ME on Friday morning dedicated an entire 47 seconds to the news that the Obama administration is set to issue new fuel economy standards for automobiles, requiring 30.2 mpg for cars and 24 mpg for trucks by 2011. You might argue that 47 seconds is plenty long for an article about the technicalities of federal regulations -- I sometimes work on fuel economy regulations, and the specifics can indeed be mind-numbing -- but Steve Inskeep somehow missed the most interesting (and perhaps alarming) part of the story: The standards announced Friday by the Obama administration are even lower (worse) than the standards proposed last year by the Bush administration. Bush had proposed 31.2 mpg for cars and 25 mpg for trucks.
If he had covered the story a little more deeply, Inskeep might have reached all the way back to January 26 when President Obama ordered his Department of Transportation to develop higher automobile fuel economy standards, saying: "The days of Washington dragging its heels are over." Maybe the issue was mentioned in subsequent articles this same weekend on the continued bailout of GM, but if it was I missed it.