Worse or Worser: Automakers consider new mpg standard to prevent Senate bill

In the Wild West, the order would have been "Cut them off at the pass!" For carmakers today battling with wildly fluctuating forecasts for mpg, CO2, and CAFE standards, the mission is to cut them off at the Capital. Taking matters upon themselves, some manufacturers are considering a proposal that would require 36 mpg for cars and 30 mpg for light trucks.

That proposal is being offered in an attempt to derail the fuel economy measure being taken up by the Senate in a couple of weeks. That's the one that calls for a CAFE standard of 35 mpg fleetwide by 2020 and a 4% increase every year for ten years, to which the automakers have unanimously replied, 'never gonna happen.' Environmentalists are trying to make that bill even stronger, seeing that is has a provision allowing the government to reduce the standard if it is found to be too technologically or financially difficult for automakers to achieve. Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who's a friend of the industry, is proposing an alternative that mandates 36 mpg for cars by 2022, and a 30 mpg for trucks by 2025. Let's see -- that would give a 33 mpg average for cars and trucks in a maker's fleet by 2025, which is 2 mpg and 5 years shy of the CAFE standard requested in the bill the carmakers don't like. Is it us, or is this really just about timing?

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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