Are We Serious About Ending Our Addiction?
When Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta announced the new fuel efficiency standards for light trucks -- the category that includes minivans and SUVs -- some editorial pages lambasted the government for not going far enough.
The Peoria Journal Star editorial board noted that the minimum required efficiency now stands at 17.5 miles per gallon, when averaged across the light trucks category. By 2011, that requirement will be up to 24 mpg. The Journal Star's exasperated response? "So, after a quarter-century of trying to wean ourselves off oil, all we will have been able to eke out is a 6.5 mpg increase for trucks."
Blogger Gregory Scoblete isn't surprised in the least by the meager move. "I guess we're not really serious about 'ending our addiction' to oil."
If we want to get serious, says the Peoria editorial, raising standards by five percent a year until 2010 could result in a savings of 1.5 million barrels of oil per day. In contrast, drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would yield a little more than half that per day -- and unlike conservation, which is ongoing, the reserve is a limited resource.
A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial points out that "the fine print" of the new rules weakens emissions standards by pre-empting state regulations on greenhouse gasses from vehicles. (See pages 44-45.)
Any states' rights advocates care to speak up on behalf of California and other states whose emissions laws are affected? What do you think about the five percent idea? Are we really serious about ending our addiction to oil?
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