The uncertainty surrounding Iranian oil production effectively has eliminated any hope the automobile industry had to convince the government to ease up on stricter fuel economy standards for 1985 cars, Transportation Secretary Brock Adams said today.
Adams said in an interview here that the requirement that U.S. automakers build fleets that average 27.5 miles per gallon by 1985 doubtlessly now will have to be enforced because "I don't know how in the world you can take away your most stable source of oil -- Iran -- and add to that the 14 percent hike on what oil you do get from the Middle East and still trun around and say no to a conservation program."
The auto industry has lobbied heavily in recent months for a relaxation of the fuel economy standards, claiming that the costs they would add to a new car would be highly inflationary.
But, in an interview, Adams said the department has made the final decision to stick to the proposed 1985 fuel economy standards.
Adams is here to oversee a two-day conference of several hundred auto engineers and research scientists assembled for the first stage of what he said he hopes will be a "new era" of cooperation between the auto industry and government regulators.
Adams, in opening the conference, asked for "a new commitment by the manufacturers to innovation instead of imitation, and to revolutionary -- not evolutionary -- thinking. I (am) asking the automakers to reach for goals that may seem beyond their grasp -- to test the outer limits of automotive technologies."
Adams called upon the representatives of the "public and private sectors... to join in a national automobile development policy dedicated to the creation of cars we can live with on acceptable social terms.
"I am suggesting," he said, "that we quit bumping heads and start using them, to produce the car of the future. That's what we're here for -- to generate ideas, to stimulate thinking, and to assess where we are so we can plan where we're going."