Automakers Want Out of New Fuel Economy Bill ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Automakers Want Out of New Fuel Economy Bill

Friday, June 01, 2007

Automakers Want Out of New Fuel Economy Bill

The new Senate bill on fuel economy standards being discussed has caused a lot of controversy for the automakers. They don't want it to happen and are starting an ad campaign against it. At the same time, they are doing all they can to make sure even if it does pass, it won't be as stringent as it could be. At the same time, environmentalists are working to make sure it is as stringent as it can be, without any 'off-ramps' for the various automakers to slip through.

As it is, the current bill wants to raise fleetwide averages to 35 mpg by 2020, by raising standards four percent each year within the framework of the current CAFE standards. Current standards are set at 27.5 for cars and 22.2 for trucks.

One alternative currently making the rounds (courtesy of Sen Carl Levin, D-Mich) calls for a little bit less. In this draft, the rules would be set at 36 mpg for cars and 30 mpg for trucks.

But, automakers could avoid standards altogether if they could show they were building vehicles with better fuel economy and lower emissions. Which sounds to me like they are trying to say, 'hey, we built them... it's not our fault if nobody buys them.'

But even the current bill has its own opt out for automakers. If federal regulators find the standards are technologically or economically too tough for the industry to meet, they are allowed to lower those standards.

Source: Automakers consider backing alternative to fuel economy bill - Automotive News (reg required)

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