Last week, the always-fiscal-minded U.S. House of Representatives passed an energy bill. It mandates that the Obama Administration conduct more studies on how the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) that is set to take effect in 2017 will impact the U.S. economy, according to the Detroit News. Specifically, the amendment, which passed by an almost 3-to-2 margin, requires that the administration look into how many jobs will be lost because of the new standards (assuming more auto sales go offshore) and how many more people will be killed (assuming fatalities go up) from driving lighter, theoretically more dangerous, cars.
And, in case anyone was wondering, the amendment was written by Mike Kelly (R-PA), who is also (wait for it) a car dealer.
The stricter CAFE standards for 2017-25, which were first proposed in July 2011, were made official late last month. The regulations require the U.S. light-duty vehicles reach a 54.5 mile per gallon CAFE standard (which is equal to about 40 mpg in real-world figures) by 2017. These standards could cost the U.S. economy about $200 billion in higher vehicle costs but save Americans as much as $1.7 trillion in lower refueling costs.
Next up: we expect a study to estimate how much all the studies spurred by the new fuel economy standards will cost. Here's betting that it's a tidy sum.