Introduction

The Energy Story

  Energy Is Born
  Energy Types
  Energy Changes
  Energy Generation

The Energy Problem

  Conservation of Energy
  Aging of Energy
  Finite Resources
  The Oil "Crisis"
  Energy Pollution
  Discussion Topics

The Energy Solution

  Conserving Electricity
  Appliance Efficiency
  Heating Conservation
  Renewable Energy

Web Links

Teacher Guide

About the Author


Secret Lives Title - The Energy Problem


Topic

TOPIC QUESTION: Should our country legislate increased miles per gallon requirements for new automobiles?



Introduction

"Both auto makers and dealers contend new regulations would be devastating to the industry, especially as it suffers through an economic downturn in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Furthermore, manufacturers including General Motors ($109,820; 59 percent to Republicans) have warned their workers and the public that a fuel economy increase would eliminate most of its so-called family cars, including sedans, and would force major job cuts."

From opensecrets.org website, High Mileage: The Auto Industry and Fuel Efficiency


"A fleet that relies on continuously evolving conventional technologies could reach an average of more than 40 miles per gallon, nearly a 75% increase over the mileage of today's fleet. Many of these gains could be made with technologies that are already in consumers' hands. These improvements would lead to fuel cost savings of $3,000 to more than $5,000 over the lifetime of a vehicle. These savings would more than make up for the cost of the fuel economy improvements. Under such a scenario, the typical family car could reach over 45 mpg, while the cost of filling up an SUV could be cut in half with a fuel economy of 40 mpg."

From Union of Concerned Scientists website, Drilling in Detroit


This issue could have important long-term consequences for our nation. Making the fuel economy requirement too high could severely effect the automobile industry, which is a large percentage of the economy. While making the fuel economy requirements too low could lead to a fuel shortage, rationing of gasoline, and a severe economic recession. The present requirements for passenger cars is an average of 27.5 miles per gallon. Many automobile company analysts insisted this requirement could not be met, but after being given a few extra years, they were able to do it. But should this number be raised even higher, and should the new popular Saves be regulated more?


Some Pros and Cons
Pros
Cons
Increased miles per hour standards would help conserve oil and lessen the United States' dependence on foreign oil. The American public does not want smaller cars that are unsafe, and would not buy these cars even if they did get more miles per gallon of gasoline.
Increased miles per hour standards would save money for the average person in that these cars would use less gasoline.
Increased miles per hour standards would cost the automobile companies millions of dollars in research and development. These costs would be passed on to the public and car prices would increase.