Economics of Fuel Economy

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photoThis past Tuesday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Noman Mineta arrived in a silver Lincoln Navigator sport utility vehicle at a L.A. gas station where he delivered a 169-page proposal for the revision of the country's auto emission standards.

The proposed plan comes as the first change in three decades. Critics call it inadequate, saying it does little to address the country's rising oil consumption, as gas prices hit a record nationwide average of $2.61 a gallon this week.

Meanwhile big SUVs and light trucks account for half the vehicles on the road today. The biggest like the Hummer H2 are still exempt under the new rules. And the companies expected to benefit the most are struggling American automakers, GM and Ford, largely dependent on the success of the SUV and whose debt was just downgraded to junk bond status.

Hear about the controversial new auto emission standards, and what they mean for the environment and American auto industry.


Danny Hakim, Detroit bureau chief, The New York Times

David Friedman, research director for the clean vehicles program, Union of Concerned Scientists

Daniel Roos, Professor of Engineering Systems at MIT and founding director of the International Motor Vehicle Program (IMVP), a research program examining the motor vehicle industry from an international perspective. He is the co-author of "The Machine That Changed the World".

Christopher Preuss, spokesman, General Motors Corporation.

This program aired on August 25, 2005.


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