An Ulterior Motive to Extreme CAFE Standards?

By July 14, 2007Energy, Global Warming

Henry Payne is not only a nifty editorial cartoonist for The Detroit News, he’s a tough-minded columnist with good insights on government and the automotive industry. Writing at the National Review Online’s Planet Gore, Payne has been really sharp lately on the proposed CAFE standards coming out of Congress. Here’s his most recent post.

The failure of Europe to meet its fuel efficiency targets (see previous blog) raises the larger question for similar U.S. regulations: What is the point?

Despite 12 years of concerted European Commission efforts to increase fuel efficiency to 42 mpg (well short of the 2008 goal of 48 mpg and well off the ultimate 2012 goal of 62 mpg), “Europe’s transport sector carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 26% since 1990, the Kyoto baseline year,” notes Marlo Lewis. And Europe’s total CO2 emissions are still on the upswing and nowhere near meeting Kyoto goals (as Chris Horner notes here).

How about oil dependence? Europe’s transportation sector is still over 90 percent dependent on foreign sources for its oil.

Like U.S. CAFÉ laws, which in 30 years have done little to inhibit increases in U.S. oil consumption and oil imports, the EC insists on pursuing a path of futile regulation at enormous expense to manufacturers.

The purpose of such laws, apparently, is simply to perpetuate bureaucratic power.

The NAM strongly objects to the unreasonable, unworkable, jobs-killing CAFE standards as they came out of the House, and you can see our background materials on the issue here. Add bureaucracy-building to the other arguments against those standards.

UPDATE (7:45 p.m.): Henry Payne’s editorial cartoon on CAFE Standards,courtesy of

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