Democrats Call for Fuel-Efficient Cars

Democrats Call for Fuel-Efficient Cars.

In their weekly radio address, Democrats on Saturday called for a new direction in energy policy, away from gas-guzzling automobiles and reliance on foreign oil.

“America deserves more fuel efficient cars,” Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington said. But she added “the only way consumers are going to get more out of a tank of gas is if the president and his party help deliver votes in a narrowly divided Congress.”

It’s widely expected the Senate will approve some sort of increase in auto fuel economy as part of an energy bill it hopes to finish in the coming weeks.

The Senate bill would require automakers to increase the fuel economy of new cars, SUVs and pickups beginning in 2020 to a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon. It currently is 27.5 mpg for cars and 22.2 mpg for SUVs and small trucks.

But a group of senators close to the auto industry _ both Democrats and Republicans _ argue that carmakers can’t meet that steep of an increase, especially for SUVS and small trucks. They will try to get approval this week for a more modest boost in the federal requirement to 36 mpg for cars and 30 mpg for SUVs and pickups by 2025.

Bush has said he opposes Congress setting any new arbitrary numerical fuel economy standard.

Cantwell said Democrats want to “take our energy policy in a new direction.”

“America’s strength lies in our ability to invent new and better ways of doing things,” she said. “The challenge we face now is transforming America’s energy policy _ one that is well over 50 years old and too reliant of fossil fuels _ to one that will make America a global leader again in energy technology and get us off our over-dependence on foreign oil.”

Some time during the last semester, I brought to the attention of my students a report by the Civil Society Institute, updating a previous survey, in which they found that, since 2005, the number of cars available in the US that reached 40 miles-per-gallon or more had fallen from 5 to only 2. In Europe meanwhile, the number of such cars available had increased from 86 to 113. I’m not sure how many of my students believed those could possibly be real numbers, but they were and are.

Given what I read currently, I can’t see that changing anytime soon. Congress can barely bring themselves to discuss, let alone have success with, 35 miles-per-gallon, while Europe is pushing through 50 and higher.

We think it’s all conspiracies and Who Killed the Electric Car?, when the truth is far more pedestrian and idiotic. Here we’re simply more into the government-subsidised SUV, in which we ride one-per-idiot-machine on the highways.

Some other time I’ll go into things like car-pooling as a fairly fool-proof approach to an existing circumstance, but my dinner is nearly ready.

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