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Car companies back wimpy House CAFE plan

By Joe Romm

"Car companies back wimpy House CAFE plan"

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E&ENews (subs. req’d) reports the car companies are backing a wimpy 32-mpg-by-2022 plan to thwart the House from adopting the Senate’s 35-mpg-by-2020.

This story just shows the intellectual bankruptcy of the auto industry. I mean, seriously, an extra 3 mpg, 2 years earlier? Is it really worth all of the lobbying effort? And even if they got it passed, the House would no doubt split the difference with the Senate in conference, so we are only talking 1.5 mpg, 1 year earlier

Planet Earth to Detroit: Just build the damn 35-mpg cars and SUVs 13 years from now! Heck, by then gas will be $5 a gallon, the planet will be superheating, and everyone will want one of those cars anyway.

Here is the entire story:

The auto industry expressed support today for a corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) plan floated by two House lawmakers as an alternative to the Senate energy bill and a looming companion proposal in the House.

The Alliance of Auto Manufacturers — which represents the four biggest U.S. automakers — said it would attempt to build support for a House plan that would increase CAFE standards to at least 32 miles per gallon for passenger cars and light trucks by 2022.

Reps. Baron Hill (D-Ind.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.) — members of the Energy and Commerce Committee — proposed the 32 mpg plan late last week. Their legislation would keep separate standards for passenger cars and light trucks but requires that the average standard for the overall fleet of vehicles sold in the United States would be no less than 32 mpg and no greater than 35 mpg by 2022.

Alliance spokeswoman Gloria Bergquist described the legislation as a more reasonable alternative to the plan approved by the Senate and endorsed by some House Democratic leaders.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said late last week that she supported the Senate legislation setting a 35 mpg mandate by 2020. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has drafted a bill with the same standard but with an accelerated timeline.

But it remains unclear whether CAFE will be considered on the House floor this month. At issue is whether Pelosi will allow and support a vote on the CAFE proposal.

Meanwhile, Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Joe Barton (R-Texas) last week attempted to force the House to take a position on CAFE, saying it needs to adopt a policy to have a bargaining chip when it goes to conference with the Senate. The Barton plan — which was also endorsed by the industry — was defeated in committee in a party-line vote.

A spokeswoman for Hill declined to comment on whether lawmakers would try to move their bill this month or wait for climate legislation in the fall.

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2 Responses to Car companies back wimpy House CAFE plan

  1. Lou Grinzo says:

    I have to wonder if there’s something else the car companies like in this bill aside from the slightly different MPG and deadline. The Senate bill has some supertanker-size loop holes, including the ability for companies not meeting the requirement to borrow credits from projected future MPG surpluses, leading to fuel efficiency deficits. If that’s in the bill they don’t want, then what greater insanity could be lurking in the bill they do want???

  2. Joe says:

    You may be right. More details will no doubt come out soon. Yes, the Senate bill, which was already a compromise, was hardly a big stretch for Detroit.