The new fuel economy standards proposed by the Bush Administration aren’t anything to get excited about, it seems. For one thing, they will only save 25 days worth of gas over 20 years, or 0.3%. And by dividing new light trucks into six different size classes based on wheelbase (length) and track width (width), it will allow truck manufacturers to game the system by making small increases in these parameters in order to bump their truck into lower economy classes. Moreover, the proposal extends existing loopholes in the CAFE law, such as exempting Hummers and other heavy vehicles over 8,500 pounds from meeting fuel economy standards. It’s not going to do much of anything, especially at a time when, for all kinds of reasons, much more needs to be done.
The kicker to it all was that Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta announced the plan at a news conference in Los Angeles, after being driven up in a silver Lincoln Navigator sport utility vehicle. Real sensitive.