The Big Three car makers are trying to put the breaks on Congressional plans to toughen fuel economy standards to an average of 35 mpg over the next 15 years. The Wall Street Journal predicts a political struggle that will test how much clout Ford, Chrysler and GM still have on Capitol Hill, despite their crippling losses and declining market share.
The corporate average fuel economy standard, known as CAFE, is currently 25 mph. A Senate bill requiring incremental increases is expected to cost the Detroit $85 billion. The car makers are asking for lower averages or a loophole that allows them to avoid the CAFE standard if they build more hybrid gas-electric vehicles.