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Outgoing Bush Administration Will Not Finalize Fuel Economy Rules

The Bush Administration will not finalize its rulemaking on Corporate Fuel Economy Standards, according to a statement issued by the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) establishes the basis for the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy rules, and mandates the setting of separate attribute-based maximum feasible standards for passenger cars and for light trucks at levels sufficient to ensure that the average fuel economy of the combined fleet of all passenger cars and light trucks sold by all manufacturers in the US in model year (MY) 2020 equals or exceeds 35 mpg. (Earlier post.)

In April 2008, the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for new vehicle fuel economy standards that would bring the US average to about 31.6 miles per gallon in 2015 (35.7 mpg cars, 28.6 mpg trucks). Under EISA, NHTSA, the agency that “owns” fuel economy regulations, can establish standards for a maximum of five model years at one time. Hence, the initial proposed rulemaking covers model years 2011-2015.

NHTSA followed this with the release in October of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) on the new CAFE rules for light-duty vehicles from model years 2011 to 2015. Under Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations, NHTSA must compare the potential environmental impacts of its proposed action and a reasonable range of alternatives. In fulfillment of this requirement, NHTSA analyzed the impacts of six “action” alternatives and the impacts that would be expected if NHTSA imposed no new requirements (the No Action Alternative). Several of the FEIS scenarios resulted in higher 2015 fuel economy outcomes. (Earlier post.)

NHTSA had intended to issue the final rulemaking before the end of 2008.

The DOT statement said that the recent financial difficulties of the automobile industry “will require the next administration to conduct a thorough review of matters affecting the industry, including how to effectively implement the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA).

There is a 1 April 2009 deadline for finalizing the rulemaking.



As 'Big Oil' would say, "Mission Accomplished"

Stan Peterson

I credit the Bush Administration for not tying the hands of the incoming Obama Administration. My only fear is what loons like Ms. Browner, new EPA designate, and Mr. Holgren, new Science Advisor, will do with that freedom.

Its turning matches over to willful children. Oh well, Mr Obama chooses the children, he gets the credit/blame. He chose these Looney toons.

I still fail to see how he chose Mr. Holgren for anything. His published prediction that mass famines would have reduced the population to 22 million starving peasants in the USA by the Year 2000 was spectacularly stupid. His famous wager with Julian Simon, betting that we would run out of 20 different commodities by 2000, and civilization would collapse was also. Mr. Simon said every one of the items Mr. Holgren chose would become more available and plentiful. Prices would drop, or plunge for all of them as new discoveries, and methods came into use.

Mr. Simon won and proved absolutely correct for every single one, of Mr. Holgren's rigged deck of hand picked commodities.

I have heard it said the Obama people would return Science to government. With these two retards, I guess they meant Science Fantasy and Science Fiction.


I think Stan has it about right.
I hope I am wrong, but I expect the new Admin will not withstand the lunacy from congress and will mandate the type of cars the “big 3” can make but not make any correction of the union problem.
Then we will have a nationalized auto industry with overpaid workers making little cars that no one wants, at a huge loss, or maybe (if the WTO doesn’t stop them) making and selling competitive cars at a REALLY HUGE loss.


I agree with you on this one ToppaTom. Ridding the big 3 of the UAW would go a long way to restoring the competitiveness of the big 3.

Fred H

I take this as bad news. I have looked over the new regulations, and found them to be reasonable. They are not as stringent as I would have preferred, but much better than nothing or a long delay for another revision. Now there is a danger that the Obama administration will want to improve it first, and it will get tied up for a long time, leaving the industry without any concrete goals on which to orient their new car development programs, which have lead times of up to six years. Especially now, the auto industry is not in a position to gamble on new technologies that might not be required or might be insufficient if the final legislation is much different than expected. To make the correct decisions, the auto industry needs to know the specific regulations that their future cars must conform to well ahead of time.


Now Bush can get full value on the lecture circuit. He can joke about doing absolutely no good as a president. He did his best to destroy his country and its place in the world. Obama could have easily changed, and may still, any of the last 90 days of Bush's rules and regulations. To finalize a new CAFE now, under court supervision, would have only annoyed his monied supporters.


News Flash! This just in: "American "Presidency" found to be titular head of colossal Tiddlywinks game. Bush credited with record long shots, Obama expected to excel at closeups."

Galaxy News Syndicate

Fred H

Actually, Bush did manage to get more stringent CAFE standards passed into law, which Clinton and Gore completely failed to do.
This second CAFE legislation, which was already approved by Bush, but which was overturned by its opponents, and now waiting for approval in a slightly revised version, is a major reform of the rules, which would eliminate loopholes for light trucks.


Ill point out waaay back early on bush managed to boost light truck and suv reqs by 5% Might seem like nothing but concidering he didnt have to do anything back then the fact he did it is very meaningful.


GW and Dick Cheney are good, decent men of integrity - something that's very difficult to put a price tag on, especially for leaders in government. They've kept us safe, and GW has even recently drawn accolades from Greenpeace for his liberal use of the Anitiquities Act-primarily through the creation of incredibly vast marine sanctuaries. They have also sent one hell of a message to the Arab world what will happen if they continue to let the dregs of their society F--k with us. The slandering and bashing they've had to put up with by the Keith Olbermanns, Joe Bidens and Daily Kos's of the world has been truly sickening. ...ejj...

Fred H

Hi ejj, as far as I know, there is no cure for BDS. As I understand it, President Bush would like to finalize the new regulations, but the DOT/NHTSA is delaying because of the changed economic situation, which they are required by congressional mandate to consider before setting new standards.
The Bush administration also proposed more stringent CAFE standards than were actually passed by Congress.
The whole CAFE program is fairly complicated and somewhat difficult for laymen to understand, so let's just blame .....

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