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Fuel Economy Hit 22-Year Low. The average fuel economy of the nation’s cars and trucks fell to its lowest level in 22 years in the 2002 model year. By Danny Hakim. [New York Times: Science]
Cars and light trucks — S.U.V.’s, pickups and minivans — account for about 40 percent of the nation’s oil consumption and a fifth of its carbon dioxide emissions, which many scientists see as the leading contributor to global warming.
Industry lobbyists say the industry could not force consumers to buy fuel-efficient vehicles and oppose tighter fuel efficiency standards — but don’t seem as attentive to the continue erosion of market share, and profits, to Japanese automakers. Could this be a repeat of the 1970s? Back then Detroit thought it more important to lobby against the Clean Air Act than to deliver competitive vehices, and watched a huge boatload of market share sail across the Pacfic as fuel efficiency imports sailed in.