Looks like the US Senate did last night what
many all automakers feared they'd do — lump cars, trucks and SUV's together and force all to abide by the same standard for Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) numbers. The new standard, if approved by the US House — a feat we're hearing is not fait accompli, would require US automakers to hit 35 MPG for cars, SUV's and light trucks by 2025. That's a significant bump up from the current standard which mandates an average for cars of more than 27.5 MPG and light trucks more than 20.7 mpg (trucks under 8500 lb must average 22.5 mpg in 2008, 23.1 mpg in 2009, and 23.5 mpg in 2010). More importantly it puts the most onerous changes on the automakers with the heaviest portfolio of light haulers of heavy things. It would seem to us it's not the most onerous task on earth to get fuel economy numbers up to these levels — as long as they're allowed to count all vehicles they produce regardless of where they're producing them. That'll require a fight with the UAW over "domestic" and "foreign" fleets but it seems to us for fairness, they'll need to have that fight. But we're not holding our breath on anything until we see what transpires in the House — whenever that ends up happening.