• Mar 13, 2007
U.S. Representative Ed Markey, D-Mass., is introducing a bill today that will require automakers to raise their fuel economy standards by 4% a year starting in late 2009 for cars and late 2011 for trucks. The key word here is "require," as President Bush proposed a similar plan that was more of a really strong suggestion with a few loopholes than an actual law with penalties for not being followed.
On the brightside, Markey's plan is reportedly less severe than previous ones he's proposed, though it is estimated that raising fuel economy standards 4 a year in 2018 and beyond, that is, if it's technologically feasible. Talk about a big if.

The ultimate goal of Markey's plan would get fuel economy standards for automaker fleets to 35 mpg by 2018. In truth, that's a decade of time to add an additional 10 mpg to the current standard. It doesn't sound impossible, especially if vehicles like the GM Volt reach production and prove that hyper mileage cars can be sold alongside relative gas guzzlers to even out the MPG balance sheets. Unfortunately, that doesn't really account for gas guzzlers outselling high-mileage vehicles many times over.

[Source: The Detroit News]


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  • 46 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      This post is funny. "I agree with increasing gasoline prices an letting the free market sort the direction out..." Um, you obviously don't believe in the free market, because the price of gas is derived from the free market (or an oligopoly depending on how you feel about the oil companies). Gas prices being what they are allow Americans to drive our big, guzzling cars. If you want to change that, tax gas, tax carbon emissions or impose other penalties, but don't say it's the free market.

      " I agree with increasing gasoline prices and let the free market sort out the direction we will take. If gas gets higher and higher, more people will buy economical vehicles because they want too, not because they are the only cars our government will allow us to drive. We will also see more investment into alternatives to gasoline... more electricity, ethanol, hydrogen, bio-diesel. Raising the price of fuel will reduce it's use and spur research into alternatives. Thats my 2 centavos.
      "
      far jr
      • 7 Years Ago
      Nick and all others griping about my "free market" wording. By that I mean that if Uncle Sam dictates that cars must be 35 MPG, consumers will inevitably end up with fewer options.

      Do you disagree that while not a "true" free market that gas prices affect the ratio of trucks and SUVs vs. sales of economy cars? We have seen that trend the last few years. If gas prices reach a threshold which is uncomfortable, people will buy more fuel efficient alternatives.

      If enough consumers turn thier back on station wagons, they will slowly disapear from the automotive landscape in any large scale.
      If enough consumers buy or shun something in the automotive market, the affected designs will flourish or perish.

      Ethanol, hydrogen, and large scale biodiesel production (which could boost the US economy rather than Midddle Eastern countries) will not happen if oil drops to $25 per barrel (hypothetically OK?). If it gets to $100 per barrel, other options will get a second look from consumers and will gain traction in the market.
      • 7 Years Ago
      David yes the tdi is wonderful on fuel economy BUT it's too bad VW has such horrid reliability ratings. Some of us choose safety over fuel economy,http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr121906.html.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Fucking socialists like Murky Markey interfering with the free market...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Tax's to help the poor not drive anymore should reduce the polution from the old cars they could only afford. Tax's that will go anywhere but to the cause. Perhaps the extra money can go to making the superhighway. Just when did any tax collected for any specific thing ever go to the cause? Burning less gas will raise the price/profits but hopefully reduce emissions.
      Buster01
      • 7 Years Ago
      uuuh...Mike, where did you come up with that figure??? A more fuel efficient car is going to cost $80,000???? they already make cars that meet the fuel standards for 2018 and they don't cost $80,000. In fact most of the fuel efficient cars are the less expensive ones.
      And let the government tax gas and....do what??? do research with the money that car manufacturers are not going to put into prodution unless they are forced to? That makes no sense. Car companies will not improve fuel economy unless they are forced to with a penalty if they don't. They will continue to make gas hogs. They've already shown us that.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Bruiser, it's true for construction pickups, but heavy equipment can use red diesel which isn't taxed. The real hit in construction (my industry) would be to the trucks involved in hauling dirt and delivering materials.
      • 7 Years Ago
      You can't put a heavy tax on gas because it would making shipping costs way too expensive. It would also hurt construction because many of the workers rely on large trucks and heavy equipment to provide their service (Amen Joel). Taxing gas more wouldn't work, it would just piss people off especially since the market doesn't yet have the product to support such an extreme measure.

      I don't have a problem with raising the fuel economy but the cost is very high and there has to be a way to help offset this. Maybe a more staggered approach like 2% for a couple years, then 4% for another year or two and then 6% by 2015. Then make them increase it by 2% each year after to keep it up.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Four per cent is too much too fast.

      The federal government should mandate a 1-2% increase beginning 2010 with no loopholes whatsoever. And HUGE penalties if they aren't realized.

      Historically, the automakers have fought any real change in this regard and they have not done anything on their own, despite being given ample opportunity to do so.

      Much of this MPG improvement could be accomplished through technological innovation. For example, the new 6-speed automatics bring a 5-7% increase and I'm sure there are a lot of other low hanging fruit that would increase overall corporate MPG.
      far jr
      • 7 Years Ago
      I agree with increasing gasoline prices and let the free market sort out the direction we will take. If gas gets higher and higher, more people will buy economical vehicles because they want too, not because they are the only cars our government will allow us to drive. We will also see more investment into alternatives to gasoline... more electricity, ethanol, hydrogen, bio-diesel. Raising the price of fuel will reduce it's use and spur research into alternatives. Thats my 2 centavos.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's interesting how in one breath you bemoan the EU for considering a limit on Autobahn speeds and instead suggest better fuel economy. Then, a few hours later, you complain about better fuel economy standards.

      My TDI gets 55 mpg. 55! ...and it's also damn clean on B100 biodiesel. MANY [gasoline] cars easily achieve 35 mpg highway today. If more demand was created for economical vehicles instead of for gas guzzling, monster, death mobiles, maybe we'd be getting somewhere. Creating demand: SUV advertising rose from $172.5 million in 1990 to $1.51 billion in 2000 to save a non-innovative, flailing domestic auto industry (more profit on trucks).

      Some people would leave the corporations to CONTROL the market unopposed, working only for their own (short-term) interests.

      Where did all the propane, natural gas, hybrid and ethanol vehicles in the late nineties / early decade? It was mandated by law: The Energy Policy Act of 1992.

      There's also some interesting reading here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Average_Fuel_Economy and here: http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewPrint&articleId=4247

      "Free market" is a fairy tale (i.e. NAFTA). The market's either influenced by the powerful or by the government. Same debate re: Network Neutrality. Do you want a few cable companies controlling the Internet or "we the people."
      • 7 Years Ago
      A high tax on gas is a really bad idea for a couple of reasons. One is that is would drive the cost of living up and could have a harsh effect on the value of the dollar since it will cost more to buy goods. Another is what Bruiser said about the market isn't to a point to support that kind of tax. Not everyone can drive a Prius or small car, some have large families with a camper or boat. Why should they be penalized for having those items if its something they worked for and enjoy? There will ALWAYS be a market for Suburbans and Expeditions it will just be smaller but it will be there.
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