Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A New "CAFE" To Visit

Not this type of cafe, but this is an interesting photo. Image Credit : Urban 75

A former Senate majority leader and a founder of Sun Microsystems urge creation of new CAFE standard: Carbon Alternative Fuel Equivalent.

In a move that would massage the governments response to being addicted to oil imports, Tom Daschle, the former Democratic Senate majority leader, and Vinod Khosla, a founder of Sun Microsystems, put forth an opinion in the New York Times that calls for a fundamental change in the way the government measures the "petroleum mileage" of a vehicle so that ethanol mix would become a positive factor in the automobile's mileage assessment.

Excerpts from the New York Times -

Op-Ed Contributor
Miles Per Cob
By TOM DASCHLE and VINOD KHOSLA - Published: May 8, 2006 - Washington

ON Wednesday, the White House proposed to overhaul fuel economy standards for automobiles by making them "size based," with differing requirements for big and small cars. Automakers worry that any revisions will hurt their business; environmentalists oppose the administration's plan, and its earlier proposal for revising mileage standards for light trucks, as not going far enough. But a debate on Corporate Average Fuel Economy, known as CAFE, misses the point; if we are serious about reducing our dependence on imported oil, we need to shift our focus.

We need to upgrade to a new CAFE: Carbon Alternative Fuel Equivalent. This new CAFE will measure "petroleum mileage" and give automakers incentives and credits for increasing ethanol consumption as a percentage of fuel use of their vehicles, not least by promoting flex-fuel vehicles, which can run on either gasoline or E85 fuel, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. This approach promises several significant benefits.

First, it could set America free from its dependence on foreign oil. As Brazil's "energy independence miracle" proves, an aggressive strategy of investing in petroleum substitutes like ethanol can end dependence on imported oil.

Second, switching from gasoline to ethanol produced from perennial energy crops like switch grass can slash our carbon dioxide emissions.

Third, it could build on a comparative advantage of American automakers. American auto manufacturers are churning out hundreds of thousands of flex-fuel vehicles. Their foreign competitors make far fewer. Promoting these vehicles will help our automakers build on their already strong market share.

And fourth, by encouraging the production of ethanol and new renewable fuel technologies, this new CAFE standard could invigorate rural communities in America's heartland and innovation and research centers along its coasts.

So instead of squabbling over a mile a gallon here and a mile a gallon there, let's move to a new CAFE standard that offers Americans a fresh chance to work together to meet some of this country's most pressing challenges.
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This is a start at the Federal level. Now, if only we can get California more than four E85 stations, three of which are dedicated to fueling government vehicles.

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