Carl Levin is a liberal Democrat, for whatever that's worth to you. More important for our site is what he is struggling to do every day. At the ripe age of 73, he has to be one of the busiest lead men in politics.

He serves as the chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee, is part of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. His biggest current project is pushing an alternative bill in Congress for regulation of fuel economy. This week, instead of setting the bar ridiculously out of reach (as they saw it), he and his staff worked to make the goal 36 mpg for cars by 2022, and 30 mpg for trucks by 2025. This was certainly in favor of the automakers, as it is a reachable goal, allowing lots of time for them to get their acts together. Instead of it being a completely biased bill and cutting its own legs out from under itself, it had no escape clauses in case the automakers run into "unforeseen technical or economic obstacles." Therefore, the automakers are pretty sure they can make the pole-vault jump without worrying about hitting the bar, and Congress is happy that there will be a significant improvement.

With yesterday's compromise agreeing to 35 mpg by 2020 (but not the 4 percent annual increase beyond that), Levin didn't get everything he wanted. Still, while Levin's personality is often direct and feather-ruffling, he is in fact trying to be everyone's friend by saving them from each other. Carl Levin is "just who [the Detroit 3] want on their side."

[Source: Automotive News (subs req'd)]

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