• Jan 23rd 2007 at 8:30PM
  • 27
President Bush will be addressing his first State of the Union to a Democratic-controlled Congress in about a half hour. At that time, many people in the country will be in a bad mood because their favorite TV show on Tuesday night was just preempted. Many will change the channel to watch something on cable, but some will stay to watch the president speak, and energy is one topic that will surely be discussed.

We already know what he's going to talk about because Joel Kaplan, the White House deputy chief of staff (that would be Josh Lyman's position) told us today. The big, bold move Bush will make on energy tonight will be to call for Americans to reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent by 2017. A fine idea for sure, though the new Congress will disagree with President Bush on how to achieve the goal.

The administration basically has a two-pronged strategy. The first is a new mandate proposing we increase the amount of alternative fuels blended into the national fuel supply to 35 billion gallons by 2017. These fuels would now also include biodiesel, methanol, butanol and hydrogen, in addition the politically popular ethanol. The second strategy is to further revise Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards by applying the same revisions to mileage standards used recently on trucks to passenger vehicles. This is where the President and the new Democratic-controlled congress will likely butt heads the most. The Dems simply want to raise CAFE standards for passenger vehicles from the current 27.5 miles per gallon, while the administration's sliding scale applies different standards based on a vehicle's footprint or size. It's all very technical and boring, which is what we imagine the SOTU address will be tonight, but we'll watch anyways 'cause the Commander in Chief's gonna talk about cars, and we're always up for some car talk.

Feel free to post your thoughts on the SOTU in the comments, but keep it civil or we'll have to turn the comments off on this post. Thanks.

[Source: AP]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      CAFE: The world's greatest generator of unintended consequences. CAFE is like passing a law against being sick and calling it a healthcare program. I don't care whether it's a Republican or Democrat who proposes it, it's still a bad idea.
      • 8 Years Ago
      i believe those were the shallow comments we were aiming to avoid
      on an unrelated observation Nancy Pelosi blinks ALOT. it is quite distracting
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ok, my nickel:
      Yeah, Lala Palozi's botox wore off during the speech, so what?

      On a 20% reduction in gasoline use, that is easy. Provide some incentives for diesels to go into the SUV's and MiniVans that are primary commuters. The fuel econy will improve by 5% to 30%, and we'll be using less gas. Provide incentives for Bio-Diesel blends in the south where it can work pretty much year round. We need to target these states with the Bio diesel, and the Upper midwest with the E85 incentives, where they can work year round.

      Finally provide an income tax incentive to purchase any vehicle that has an EPA milage rating of 35 or greater in the city. There are plenty of people out there that could use this vehicle and with the proper carrot will do the right thing. All IMHO of course.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #12, TAX is a political suicide, and that is exactly why GM and Ford encourage goverment to do it, they know no one will support that.

      Save this 5 kid story for someone who cares....CAFE has not gone up in 30 years, if the carmakers were unable to make large cars more efficient in 30 years than maybe they shouldn't be in this business.

      Why should someone elses children die to protect those oilfields in iraq kuwait s arabia when government can spend a fraction of that money for tax breaks to GM and Ford and at the same time increase MPG, that would not hurt the auto industry. As of today we are spending a billion+ a week in Iraq, ...are you telling me that if government gave automakers 5 billion on R&D that'd still would be unable to comeup with large but also fuel efficient car?

      Funny but last years high gas prices did just that....abd ofcourse in the proses nearly killed GM and Fraud
      • 8 Years Ago
      #12, I think your notion that the mom with five kids who drives an SUV only a few thousand miles a year is not very relevant. For starters, the mom probably doesn't have five kids. While we might be driving more trucks/SUVs, our families are actually smaller. I don't know what it's like where you are, but I cannot think of one family that has five children under the age of 18 all living at home.

      Also why do you say CAFE is ridiculous? Can it be manipulated? Yes. But there are ways around that too. Actually I like the idea of a CAFE standard by class of vehicle. For instance, congress could mandate CAFE based on vehicle production versus what we have now where it is based on model offerings.

      What I don't understand is why the president waited until his sixth year in office before proposing this. This should have been proposed January 20, 2001.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The President has promoted his F250 Super Duty at 'The Ranch' at almost everyone of his numerous retreats, and now calls on Americans to reduce fuel consumption 20% .... talk about hyporcrisy!

      I just watched his speech, funny how he didn't address the 'Electric Car'.... ya know, the one that worked and General Motors scrapped back in the beginning of the Big W's first term.

      This past Sunday, while watching Morning News I noticed Archer Daniels Midland, aka 'ADM' promoting their readiness for BioFuels.. and 2 days later here is Bush selling their products for them with his call for Bio Fuels.

      Surprised I am not, Mad yes, because the masses fall for this baloney, with a Capital B.
      • 8 Years Ago
      please, someone take that power tool away from him before he aims it at canada. on second thought, let him give chehney a prostate exam with it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Actually big trucks are exempt until 2011. The new standards only apply to cars and car based SUVs and trucks. Good thing the big 3 don't make money from their overall car divisions. Who said Washington never does anything for Detroit. Other than that good speech but nothing new or unexpected.
      • 8 Years Ago
      After watching this speech the only thing that came to mind: "You can't fix stupid." Ron White

      CAFE is a joke, always has been, it's a game to get around the problem. Key word "average"
      • 8 Years Ago
      I found the between-the-lines language used in the energy portion of the SOTU address rather disheartening and more of the same recycled words used in past SOTU speeches.

      Bush said "reduce gasoline use by 20%." On the surface this sounds well and good, but without elaborating on what this exactly means -- against what benchmarks and what boundary conditions? -- along with his enthusiastic support for ethanol (hmmm has he become friendly with Big-Agri in addition to Big-Oil??), it is sounding to me just like he implies the 20% reduction in gasoline consumption will occur almost entirely by DISPLACEMENT of gasoline by alternatives and no serious plan for CONSERVATION. His laughable proposal on CAFE, meant to push buttons in Congress and luring parties to the bargaining table, displays NONE of the leadership to take conservation seriously but only minor tweaking of the status quo, and we can see the results of that status quo over the past two-and-a-half decades...
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think Bush is one of the most ignorant, ideological and reckless presidents we have ever had.

      HOWEVER, I think his call for Americans to reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent by 2017 is a GREAT IDEA.

      It could be accomplished by a mixture of increasing biofuels (for example, mandating E10) and raising CAFE by 1% per year so that in 10 years the average MPG would be 22-23.

      I hope that the auto industry does its part.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Modern day CAFE standerds are abosultly useless. THe testing hardly changed, and the proposed increase in fuel economy and have been so modest, it doesn't seem to matter 407 horsepower Escalade Hint, hint.
      Remember every president since Jimmy Carter has been calling for this for ther past 30 plus years. same old song and dance every single year and not a damnd thing happens. Thank You Lobbiest!
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