July 12, 2007

Silly Europeans

Over at Planet Gore, Henry Payne is chuckling at our hapless friends on the other side of the Atlantic:
While U.S. lawmakers try to impose a 35 mpg mandate on US manufacturers by 2020, it’s worth noting that similar mandates--enacted 17 years ago--are now failing even in heavily gas-taxed Europe.
Ha, ha! Silly Europeans! But wait, how are they "failing"? Well, right now the European Commission is trying to get car companies to meet a 62 mile-per-gallon standard by 2012. According to Payne, they're probably going to fall short: Belgium's average fuel economy has stalled out at "only" 42 mpg, for instance. And some Euro-bureaucrats think the 62-mpg target needs to be pushed back to 2015. Meanwhile, many Europeans want to buy SUVs. That's it.

Er... I guess you could consider that mockworthy. Or you could note that Europe, whatever its hurdles, is still light-years ahead of the United States, where automakers are whining about a 35 mpg target by 2020. I have no doubt that it's possible to set a fuel-economy target that simply can't be met. Maybe Europe's reached that point with its 62-mpg-by-2012 rule. Maybe not. But doesn't, say, the fact that Belgium's already at 42 mpg suggest that the United States is nowhere near that breaking point? That's the lesson I took away, at least.
-- Brad Plumer 10:29 PM || ||