Oracle of Delphi

Senators reach agreement on fuel economy

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WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to require average fuel economy of 35 miles per gallon for new cars, pickup trucks and SUVs by 2020, raising efficiency standards that have not changed significantly for nearly two decades.

The fuel economy measure was added to a broad energy bill without a roll call vote even as senators were holding a news conference announcing the compromise.

Republicans earlier blocked Democratic efforts to raise oil taxes by $29 billion and use the money to promote renewable fuels and other clean energy programs.

Democratic leaders hoped to complete the energy bill Thursday night, but senators close to the auto industry began an effort to derail the entire bill.

“We will be continuing to oppose it,” said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., “This is not over by any stretch.”

The legislation for the first time would establish a single fuel economy standard applicable to not only cars, but also SUVs and pickups which currently have to meet less stringent requirement.

Article Continues: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19352490/

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.... too much government...?

isn't this worse than what they were thinking about earlier... like 35 for cars and 30 for trucks/suvs? oh and surprise.. new taxes, who'da thought.

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why dont we put our moneyt soley into alternative fuels??? HELLO?!?! gas is going to run out sooner or later therefore why keep pouring money into it.

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“It closes the SUV loophole,” declared Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., referring to current requirements that allow much less stringent fuel efficiency standards for SUVs and pickup trucks than for cars. “This is a victory for the American public.”

TRANSLATION: "We've finally found a way to DICTATE that people do not have the option to buy those pesky, safe SUVS simply because we educated urbanites feel that the SUVs driven by obviously less educated domestic buyers are useless. AND, as an added bonus, we've just snuffed out any chance Detroit and our wretched automakers have at every being a major player in the automotive market again. Here ya go Toyota!" (hands them the key to the market)

Ya know.... I hate republicans, but times like this remind me of why I hate democrats/liberals more.

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I'm just going to reply on the tax deal. By them saying oil tax it sounds like they are taxing the oil companies. WHEN WILL PEOPLE LEARN THAT COOPERATIONS AND BUSINESSES DON'T PAY TAXES!!!! NONE!! WE PAY THEM!!!!!!!! ALL THEY DO IS PUSH IT OFF TO THE CONSUMER!!!!!

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I'm just going to reply on the tax deal. By them saying oil tax it sounds like they are taxing the oil companies. WHEN WILL PEOPLE LEARN THAT COOPERATIONS AND BUSINESSES DON'T PAY TAXES!!!! NONE!! WE PAY THEM!!!!!!!! ALL THEY DO IS PUSH IT OFF TO THE CONSUMER!!!!!

Yep.

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Alternate fuels, alternate fuels, alternate fuels, alternate fuels, alternate fuels...

Are they really thinking that by 2020, all the automakers will still be using, or have no plans to get off, fossil fuels?

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This bill must not become law.
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I'm going to get fried on this one, but North America is in a dreamworld. We are the ONLY place in the world that feel it is our God-given right to drive around in the biggest, most ostentatious, blatantly anachronistic beasts on the face of the Earth. The Rest of the World gets it. Why are we so special?

The Sixties are over, guys and girls. Driving a Suburban is no safer than driving an Aveo - but ony because if you in the Suburban hit an Aveo, well you may be safer, but you are inherently more dangerous to the driver of the Aveo! I understand some people have to tow, and others need larger trucks for work, and perhaps something could be worked out in ones' tax refund at the end of the year, but I cringe every time I see some blond babe in a Sequoia (usually talking on her cell!), all by herself, weaving in and out of traffic.

Believe me, this is a compromise. Their are many in the halls of Washington and Ottawa that think we should all be taking the bus. I would rather walk than take a bus, but sitting in a 4,500 lb vehicle to drive to work, alone, every day is not a God-given right. We know better and should act accordingly.

Detroit figured out how to get around the last round of legislation. Frankly, a '76 Electra is probably what a lot of people wanted to drive in the '90s, but Detroit gave them the SUV to get around CAFE. Washington figured that one out (finally) and is addressing it.

Look to Europe. There are a lot of fun to drive cars and trucks that don't get 15 mpg.

Flame away.

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why dont we put our moneyt soley into alternative fuels??? HELLO?!?! gas is going to run out sooner or later therefore why keep pouring money into it.

Because the free markets decide what is the best solution. There is no limit on the amount of energy available to us. Oil just happens to be the cheapest and most available even at $3/gallon. All about supply and demand.

This is not a good bill at all. If I want to buy a car with 20mpg I should be able to. The problem with this bill is that the companies are going to have to now increase the price of their cars to cover all the costs of R&D to get the cars where the government wants them to be. So we are going to be paying for this. It would probably end up cheaper for the consumers to have a lower MPG and a lower car price, than a higher MPG and higher car price.

Edited by lakefire
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To expand on my very short response (a little), this approach is entirely wrong-headed, and is an example of a lazy dependence on old answers to the problem. It assumes utter failure in the quest for alternative fuels and advancement of automotive technology. It's like deciding to remain in debt and only pay interest while ignoring the principle. It also ignores all of the more effective measures we could be taking to reduce overall energy consumption other than automotive.

It is time to throw off the old thinking and knee-jerk regulation and make a genuine push toward alternative fuels, commercial,industrial, and residential energy efficiency as well as developing oil shale resources with the goal of complete energy independence as the priority.

As it is, these fools will all go home crowing about their latest "victory for the American people" while having done nothing which will impact the problem in any meaningful way. All that they will have accomplished will be the injury to our own domestic automakers and the limiting of personal choice with a few new taxes to further rub salt in the wound.

Congress is incompetent to lead us into the future.

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I like the bill because it will force the automakers to invest in alternative fuels. The government shouldn't be responsible for everything, in fact a few of "hot button" issues (abortion, gay marriage to name two) shouldn't be put on the federal government because the states can handle these issues on their own. This bill does include loopholes (as far as I can tell, haven't read it yet, just articles) that the automakers can exploit, for instance hydrogen powered cars don't run on fossil fuels, therefore aren't in this bill's domain. Plug-in hybrids, with the right battery technology, should be able to get more than 35mpg by 2020, and if ethanol research is increased and production is expanded, it'll decrease the dependence on foreign oil. This bill puts all automakers backs against the wall, I'm willing to bet one or two fight their way out.

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They should give away a free mini-truck(think smart cars with a bed) with every purchase of a full size truck. One truck getting 20mpg, and one getting 50mpg. the average of that would be---35mpg. :P

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I like the bill because it will force the automakers to invest in alternative fuels. The government shouldn't be responsible for everything, in fact a few of "hot button" issues (abortion, gay marriage to name two) shouldn't be put on the federal government because the states can handle these issues on their own. This bill does include loopholes (as far as I can tell, haven't read it yet, just articles) that the automakers can exploit, for instance hydrogen powered cars don't run on fossil fuels, therefore aren't in this bill's domain. Plug-in hybrids, with the right battery technology, should be able to get more than 35mpg by 2020, and if ethanol research is increased and production is expanded, it'll decrease the dependence on foreign oil. This bill puts all automakers backs against the wall, I'm willing to bet one or two fight their way out.

And guess who are the two strongest to "fight their way out. Yep; Toyota and Honda, therefore the market has been handed over (Which WAS an underlying goal IMO... As most of the environmental do-gooders and democrat senators are on their side anyway)

It was fun while it lasted... Like I said; who needs competition like Japan when your own government and people turn on you and deliver the death blow anyway.

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The government should not be dictating choice. The right approach is to raise taxes on gas a lot, and then send a lump sum refund to every taxpayer so that everyone stays on the same indifference curve, but uses less gas.

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Raise the tax on gas and invest heavily in public transportation. Anyone who knee jerks and says that public transportation isn't feasible automatically gets their tax doubled each time they say it.

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The government should not be dictating choice. The right approach is to raise taxes on gas a lot, and then send a lump sum refund to every taxpayer so that everyone stays on the same indifference curve, but uses less gas.

This is dangerous. We would end up having to pay drastically more money for all physical goods and services despite the reimbursement.

Too many prices are rooted to the price of oil. The only way this could possibly work is if shipping companies, agricultural workers, and manufacturers were exempt from the gas tax.

(note to self: UPS is not the only company in America that ships products :rolleyes:)

Edited by aaaantoine
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Raising the tax on gas is not the answer because it hits poor people harder- especially people like small businessmen (gardeners for instance) who have to have a truck to haul their equipment.

Closing the "SUV gap" is merely making sure that SUV's are now toeing the same line as passenger cars- the only reason they were not was to give those working people a break. The rules were written before Mr and Mrs 2.5 kids decided that they wanted to drive their Ford ExxonValdez because they didn't want to seem like the sort of people who drive a minivan, and the manufacturers rightly gave them what they want. Now if they can close that tax loophole that pays realtors and hairdressers a big break for buying a Hummer and keep it to the real small businessman it was designed for, I'll be happy.

As far as the gas standards- I'm of two minds. The auto industry basically said it was impossible to build cars that got decent mileage and performed well years ago, but magically they managed when CAFE came to shove- so much so that they are touting the extraordinary mileage of their new cars. What both sides of the issue in government is unwilling to do is offer some kind of carrot to help them achieve the goal- like I don't know- leaning on the Japanese to actually let the Yen be valued at what it would be valued at? Maybe having some basic national health system so that companies like the big three who have crippling health costs could pull back from those costs? Or even, crazy as it seems, offer tax incentives for companies from this country that don't move jobs overseas?

I know, what crack am I smoking....

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The government should not be dictating choice. The right approach is to raise taxes on gas a lot, and then send a lump sum refund to every taxpayer so that everyone stays on the same indifference curve, but uses less gas.

Please clarify. Would that be the same refund for everyone?

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I haven't reviewed the bill so I don't know if I support it or not but I did find something interesting.

Nissan testified that they CAN meet those fuel standards.

It strikes me as being similar to Honda's testimony before congress for the 1973 Clean Air Act. Everyone in Detroit testified that it was impossible to meet the new standards but Honda came in and testified that the EPA had just certified one of their engines to exceed the new standards. They even took an American V8 and fitted it with their CVCC heads and it met the emission requirements. (can't remember it was a GM or Ford V8 but I think it was a GM V8)

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This op-ed is timely and puts some of these questions into geopolitical perspective.

<H2 class=vitstoryheadline>Comment: Conservation can be America's oil weapon </H2>

<H5 class=vitstorydate>Web Posted: 01/11/2007 06:56 PM CST</H5>

Michael Webber

Special to the Express-News

Iran and Russia are once again acting like bullies on the international stage, with threats to wield the "oil weapon" against the West. It's time the West fought back by playing our own oil weapon.

Iran is feeling bold; its anti-Western rhetoric has heated up, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad openly calls for the destruction of Israel and is preparing to cut off oil to world markets while pressing forward with plans to enrich uranium despite the threat of U.N. sanctions.

Russia looks almost as bad: A trail of former critics of President Vladimir Putin have died under suspicious circumstances, the government pledges to transfer nuclear technology to Iran, has tightened the grip of democracy in the hands of a few cronies at the Kremlin, has seized Shell's $20B oil- and gas-production investment and temporarily cut off oil supplies to Europe.

Both countries get their newfound courage from high energy prices. And looking forward the prospects only seem worse.

With many of the world's major oil fields in decline, a business-as-usual approach to energy consumption will cause the world to turn to Russia and Iran for its oil and gas needs. Because Iran has the world's second-largest oil reserves and second-largest gas reserves and Russia is the largest oil producer in the world (ahead of even Saudi Arabia) and has the world's largest gas reserves, they can both confidently look forward to decades of high revenues, allowing them to undertake expensive weapons programs, buy off citizens with subsidies and handouts and thumb their noses at the international community.

But the oil weapon is a double-edged sword. Most people fail to realize that we can turn the tables and use an American version of the oil weapon. Instead of Iran and Russia threatening to cut their supply of oil or gas to the world markets to drive up prices and hurt importing countries, we could threaten to cut our demand of oil to drive down prices.

We could institute a high-profile crash program of oil and gas savings by dramatically cutting energy use with extensive conservation efforts and quickly ramping up domestic production of oil, gas and alternative sources. With aggressive investments to bring new technologies to market, widespread public information campaigns, carpool programs, lower speed limits and compressed workweeks, the International Energy Agency estimates the U.S. could readily cut daily oil consumption by millions of barrels each day — easily enough to dramatically lower oil prices. We could transfer our technologies to our allies across the globe, especially to Europe, which is even more under the energy thumb of Russia and Iran than we are.

If this all sounds unrealistic, consider: Is it any more unrealistic than the Manhattan Project or putting a man on the moon? Americans can still accomplish whatever we set our minds to. A war on oil dependence is a war we can win.

And, while we're in the process of disemboweling Iran's and Russia's aggressive postures by cutting their oil and gas revenues, we will enjoy the side benefits of a reduced environmental footprint from reduced consumption and the economic benefits of increased domestic production.

This kind of crash energy program might be worth a shot — after all, our current approach doesn't seem to be working.

Michael Webber is the associate director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy in the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas.

Online at: http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/storie...nt.213079b.html

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This is crazy the goverment limiting something has been proved to fail time and time again. Damn tree huggers. This is what happens when the gov't gets to much power.

Edited by gm4life
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Iran is feeling bold; its anti-Western rhetoric has heated up, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad openly calls for the destruction of Israel and is preparing to cut off oil to world markets while pressing forward with plans to enrich uranium despite the threat of U.N. sanctions.

We should've taken these assholes out when we took Iraq out.

Russia looks almost as bad: A trail of former critics of President Vladimir Putin have died under suspicious circumstances, the government pledges to transfer nuclear technology to Iran, has tightened the grip of democracy in the hands of a few cronies at the Kremlin, has seized Shell's $20B oil- and gas-production investment and temporarily cut off oil supplies to Europe.

1) Since when has Russia become an enemy again?!?! Did I miss something? Seems like they just came out of no where with this f**k america attitude. 2) I had no idea they prouced that much oil... I guess our piece of &#036;h&#33; media was too busy trying to condemn Bush and SUV drivers to tell us that a lot of oil comes from Russia, not the middle east (Just like they failed to tell us that WE produce the majority of our oil)

We could institute a high-profile crash program of oil and gas savings by dramatically cutting energy use with extensive conservation efforts and quickly ramping up domestic production of oil, gas and alternative sources. With aggressive investments to bring new technologies to market, widespread public information campaigns, carpool programs, lower speed limits and compressed workweeks, the International Energy Agency estimates the U.S. could readily cut daily oil consumption by millions of barrels each day — easily enough to dramatically lower oil prices. We could transfer our technologies to our allies across the globe, especially to Europe, which is even more under the energy thumb of Russia and Iran than we are.

I wouldn't mind that as long as 1) it doesn't destroy our industry and 2) as long as some PC do-gooder doesn't take it upon themself to condemn me for driving my classic show cars to a show 5 miles away.

If this all sounds unrealistic, consider: Is it any more unrealistic than the Manhattan Project or putting a man on the moon? Americans can still accomplish whatever we set our minds to.

Those were different times... You know, back when most americans cared and actually *gasp* took pride in their country.

And, while we're in the process of disemboweling Iran's and Russia's aggressive postures by cutting their oil and gas revenues, we will enjoy the side benefits of a reduced environmental footprint from reduced consumption and the economic benefits of increased domestic production.

And we all will live happily ever after in a Prius-induced coma sreading goodwill to all through farts that smell like Glade plug-ins.

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The basic premise of that article is spot-on, some of the methods may not be very desireable however.

We can get the job done, even now Americans are skilled at the power play. We just have to muster the will to get it done. But, just as in the space race, we need a real leader to make it happen.

We seem to be fresh out of those at the moment. :banghead:

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