California, Here We Come: New Fuel Standards

New national standards for car emissions and mileage

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Obama administration is expected to announce new national standards for car emissions and mileage today. The standards are expected to be comparable to the standards California sought, but were delayed by the Bush administration. Under the new standards, new cars and light trucks will have to get 35 miles per gallon by 2016. This will drive up the price of new cars, but drivers may recoup some of that money through savings on gas. Automakers aren't expected to challenge the new rules — but will the new standards help reduce demand for gas or change driver behavior? Joining The Takeaway to debate the new standards are Lisa Margonelli, fellow at the New America Foundation and author of Oil On the Brain: Petroleum's Long Strange Trip to Your Tank and Robert Farago, publisher of the blog The Truth About Cars.
"CAFE doesn't work. It hasn't worked. It will never work. There are too many loopholes now. There will be just as many in the future. The only way to get American's to use less gas is the way that's been proven, and that's to raise gas prices."
—Robert Farago of the blog The Truth About Cars on CAFE standards


Robert Farago and Lisa Margonelli

Hosted by:

Andrea Bernstein


Ailsa Chang

Comments [6]


Wow, Mike N... dictating two solutions doesn't sound like you're allowing for much imagination? I'd rather let the public vote in or out politicians that want to tax or not tax gas and let people speak with their wallets.

May. 22 2009 07:41 AM
Mike N

Fossil-fuel powered vehicles, no matter how "efficient", are part of the continueing problem. We must make all vehicular locomotion either electric or hydrogen cell powered. Anything else is a failure of imagination.

May. 20 2009 08:54 AM

Rich- explain to me how a 5000 lb. brick shaped cars and trucks will somehow get 30 miles per gallon? Exactly, you can't defy physics...

Go to Robert's website for the best information about information about the car industry-

He is a car enthusiast and runs an enthusiasts website so do your homework.

May. 19 2009 07:51 PM

Tell Mr. Farago to get a life. Stop trying to shape people's lives and tell people how to live.
We should always try to have the cheapest prices for energy it is the base for a strong economy. A strong economy is the base for everything.
We will find that out (again!!) very soon and things will return to normal.
Americans and the world will make large cars, small cars, SUV cars and we will make them fuel efficient when they are needed -- when there is less gas we will have SUV's and everything else powered by something else.
We have not reached that time except in some people's little minds.
Mr. Farago does not like cars and does not like the American way of life – STRIVING and WORKING for CHOICE.
I Ban him to live in Manhattan, vertical living, for the rest of his life and he can never leave it. He especially can’t come to Brooklyn. rich

May. 19 2009 03:44 PM
Eli Vasilopoulos

I think the hosts failed to grasp that Mr. Farrago wasn't saying to "just throw up our hands" and do nothing. Not to speak for him, but trying to regulate consumer demand is a losing battle. Car makers will simply find loopholes, or continue making the inefficient cars people want and offset the resulting fines with higher prices.

A simpler (and thus less prone to abuse by manufacturers) and more proven method to change fuel usage habits is the indirect one: Creating a gas tax and bringing fuel prices up to the 5-6 dollar a gallon range - or higher.

The effect this has on vehicle usage habits can be seen in European countries, where gasoline has been at the $6-9/gallon range for years, and most cars are significantly smaller, with less powerful and more efficient engines than we see here in the US.

May. 19 2009 12:19 PM
Garry G

Agreed w/ Robert --- that CAFE standards will not work. MPG is not our leverage point for change. It is equivalent to 'building a better buggy whip' or trying to make a 'faster horse'.

The problem for the auto industry is its Manufacturing Footprint (e.g. # of factories, building 'new cars' w/o a preset customer) not carbon footprint.

The industry needs to shift its revenue stream to 'per mile' and after market upgrades, not try to squeeze more money out of new car sales.

Retire the combustion engine and switch to a lower cost, modular manufacturing platform based on electric-H2 power train.

Enable the auto industry to generate 'revenues' by the mile ('Profits Per Mile') via software enhanced driving experiences (e.g. drive by wire) and Mobility Information Services (e.g. OnStar)that makes for smarter drivers and users of mobility services.

Garry Golden
Editor, The Energy Roadmap

May. 19 2009 10:41 AM

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