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The US Senate has themselves an idea of how they can legislate change in automotive fuel economy that mixes equal parts innovation and stupidity. Innovation in attacking fuel economy with new ideas โ€” stupidity because the ideas are exasperatingly obtuse. Their strategy, called '10 by 10' would force automakers to up their average fuel economy numbers from 25.4 mpg to 35 mpg by 2017. Here's just a piece of their gameplan, as reported by the Detroit News:

It also calls for a "credit trading" system. For example, if Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. โ€” which have the highest average fleetwide fuel economy average โ€” surpassed the new regulations, they could "sell" its credits to General Motors Corp. or Ford Motor Co., which might be forced to give its profitable competitors millions of dollars in order not to break the law.

Right, because that makes a lot of sense โ€” let's create a strategy here in the United States where if our companies don't meet regulations โ€” we give non-US companies money. We mean...

...yes, it would be an incentive to increase fuel economy โ€” and that's totally a good thing โ€” but in terms of sticks to be shaking at the law-breaking offenders โ€” it certainly isn't a very helpful one. Couldn't we put the money into an alternative-fuel R&D fund or something? It's like we've come up with innovation on the "beat the crap out of you" side of the equation โ€” but the "here bunny, here's a nice little carrot" side โ€” not so much.

Bill seeks to raise fuel economy [Detroit News]

Now Dig This Big Crux: California, Others Sue Feds over SUV Econo Standards [internal]