President Bush, in his radio address today, spoke of the need for increased energy conservation, a rare citation indeed from him, in a time of record high oil prices. At the same time, he pressed for passage of his energy bill which includes ANWR drilling, but fails to even address better auto mileage standards. These standards, which haven’t substantively changed since 1980, currently exempt SUVs as they are considered trucks by the standards. During the Arab Oil Embargo of the mid 70’s, we started to make some real progress, but then just stopped.
I’m not suggesting we ban SUVs or even reduce horsepower, but industry shows little incentive to improve efficiency of fuel consumption, which is why the government sets basic standards. Hybrids and hydrogen offer promise, but only address a small part or a distant future solution.
It seems bizarre that our leaders press for yet more development (and continued consumption) without first applying our renown technical expertise toward getting more efficient use out of this limited and non-renewable resource. Why would consumers not want to get better mileage for the same vehicles? Reduced consumption from improved efficiency would lead to better energy security from less imports, less foreign debt, and probably help air quality along the way, a classic win-win for the country and consumers. Why do our Congressional representatives not do their part by including increased auto mileage standards in the energy bill?
I offer only the question and leave it to the reader to ask this of their Congressional representative and senators.