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Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) reached a deal late Friday night with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA MI) on a compromise bill to raise fuel economy standards for new cars and trucks to 25 35 mpg 2020. As reported earlier this week, the same threshold would be maintained that was in the Senate bill passed last June. The biggest differences from the earlier Senate bill are the retention of separate standards for cars and trucks as well as calculating import and domestic fleet averages separately.
The last remaining issue that Dingell was pushing for was to clarify the responsibilities of EPA and NHTSA to ensure that the rules they establish are not in conflict with each other. Apparently this was intended to prevent the EPA from allowing California to set CO2 limits that would in effect create mileage standards higher than those set by congress and NHTSA. Pelosi refused to give in on that issue and it was ultimately left out of the bill.

Biofuels did make it into the 1,000-page bill however. Car-makers will continue to get credit for building and selling flex-fuel vehicles even though availability and use of such fuels is still very limited. Biofuel producers also got a break with a provision that would require at least 20.5 billion gallons of biofuel (ethanol or diesel) to be blended into other fuels by 2015. A quarter of that amount will be required to come from non-food sources such as cellulosic ethanol or algae biodiesel. Beyond 2015 the biofuel requirement would be indexed based on increased production capacity.

The plan now is to put the bill to a vote in the House by Wednesday of next week. Senate negotiators were also involved in the discussions and the identical bill will be voted on in the Senate after the House passes it. This will avoid additional delays to get the bills matched up in conference committee afterward. Democratic leaders hope to send the bill to the President before the end of the year.

[Source: Detroit News, Automotive News - Sub. req'd]


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  • 14 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Exclusion of the trucks is the weakest part. At least, we are past the SUV "boom" and it is harder for manufacturers to dump inefficient trucks onto the general public.
      As for comment #8, even the service people do not need gas-guzzlers. Typical modern industrial 5 ton trucks in Europe and Asia operate perfectly well with the 70 hp engines. Service industry in the USA needs to change their habits as well.
      Also at #8: "say goodbye to your family carrier unless the customer is willing to pay the penalty": again in Europe and Asia you can get many vehicles more capable in every aspect but HP rating that are perfect family carriers and have very good mpg ratings. You can find 7 passengers wagons or small SUV doing 45mpg + priced at the same level as the gas-guzzling equivalents. Just not with the 300hp engines.
      One should lobby govt. for the punishment in the form of ban on sales of vehicles from the failing companies that are below the standard until the manufacturer satisfies it properly.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Dingle sucks!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Nancy Pelosi is D-CA not D-MI
      • 7 Years Ago
      How big is the loop hole for E85 this time? Will a 15mpg E85 car get credit for 35mpg? It must have been quite a show watching the corn lobby and the US auto makers lobby bang out this bill with just one pen.
      • 7 Years Ago
      tankd0g, E85 vehicles get a 1.2 mpg credit.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm still very confused about the details of the "compromise". For instance, I read that there will be separate standards for cars and trucks, but the combined average will still be 35 MPG if no penalties are to be paid. This is a very vague explanation of the bill. Will this still be a sales weighted average? If so, say goodbye to your family carrier unless the customer is willing to pay the penalty for the auto companies, or is willing to pay many thousands for a hybrid diesel.

      GM is charging $6000 for their hybrid option on the Tahoe, and when diesels start hitting the market in 2010 in light duty trucks and SUVs, their option price will be about that much also. Don't think those cost increases won't be passed on to you even if you don't need a bigger vehicle either. A lot of people do that provide services to you.
      • 7 Years Ago
      From the referenced article: "any fines paid by companies that don't meet fuel economy standards will go into a fund to be used by domestic automakers for retooling U.S. plants"

      So the fines they pay go back to the automakers? Not a great incentive to comply, IMHO.

      Still, I suppose the is progress.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm so underwhelmed.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ah, 35 mpg. That's better. A little.
      • 7 Years Ago
      A 2003 VW lupo does 78 mpg. Yes it's a small car, but you already have non-electric or non-hybrid SUVs that do 40mpg.

      35mpg sound much too low. But I guess is a large step forward for the USA.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Dingell: protects the industry and hurts the nation.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Gary, looks to be a typo but trucks are no longer included in the 35MPG figures. Dingle saw to that.
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