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Why Is The Auto Industry Fighting Mandated Fuel Efficiency Standards?


The United States Senate has proposed a bill that would require automakers to increase fuel economy over 40% to 35 miles per gallon. The new regulation, if passed by the House, would apply to all sized vehicles-cars, trucks, and SUVs.

One of the major concerns by consumers is that their choice of ‘size’ will be impacted by the bill, but according to David Friedman, director of the clean vehicles program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, he “…would expect them [cars] to look a lot like they do today, the same size, the same acceleration and the same or even better safety.” Friedman added that he believes the cars will “…have better technology, better engines, more efficient transmissions and stronger aluminum bodies”, but they may cost more.

The proposed legislation seeks to research ways to improve the use of lithium-ion batteries, like the kind used in laptop computers, but if the cars are plugged into electric sockets will the costs in electricity eclipse the savings in gas? Some studies suggest that averaging the cost of fuel and electricity could bring the cost down to the equivalent of $1/gallon.

While automakers are balking and lobbying hard against the fuel economy provision in the Senate bill, as proposed, because they believe they will be unable to change the mix of cars available to the buying public in the showrooms of 2020. Eric Ridenour, Chief Operating Office at Chrysler Group, indicates that right now 3 out of 4 vehicles are built on truck frames and the company will have to decide whether or not to keep selling some of its larger vehicles in light of the proposed regulations. Ridenour clearly believes that the larger family-sized vehicles will be the ones most at risk, and that in the end vehicles will be lighter and smaller.

Larger? Smaller? Ethanol? Electricity? The public deserves safe cars regardless of miles per gallon! Let’s hope auto manufacturers and Senators keep that in mind for a change!!

For the last one hundred years, automakers have been delivering the same basic internal combustion engine. In that same time we have gone from the Wright brothers learning to fly to commercial jet travel by millions of people a day. In that same time we have developed high speed computers, mobile communications, microwave ovens, television, fax machines, converted solar energy to electricity, developed nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Yet the auto industry has done almost nothing about significantly improving gasoline consumption over the last hundred years.

President John Kennedy committed this nation to visiting the moon in less time than the auto industry has been given to increase auto gasoline usage efficiency. Where is that “can do” attitude? Why isn’t the auto industry looking for ways to beat federal mileage requirements rather than lobbying and backroom politics to keep these new efficiency standards from becoming law?

If the auto industry would have taken the lead and was making regular significant technological progress on mileage efficiency, we wouldn’t need to pass laws to make them do what makes sense for the nation and the world.

Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys has extensive experience with dealing with auto manufacturers and their lawyers. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective automobile, please call me, John Bisnar at 1-800-259-6373, for a free consultation.

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