Not that there was any real question, but the 35 mpg CAFE deed is now done. President Bush signed the huge new energy bill into law this morning, and that means that automakers will need to have the average fleet economy of new vehicles reach 35 mpg by 2020. We don't need rehash the history of this repeatedly-weakened bill once again (see previous posts here and here if you need a recap); let's just be thankful that the 35 mpg standard survived all the backing down. And the Detroit News mentions this: "a measure in the bill that will provide at least $90 million annually for battery research to make plug-in hybrids a reality." Somehow I thought the PHEV money had been stricken. Hey, it's nice to be wrong. While the 35 mpg number won't kick in until 2020, the bill mandates changes starting with the 2011 model year. My, that's soon.
[Source: David Shepardson, The Detroit News, Photo by Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty]