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posted: 9/5/2012 8:31 PM

Plenty of mileage left in the boat-towing debate

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Outdoor scribe and longtime friend of the outdoors Frank Sargeant penned this piece the other day. I thought it was appropriate to bring you some excerpts.

"The recent announcement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the EPA of a 54.5 required mpg average for cars and trucks to be sold in the U.S. by 2025 is good news for environmentalists but could be bad news for boaters, especially those who enjoy anything larger than a canoe or kayak. Tow vehicles capable of pulling even aluminum bass boats that get that kind of mileage do not exist -- and possibly never will.

"Many who are environmentalists are also boaters. But 'practical environmentalists' -- often those two words don't go together in today's America.

"It's true that past increases in mileage requirements have for the most part not caused the problems with towing larger boats that many of us expected. That's because manufacturers are allowed to make some vehicles that do not meet the standards if they produce enough that do, so there are still some big V8 trucks around that can handle towing larger boats, and plenty of V6's capable of pulling the typical bass or walleye boat, or a flats or bay boat, and still getting 20 mpg highway or better when the boat is left at home.

"The reason those trucks are still allowed is the federal CAFE standard; Corporate Average Fuel Economy allows a limited number of higher-torque, lower-mpg vehicles for each company if the average of all the vehicles they sell meets the standard. And it's not a simple average, either. Ford, for example, still sells more pickups than anything else and under the Byzantine accounting system allowed by the program, can meet the standard. The average MPG for a company can be adjusted depending on the "footprint" of vehicles of which they already sell the most.

"But there's a limit, given current technology. It's possible that auto-makers may find ways to wring more mpg's out of gasoline engines or hybrid gas and electric vehicles. It's possible that batteries may get so much better that electric vehicles will finally become truly practical, but they're nowhere near there yet for anything other than short-haul city vehicles."

Fishing report:

Lake Michigan: From Dave. S. in Highland Park: "I don't know what's going on with the big lake, but water temps down below 100 feet have been unusually warm. I brought up a 4-pound king and the skin temperature measured 73-degrees." Chinook fishing to the north is a tad better than around the city.

Fox Chain: Muskies suddenly woke up on the far northern lakes.

Bangs Lake: Largemouth activity came to a screeching halt with water temperatures at very high levels.

•Contact Mike Jackson at, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and live-streamed at

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