In about ten days, US Senators will start to debate raising fuel economy standards. Last month, a Senate panel approved the idea of raising the CAFE standards to 35 mpg by 2020. But not everyone is enthralled with this idea. In fact, Automotive News has got more details on the plan that some automakers are floating to create exemptions in the new, tougher CAFE standards. Auto industry lobbyists say the 35 mpg by 2020 is "extreme and untenable."
One alternative, courtesy of Big Auto Senator Carl Levin, is a "car standard of 36 mpg by 2022 and a truck standard of 30 mpg by 2025." While those numbers sound almost as good at 35 by 2020, here's the kicker: "The alternative would enable automakers to avoid fuel economy standards altogether if they could show they were building vehicles with better fuel economy and lower emissions. Levin's office did not say whether he will offer the draft as an alternative or it is merely a work in progress."

The Auto Alliance says it wants to support an alternative to the CAFE standards bill. The environmental lobby is working to close as many loopholes as Levin and the auto industry is trying to put in. We'll be watching this one.

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[Source: Automotive News (subs req'd)]

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