Do I even have to mention that the new Bush fuel efficiency standards are a joke?
At present, auto makers are legally forced to build cars that get 27.5 miles per gallon (mpg), and “light trucks” (SUVs) that get 21 mpg, up to 22.2 mpg for the 2007 models, and 23.5 mpg by 2010.
The new proposal has two parts. The first allows auto makers to stick to the old standards mentioned above. The second is more complicated, and likely is easier to manipulate for auto company profit and environmental damage. The new method breaks SUVs into 6 different categories, with the smallest variety needing greater mpg numbers, and the largest variety needing less. Light trucks have to get 26.8 mpg and heavy trucks only have to get 20.8 mpg.
Should we pretend for even a moment that auto makers aren’t going to try to alter the classifications of their cars?
Oh, and the new fuel standards don’t deal with regular cars at all. It makes some sense, as SUVs use up 40% of the nation’s gas, but that also means that the new fuel standards ignore 60% of the nation’s cars.
So this new policy will:
- not do much to improve fuel efficiency
- not do much to prevent pollution
- not decrease American oil dependence
And you know what? These new standards would not even have to be complied with till 2010. By then it’s likely that the auto lobby will have watered it down so that if you car has brakes you only need to get 4 mpg.
Okay, first of all, I’d like to ask any of you in engineering or with engineer friends to ask how hard it would be to make an actual fuel efficient car. The auto industry spokesmen are acting like squeezing another mile out of a gallon of gas is like putting a man on Mars. I don’t believe that for a second. But I’d like an honest opinion from someone with knowledge how efficient and clean we could expect a gas-powered (or hybrid for that matter) car could be.
Second of all, as Americans die tiny deaths at the gas pumps this summer, I’d like to remind y’all of a hidden cost to our auto addiction: the US military budget.
Seriously, would the US be in the Middle East at all if not for our oil dependencency? Support for Israel, war in Iraq, war in Afghanistan. Hell, would the US be a target for Islamic militant terrorism if we weren’t so oil hungry? Well the US military budget for 2006 is $441.6 billion, plus another $49.1 billion just for Afghanistan and Iraq, plus $41.1 billion for homeland security…
And this is just looking at the selfish American angle. What about all the people who’ve been killed, tortured or oppressed to maintain the flow of cheap gasoline? The US government and western oil companies have been great pals with the Saudis, the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, and the like.
What if we took one tiny portion of that money and used it to actually build efficient gas engines, alternative power cars, public transit, or cutting down on suburban sprawl?
Yeah, I know. Mankind is doomed.
2 Comments »
Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>