Republicans say new CAFE rules favor Detroit
It must be an election year. The Environmental Protection Agency and the White House are expected to release finalized corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) rules this week. House Republicans wasted no time issuing a report bashing the new standards. The thing is, they have a point, even if they aren't really making it very well.
When CAFE was introduced back in the early 1970s, there was a serious fuel crunch going on in this country. The newly-formed OPEC in the MIddle East was protesting the United States' control over oil prices by cutting exports to this country. An unprepared Washington was unsure how to respond, so they responded in the usual political knee-jerk way.. they ignored the actual problem (low oil production problems domestically) and focused instead on boogeyman punditry (blame the evil foreigners). Somewhere in there, the idea that Detroit had been ignoring fuel economy in favor of things like performance and comfort (you know, the things people want in a car) meant that Congress had to set them straight. Through the only means Washington knows how to employ: force.
Hence, CAFE was born.
Since then, it's become an institution and neither political party in D.C. seems to think it should be ousted. Instead, like most bureaucracies that become accepted as the way it's always been, the politicos in Washington argue over how much control the EPA should have rather than whether they should have it at all. Whether or not it's effective isn't even mentioned.
Last year, President Obama announced that CAFE standards would again be revised upwards. The usual cries of "it will cost jobs" and "it will create jobs" were heard along with the general whining about how much it would help or hurt Detroit and America's all-important automobile manufacturing industry. At least, what's left of it that hasn't been shipped off to Mexico and China. The usual suspects chose the usual sides in the debate, all based on who was announcing it rather than on what the announcement actually was.
Then the usual political mosh pit ensued and the media had a field day over the pretend debates. Now, of course, it's an election year and the parties are eager to show themselves to be in opposition and as different as possible, so it's become yet another issue of importance. To that end, House Republicans issued a report on Friday afternoon that says that Obama's plan for CAFE will unfairly favor American automakers over their foreign competition.