Sunday, April 22, 2018
Editorials

Higher mileage standards will pay off for consumers, environment

The Obama administration scored a victory for public health this week with the announcement of new fuel economy standards. The rules would double gas mileage for cars and light trucks by 2025, saving motorists thousands at the pump, and curb by up to half the release of global-warming greenhouse gases. This is another contrast in the election campaign between President Barack Obama's rounded energy policy and the drill-and-deregulate stance of Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

The standards require automakers to reach an average fuel efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon by the 2025 model year. The goals build on the Obama administration's current target of 35.5 mpg by 2016, and they put the United States in line with Japan, Europe and the industrialized world in getting more energy from every dollar while curbing air pollution.

These are doable targets that the industry has agreed to — and, indeed, is already working to meet. Thirteen major players in the industry, including Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, who together build nine of out every 10 cars sold in the United States, embraced the standards after working closely with the federal government, the auto unions, consumer groups and others in the last year. Manufacturers will have the latitude to achieve the targets in a variety of ways, from making the transmissions and engines more fuel-efficient to improving aerodynamic designs and reducing a vehicle's weight. The measure also includes some weasel language in an effort to tamp down the sticker price of these more efficient vehicles.

The Romney camp trashed the new goals as "extreme." But that's not saying much for a campaign whose just-released energy strategy calls for little more than expanding oil and gas drilling on all available lands and further hamstringing the federal government's ability to ensure that these practices are safe.

The administration estimates that the savings at the pump will more than make up for the new cars' heftier sticker prices. The rules would reduce American oil imports and lead to cleaner air and water, helping millions who suffer from chronic diseases. The long lead time gives the industry regulatory certainty, and the rules will create high-paying jobs in the manufacturing sector while expanding consumer choice by bringing more auto models on the market. The only loser here is a Republican ticket that is more comfortable championing the gas-guzzling status quo. Obama nudged the industry in the right direction again, and American consumers are better for it.

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Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

The passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 can be thankful that, 33 years ago, the U.S. Navy took the lead on equal opportunity.Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded, blowing out a wind...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18