The future used to hold so much promise. Flying cars. Atomic robots. Space travel to distant galaxies. These days though, the future still holds promise, but many problems too, like the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that will affect the environment for decades even after it is eventually capped. Just the tip of the iceberg, really. And while 15 years may not seem that far away… think about how much different the world is today than is was in 1995.
President Obama is looking ahead though. Whatever your opinion of the guy, he is undeniably trying to shape the country not just for today, but for the future. After securing a 35 mpg standard for cars by 2016, Obama is pushing for even higher standards through 2025.
It doesn’t look like I’ll get flying cars or atomic robots anytime soon, but the 35 mpg standard is an important first step towards getting more fuel efficient cars and new technologies on the road. Some have criticized the 35 mpg standard as not high enough, or with too many loopholes and tax credits. Yet if we didn’t give automakers sufficient time to create and test new technologies, like plug-in hybrids and hydrogen vehicles, we might end up with a bunch of half-baked solutions that would be nothing but headaches.
Obama is already pushing automakers to get back to the table and set up standards for 2017 and beyond. Good move, as the CAFE standard did not budge for 20 years, hovering at 27.5 mpg since 1990. That stagnation in fuel economy standards really seemed to affect the quality of cars as a whole. The mid-to-late 90’s cars, at least to me, seem to be especially bland and problematic. Then came the SUV craze, where automakers could sell millions of gas guzzlers based on truck bodies, as the standards had not moved in a decade.
By calling automakers back to the table, Obama is trying to prevent individual states (California, I’m looking at you) from creating their own standards. The California Air Resource Board was created as a response to the lack of federal mandates regarding fuel efficiency and emissions, so it had its time and place. But the Feds really need to take the lead on this issue, and Obama is.
So let me ask you, what do you think the average car fuel economy could should be in 2025?