Mileage Rules, Harsher Than Bush's Plan
February 13, 2007
With the goal of limiting the effects of global warming, the auto industry is expected to endure the growing momentum for more stringent Congress fuel economy standards than what was earlier proposed by US President George W. Bush.
Fuel-efficient cars and trucks is one of the few ideas with an extensive consensus on Capitol Hill. These kinds of vehicles are ascertained to respond to both global warming and energy security concerns. However, the stricter rule that imposes a stricter momentum may overwhelm Detroit automakers and would eventually make them convey their initial objections and criticism. This is for the reason that stricter fuel economy standards could significantly increase their production costs. Further, financial losses as well as job cuts are anticipated much especially in North America.
Last week, President Bush sent his fuel economy proposal to the Congress. In the coming weeks, more proposals are expected to pour in. U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., will bring in his updated fuel economy proposal in the next couple of weeks. It can be recalled that Markey cosponsored a bill in the last Congress. The said bill requires vehicles to achieve an average of 33 miles per gallon by 2016.
President Bush’s proposal has a similar goal with a target of four percent annual increase amounting to 34 miles per gallon by 2017. The big difference lies on the authority that will set actual standards. In Bush’s proposal, the Department of Transportation will be the one to set the standards. The last round of increase required in fuel economy averaged to about two percent a year. Said level is about to cost the auto industry a hefty $6.2 billion.
Markey is expected to run a special committee on global warming to be launched by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Last week, Markey asked Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman whether the administration would accept a mandatory fuel economy increase from Congress. The latter said, “[The administration] would be happy to work with you on that." However, he declined to give a definite answer.
"The big problem I have is that the people of the United States don't trust the Department of Transportation anymore," Markey said. "We need to have a mandate that they actually apply.” He added that while the scope of annual increases was open to debate, "we can't discuss whether or not it's optional."
U.S. Rep. John Dingell, the Dearborn Democrat, said he expects to produce a bill by June 1 with hearings coming over the next couple of weeks. Pelosi has asked for a vote by the full House by July 4. "I remain open to considering all options dealing with the transportation sector, fuel economy and emissions of carbon dioxide, including complete alternatives to the existing system," Dingell added.
The automotive industry is experiencing notable fluctuations that include gasoline prices. It is also under close scrutiny because burned gasoline fuel contributes about a quarter of the annual carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. It is also responsible for approximately 41 percent of America’s demand for foreign oil.
The alarming global warming situation demands a timely action not only on the part of the Congress and automakers but to citizens in general. According to Pelosi the United States could not lead on warming "without mandatory action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution."
Accordingly, the stricter rules necessitate sophistication in auto parts. Engines, EBC Greenstuff, and other car parts need to be modified to entertain the new auto trend.
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