Press: President Bush sounds the death knell for Corvettes and light bulbs
President Bush sounds the death knell for Corvettes and light bulbs
From The Times
December 20, 2007
Tim Reid in Washington
Two of America’s most famous products, the Corvette sports car and Thomas Edison’s electric light bulb, face extinction after a new energy law signed by President Bush yesterday.
The legislation, which is intended to reduce reliance on Middle Eastern oil, sets higher fuel efficiency standards for vehicles for the first time in 32 years. It requires cars and light lorries sold in the US to meet an average 35 miles per gallon by 2020, almost 10mpg more than current standards.
Industry experts said that the new efficiency standards, the most far-reaching for a generation, could kill off some famous American cars, including the Corvette.
Alisa Priddle, of caranddriver.com, said that she had spoken to executives at General Motors about the unveiling next month of the new Corvette ZR1. “They are saying this is probably the last Corvette of its type, as it’s been legislated out of use,” Ms Priddle said. “This is arguably the most iconic sports car in world, and a symbol of American carmaking.”
The legislation, passed by the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities, also requires a huge increase in the production of corn-based ethanol as a substitute for petrol, from six billion gallons now to 36 billion gallons by 2022. If that production target is met the measure could cut US oil use by 1.1 million barrels a day, about half the daily amount currently imported from the Persian Gulf.
The Energy Independence and Security Act also calls for improved energy efficiency on household appliances such as refrigerators, freezers and dishwashers, and a 70 per cent increase in the efficiency of light bulbs.
The law sets new efficiency standards that will phase out the incandescent light bulb, commercialised by Edison in the 1880s, by the middle of the next decade. The 100 watt bulb will stop being sold in 2012. Eventually household lighting will be based solely on fluorescent bulbs and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Currently, fuel efficiency standards for cars are an average 27.5mpg, and 22.5mpg for light trucks, which include pick-up trucks and sports utility vehicles, the luxury large off-road vehicles that are particularly fuel inefficient.
The automobile industry lobbied vigorously against the legislation but, faced with such overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate, embraced it yesterday. Environmentalists also praised it and predicted that small cars will have to made more attractive to the US consumer.
Somewhat related - Press Release from GM yesterday:
GM Statement Regarding EPA Decision to Deny Waiver to California
FOR RELEASE: 2007-12-19
GM is dedicated to providing a wide array of vehicle solutions to improve our nation’s energy security and address climate change. The EPA’s decision to deny California’s request for a waiver under the Clean Air Act hopefully will allow us to focus on meeting the tough, new national fuel economy standards set within the Energy Bill recently passed by Congress and signed by the President. By removing the disproportionate burden of complying with a patchwork of state-specific regulations that would divert our resources, automakers can concentrate on developing and implementing the advanced technologies in ways that will meet America’s driving needs across the country.
California ’s request to administer standards for motor vehicle emissions of CO2 are, in fact, fuel economy standards. The federal government has been and should continue to be the focal point of such requirements.
Furthermore, we are determined to work with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the State of California and others to enhance and increase the fuel efficiency and advanced technology of our vehicle offerings for consumers from coast-to-coast and in every state.
As we said in Los Angeles two years ago, GM wants to remove the automobile from the environmental equation and we are well underway in these efforts. For example, this coming year we will offer 8 hybrid models, 12 flexible fuel vehicle models, and the largest customer-driven fuel-cell test fleet in the world with Project Driveway putting more than 100 Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell vehicles on the road. We are also committed to developing more electrically-driven vehicles, including plug-in hybrids, and extended range electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt.
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