehicle models sold in the United States that achieve combined gas mileage of at least 40 miles per gallon actually has dropped from five in 2005 to just two in 2007 — the Honda Civic hybrid and the Toyota Prius hybrid.

          Overseas, primarily in Europe, there are 113 vehicles for sale that get a combined 40 mpg, up from 86 in 2005. Combined gas mileage is the average of a vehicle’s city and highway mpg numbers.

          Adding insult to injury is the fact that nearly two-thirds of the 113 highly fuel-efficient models that are unavailable to American consumers are either made by U.S.-based automobile manufacturers or by foreign manufacturers with substantial U.S. sales operations, such as Nissan and Toyota.

    •  oh for the love of all things rational (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bawbie, inclusiveheart

      it is not a matter of spine.  Democrats are going to have a hard time getting this through and if they do Bush is going to veto it.  We need more democrats, better democrats.  If this doesn't convince you to stop the democrat suck rhetoric at least in public and start working towards electing more of them I do not know what will.  We needed more democrats years ago.  We needed more liberal ones to counter the DLC, but just when we needed them, wha did the progressive end of the party do but have a big hissy fit and get conned by the third party loonies.  Stop falling for that.

      •  He's probably going to veto this bill too. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jpeskoff

        Pelosi has been pushing for much higher standards than this and faster timelines.  I think the Europeans are set to be at 35 in 2010 and then at 50 by 2020.

        Pelosi's trip along with the newly formed Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

        A committee that the Republicans refused to form when in power.

        http://sfgate.com/...

        Pelosi made clear that Democrats plan to aggressively challenge Bush over climate change this year. The president has opposed any mandatory cuts in greenhouse gases, but this week said he would support emissions-reduction targets that each nation would aspire to, but would not be required to meet.

        The vote last night was in the Senate and that was clearly the best we could get from that bunch, but in the House there are more aggressive initiatives being put forward.  We sure could use some more Democrats on both sides, but particularly in the Senate.

  •  35 mpg by 2020 is an insult to the public. (11+ / 0-)

    My '92 Ford Taurus gets 35 mpg, as does my '93 Subaru Justy. My '88 Justy gets 45. This bill is absurd and totally unworthy of celebration. We're paying them more and more all the time to foul the planet. Revolting!

    Thanks for the excellent diary, jpeskoff.

    "This chamber reeks of blood." -- Sen George McGovern, 1970

    by cotterperson on Fri Jun 22, 2007 at 04:41:01 AM PDT

    •  Besides (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, change the Be

      The carmakers have figured out how to tune the test cars to do well on the EPA tests.  That's where, "Your Actual Mileage May Vary," comes from.

    •  Do you want a change in the law (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jpeskoff

      or do you want to stand on your soapbox and rant?

      because to bitch that this doesn't go far enough should require you to tell us how a stronger bill would pass this congress.

      Why won't you give the glasses-wearing security kittens a chance to work?

      by bawbie on Fri Jun 22, 2007 at 06:20:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The one possible concellation prize may be (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, jpeskoff, pontechango

      that they managed to include light trucks and SUVs in the calculation which have traditionally been excluded from the CAFE standards measures.  That still doesn't make the mileage goal fantastic, but if it does make it into law - the bill still has to go to the House and then to the President - it will change the paradigm because SUVs and light trucks are no longer being excluded.  That is kind of a big deal acutally.

      If then we will back the White House and gain more control in the Congress, the next push - and there probably would be one because this standard should be accellerated and a much higher standard shoul be set in place for 2020 to keep up with the rest of the world - the next push would not give the auto manufacturers that huge loop hole with the light trucks or SUVs - unless the Republicans were sponsoring the bill...

  •  It is stuff like this that makes the idea that (4+ / 0-)

    someone has each and every one of our Congresscritters by the short hairs seem more and more reasonable.  What the Hell?   Are they all being blackmailed for something?  Do they all have family being threatened?   Both?   Maybe we should be researching a rescue for all the lawmakers----even Republicans?

    They might as well not have bothered with discussion of improving mileage.

    Is this also why impeachment is "off the table"?  

    911 did not change things. George Bush with his sycophants and enablers have changed way too many things. me

    by maybeeso in michigan on Fri Jun 22, 2007 at 04:44:46 AM PDT

  •  WAKE UP --- FIX IT YOURSELF ! (6+ / 0-)

    ( disclosure: I LOVE Detroit, my home )

    Here's the solution: buy a car that gets great mileage,
    use it as little as possible,
    and convince your friends to park their SUVs.

    Problem solved.

    Be responsible for what YOU do,
    and don't blame the automakers.

    RADICAL PREMISE: if americans BOUGHT efficient cars,
    the automakers would be MAKE efficient cars.

    But no, it's easier to blame, whine and complain.

    The cars you want Congress to mandate are already available, kids.

    We'll never buy 'em, but they're available.

    .

    •  That sounds nice but... (6+ / 0-)

      That's the argument Detroit has been advertising, "Choice," "We don't need gov't rules." Too bad it doesn't work.  

      Many people with families (like me) wants an efficient minivan but the best on the market only gets in the low 20's.  Yea, I can go out and buy an econo-box (Detroit's answer to high mileage) but that type of vehicle doesn't meet my other needs.

      Having the gov't mandate higher mileage does what President Truman said, "...makes people do what they should have had good enough sense in the first place to do."

      •   You LIKE the Problem, not the Answer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        murrayewv

        The answer exits in many forms.

        Here's just one: Ford markets a small minvan in UK, called the Galaxy. 44 mpg combined city & hwy. WITH a 1.8 liter engine. Seats seven.

        http://www.ford.co.uk/...

        Problem with that ?

        •  Not just Ford, of course. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          linnen, bherner

          Siminlar small minivans are made by several European manufacturers.  It's not like middle class folks over there don't make babies.  And remember, they are taller than Americans anyway, just not as fat. Renault, Citroen, VW, Audi etc - basic models with all the creature comforts, and they all get 35 plus.

          If the showrooms in Europe are full of the cars people need, why aren't ours?

          My favorite car for 5 is the Renault Grand Scenic.  If Detroit planners wanted to be be good citizens, they could just pay attention to how others have solved the mileage/capacity problem.  

          1. Withdraw. 2. Apologize. 3. Pay reparations. It's called Honor.

          by skwimmer on Fri Jun 22, 2007 at 05:42:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I raised two kids (0+ / 0-)

        in camerys a ford Escort and a taurus. I am sure I would have liked a mini van, but I didn't need one.

        I also resent the hell out of couples with no kids who insist the need suvs because they have a dog.  SUVs are status symbols.

        •  I've got three kids (0+ / 0-)

          and we take long car vacaations to avoid airfare.  Therefore, we need luggage space too.

          But I'm not discounting your thought.  I know many families who, 'must have an SUV' even though they have only one child.  

          Of course, when so many have SUVs on the road, some don't want to risk accidents when driving in a Corrola.

    •  That's exactly what Detroit said... (7+ / 0-)

      about safety regulations and emission controls that they fought wildly to stop.

      Back in the 60's, when Ford (the company not the to-be President) voluntarily offered seat belts on cars, GM issued advertising that implied that Ford needed them because they were unsafe.

    •  Fuck you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lemming22

      I don't own a car.  I ride my bike everywhere.  This is not my responsibility but my grandchildren will suffer the consequences of unregulated CO2 emissions.

      Essential funk: 'Indictment' by Antibalas

      by pontechango on Fri Jun 22, 2007 at 05:05:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well . . . (0+ / 0-)

        Then you are barking up the wrong tree if that is what worries you.

        Autos only account for about 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, at least according to a piece I heard on NPR last month.  The vast majority comes from electricity generation and agriculture.

        Thus not only is Congress legislating something that really can be taken care of by market forces (I get 45mpg in my car right now, for example) but they are only tinkering at the margins of the problem of greenhouse gas emission when they regulate cars.  

        The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants. A. Camus

        by TastyCurry on Fri Jun 22, 2007 at 06:31:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Fix it myself? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linnen, pontechango

      The cars I want aren't sold in the US and I am forbidden to import them of my own free will.

      CITROEN C1 1.4 HDi 55 3-door, 57.4 mpg
      TOYOTA Yaris 1.4 D-4D Linea Terra 3ov 56mpg
      CITROEN C2 1.4 HDi 8V 56.5 mpg
      PEUGEOT 206 XR HDi 1.4 3 ov 54.7 mpg
      CITROEN C3 1.4 HDi 8V 55.7 mpg
      TOYOTA Aygo 1.0 VVT-i 3-door 51.1 mpg
      SMART ForTwo Coupe 49.9 mpg
      AUDI A2 1.4 TDI 54.7 mpg

      etc, etc

      Chris Dodd is our man to stop the Huckabee stampede!!

      by GW Chimpzilla on Fri Jun 22, 2007 at 06:30:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My Yaris . . . (0+ / 0-)

        Is pretty good.

        If you buy the Yaris currently sold in America, your expression of will in the market should help bring more of those other cars to America.  

        And you will be getting a very nice car with very good mileage.

        The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants. A. Camus

        by TastyCurry on Fri Jun 22, 2007 at 06:34:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Since we have two cars on the market (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jpeskoff

      here in the US that get combined average of 40mpg - both Japanese auto makers - and the Europeans have over a hundred - many of those engineered by American car companies - if I want to support an American car company I have to get a European car and have it imported.  That seems pretty freakin' stupid to me.

      We are in anything but a free market situation here my friend.

  •  This diary is exactlly right (5+ / 0-)

    The technology has existed for quite some time to double our fuel mileage. The main issues are weight, and drivetrain efficiency. Cars have gotten bigger, heavier and more powerful. Consumer tastes have to be changed based on the real cost of the current extravegance. The federal government can create a level playing field where all car manufacturers have to compete while meeting standards. It's either this or tax gas to $15 per gallon and let the market decide. The later is a regressive tax that will kill the economy.

    A composite car would be more expensive than the current stamped steel ton and a half monsters, but would last much longer. The overall capital cost would be less for the composite car, but consumers are used to swapping their cars regularly for the newest, greatest, most powerful wizz-bang model. That would have to change. Cars would be more like airplanes where regular maintainence would include refurbishing systems to keep the cars going for a very long lifespan (1 million miles?).

  •  Kudos. Right on Diary .... (9+ / 0-)

    The  reality is that carmakers are constantly retooling and doing it without  government handouts.  It’s absurd that  the industry needs public money to pay for advances set to go into effect in 12  years.

    Yes! They always want a subsidy to become more efficient, but they spend billions annually for fashion changes.

    As far as the new standards are concerned. Lame-o.

    Here's what we suggested more than a year ago in Energize America, a proposal called the Passenger Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Act:

    Passenger vehicles account for over 40 percent of all U.S. oil consumption; therefore, increasing fuel efficiency is the quickest way to reduce our foreign oil dependence. Passenger vehicles also contribute about 20 percent of all U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions, so increasing fuel efficiency will also reduce significantly greenhouse gas emissions.

          The Passenger Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Act will provide financial incentives to individuals who purchase increasingly fuel efficient cars – but does not mandate higher Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency, or CAFÉ, standards. Instead, Energize America calls for fuel efficiency measurement standards to be defined simply and applied consistently across the industry, with rapid increases in average fuel efficiency coming from market incentives and not from federal mandates. These market incentives are referred to as ‘feebates’, in that rebates are offered for higher performing vehicles while fees are assessed on lower performing vehicles within a given class.

          The Passenger Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Act will provide Americans who buy a new car, SUV or light truck with a $200 rebate for every ‘mpg equivalent’ the vehicle comes in above the average for new cars, adjusted annually. The ‘MPG equivalent’ for each vehicle will be calculated annually using a single, consistent approach that takes into account petroleum replacement by electricity, hydrogen or other fuel technology.

       For example, a 2006 Ford Escape hybrid, which has a 33mpg rating, would qualify for a rebate of $2,200 ($200 x 11mpg, based on the current 22mpg average for light vehicles in America). At the same time, a fee of $150 per mile per gallon equivalent would be applied against vehicles falling below the fleet average.

       Thus, the Hummer H2 – with a reported 9 mpg – would have a $1,950 fee added to its price in 2006. This feebate program will be capped at a maximum of $6,000 per vehicle and will apply to all vehicles and all fuel technologies. The Passenger Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Act will also establish a structured low interest loan program to foster fuel efficient car ownership among Americans earning less than the median income as determined by Congressional District.

    By "subsidizing" car buyers/leasers instead of makers, the market is driven in the right direction, and far more rapidly.

  •  And we wonder by the Big Three are losing money (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, linnen, jpeskoff, joanneleon

    Is it any wonder why these three companies can't find consumers willing to purchase their vehicles?!  Toyota and Honda are making a killing on the fact that they accepted the inevitability that better fuel efficiency sells, and all the Big Three want to do is whine and moan about their labor costs.  Even China is ahead of the curve compared to these companies.  

    Here's a suggestion - put an engine in the mustang that gets 45 mpg and see how many of them you sell.

    As a country, America doesn't seem to be adapting well to the winds of change in the global market, and if we don't do better soon, we just might be buying most of our cars from China and Korea and Japan.

    •  If fuel efficeincy sells (0+ / 0-)

      Tell me why Toyota new investments in this country are  bigger SUV's (Highlander and RAV4) and Trucks (Tundra and FJ Cruiser).

      A Mustang with 45MPG, yeah right...it kinds of defeats the purpose of having one.

      •  unionboy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linnen, American Phoenix

        your name is telling.  The reason they are investing in that market is because they already have the other market cornered and are still coasting along with improvements in the other lines.  And BTW, their Bigger SUVs are still more efficient than the american versions.  
        Incidently you are assuming that to get better fuel mpg you must sacrifice pick up.  That is not true.  There is a new electric car that gets very good pic up, surely a fuel efficient Mustang design model could figure out how to do so.

    •  Yeah, I just can't understand why (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jpeskoff

      they are resisting regulations that would provide a level playing field and push them toward global competiveness. If they played it right, they could probably get the government to foot a lot of the R&D bill. I also can't understand why fuel-efficient vehicles inherently require more labor to produce. Engineering and other NRE, definitely, but labor (and pensions and medical insurance)--no.

      •  Industry is often short-sighted and stupid (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dallasdave

        Remember, the motion picture industry tried to ban renting of video tapes.  Now, it's a major source of their revenue.

        Automakers tried to stop safety regs.  Now, they use items such as "curtian airbags" as selling point.s

  •  detroit should lobby for hemp (0+ / 0-)

    it's part of the problem, so it should be part of some kind of partial solution.

    witness the GOPRANOS.. rethugs: "If they fuck with me or Shaha, I have enough on them to fuck them too." -Paul Wolfowitz, quoted by the UK's Guardian

    by change the Be on Fri Jun 22, 2007 at 05:24:43 AM PDT

  •  put an engine in the mustang that gets 45 mpg (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, jpeskoff

    Well, they'd sell about 5.

    BUT let Ford put a small engine back into cars that aren't aimed at horsepower weanies, and they'd sell lots.

    Tell the truth, when you test drove your last Minivan, you wanted it to go faster.
    Right ?  

    BTW: A Mustang with a 45 mpg engine would look like a Miata,
    go like a bat out of hell, and burn diesel. I want one.  

    THE PROBLEM IS SOLVED. Why can't US carmakers put their International cars on the road in the USA ??  Isn't THAT a reasonable question to ask Congress ?

  •  I don't have a problem with the too late part (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jpeskoff, bherner

    It's the too little part that's disappointing. They spend years developing a successful car model. This legislation appears to apply to cars on today's concept boards.

    Rather than cobbling together a makeshift product to meet a tighter deadline, I don't have a problem giving Detroit time to do it right, from the ground up.

    That said, the 35 MPG standard is pathetic. They should have set it at 50, then maybe cut them a little slack if they only got it to 45.

    •  The "too late part" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linnen

      ...is about how we should have been doing this starting in 1975.  The oil crisis of 1973 was the wake-up call that we let the answer machine take.

      As for

      giving Detroit time to do it right

      13 years is three redesign cycles.  Reducing energy consumption is not only a national crisis but a worldwide emergency.  Prior to WWII the U.S. was the 19 largest military.  Can you imagine if the government responded to the Axis Power threat with, "we want to give our military industry time to ramp up, 13-years should be about right."  No, Roosevelt mobilized everyone to the emergency and industry ramped up in no time at all.  

      (I know, we don't have a Roosevelt.)

      •  we might have a roosevelt (0+ / 0-)

        if we allow him to be elected without having to prove it first.  Even Roosevelt didn't have to prove he was Roosevelt first.
        Look to your sig line.

      •  I'm not sure (0+ / 0-)

        that 13 years is '3 redesign cycles' from a ground up perspective. 3 reskin cycles? Sure, but that's the cosmetic sheetmetal work.

        I have very little faith in the Big 3's ability to get much of anything right, especially retrofits of platforms already in the pipeline. Call me a cynic, but any standard that they met at a sooner date would likely have included monstrous increases in vehicle maintenance costs.

        It's not Detroit's complaints that make me sympathetic to a longer time frame - It's the consumer's.

        But you're right, this should have been in the works long ago.

  •  Technology? (3+ / 0-)

    "Honda has an engine already in production that runs its V6 engine on  three cylinders when power isn’t needed

    Uh, that technolgoy has existed in GM SUV and Trucks for years now, which is why most are 50% more fuel efficient than they were just 10 years ago. If you look at the MPG for a V6 Accord vs say a Chevy Impala or Ford Fusion, they are practically the same.

    CAFE is failed legislation in my opinion, it did nothing to curb America's appetite for oil. Yeah, they can make mor fuel efficient vehicles, however, most Americans will just drive faster and further, just like we did after the Carter administration. Complete independence from oil is the answer to global climate change as well as funding terrorist nations, not CAFE, hybrids, etc.

    Also, nobody points out the fact that our dear Democratic leaders let Big Oil get away with murder once again. The taxes that could have funded research for alternative energy technology was stuck down. So, we have an industry that lost $15B dollars last year and laid off thousands of union workers having to foot the bill to save the planet, while the main source of our climate disaster which had profits of over $100B last year gets away scot free. Sad and failed leadership in the senate in my opinion.

  •  CAFE Standards are dumb (0+ / 0-)

    inefficient and expensive.

    They force Detroit to produce cars no one wants.

    A much more honest way to achieve this goal is to substantially raise taxes on gasoline.  But then that would require a Congress that was honest.

    •  Not dumb, given the fact that Congress (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linnen

      will never enact a carbon tax.

      Essential funk: 'Indictment' by Antibalas

      by pontechango on Fri Jun 22, 2007 at 07:12:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You can't be serious (0+ / 0-)

      The current CAFE standards, written in the early 80's, call for a 27-1/2 mpg company average.  

      You can't be serious that these standards, which apply to Toyota and Honda as well, "force Detroit to produce cars no one wants."  Since Toyota and Honda exceed these standards and are making record profits, you'll have to look for a different whipping boy.

      American cars are considered inferior in quality to Japanese cars and that's why they aren't selling.

      •  US cars were inferior (0+ / 0-)

        in quality to Japanese, that is no longer the case. In 2005, 9 of the top 10 cars in terms of quality were US nameplates according to JD Powers

        Detroit makes their money making big cars, its what they are good at and as long as gas prices are low, its what consumers demand.

        Raise the CAFE standards and what you do is force Detroit to make cars that are not profitable for them to make. It will just result in more layoffs of unionized auto workers who are mostly Democrats.

  •  I'd rec this twice if I could. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jpeskoff, pontechango

    Excellent diary and very important subject.

    "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." President John F. Kennedy

    by MsWings on Fri Jun 22, 2007 at 06:58:21 AM PDT

  •  Richardson: Bill Doesn't Go Far Enough (0+ / 0-)

    From a prior Secretary of Energy:

    The Senate's energy bill makes progress, but not nearly enough. I especially congratulate Senator Feinstein and conservationists who finally got SUV's included in the fuel economy standard. But overall it's another band-aid approach, not the comprehensive medical treatment our nation's energy policy needs.

    The fuel economy standards will not spur serious technological innovation and change. They are still far below those of Japan, China, and Europe. To be world leaders, the United States has to be serious about fuel economy.

    The Senate's failure to adopt even a 15% renewable electricity requirement is another failure. The future lies in sustainable, renewable energy and both the Congress and the President are failing to prepare for the future.

    Finally, although the bill's proponents are correct that these changes will reduce some of our nation's global warming pollution, we need a clear commitment to more aggressive emissions reductions throughout the economy.

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