Last year the Detroit Regional Chamber formed the Automotive Jobs Action Coalition (AJAC) with the purpose of influencing the debate on raising Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and protecting automotive jobs. AJAC enlisted the support of 45 chambers of commerce from 16 states, representing over 140,000 chambers of commerce from 16 states, representing over 140,000 business members, in an effort to educate lawmakers about the real costs associated with extreme and arbitrary increases in CAFE standards.
At the end of 2007 President Bush signed into law H.R. 6, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. This legislation included an unprecedented increase in CAFE standards and was hailed as a great step toward increasing the fuel economy of America's cars and light trucks. The auto industry and AJAC supported this measure.
The new fuel economy standards present one of the biggest challenges in the history of the auto industry. H.R. 6 mandates a 35 mile per gallon standard by 2020 - an increase of 40 percent. It also provides the opportunity for major reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, resulting in a 30 percent reduction from motor vehicles, more than any other industry, by 2020. Ultimately, the new CAFE standards will reduce oil dependence and increase clean and alternative fuels.
Automakers are already creating, developing and introducing cutting-edge fuel efficient technologies in an effort to achieve the new standards. In 2007, 100 models achieved 30 miles per gallon or more. Seventy models of advanced technology and alternative fuel autos were on sale in 2007. Automakers sold close to two million hybrids, diesel and ethanol-capable automobiles last year. There are now almost 12 million advanced technology and alternative fuel autos on U.S...