Crying wolf over fuel efficiency standards
John German in The Hill’s Congress Blog:
In 1972, a vice president of General Motors said that requiring catalytic converters in cars would result in a “complete stoppage of production.” Of course, that didn’t happen. In 1966, Henry Ford II predicted that his company would “have to close down” over seat belt and safety glass standards. In 2008, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said proposed new fuel economy standards went “beyond what is technologically feasible and economically practicable.” Two years later, they stood side by side with the president, endorsing those same standards, and pledging to average fuel economy of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. Now the government is considering the next generation of fuel efficiency standards. And guess what? The automakers are at it again, predicting doom. But as an automotive technology expert, former auto company engineer and longtime observer of how efficiency and safety improvements get done, I can tell you this: Once again, they are crying wolf.