The administration unveiled its ‘sweeping’ changes to fuel efficiency standards:
The Bush administration’s long-awaited plan to overhaul fuel economy regulations was released yesterday, promising to save gasoline by requiring modest improvements in the performance of sport utility vehicles and other trucks.
But the proposal was swiftly condemned by environmental groups and other critics, who said it would do little to slow the nation’s swelling oil consumption.
Top administration officials said their plan would save 10 billion gallons of gasoline over nearly two decades, or roughly 25 days’ worth of gas under current consumption trends. It is the first sweeping change of fuel regulations covering light-duty trucks, a category that includes sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and vans.
But it also included a broadside against the authority of California and other states, including New York, to move forward with plans to regulate automotive emissions of global warming gases. Efforts by several states on the East and West Coasts to regulate emissions would save significantly more gasoline in those states than the Bush administration’s proposal.
The administration said its plan would increase the average mileage of light trucks to 24 miles a gallon for 2011 models, compared with 21.2 miles a gallon in today’s models.
Suffice it to say a 3 mpg increase in standards over 30 years in hardly a ‘sweeping’ change. Plus, it seems the new rules are exceedingly complex:
If nothing else, the 169-page plan is complex. Today, corporate average fuel economy regulations – known in the industry as CAFE standards – divide each automaker’s annual new vehicle production into two categories: passenger cars and light-duty trucks. New cars must average 27.5 miles a gallon and light trucks 20.7 miles a gallon in 2004 models. Rules for cars are not being changed.
The administration previously increased the standard for light trucks to 22.2 miles a gallon by the 2007 model year. The new plan would raise it to 23.5 miles a gallon by 2010.
More important, it would create a system in which each automaker’s new light trucks would be divided into six size classes. Larger size classes would have less demanding fuel economy targets. From 2008 to 2010 models, automakers would have a choice between the current system and the new size-based system. By 2011 models, only the new system would remain.
Not only do the rules trample state initiatives, do little to increase the standards, and provide all sorts of wiggle room for manufacturers to game the system, the rules also ignore some of the bigger problems:
The proposal does not extend fuel regulations to the largest and least fuel-efficient S.U.V.’s and pickup trucks – those like the Hummer H2 that are more than 8,500 pounds when loaded. The administration said it would seek further comment on whether larger S.U.V.’s alone should be inserted into the final rule.
Again- either we get rid of these standards altogether, or we make them make sense. These rule changes seem to have failed miserably at the second option.
The Chargiung RINO says this is nothing more than a version of the two-step.
More here from Tom Maguire.