The Obama administration wants to significantly
increase the CAFE standards that govern fleet wide fuel economy for automakers.
The problem is that there is a huge amount of backlash from those in the
automotive industry. The backlash is so far keeping the Obama administration
and automakers from coming
to an agreement on proposed fuel economy standards moving into the future.
The Obama administration has put a concession forward
in an effort to woo the Big 3 automakers to agree to the economy standards. The
concession would see the makers of big trucks and SUVs forced to move to the
higher fuel economy standards at a much slower rate than makers of cars and
light SUVs. Hopes are high that the agreement between the Obama administration
and the Big 3 will be made by early next week.
Washington wants the CAFE requirements to be set
at 56 mpg by 2025. The concession would allow the Big 3 to adopt
the CAFE standards for the larger, gas guzzling vehicles, at a rate of 3.5% per
year rather than the 5% annual improvement rate that the Obama administration
wants for light trucks, cars, and light SUVs.
CAFE standards are currently targeting 35.5 mpg
fleet wide by 2016 and that number will grow to 56 mpg by 2025 under the
proposed regulations. The final rules are hoped to be ready by September.
However, automakers outside the Big 3 are not
happy at all about the proposed concession. Carmakers that do not produce large
SUVs and trucks see the concessions as giving the Big 3 an unfair advantage.
The companies feel that the concession would encourage consumers to buy less
quote: If gas prices go up, people buy more efficient cars.
quote: Great idea, let's not prepare businesses who rely on heavy, expensive, inefficient vehicles to run operations. Let's pretend like they can all afford to replace their fleets all at once.
quote: Otherwise we'd all still be driving death traps without catalytic convertors that get 10mpg. But they'd also only cost $4000... You weigh the benifits and I'm sure you'll reconsider. Having a $20,000 safe car that is quiet, doesn't pollute much and gets 40mpg is far better than the $4000 alternative.