The Transportation Department and the EPA have issued new guidelines that will limit CO2 emissions from cars by mandating increases in gas mileage. The rules are intended to raise the average gas mileage of new cars to 35.5 MPG by 2016; they estimate the rules will make cars cost about $1000 more but save drivers $3000 over the life of the car.
About time, I say. The Republican solution to high gas prices, more domestic drilling, could never under the most optimistic scenario yield half as much gasoline as will be saved by these regulations. The rules have been in the works since the 1990s, when the Clinton administration put together a task force to investigate the feasibility of increasing fuel efficiency standards. When the list of task force members was announced, environmentalists cried foul, because the panel was stacked with engineers from the car companies and academics with close ties to Detroit. But even that panel found that mileage could be increased by more than 5 mpg using existing technology for less than $400 per car -- and that was before hybrids were on the road.
Republicans delayed the regulations for a decade, but now we finally have a concrete measure that will reduce both CO2 emissions and our dependence on imported oil, and that is good for everyone.