New fuel efficiency standards for cars coming next decade


New standards for fuel efficiency will mandate that the average car on American roads get 54 miles to the gallon by next decade.

Since 1979, I have had an unpopular position about what we should do about our national dependence on foreign oil. What I would do is dramatically raise the tax we pay on a gallon of gasoline. I would use the force of much higher prices at the pump to over time modify what people drive.

Predictably, people hate my idea. But in polling, Americans love the idea of requiring automakers to crank out more fuel-efficient cars. The question, though, is will anybody buy those fuel-efficient cars?

Questions aside, the automakers have agreed to deliver 54 miles per gallon by next decade! I should point out the 54 mpgs will be based on EPA testing. In real life, that will be more like around 40 mpgs.

Thankfully, there’s so much new technology coming in the marketplace that will make cars more fuel efficient. You’ll have auto shutoff at red lights, direct injection, clean diesel, and improvements in aerodynamics, to name just a few.

Buick is now rolling out a new SUV, the 2013 Buick Encore, that gets 28 mpg. Meanwhile, a typical SUV gets more like 18-21 mpg. I also mentioned recently that Ford has the C-Max, a hybrid micro van with a small turbo-charged engine that gets 47 mpg.

So I still think a government mandate on fuel efficiency is the wrong way for us to wean off of oil. As ugly as the thought is about my way — where the money is taxed and it stays here instead of going as petrodollars to foreign nations to destroy us — I still believe in it.

Though I acknowledge my way is brutal for those with long commutes and inefficient vehicles.

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