Do Politicians Know Anything About Cars?


We don’t like to get political, but it appears U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., is going to introduce a bill today that would require automakers to raise fuel economy standards by 4% a year. That would bring the average fleet mileage to 35 mpg by 2018. While we like the idea of 35 mpg by 2018, making the 4% annual increase a law seems a bit extreme, and NHTSA itself says it will cost manufacturers more than $100 billion. Currently, the average is 27.5 mpg for cars — 22.5 mpg for trucks — and everyone will probably agree it should be higher, but isn’t the shift away from large SUVs to more efficient vehicles already happening due to economic factors? 

Will carmakers be able to keep up with the annual increase? Will customers cringe when new cars are no longer more powerful than the year before? Will new technology come along that blows past the 35 mpg figure before 2018, making the added costs now an unnecessary hardship?

[Bill Raises Fuel Standards 4% Yearly, The Detroit News]

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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