ENERGY POLICY ACT OF 2005
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Mr. BIDEN. Why don't we change the standard, the CAFE standard? Why is no one recommending that? Why don't we say that every vehicle, based on weight, no matter where it is made, must meet the same exact standard? Why don't we do that?
Mr. LEVIN. It could be done. And NHTSA has a right to do that under our bill if it is logical to do that. But we should not set the number. We could say to NHTSA, and it is a perfectly logical argument, it seems to me that you should have the same mile per gallon standard for the same size vehicle. That is a logical argument. But that is not what is in this amendment. This builds on a defective system and makes it worse.
Mr. BIDEN. If the Senator will yield, I have trouble with the amendment of the Senator from Illinois, but I also have trouble with the amendment of the Senator from Michigan. It seems to me we have a problem, a big problem. I don't think we can meet the standard of the Senator from Illinois in time, and I think it would damage American jobs significantly.
But I don't understand why we do not bite the bullet and say, whether NHTSA does it or not, you can't drive a Toyota that gets less miles than a Dodge Durango or an American-made car because you have a fleet average.
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Mr. BIDEN. I truly am confused. I don't doubt what the Senator says. I don't fully understand it.
It is a fleet average. Toyota makes an automobile--I am making this up--that gets 60 miles per gallon when people drive around in Tokyo that they will not sell here at all in order that they can make a giant Toyota truck that gets poorer mileage or as poor mileage as our truck, and they get to sell it here because they have averaged out their fleet.
My question is, Why don't we just say, based on the weights of these vehicles, everybody has to meet the same standard, not an average, because people are not buying two-seater 60-mile-per-gallon vehicles here as they are in Europe where it is $4 a gallon. That is my question.
Mr. DURBIN. Let me say to the Senator from Delaware, if that is the loophole, I want to close it.
Mr. BIDEN. I think it is.
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Mr. BIDEN. I have trouble explaining to my Chrysler workers when I want to raise the CAFE standard. They are not happy with me. I voted against it last time.
My friend from Michigan, if you can drive a Toyota into that Chrysler parking lot that gets less mileage than the vehicle being made in that Chrysler plant under the way CAFE standards are set up, you would be able to do that because the fleet average means you can drive in a big old Toyota getting 16 miles to the gallon or 17 miles to the gallon, but you could not drive the Dodge Durango that gets 18 miles a gallon--1 mile better--because the fleet average causes the Durango to be out of the ballpark.
That is my problem with all of this. That is why I cannot vote for what the Senator is suggesting even though I agree with the thrust of what he is saying. That is why I have difficulty with my friend from Michigan. He solves that problem in a sense, but he does not solve the larger problem of kicking the requirements higher.
I thank the Senator.