Breaking Down the CAFE Deal

By December 1, 2007Energy

Motor Trend blogger Todd Lassa gets into the details on the CAFE deal, including notes from a conference call Chairman Dingell made this morning.

What difference does it make if the automakers have to reach 35 mpg for everything, or have to split the 35-mpg among three categories? The Dingell compromise allows automakers more discretion in building a product mix. This makes it easier for automakers to set employment and production levels at various factories.

Dingell noted in a conference call Saturday that “CAFE is not an arithmetic equasion, it’s geometric, with very peculiar results.” He cited one unnamed American automaker who was “looking at a real CAFE for truck and car of 74 mpg” under the single-mpg equasion.

Asked about one auto executive’s estimate [sounds like Bob Lutz] that the Senate CAFE proposal would add $5,000 to $6,000 to the cost of a new car, Dingell replied, “I’m just a poor Polish lawyer from Detroit. I’m not going to argue with a [car executive] on cost.”

And here’s Chairman Dingell’s news release dated November 30th. Dingell praises the efforts of Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN) and Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) for their work to achieve more reasonable CAFE standards than those included in the Senate legislation. Definite dittos on that; the Hill-Terry legislation laid out an economically and technologically achievable course of action.

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