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Senate Votes For CAFE Standard Increase To 35 MPG By 2020, Automakers Cry In Their Coffee

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.

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.


Senate Adopts an Energy Bill Raising Mileage for Cars [NYT]

Senate Panel Goes CAFE-Crazy, Sets 35 MPG Standard By 2020; Forbes on CAFE Standards: Let the Market Dictate [internal]


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Boy I hope this goes through. It'll dictate a smaller, more efficient ride. When you consider how many cars are actually using all four of those seats - or even more ironic, SUVS actually using all seven / nine / 250 cubic feet - forcing automakers to build something more realistic, and forcing the public to choose something less fantastical, is a good thing.

Big government isn't usually a good thing I'll admit, but neither should you underestimate the power of large groups of stupid people. People buy cars without putting their emotions on hold. Someone has to force a rational perspective. We don't need big cars, big SUVs, or 500hp. The environment can't really afford it much longer, and the sooner we get rid of all of that, the sooner we can start bringing things back to rights.

My Forester gets only 25 mpg. I don't need all 165 hp. With less power, I'd still have the excellent handling and AWD, and I can stand to wait an extra three seconds to get to 60 mph if it means 30 mpg.

Another recommendation: don't have kids. Or just one. The population isn't getting any smaller, and the planet isn't getting any bigger. Just sayin'.