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GM's Yukon: Can It Slow Down Congress On CAFE Issue?

General Motors
General Motors

Today on Capitol Hill, GM will renew the auto industry's push to convince lawmakers that fuel efficient vehicles are on the way. Problem is, it may do little to slow down the CAFE express in Congress.

For years, the auto lobby was the strongest in D.C. and, for the most part, effectively limited Congress from passing aggressive fuel efficiency standards. But this time around, Congress, fueled by the impact of high gas prices, isn't going along for the ride. Seems Washington truly does want to force automakers to build cars and trucks that WILL get substantially better mileage.

So the automakers find themselves working harder than ever to convince Capitol Hill--and the American public-- that Detroit is trying to do more with less. Today, GM will show its two-mode hybrid Yukon; unlike most hybrids that only get electric motor assist and better mileage stopping and starting in the city, the Yukon Hybrid will also get electric motor assist on the highway and therefore use less gas cruising at higher speeds in Washington, D.C. Even though the new Yukon won't be out until later this year, GM is rolling out for lawmakers to make a point. That message: GM is committed to building cars and trucks with better mileage and lower emissions.

But here's the problem for the car companies. Despite the more fuel efficient vehicles they are building--and yes, they are building models that get better mileage--Congress wants more. There is a belief, right or wrong, that the automakers can crank out cars or trucks that deliver substantially better performance, with just a tweak or two of the engine.

But, it's not the simple. So the automakers will continue their efforts to educate Congress and the public about what the are doing.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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