It's not all that often that you hear automakers cry out for stronger regulations and stricter guidelines. In fact, the cries typically go the other way, begging for less oversight and looser laws. So, when automakers band together suggesting changes to CAFE guidelines beyond 2016 that would take fuel economy figures to new heights, we should probably listen, right?
Both Ford and Toyota discussed their views for the future at the 2010 SAE World Congress last week. The words came flowing out and you are sure to be surprised by the gist of the conversation. Rather than focus on excuses explaining why guidelines can't be met or talking about additional costs that CAFE regulations add to vehicles, the two companies spoke of the need for an even greener tomorrow that starts with a national framework in place beyond 2016. Without additional regulations, the effort put into the development of new CAFE guidelines could all be lost if more is not done soon. As Tom Stricker, director of environmental technology for Toyota said:
Bob Holycross, manager of environment and energy planning for Ford agreed by adding, "The priority has to be to assure the framework remains in place for 2017 and beyond."We have some concerns the two sides could pull further apart. We're encouraging the state and national governments to continue to work together beyond 2016. They share climate goals, so a single national framework (on fuel economy) would make a lot of sense.
But that's not all that was agreed upon. Many automakers at the conference encouraged the government to adopt additional standards to limit fuel consumption. Some examples include road-use fees and a carbon cap-and-trade policy. But the real shocker came when it was suggested that gasoline taxes should be raised, a proposition we have suggested for some time now, but one that's still unlikely to be a popular choice. Ford CEO Alan Mulally has supported a higher gas tax in the past, and it's nice to see the idea get a little more play.
[Source: Ward's Auto | Image: Richardmasoner - C.C. License 2.0]