This was good PR as the audacity of 60 miles per gallon certainly captured media attention, but there is a little discussed absurdity behind the numbers. I intentionally did not refer to the challenge as 60 MPG. MPG has come to mean the EPA mileage rating that is on every vehicle's window sticker. The absurdity is that the number on the sticker is NOT the same as the number used for CAFE.
How could this be, you say?
If you remember your high school philosophy, you remember inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning. This is an example of what can only be called bureaucratic reasoning. CAFE and EPA figures used to be the same. But a few years back, the EPA (under pressure, because their figures were not indicative of real world mileage) changed their methodology. This had the effect of lowering the MPG number on the window sticker. This is where bureaucratic reasoning comes in. It would obviously make the most sense to only have one definition of MPG. But to keep up with the EPA MPG, the CAFE number would have to be revised downward. Even though nothing actually changed, the appearance would have been that the standards were lowered. And what kind of bureaucrat wants to suggest lowering CAFE standards? So the 60 miles per gallon called for by the CFA is actually more like 43 MPG. (Still a big increase over current levels.)
What the CFA failed to address is whether consumers would actually want to drive these new super efficient vehicles. Sure, the vehicles would cost less to operate, but American's like larger vehicles. They just do.
So once again, it is the great game. Score political points by calling on the industry to be more environmentally responsible. And worry about the economics later.