In a preview of the unworkability of a U.S. fuel mileage mandates (as if more is needed after 30 years of failure), the European Parliament is expected this week to back off its own mandate to increase fuel efficiency by 35 percent by 2012.
The U.S. Senate, led by Chevy Suburban-driving Sen. Harry Reid, has decreed a 35 mpg standard (a 40 percent increase) for all U.S vehicles by 2020 to combat arch-nemesis global warming. Ten years ago, the EC declared a 51 mpg standard by 2012, with an interim goal of 44 mpg by next year.
European carmakers are nowhere close (even with staggering $3 a gallon gas taxes – something no same U.S. pol would try), with the fleet average coming in at 38 mpg currently.
Why? Because, despite the gas taxes, the inconvenient consumer still wants large cars – SUVs, for example, are the fastest growing Euro segment.
The EC now demands that manufacturers meet a new, watered-down standard of 49 mpg by 2015. Greens complain that, because the standards are voluntary, carmakers will fall short again. Ah, for the good ol’ days of authoritarianism.