We are finally going to see some action on the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards. Obama has set a new policy that targets 39 MPG for cars and 30 MPG for light trucks (SUVs and Pickups) for an overall average of 35.5 MPG. This is 0.5 MPG better than the Congressional target of 35MPG that was to be met by 2020. Obama's standard is to be met by 2016. There's not to many vehicles out there at this time that meet this challenge so the automakers will be hard pressed to make the deadline. EVs (Electric Vehicles) and PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrids) could help but either they will need to make huge breakthroughs in cost or be sold at a loss to allow the sales of full size SUVs and big bore V-8 muscle and sport cars like the Mustang, Camaro and Corvette.
A second piece of the new policy is a GHG (Green House Gas) limits. These are closely linked to fuel economy in gas and diesel burners but indirectly in EVs and PHEVs. It will be interesting to see how vehicles of those types are treat by this policy given that although they may have no direct emmisions, the generation of electricity does have a carbon footprint depending on the source of power.
A point that hasn't been addressed is the increased use of bio-fuels. With world food prices near all time highs it seems almost immoral to devote large quantities of grain production to bio-fuel such as the current 30%. June 2009 National Geographic Magazine Add this to recent findings that simply burning biomass is more fuel efficient than rendering for fuel and the case for bio-fuels gets mighty week. More developement is necessary into solar power, including wind, to get around this energy crisis before we have global famine on our hands. An African famine IS a global problem. Famines cause wars and at least one African nation is nuclear.
On Yer Bike!