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Some good news — on fuel efficiency — for a change

Dan Farber, professor of law | July 29, 2011

The NY Times reports: On Friday, when President Obama is scheduled to announce even stricter standards — in fact, the largest increase in mileage requirements since the government began regulating consumption of gasoline by cars in the 1970s — the chief executives of Detroit’s Big Three are expected to be in Washington again.

But this time they will be standing in solidarity with the president, who will also be surrounded by some of Detroit’s highest-tech — and most fuel-efficient — new vehicles.

How is this good news?  Let me count the ways:

  1. It’s good news because the new standards will reduce carbon emissions.

  2. It’s good news because the new standards will, by reducing fuel consumption, reduce smog.

  3. It’s good news because the new standards will help our balance of payments and strengthen national security by reducing oil imports.

  4. It’s good news because it shows that industry can take a constructive attitude toward regulations rather than engaging in frenzied opposition to every step forward.

  5. It’s good news that the industry is being technologically innovative rather than imitating some others in the fossil fuel space by clinging to the past.

  6. And finally, it’s good news that the Big Three are involved in this because it’s good news that we still have a Big Three of Detroit automakers — without the bailout efforts, we might have seen two of those companies collapse completely.

There hasn’t been a lot of good news in the past few days, so it’s good to see a ray of sun through the dark clouds now and then.

Cross-posted from the environmental law and policy blog Legal Planet.