• Jan 8th 2009 at 1:35PM
  • 17

With a brief, three-sentence statement, the Bush Administration has done what we've been expecting for quite some time: pawn off future CAFE decisions to the next administration. So, Obama and his future team will now be in charge of deciding exactly how to proceed with tough new regulations that will have an extremely important impact on the cars that we'll be driving in a few years.

A few questions will need to be tackled before any regulations are handed down, such as whether or not individual states like California have the right to add additional rules to those adopted by the rest of the nation. Considering that the automakers are already in a world of hurt financially, some may see stringent regulations as "kicking them when they're down," while others may see it as an historic opportunity to make real changes.

Currently, there's a deadline of April 1, 2009 to set the future standards for the 2011-2015 model years. We have serious reservations as to whether that's enough time for automakers to meet any new rules that are too stringent, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens in the Spring. See the official statement after the break.

[Source: Green Car Advisor]

STATEMENT:

STATEMENT FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

The Bush Administration will not finalize its rulemaking on Corporate Fuel Economy Standards. The recent financial difficulties of the automobile industry will require the next administration to conduct a thorough review of matters affecting the industry, including how to effectively implement the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has done significant work that will position the next Transportation Secretary to finalize a rule before the April 1, 2009 deadline.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      The additional standards set by kalifornia are just more power brokering by liberal politicians. If US manufactures had the sack to just say no to kalifornia, they would send a message to all the worlds auto manufactures. That one state does not make up the worlds decisions. kalifornia being the largest concentration of energy consuming vehicles. Look at all the freeways and count all those cars with one person. So we want to force (politically) auto manufactures to reduce emissions and increase economy? Yet we are not willing to let go of our conveniences and personally shoulder the burden of reducing consumption.

      Anyways, I would be surprised if US manufactures comprised 25% of the total number of cars on kalifornia roads. Ever see an obama sticker on a GM, Ford or Chrysler product?
        • 6 Years Ago
        What the fuck is wrong with you?
      • 6 Years Ago
      So what changes should be made? From what I've read, CAFE just encourages Detroit to make cheap-ass, but fuel efficient, cars that too few people buy, just so they can meet the fleet standards, while they make (or made) their profits via SUVs and pick-up trucks. Hence CAFE didn't actually do much to improve the fuel economy of the average vehicle on the road.

      Abolishing CAFE and implementing a gas tax (abolish Social Security withholdings to make the gas tax palatable, and use the gas tax revenue to finance SS) would be far more effective if you want people to switch to fuel-efficient vehicles.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You're spot-on in your criticism of CAFE. The solution isn't to remain locked in to gasoline only thinking and try to conserve our way out of this mess, which is impossible given population and economic growth (I presume that latter will return).

        Instead we need to switch what fuel we use to a cheap clean burning one, at which point it won't matter how fuel efficient vehicles are.

        Such a fuel exists: alcohol. And in 1986, a Ford engineer invented a way to permit a car to run not only on alcohol but also on gasoline, in any mix, in the same fuel tank. The "flex fuel" cars are the solution, but we're stuck in a standoff between consumers who see no point in demanding this feature when virtually no gas station pumps offer alcohol, and gas station owners who don't see a point in offering alcohol when only 3% of cars can use it.

        So what we need to do is to pass a simple mandate requiring that all new cars sold in America have flex fuel capability. It's a $100 per car expense for the automakers, but being able to buy a big beefy car that can run on cheap clean fuel will encourage guilt and fear free buying of profitable vehicles, and Detroit is ahead of its foreign rivals in flex fuel tech.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Trust the guy that drove this car until last month:

      http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2008/12/obamas-chrysler.html

      LOL!
      harlanx6
      • 6 Years Ago
      With the unpopularity and distrust of the Bush administration, passing everything on to the Obama administration makes sense. Because of the combination of his popularity and willingness to take his case eloquently before the people, he can move forward with solutions that would be DOA in Congress from a Republican president. This man has a real mandate, something the Clintons and Bushes never had.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The era of cheap gasoline was the result of agreements between our government and the oil and auto industries, with approval from the foreign oil sources. So the way to improve gasoline mileage was through gas mileage standards, or as occurred, no increase in this requirement for better than a decade.

      Everything worked fine until India and China entered the mix and an unregulated international oil commodities market went wild with speculation and usurped setting oil prices from the oil cartel. We all reacted to the $4 gasoline prices and the recently disclosed recession by cutting back auto usage... so now there are oil tankers loaded down with oil that have no port to offload their oil and are currently floating oil storage tanks. However, we all know this won't last and we know oil will increase back to some value that will continue to be a burden to the driving public. It's a "for sure."

      In this new enviroment, setting fuel standards no longer is valid because an increase in 10 mpg when gasoline is $1.50 isn't that significant; however, increasing taxes to ensure there is a floor will keep fuel at a price that will keep electric drive cars moving into the main stream. And, it will reduce our need of foreign oil and shift the development and implementation of the new fuel, electricity, back to American industry.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Thanks for the reminder and you are right: OPEC is part of the price setting agreements with the API, AAM,the auto industry's lobbying alliance and coordination group, and easily bought Washington politicians. No one like taxes of any nature but this may be the only way to break the wall around the up and down price-fixing going on at the Federal level. I would rather pay a higher tax on gasoline that to continue sending millions out of the country. Higher fuels taxes will help pay for new jobs in our country and keep them at home. I look at it as an investment in America and an attempt to stem the financial bleeding of dollars moving the wrong way, i.e., out of the country instead of coming back home!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Lad, you're missing the key role of OPEC.

        OPEC oil production has remained unchanged at 30 million barrels compared to 30 years ago, when the world popoulation and economy have doubled in size since then.

        By contrast non-OPEC oil production has doubled as well.

        OPEC deliberately manipulates the market, usually to jack the price up sky high, sometimes flooding it to cash in or accomplish other objectives (hurt the USSR, destroy the synfuel industry).
        harlanx6
        • 6 Years Ago
        Lad, you eloquently laid out another scheme to raise taxes on the working poor, which is what you socialists do. This is not a U. S. problem, it is a world problem, and all the major car manufacturers are putting maximum efforts to increase vehicle efficiency, because that is what the market is demanding. The most efficient cars will sell. Just watch the results from the new Honda insight. If you think you want to raise our taxes, raise them on expensive, fuel inefficient cars, the kind of cars you elitests drive, not fuel. The working poor and lower middle class do not need you short sighted do gooders increasing their load during this potentially disastrous economy.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Not a socialist here; drive a '97 Volvo and a Toyota PU; track car is an old '73 Datsun 240Z with an 82 turbo engine. Believe me I have thought this thing over and watched what happens each time the price of oil is manipulated: when it goes out of sight, everyone drives less and cries for more efficient cars; then when the oil goes down, we buy larger less-efficient cars and drive 'em lots more and hope the price doesn't go up again. If you worry because your income is low, get yourself a more efficient car and apply for credit on your income tax fund...I'm sure provisions will be made for low income credit.

        I believe the auto/oil/lobbyist/politico system in Washington is very powerful and they would like to drag us back into the world of up and down energy pricing if possible.

        BTW, if you know how we can encourage less dependency on foreign oil and get the auto companies to build lighter more efficient cars and also get by the oil lobby in Washington, I'm all ears! But, please don't tell me the "free market" will solve the problem because the free market left home many years ago when the government started paying subsides to Big Oil and let the American Petroleum Institute, the oil lobbyist alliance, buy out the Congress and the President.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This guy is a real piece of sh&t...a truly morally bankrupt human being.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What people also need to remember is that it takes time for an automaker to change manufacturing processes, and it doesn't happen at the flick of a switch. Alot of people shout for lighter and fuel effeicent cars (as do I), but most of them want them made by the end of the week.

      Partially, the problem is that especially American automakers don't want to take the time to reverse engineer successful products that are being made by thier competitors. It would not be too difficult for a US Automakers to purchase a handful of Audi's S3s, Renualts Clio's and Honda Civic Type Rs and figure out how they work well. But due to American automakers attempting to push a car that they make onto the market, rather than creating viable car due to market needs and pains, they suck.

      Ever wonder why European and Japanese automakers can can afford to make lightweight road AND track cars for consumers to buy? Imagine if we had the Renaultsport Twingo or the Renaultsport Clio Cup over here.


      A good example is to look at the cars being produced by Ford North America, and Ford Europe. Crap Quality and Market Awareness, versus strong quality and Market Awareness.

      Where is my Focus RS, ST and ST Mountune, eh?
      • 6 Years Ago
      We all know CAFE is a pointless loophole ridden mess. We all know that Gas taxes would make a lot more sense and would be better for achieving results.

      But we also know, that know one will have the stones to do the right thing and end CAFE and bring in more Gas Taxes.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If the Bush administration were to make changes today, auto companies would have to get their butts moving to meet them. Why don't they get moving anyway? It only makes financial sense anyway. Shame on the auto companies if they don't. Oh, don't let them fool ya, they've got plenty of tricks up their sleeves to meet those requirements. It's just a matter of them doing it. You can lighten the car, decrease the size of the engine, new technology under development or on the shelf...
        • 6 Years Ago
        No, but if you know anything about marketing, you don't give all your best product right away. Each year there a "new and better" version of the old version. So they keep a few tricks up their sleeves. They hold out until they make money on the old technology. Don't be fooled into thinking that if they have the technology, they will use it. Chrysler made a car in the 80's that got 80+ mpg. They were funded by the government, and they refuse to produce it. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. Daimler made the box car, it gets 70+ mpg, and they aren't making that either. Why? Again, your guess is as good as mine. Unlike the simple thinker, automakers have their reasons, it's just that we the consumers suffer. I have no pity for the auto makers. They just keep making excuses to waste tax payer's money. I say let them die, and let new emerging companies thrive.
        • 6 Years Ago
        If it made "financial sense" for the auto industry to give us weaker, more frail cars that we don't want and don't buy, why wouldn't they do so without being forced to by government?

        And you contradict yourself, because you go on to imply that they're deliberately holding back miracle techniques that could drastically improve fuel economy

        So they're either idiots who refuse to pick up the bonanza of high MPG dollars lying on the sidewalk, or greedy SOBs refusing to sell us less lucrative fuel-sippers so as to protect their profits.

        BUT THEY CAN'T BE BOTH, GENIUS.
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