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Delaying CAFE

From an article in Automobile magazine:

The U.S. Senate has rejected a proposal to require dramatically more efficient cars and trucks as a way to conserve oil.

The plan offered by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., would have raised standards for cars to 40 miles per gallon by 2015. Senators rejected the Durbin amendment by a 32-65 vote.

Instead, as part of its work on a national energy policy, senators adopted a plan crafted by Michigan Democrat Sen. Carl Levin and Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., that would give regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 30 months to issue new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.

The Detroit Free Press said Levin argued lawmakers lacked the expertise to pick a fair fuel economy target. Regulators would be directed to carefully assess new technology, automakers' product plans, the potential impact on the economy and automotive safety, Levin said, taking politics out of the process.

That's the funniest thing I've read in a while now.

Imagine that NHTSA studies the issue for the next 30 months and says yes, that auto makers should reach 40 miles/gallon by 2015. Is there anyone out there who believes that Senator Levin will then accept -- begrudgingly or otherwise -- NHTSA's findings? Is there anyone out there who believes that Senator Levin will say, "NHTSA has, as I said two and a half years ago, the expertise to pick a fair fuel economy target, and they have done so. We must follow through on our previous commitment and support these new regulations." Is there anyone out there who believes that any US politician wants to take politics out of any process?

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