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Automakers bailout should carry improved gas mileage requirements

December 5th, 2008

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Remember when Congress passed legislation one year ago raising the bar on gas mileage? The law they passed required automakers to have a fleet average of 35 mpg by 2020.

Automakers, not just the U.S. Big Three, but Toyota as well, opposed it. They spent millions lobbying against the law, and to find out just how much they spent and whose wheels they tried to grease, see the Huffington Post story Big Three Promise Green Future But Spent Almost $50 Million Since 2007 Lobbying Against It,
which dug out the actual dollar figures. (Just as good as the story are some of the bloggers responding, who have some interesting ideas for how to rescue the car industry.)

The automakers did not want to be held to these stricter CAFÉ standards, as they’re called, despite the fact that they:

  • Have the technology in place to make cars that can get that mileage right now, which suggests that continued shifting in that direction could bring their fleets up to the 35 mpg. They’ve already cranked up production of smaller cars, hybrids and have promised improved plug-in electric vehicles (better than the ones they made and scrapped in the 1990s) by 2010.
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