In my humble opinion, the greatest failure of the automotive industry of the 20th century was its inability to convince consumers that there were better alternatives to gasoline. There was so much promise, from turbine cars to nuclear hot rods to electric vehicles. Maybe the 21st century will be different, but for the next few decades, most of us are going to stay chained to petrol stations.
There seem to be people in government who realize this. The Natural Resources Defense Council issued a statement that the EPA and DOT plan to push through regulation that demands automakers get a fleet-wide fuel economy average of up to 62 mpg by 2025. Sounds good to me.
You might be saying “But Chris, why do we need to do that so far ahead when we haven’t even gotten to 35 mpg yet?” Well my friend, you have a valid point. 2025 is far away, and the world can (and likely will) be a very different place. Perhaps you are an optimist, and believe most of us will be buying electric cars by then. Maybe you don’t want the government mandating what cars automakers should be building.
Here’s the thing. The current CAFE standards have not budged a single mpg since 1990. For 20 years, we’ve let automakers get by without forcing them to improve their products. Look what happened. Many of the cars from the mid-to-late 90’s were awful, especially the American-made ones. Remember, I am an American car fan too. All of my cars are American, yet none of them are newer than 1992 for a reason. We also got those lousy SUV’s everybody seemed obsessed with for far too long. We’ve gotten away with it so far, but the world is set to outpace America if we don’t start striving for better and better cars and other green technology initiatives.
Automakers are whining that 60 mpg is too high. The White House says the increase could be anywhere from 47 mpg to 62 mpg. I think 60 mpg is a nice, round number, and in 15 years it is certainly achievable. It took us about that long to put a man on the moon. Why can’t we get we bring our cars up to a higher fuel efficiency standard?
Source: Green Car Advisor | Image: Chrysler Turbine Car