Counterstrike: Senators offer compromise to prevent CAFE mileage hike

Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, who have been lobbying on behalf of automakers to reign in some of the stricter CAFE proposals being debated this month as part of the larger energy bill, have just offered a new compromise. They made the offer to Dianne Feinstein, a California senator in favor of the most stringent hikes, but wouldn't say what they proposed.

Supporters of the energy bill said they would scale back CAFE increases after 2020, but that approach wasn't enough for the automakers. The Big Three, Toyota, and BMW are part of the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers that is opposed to the strictest standards. The bill they want to block is the one calling for 35 mpg CAFE by 2020, then annual 4% increases until 2030, for a 52 mpg CAFE standard. The last bill offered by Levin and Stabenow offered a car CAFE rating of 33 mpg by 2022, and 30 mpg for trucks by 2025. It would also let carmakers tally hybrids as alternative vehicles. Ted Stevens of Alaska also proposed an amendment that would eliminate the 4% increases after 2020, as well as the requirement that 80% of carmakers fleets run on flex fuels by 2015.

Feinstein has said that she will be working to take the different approaches into account, though other Senators appear determined not to back down. Levin and Stabenow have said they would block a vote on the entire energy bill if no compromise could be found.

[Source: Detroit News]

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