WILL GOOD MILEAGE EVER BE GOOD ENOUGH? A report in today's Wall Street Journal about future fuel mileage standards and fines for luxury cars mentions the strong possibility of steep penalties for luxury vehicles from such brands as BMW, Jaguar, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz, starting in 2016 if they don't meet very strict fuel mileage standards (56 mpg by 2025). It should underscore some nagging realities of greener environmental regulations: Never ending and never good enough.
Granted, hybrid and alt-fuel technology may advance to the point of sparing fuel while maximizing peformance among large vehicles by 2016 -- but don't get your hopes up. Green-driven regulators already don't think too highly of luxury hybrids. After all, a Cadillac Escalade Hybrid or Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid would never get a carpool lane sticker in eco-crazy California.
Even if by some techno-miracle the aforementioned luxury mobiles met the stringent fuel and emissions rules, look for governments to continuously ratchet up requirements of all kinds in the name of environmental preservation and purity. This isn't really about cutting carbon emissions or saving on consumption of fossil fuels -- of which there are plenty of proven reserves in earthen pockets worldwide. It's about controlling and targeting another slice of an entrepreneurial economy: Big, comfortable vehicles and their well-to-do owners. It doesn't mattter how efficient the vehicles become, or how much productivity their occupants generate. The real shade of green here is one of eternal envy. When it comes to greener regulations, there's nothing sustainable about the insatiable. -- Martin Romjue, LCT editor
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