In their ongoing kow-towing to american Big Industry, this defeat means that fuel efficiency requirements have not changed for 22 years. The bill, which would have required the Automakers’ fleet average to be 36 mpg by 2015 (a 50% increase) was fairly soundly defeated. Additionally, in a separate vote, pickup trucks have been exempted from any future increases, leaving their required mileage at 20.7 mpg.
All this despite fairly clear evidence that technology already exists for the Big 3 to complete this without compromising safety or performance of their vehicles. The 13-year timeline should also ensure that they could make these increases gradually, without costing jobs or vehicle-lines. And who knows what other improvements in fuel efficiency technology could occur over the next 13 years.
Combining this with the refusal to sign the Kyoto Accords, the earlier reduction in the drive to alternate fuels make this a pretty piss-poor record for this Administration w/r/t the environment and reducing America’s dependence on oil.