"You’re either at the table or on the menu," Dave McCurdy was quoted as saying recently in the Wall Street Journal. If that’s the case, Detroit’s automakers are on the menu when it comes to miles per gallon.
McCurdy heads up the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers which vigorously opposes federal legislation to raise average miles per gallon to 35 by 2020 under the 32-year-old CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) guidelines. In opposition to the higher CAFE guideliness, the AAM represents the big three automakers in Detroit and Toyota. Current CAFE standards are 27.5 MPG for cars and 22.2 MPG for light trucks.
The issue will be debated in both Congressional chambers this Fall and already a somewhat watered-down version has gained some support in the House. The 35 MPG figure has carried in the Senate.
The hue and cry from the automakers has been predictable. They claim CAFE standards will bring down American auto companies. I think they have been doing a pretty good job of that themselves. If we are to reduce our reliance on foreign oil, pills like the new CAFE standards will have to be swallowed. The opponents with the exception of Toyota have had their heads buried in the sand on both MPG and quality. No longer are they powerful or important enough to be evenly aligned with the nation interest. Remember the line "what is good for GM is good for the country" from GM president Charles Wilson. It’s not true anymore.
American carmakers have repeatedly dug holes for themselves and cried wolf when it came to mandatory safety features such as air bags. It is in the national interest to raise mileage standards as high as we possibly can. I vote yes on the 35 MPG intiative. What about you?