A recent appeals court decision, first reported in Detroit News, upholding the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard, means a stricter set of fuel economy rules are now in place. The first time this happened, it was the 1970s and it resulted in models whose names were legendary squandering their infamy on choked down excuses for scrap metal or, worse, became re-badged foreign imports.
The 1970s were an odd time in American history. It was a time that saw the hippies emerge from counter-culture into disco dweebs and the muscular pony give way to the limp noodle. When the newly-minted Environmental Protection Agency’s CAFE standards began in 1975, American automakers rushed to comply with the strict rules meant to get us off foreign oil imports and force fuel efficiency into a culture that, up to that point, had only rarely considered it.