Bush, the EPA, MPG and 2017

This week, President Bush gingerly took another step towards reducing some of the U.S.'s oil dependence by 2017. Bush directed his cabinet to get work done by the end of 2008 (so, in 18 months) on the president's plan to cut U.S. gasoline use by 20 percent by 2017. What were some responses from around the green car web?
Some groups fawned over the announcement. The Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a project of Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE), welcomed the President's announcement, saying it "advances effort to reduce oil dependence." The Diesel Technology Forum, in their response to Bush's call, said that with the many companies bringing diesel vehicles to the U.S. over the next few years (but not as many as we'd like to see), will meet "consumer demand for fuel economy and high performance."

The Auto Alliance, which basically speaks for most major automakers, gave a slightly vague response. Dave McCurdy, Alliance president and CEO, said that, "Automakers support reforming and raising car fuel economy standards, consistent with the need to preserve jobs and consumer choice. Determining the right level for the future will require sound science and engineering, in an open process that involves everyone. Automakers support DOT and NHTSA continuing to set fuel economy standards, and we believe that NHTSA should begin a rulemaking now to implement the President's plan. The Alliance pledges to work constructively with Congress and the administration to help reduce oil consumption and carbon dioxide, while at the same time preserving the diverse range of automobiles that consumers require today."

That "preserving the diverse range" bit sounds to me like they're not looking for the hard hand of the law to come down, even though they say they'll "work constructively" with the lawmakers.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) took a firmer stance. The group said that Bush's instructions to the EPA meant that Congress "must lock specific, mandatory goals in place." David Friedman, UCS Clean Vehicles Program research director, said that, "If the president delivers what he's promised, his proposal would take the nation a long way toward reducing its dependence on oil and cutting global warming pollution. But, given that the Supreme Court had to force the Bush administration to regulate greenhouse gases, Congress is going to have to enact guaranteed fuel economy improvements and low carbon fuel standards."

Good old Grist says clearly that, "funneling a bunch of subsidies to Big Corn and Big Coal does not constitute a 'response' to the Supreme Court ruling, which was about the EPA regulating CO2 as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act."

[Source: Reuters, Diesel Technology Forum, Securing America's Future Energy, Union of Concerned Scientists, Auto Alliance, Grist]

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