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Some government officials warn that pushing manufacturers to produce EVs will take away access to cheaper hybrids, diesels. Tesla Model S pictured above.  (Source: Tesla Motors)
All lawmakers in Washington aren't behind Obama's proposed CAFE standards

One of President Obama's many focuses these days seems to be ensuring that the U.S. has less dependence on foreign oil than it has today by time he leaves office. The Obama administration has been working hard with states and automakers to come to agreement on the CAFE regulations that will govern the required fleet wide fuel economy figures in the future.

The final standard that Obama is wanting forces a fleetwide average fuel economy of 54.5 mpg by 2025. That doesn't count heavy-duty trucks though; those types of vehicles have separate fuel economy standards to adhere too. This week, John D. Graham, who headed the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from 2001-2006, said that the Obama administration is overstating the benefits of the 54.5mpg fleetwide average.

Graham also criticized the plan to give automakers credits for building electric vehicles and failed to take into account the impact of generating the electricity the vehicles use. Graham also claims that Obama is overstating the long-term benefits of the increased fuel economy standards and is forecasting higher fuel prices than what the Energy Information Agency is predicting.

Graham is not alone in making claims that the CAFE standards aren't going to do what the Obama administration is claiming. Rep. Darrell Issa (R, CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, went so far as to claim that giving double credits to automakers for EVs is akin to "fudging the numbers." Issa claims that automakers might be forced into building EVs at the expense of clean diesel or hybrid vehicles.

Starting in 2017, automakers will be able to use credits on EVs for less efficient vehicles in their fleet. Rep. Mike Kelly (R, PA) went so far as to say the 54.5mpg requirement would harm consumer choice and put the future of private transportation at risk.

"We're picking and choosing what people are allowed to drive and not drive or purchase," Kelly warned.

Graham echoed that statement, adding, "[One key issue for regulators] is whether the quest for more energy savings will inadvertently hurt consumers by causing vehicle manufacturers to produce cars and trucks that do not satisfy customer preferences for vehicle size, performance and/or safety.”

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RE: absolutely
By Iaiken on 9/15/2011 2:04:41 PM , Rating: 3
Except that is only true in the US.

Canada may need to expand it's installed capacity, but it can do so via nuclear and it has almost completely removed coal from the picture in most provinces. In Ontario, Nuclear is expected to provide 50% of the power by 2025 and another 40% from hydro or other renewable sources.

However, I would agree that the EPA plan doesn't make sense for the United States when you consider the current installed capacity and energy policy. Hell, if they wanted to replace even the last of the nuclear plants built, they would have had to have broken ground on new ones back in 2008 and that just hasn't happened. They're having a hell of a time trying to switch the uranium enrichment process to one that is safer and more efficient.

Good luck.

RE: absolutely
By Omega215D on 9/15/2011 4:30:28 PM , Rating: 3
Recent nuclear incidents haven't helped much in the push for nuclear power and the protestors are out in ever growing numbers.

RE: absolutely
By Solandri on 9/15/2011 4:45:44 PM , Rating: 2
Which is a real shame since fossil fuels are thousands if not tens of thousands of times worse than nuclear. Nuclear may not be the best final solution, but it's the best solution we're technologically capable of producing within the next 20+ years.

RE: absolutely
By Solandri on 9/15/2011 4:43:04 PM , Rating: 2
Except that is only true in the US.

No, it is true for the entire world overall. The vast majority of the world's energy comes from fossil fuels.

Canada is among the handful of exceptions, primarily due to exceedingly low population density (you have a lot more natural resources per capita). Canada actually only produces about 40% more hydro power than the U.S. So if Canada had the same population as the U.S., your energy use breakdown would be very similar to the U.S. (instead of getting 3% of its energy from hydro as the U.S. does, you'd be at about 4% hydro).

The U.S. is actually slightly better than the world average, getting 83% of its energy from fossil fuels vs. 85% for the world overall.

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