|Issue of the Day: Gas Mileage Wars Rage as EPA Considers State Limits|
Published Wednesday, March 11th, 2009
Gas mileage wars are heating up between California and Detroit as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held public hearings on the possibility of California imposing its own limits on Fuel-Economy Standards, which until now has been the work of the EPA. This move to reconsider California’s request comes as a campaign promise President Obama made to the state, in that he would ask the EPA to reverse the Bush-era rulings. California wishes to enact 43 miles per gallon on average by 2016, which is far higher than the 35 miles per gallon by 2020 target of the Energy Act of 2007. Thirteen other states have adopted California’s rule and several other states are considering its adoption. Car makers, even the foreign makers, argue that if granted, the new standard will require a totally new engine, which in this economy is unrealistic as cash for innovation and research is just not there.
According to the Department of Transportation, the average miles per gallon for passenger cars is 22.4 mpg and the SUVs, after remaining quite flat, have risen to an average of 18 mpg. The average annual mileage for the approximately 243.3 million cars, trucks and SUVs on the roads was actually steady, until 2006 when US drivers averaged 300 more miles driven in a year. According to the Department of Energy, the US dependance on foreign oil has cost us about $1.9 trillion from 2004 to 2008.