The energy bill, boosting mileage by 40 percent to 35 miles per gallon, passed the House 314-100 and now goes to the White House, following the Senate's approved last week.
Woo-hoo! 2020 is a long way off, but this increase has taken over 30 years to wrestle from the Republicans. Will it come to fruition? Will it narrow our range of choices to Scions and Saturns? Who the hell knows?! But at least we've finally gotten the auto lobby off their butts and motivated them to REALLY do something, and I mean more than just a few hybrids here and there.
This is a tragedy, not a step forward. Simply raising the fuel economy standards does absolutely nothing. There will continue to be carve outs for "specialty" vehicles (read: SUVs). The mileage requirement will likely be satisfied with design tricks (low friction tires, plastic body panels, taking more weight out of the subframe, etc) instead of real engineering application. Plus these vehicles will likely be underpowered and styled to be ridiculously ugly so as to drive consumers to higher priced specialty vehicles.
The fact that this legislation still got 100 Nays and is in jeopardy of being stalled out shows just how little we've come since 9/11. It was nothing for us to put the PATRIOT Act in place, go to a ne'er ending war, and subjugate the very freedoms we were trying to protect, but something relatively simple like enacting legislation that spearheaded alternative energy research, investment, and conversion is nowhere to be found in 5 years. All that needed to be done is put some tariffs in place for foreign based energy products (whether petrol, gas, or other). That would've raised the price of gasoline and other products to about their current levels, but those taxes could've been funneled into R&D around domestic generated alternative energies instead of lining Exxon/Mobil's coffers (to the tune of nearly $1B a week in profits). If you wanted to 'go crazy' you could've said that we wanted to cut foreign sourced energy by 20% by 2020 and that would've been a HUGE step forward. But no. We have this shit.