The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed an energy bill that, among other things, would raise fuel efficiency standards for American automobiles for the first time since 1975. You remember 1975, don't you? No? Well, see if you remember what we were driving in 1975:
That's right, it's the 1975 Chrysler Cordoba! I also remember riding around in my friend's 1975 Chevy Nova (although hers was a 2-door model):
So yes, I do believe it might be time to update our fuel efficiency standards. In 1975, the average price of gas was about 59 cents a gallon, which when adjusted for inflation is about $1.70 per gallon. Add to the increased cost of gas the amount of knowledge we now have about climate change and greenhouse gases, and it really is almost unfathomable that auto fuel standards have not changed in 30 years.
It really says a lot about the power of the auto and oil industries.
Not surprisingly, Republican senators have already announced they will filibuster the bill, and President Bush has indicated he will veto it if it makes it to his desk. The two main features of the bill (which are the reasons they are against it): (1) it repeals billions of dollars in oil company tax breaks (yes, the oil companies that are making record profits continue to receive massive tax breaks), and (2) it calls for an increase in auto fuel efficiency standards to an industry average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.
Please join me in contacting your Senators to tell them you support the energy bill. It's you and me against the oil and auto companies, pal. Tell them it's not 1975 any more ....