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WSJ: Can U.S. Adopt Europe's Fuel-Efficient Cars?

With a 35 mpg average looking like the new norm down the American road, the Wall Street Journal decided to do a little thinking out loud about just how likely it will be that Americans will soon get European models. While Euro models, as we so often say, get better mileage, it's not like the companies can just import (or export, depending) European models for sale in the U.S. As the WSJ's Mike Spector correctly notes, "cars in Europe are more expensive, pound for pound, and typically far less powerful than the vehicles Americans have come to expect." Spector quotes the automotive-research firm Global Insight, which is predicting that hybrids will make up 25 percent of the U.S. market and diesels 27 by 2020 (higher than what others have said).

A few more notable quotables:
  • "A Bush administration estimate says the industry could have to pay $114 billion between 2010 and 2017 to achieve such [annual 4 percent MPG] increases."
  • "Nearly all auto makers, including Asian and U.S. companies, want the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to have authority to lower standards if regulators, in consultation with auto makers, find targets unachievable."
There's more in the whole article, and note that hydrogen isn't mentioned at all.

[Source: Wall Street Journal / Mike Spector]

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