Car crash imminent?

Wow, the battle over the future of American-based car manufacturers is getting more complex. Now there's a major battle brewing WITHIN the majority Democratic Party, and it's centered on the political clout of the Detroit auto interests.

Wow, the battle over the future of American-based car manufacturers is getting more complex. Now there's a major battle brewing WITHIN the majority Democratic Party, and it's centered on the political clout of the Detroit auto interests.

ROAD KILL?

There's good evidence that the plan to pass any kind of loan package for Detroit this year is road kill. It is likely the Republicans in the Senate will detour any attempt to drive a bill through Congress this year. I wouldn't be buying any real estate in Detroit right now, evern if you could get a loan to make the purchase.

And there's now even an inter-party squabble coming over control of the powerful House Energy and Coomerce Committee. Long-time top Dem on the panel is John Dingell from Detroit, one of the staunchest protectors of the entrenched auto interests. His wife is even a high-ranking exec at Ford Motor. Opposing him for continued chairmanship of the committee: California's Henry Waxman.Dingell has long aided the automakers in preventing higher mileage standards for cars. Waxman comes from the state that tried to raise mileage standards only to have the current EPA rule that states don't have the power to require more fuel efficient cars. This titanic political battle could really make a huge difference in the future of hybrid and plug-in and more fuel efficient cars in America. If Dingell loses his chairman's gavel he could no longer forestall efforts from New York, California and other state to get smaller and more efficient cars made and sold in America.

Of course, don't worry about those federal standards, automakers who are flush with cash, like the Japanese companies, can just ignore the law and the pay the fines.

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NOT ALL CHEVIES STINK

A new ranking of most fuel efficient cars found a Chevy atop one category...but it did happen to be SUVs which are so 2006. The Prius and those German-made diesels are powering alone in first place in some categories. The rankings came from an American business magazine.