By Lawrence UlrichPosted 08.30.2011 at 1:22 am 0 Comments
In the wake of the 1973 oil embargo, Detroit automakers tried to convince regular, non-truck-driving Americans to switch to diesel. Diesel engines, after all, burn fuel 30 percent more efficiently than gasoline engines. The carmakers failed, in part because of poor engineering: Between 1978 and 1985, General Motors’s Oldsmobile division produced a series of shoddy, failure-prone engines that gave diesel a bad reputation that persists to this day.
In April, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation proposed new CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards that would increase the average efficiency of passenger cars and light trucks by 4.5 percent per year from 2011 to 2015. A lot of people wondered why the federal government wasn't aiming higher.