They’re Driving Us Crazy
A proposal to increase Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency standards for vehicles by 50 percent over the next 13 years was effectively voted down 62 to 38 in the Senate yesterday, to the delight of automakers and dismay of environmentalists. The Senate instead approved an industry-backed measure that would give the Bush administration two more years to study the economic and safety implications of changing CAFE standards. Senators also voted to exempt pickup trucks from any future changes to mileage standards. Opponents of tougher CAFE standards argued that Congress should not dictate what kind of cars people can drive; supporters noted that the measure would save up to 2.5 million barrels of oil a day, about the amount the U.S. imports from the Middle East. CAFE standards have not been raised since 1985; meanwhile, average fuel efficiency has been falling for years due to the popularity of gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles. Curious about how your senators voted? Our Muckraker gives you the breakdown, only on the Grist Magazine website.