Thursday, December 20, 2007

Congress and the President gave themselves a big pat on the back for passing a bill that should deliver in twelve years the kind of energy efficiency that I enjoy today.

Seriously, this bill requires an industry-wide standard of 35 mpg for automobiles and light bulbs that are 70% more efficient -- in twelve years. My wife and I enjoy better fuel efficiency than that now, and we carpool. Even if we don't upgrade to a more efficient vehicle in 12 years, we'll still be above the average. As for the bulbs, I already swapped most of our light bulbs for CFLs, and I'll probably swap them for LED bulbs sometime before 2020.

I appreciate the gesture, but I think our goal for the future should be a little loftier than achieving what is readily possible today.

CateGoogles: political_silliness
Mood = unimpressed


Washington passes lame energy efficiency bill


  1. It's nice that your car gets better mileage than that. But, my HVAC guy can't drive a Prius. I can't tow my Jeep with a Civic. A family of five on vacation don't do well in an Escort.

    Heck, most days I work completely from home... no need to carpool... other days, I have to drive clients around... no ability to carpool.

    The mistake that many make is that they assume that others can make the same sacrifices just as easily as they can.

    By Blogger Lane Bailey, at 12/21/2007 10:57:00 AM

  2. The 35mpg goal covers a wide range, but does not include commercial vehicles, so your HVAC guy is exempt, as is any towing vehicle, although I'm pretty sure they'd benefit from better fuel efficiency since high fuel costs are gauging their profit margins.

    And keep in mind, the 35mpg goal is just an average. If a family of five wants to waste money on an SUV (I grew up in a family of five without one), they will be on the low-end of the scale. (Not that I see the sacrifice in not overpaying for a clumsy tank with a $100 a week fuel cost.)

    That said, the bill doesn't put pressure on people to buy more efficient vehicles, but on the industry to produce more efficient vehicles, so none of your so-called sacrifices apply to the situation.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 12/21/2007 12:47:00 PM

  3. Sumo,

    In your post, you said that you already get better than 35mpg so you thought the standard should be higher.

    My HVAC guy drives a GMC pick-up truck. It gets better mileage than a commercial van, and it would be subject to the new standard. In order to avoid the standard, he would have to buy a vehicle that is classified as commercial... which would get less mileage than his non-commercial class vehicle.
    I tow my Jeep with my F-350... it also is not a commercial class vehicle.

    Finally, I think I would be right guessing that your family vehicle growing up was a heck of a lot bigger than a Civic. And, probably as big as many SUVs... and didn't get the mileage of a new Suburban.

    People will buy the vehicles that suit their needs and personalities. If gas prices are high, they will buy more efficient vehicles. If the manufacturers build fun vehicles that are more efficient, they will buy them. So, those sacrifices will be made.

    By Blogger Lane Bailey, at 12/21/2007 02:44:00 PM

  4. I think you're still not getting that these so-called sacrifices (let me be clear, that's your term, not mine. I don't consider anything I've done to be a sacrifice and therefore cannot assume others can make the same sacrifices) are not to be made by you, your HVAC guy, or consumers.

    The bill mandates better fuel efficiency from auto makers. Consumers are not obligated to seek out more fuel-efficient vehicles. It is the auto makers who will be obligated to produce them. If you want to buy an SUV, that's your prerogative. The bill does not force you to do otherwise, nor does it force anyone to buy a new vehicle to meet the standard.

    Getting back to my actual point: Yes, I do think the standard is too low, and it is because it can be reached today. See, I believe goals should be set to move us forward. The current goal of 35mpg in 12 years could be done today. Sure, it would be difficult to achieve today, but in 12 years? Toyota, Honda, Ford, maybe GM, were already on track to beat that goal sooner. This bill basically gives them bragging rights for reaching the goal ahead of time, even though they were planning to do so anyway. That is lame.

    For the record, my dad preferred station wagons, so we had two of those, consecutively, for our family vehicle growing up. But again, let me reiterate that industry fuel-efficiency standard is an average, not a minimum. A large family vehicle should be on the low end of the scale, although I disagree that the low end should be less than 10mpg.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 12/21/2007 06:31:00 PM

  5. This from the same Congress that maintains a 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on Brazilian ethanol...

    By Blogger Nathan Larson, at 1/06/2008 12:06:00 PM

  6. Hey Nate,

    Nice to hear from you. Your replacement is not the same. Cute but not the same. ;P

    By Blogger Unknown, at 1/07/2008 06:00:00 PM

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