Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Eew, I'm Ashamed

GM has, in the last few months, begun advertising that many of its vehicles are flex-fuel and can be run on E85. And I thought to myself, "Well, that's a good sign, right? Even someone like GM can be turned around." And then it turned out that I was a sucker - even more humiliating, I've been revealed to be a sucker by Friedman of all people:
The truth: The Big Three U.S. automakers started making flex-fuel cars in the mid-1990's after they were given a shameful federal loophole.

As the Des Moines Register explained in an article on May 26: "The loophole works this way: A dual-fuel vehicle that can run on either gasoline or 85 percent ethanol, or E85, is credited with a much higher mileage rating than it really gets. That keeps the overall mileage of the cars and trucks that a company like Ford or General Motors makes in any given year within the government's mileage limits."

By agreeing to build flex-fuel vehicles credited with phony mileage, Detroit gets to make many more bigger, heavier gas guzzlers, the paper explained, "without having to pay fines for exceeding the federal mileage standards." For instance, the 2006 G.M.C. two-wheel-drive Yukon 1500 actually gets 15 m.p.g. city and 20 m.p.g. highway. But under this loophole it is rated as getting 33 miles per gallon for purposes of meeting the government's fleet fuel economy standards. "The Union of Concerned Scientists calculates that the loophole increased U.S. oil consumption by 80,000 barrels per day in 2005 alone," the paper said.


odograph said...

That's funny. a week ago I was ragging on the Union of Concerned Scientists for their support of CAFE, and quoted something about that E85 loophole.

I'd be very happy if my triggered a little cascade leading to Friedman ... but it's probably coincidence.

odograph said...

Doh! The newsapaper had it my May 26. Never mind.