Monday, August 29, 2005

A Drop in the Barrel

Well, I'm all for baby steps when in comes to progress, but anything less than that and I think it's time to re-think the strategies. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, one of the few holdovers from the Clinton Administration, announced that sweeping new efficiency standards for SUVs and light trucks (and whats the difference there, btw?) would "save gas and headaches for American drivers at the pump." Hmm...what drivers is Norman talking about? Surely not the 13 mpg Lincoln Navigators or 10 mpg H2 Hummers (Ooo...unless you have the new H3 in which case you get 15 mpg)?

The new plan would mandate that vehicles under manufacture between 2008 and 2011 would have to, on average, get 1.8 mpg more than they do now, which puts the overall average around 24 mpg. The Post's editorial for today says the rest:

The administration estimates that this change will save 10 billion gallons of gasoline over about 15 years. This amounts to a total of about 25 days of consumption under current trends -- a disappointing drop in the barrel.

When automotive fuel efficiency standards were introduced in 1975, the looser rules for so-called non-passenger vehicles -- a category that, believe it or not, has been interpreted to include minivans, SUVs and even some cars -- weren't all that important: These vehicles accounted for less than 20 percent of the market. Now SUVs and other gas-guzzling behemoths make up more than half of automotive sales.


So much for baby steps. This feels like we're on the treadmill to denial. Neil Armstrong, a man famous for his steps, would be appalled.

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