Wednesday, April 21, 2010

GPM bill passes New York State Senate

A bill sponsored by State Senator Daniel Squadron passed the New York State Senate last night by a 35 to 26 vote. It was part of a larger Earth Day legislation package.

The bill requires New York car dealers to post a chart converting MPG to gallons per 1,000 miles in 5 MPG increments (from 10 MPG to 50 MPG). Here is a copy of the bill.

Senator Squadron effectively argued for GPM as helping both consumers and the environment: It helps consumers recognize gas savings and it helps those concerned with the environment to reduce their environmental impact.

The opposition argued that GPM provides the same information as MPG (with a little more math) and that it puts New York car dealers at a competitive disadvantage and discourages car sales. How it is both redundant and harmful at the same time is quite a mystery!

(As we've argued, GPM is not redundant with MPG. Gas consumption is a highly non-linear function of MPG: The improvement from 15 to 20 MPG saves more gas over a given distance of driving than the improvement from 30 to 50 MPG. Will GPM discourage car purchases? No. It will call attention to the value of buying more efficient cars that save gas (and money and CO2), so it is likely to shift purchases from less efficient to more efficient cars. Will it make NY dealers less competitive? I can't see how GPM will lead car buyers to purchase otherwise identical cars in Connecticut rather than New York.)

The bill goes to the New York Assembly next.

The floor debate occurs around the 1:55 to 2:15 mark in this video.