That didn’t take long. Published reports indicate President Obama is set to unveil a couple of initiatives that could radically change the size and shape of vehicles sold in this country.
First off, Obama is reportedly telling the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider (read “change”) its decision not to allow the state of California to regulate “greenhouse” gases generated by vehicles. California is seeking to cut tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2016, which many experts predict would require a fleet average fuel economy of 35 miles per gallon or more.
Second, Obama is moving on a proposal by the U.S. Department of Transportation to raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. Little action had been taken on that proposal during the final days of the Bush administration, but reports are that Obama wants to put it on the fast track.
The final result will likely see automakers forced to manufacture smaller, less powerful cars similar to those found in Europe, a vehicle type Americans have been reluctant to adopt in the past. Only time will tell how these moves will affect the lube industry, but expect new vehicles 10 years hence to be lighter, with smaller engines.