By on May 9, 2011

Though the EPA won’t actually announce its 2025 CAFE standard until September, the California Air Resources Board’ insistence on a 62 MPG standard for ’25 has the industry’s analysts and talking heads in something of a frenzy. Smelling the smoke on the breeze, Automotive News [via AutoWeek] trots out a range of interpretations of the proposed 62 MPG standard, from the frightening to the apocalyptic. Cost increases per vehicle for a 62 MPG by 2025 standard are estimated by government agencies at $3,500 “at most,” while Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers reckons they’ll run “as much as $6,400.” Sean McAlinden of the notoriously industry-friendly Center for Automotive Research figures the market will have to shift to 64% plug-in hybrids, at a price increase of $9,970 per vehicle, while the AAM adds that 62 by 20205 “could cut car sales by 25 percent, costing the industry 220,000 jobs.” And the EPA seems to be listening to the rising chorus of grumbles, as the agency’s Margo Oge soothed the locals on a recent visit to Detroit with the words

We will be very mindful — and I underline ‘mindful’ — of the consumer throughout this process. Unless people buy these new clean cars and trucks, and buy them in large numbers, everyone loses.

But if CARB wants 62 MPG by 2025, it will get it from the EPA. Which means the real question is simply how much will the standard actually add to per-vehicle costs? Is the industry inflating its numbers in hope of a teaspoon of federal sugar to help the medicine go down? Is the 62 MPG standard really an industry killer?

The answer, it turns out, is a big, fat “depends on who you ask.” But one thing is certain: the automakers are going to use everything they have to fight the standard, a fact evidenced by the absence of clarification anywhere in the media that the scary-sounding 62 MPG standard does not mean vehicles will need achieve window stickers with ratings anywhere near that high. As Hyundai has pointed out already, CAFE is measured using the old “unadjusted” mileage test, while modern EPA window sticker ratings use the tougher “adjusted” test. As a result, there’s a huge discrepancy from the ratings consumers use in their day-to-day lives, and the staggering CAFE numbers that are being thrown around.

As you can see, 63.7 MPG CAFE is roughly equivalent to 44 MPG EPA. Not so bad after all. And yet the industry continues to use the scary-sounding CAFE numbers without any kind of qualification. Well, except for Hyundai, which points out that its 40 MPG EPA highway Elantra will achieve around 50 MPG CAFE combined by the next generation… which will debut around the same time the 39 MPG CAFE combined car standard comes out in 2016. Clearly the fear that the industry won’t build anything besides cartoonish “Pelosimobiles” when CAFE increases are overblown.

On the other hand, as a limited-line manufacturer, Hyundai has a much easier time with CAFE than the Detroit firms which have built huge portions of their businesses around large body-on-frame trucks. And even though CAFE standards are notoriously riddled with loopholes allowing vehicles like the Chevy HHR count towards the truck-side efficiency number, this is where the real challenge comes into play. GM reportedly has to cut 500 lbs from each truck by 2016, and as much as 1,000 lbs per truck by 2025, a task that has both GM and Ford looking at exotic frame materials like aluminum and magnesium.

There’s no doubt that creating direct descendants of today’s Silverados and F-150s, to be sold at the same volumes they sell at today, would be a huge struggle under a 62 MPG CAFE standard. But forcasting isn’t that simple: even five years away from the 2016 30 MPG CAFE truck standard, with gas averaging around $4 per gallon, WardsAuto reports that the US pickup market has hit its lowest level in 30 years.

Against a backdrop of sluggish housing starts, high unemployment and skyrocketing pump prices – key historical barometers for the segment – fullsize and small pickups accounted for 11.8% of total light-vehicle deliveries in the month

It is the segment’s lowest market share in the Ward’s database, which dates back to 1980. At their peak in July 2005, pickups accounted for 22.9% of U.S. LV sales.

The share shortfall occurs as sales climb. Through the first four months of 2011, pickup deliveries were tracking 17.9% ahead of like-2010. However, total U.S. light-vehicle sales were pacing 19.4% ahead of prior-year, according to Ward’s.

By 2005, the two segments were running bumper-to-bumper, with pickups controlling 18.77% of the market compared with the Middle Car segment’s 18.79%.

Through April, pickups accounted for 12.6% of U.S. light-vehicle sales, while the Middle Car segment made up a whopping 20.8%.

If pickup sales are already declining steadily as a product of higher gas prices, it’s fairly safe to say that, barring any major reductions in the price of oil, the pickup market could well be dramatically smaller come 2016. In fact, having lost about seven points of market share since 2005, it’s conceivable that the pickup segment will be closer to eight percent of the market come 2030. Yes, pickups have made a comeback as gas prices bottomed out over the last two years, but in the sweep of history it’s fairly safe to say that Detroit’s truck dependence isn’t a viable strategy for the future. The good news: Ford and GM are finally making money on smaller cars, and, as the market for pickups retracts, pickups’ impact on CAFE numbers will go down as well, as CAFE is sales-weighted.

Will the cost of developing large pickups go up as the US approaches a 62 MPG standard? Sure. But if pickups aren’t selling in huge volumes, those costs will simply be passed along to the remaining buyers who absolutely need a full-sized truck’s capability, without affecting CAFE overall. The insanely high costs and and 62-percent plug-in hybrid penetration foreseen by Sean McAlinden must surely assume that truck volume will not change dramatically between now and 2025, a foolishly dangerous assumption that, if taken seriously, would likely sink Detroit whether CAFE increases or not. With gas prices rising steadily and inexorably, the market is likely to change before CAFE even makes much of an impact. Whether the standard for 15 years from now is set at 50 MPG or 62 MPG CAFE really shouldn’t make much of a difference.

Look at the SUV market: after the crash of 2008, which was instigated by a sharp spike in gas prices, SUVs came back strong and have been growing faster than pickups and vans ever since. But there was a key difference: as the chart below proves, “SUVs” were increasingly car-based CUVs before the crash even started. When “SUVs” came back post-crash, they were largely replaced by vehicles that served the same function with slightly higher costs and greater efficiency. And not because pre-crash SUV buyers weren’t convinced that they “needed” the allegedly unique capabilities of their body-on-frame utes. Who’s to say the same dynamic won’t happen with trucks?

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140 Comments on “The Battle Of 62 MPG...”


  • avatar
    V572625694

    Uh-oh: here comes the angry reaction from the freedom = big-pickup crowd…

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      I can build CA a 100 MPG car today. Provided they pre-pay for 1,000,000 units now, cost $50,000 each, will carry one person, maximum 30 mph, weigh 1,000 pounds and meet no DOT standards. Who will buy them?

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      Not from me, but there should be one MPG standard for cars and light trucks instead of the separate standards we have today. I think it’s goofy to subject cars to a higher MPG standard than light trucks, because people have been using light trucks as car replacements for a very long time now. It’s a distinction without a difference.

      Having a single standard would ensure that the average fleet economy stays the same or increases even if the proportion of trucks/SUVs increases.

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      Talking smugly about 6000 lb pickups in the context of standards so strict that even buzzing sub 2 liter shitboxes fall far short is a bit disingenuous.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      Not part of the “big pickup crowd” but also not a fan of being led around by the nose by the State of California. Okay, they’re the seventh largest economy in the world. The state is also effectively bankrupt. I don’t understand why emissions and fuel economy standards aren’t federal only, like vehicle safety laws.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Two reasons: the cost of emissions upon California (specifically Los Angeles) is much higher than it would be for most sparsely-populated areas with different geography, and b) because California regulated emissions before the establishment of the EPA.

        Mind you, the real “solution” is for the non-CARB states to buy more cars than CARB ones, or for CARB states to vote CARB out. Since neither is happening, you’re stuck with the will of the majority and the invisible hand of the market.

        Sucks when you’re on the other side, don’t it?

      • 0 avatar

        Mind you, the real “solution” is for the non-CARB states to buy more cars than CARB ones, or for CARB states to vote CARB out. Since neither is happening, you’re stuck with the will of the majority and the invisible hand of the market.

        And what part of CARB, an unelected and unaccountable government board, has anything to do with the will of the majority and the invisible hand of the market? CARB is precisely a market dislocating and quite visible hand of government bureaucrats. There’s nothing to indicate that CARB represents even the will of the majority in California, since it’s not an elected board. CARB has also issued proposed regulations based on the “research” of one of their staffers who has a mail-order degree. If capitalists acted the way CARB and other bureaucrats act, you’d be screaming.

        CARB is the California Air Resources Board, the emissions tail that wags all of our automotive dogs. What CARB does is leverage California’s market share to crowbar everyone else into complying with their own particular view of the world.

        It’s not a free market as much as it’s CARB free riding on the large market for new cars in California. CARB did nothing to create the market for cars in California.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The big problem is that now there are like a dozen different states of californication so the market for CARB spec vehicles is huge.

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    How does the Elantra have such a different rating by the two tests? What’s the walk from 40-50?

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      EPA ratings are adjusted (by EPA) by 20-25% to bring the numbers closer to the real world. Not just for Hyundai, but for all manufacturers.

      • 0 avatar
        aspade

        Not just adjusted, they’re also averaged with different tests.

        CAFE compliance is based on two crawling tests unchanged from the mid 1970s.

        Sticker mileage is a mashup of those two scores, both reduced, and three additional tests added in 2007.

        None of them are worth the paper they’re printed on.

    • 0 avatar

      The biggest problem is that mpg is not a linear measurement. A better choice is l/100 km, where a 3.0 l/100 km vehicle uses three times less fuel than a 9 l/100 km vehicle.

      For example,

      A Cadillac Escalade 4WD 6.2l V8 gets 15 US mpg combined, or 15.68 l/100 km
      A Cadillac Escalade 4WD 6.0l V8 Hybrid gets 21 US mpg combined, or 11.2 l/100 km, a 29% saving

      The US consumer would think “It’s only 6 mpg, that’s nothing”, but in fact, it’s huge. The hybrid gives you a ~ 30% fuel saving. But going from 21 to 27 mpg (23% improvement in reality) is not as big a jump from 16 to 21 (30% in reality).

      Whereas if you could go from 15 to 7.5 l/100 km, saving half your fuel bill, this is immediately obvious in the metric system. My new car uses 5.9 l/100 km combined, which is as you’d expect uses 2.65 times less fuel than the Escalade. Unless you work in US mpg, in which case you’d never be able to work that out. Sure my new car not a blinged out BoF dinosaur, but it suits me and is safe.

      Therefore, it would be best if the US worked on eliminating cars and trucks that did less than 25 mpg than to take vehicles that can do 25 mpg any further (say to 60 mpg CAFE) as it’s just diminishing returns.

      One day oil will run out. Ensuring vehicles use less means lower prices for longer before the inevitable switchover to full electric vehicles. This is a complete no brainer. Why fight it?

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        It’s just as linear whether it’s distance for a fixed volume or volume to cover a fixed distance. The slope is just (-) for one and (+) for the other. The larger the number the greater the efficiency which is the more intuitive way to express it.

        If you insist on using metric measurements it becomes useless in the US since us Americans refuse to go metric. Speedos and road signs are marked in miles and we purchase fuel by the US gal.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        If you don’t want metric units, you could always do gallons/100 miles, or fluid ounces per 1000 yards, or teaspoons per 100 cubits, or something. The point is the same: measure consumption, not distance.

      • 0 avatar
        Egroeg1000

        “The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead and that’s the way I likes it.”

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The point is that whether its distance/volume or volume/distance there is no difference in linearity the magnitude of the slope is the same, one is just the negative of the other.

        Take 3 cars
        A 20 MPG or 5 gal/100mi
        B 40 MPG or 2.5 gal/100mi
        C 60 MPG or 1.66 gal/100mi
        D 80 MPG or 1.25 gal/100mi

        Either way you cut it it’s pretty easy to tell that B is twice as efficient as A, D is is 4 times as good as A while and twice as good as B. However when you want to compare C with any of them distance/vol is much easier due to the simple whole numbers Most people can easily figure out that it gets 50% better tan B 3 times as good as A and only 75% of D from the MPG figures while many will need a calculator to make the comparison between C and B or D and to a lesser extent A based on the vol/distance metric.

        The EPA stickers do include a number of gallons to cover 15K (IIRC) and even convert that to a $ cost/yr with (outdated) fuel prices. So they do list vol/distance and $$/distance already.

        Plus plain and simple when you are selling something as a feature having a increasing number represent a measure of increasing performance is much more intuitive than to use a number that decreases as performance increases particularly when the performance feature you are selling is efficiency.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Yeah, yeah, yeah… Side impact standards were going to kill the industry… Basic smog controls were going to kill the industry… passive restraints were going to kill the industry… CAFE I was going to kill the industry…

    It turns out what really kills the industry – or at least a major player – is selling cars that don’t satisfy with value and reliability.

    Anyway, I would have thought that $4 gas would pretty much make CAFE moot, as people would flock to thrifty cars. But I thought that about $3 gas, $2 gas and even $1 gas (which was enough to move me to a thrifty car). So, what the h*ll do I know?

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      Basic smog controls nearly did kill the industry, and at the very least did severe, lasting damage. It gave us the malaise era, which was probably the single worst non-union blow dealt to the US automotive industry.

      At this point we have policy-making do-gooders arbitrarily imposing standards which are crossing the line from “barely possible” into “fantasy engineering.” But then, this is the same crowd who believes breezes and sunshine can actually replace fission and petroleum, so it isn’t surprising.

  • avatar
    th009

    The easy way to increase fuel efficiency without all the CAFE/EPA confusion and truck/car gaming: increase fuel taxes. Pick a suitable number for the target incremental tax in 2025, ramp it up at a steady X cents per year, and allow the market to drive the move to more fuel-efficient vehicles, be the trucks or cars — and gas, diesel, hybrid or electric.

    Oh yes, it would help with that deficit, too.

    But of course this is far too simple to work …

    • 0 avatar

      But of course this is far too simple to work …

      That’s right. Hell, it would eliminate any “need” for pay-per-mile road taxes too. Way too “common sense” to ever happen. Thanks for playing, though!

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s not common sense, it’s responsibility.

      One of the few things I credit the Mulroney Conservative government (in Canada) for was instituting the 7% GST: they knew it would be bad PR, but that it was otherwise a good and necessary tax scheme. And they suffered for it, ending up out of effective power for a decade a half. But they did it, and we’re better off for it.

      People don’t like being told they can’t have their cake and eat it, too, so you get backhanded taxation by way of “user fees”, “tolls” and so forth that are more palatable—but less effective and much more costly—because they’re designed to include sell-able exemptions that make people think they’ve a chance at getting away without paying.

      It’s the same logic that gives America one of the most hole-ridden (and yet curiously expensive) income tax systems, as well as a sales tax system that, in some states, borders on insane. It’s the reason health care is both expensive and ineffective. And it won’t get better until either major party grows a spine.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      Once again, you’re more than welcome to send off as much extra money as you think you aren’t currently paying to the government to do with as they please. But don’t invite them to dip their hands even deeper into my pockiets in the name of social engineering, and expect to get a free pass over it.

      Show me where the government has the authority to levy taxes for the purpose of coercing citezens to behave as others think they ought.

      • 0 avatar
        charly

        Isn’t the purpose of the state to coercing citizens to behave as others think they ought?

      • 0 avatar
        Steve65

        Only in a Police State. In an ostensibly free society, the purpose of the state is to provide security and provide for the common good. IOW, defense, public services, and common infrastructure.

      • 0 avatar
        charly

        Security == coercion to what other people think is right behaviour.

      • 0 avatar

        “Show me where the government has the authority to levy taxes for the purpose of coercing citezens to behave as others think they ought.”

        Just ask the IRS. All you have to do is not send in your tax forms for a few years, then flip off the letters and audits you’ll invariably receive. After they’re done garnishing your checks, adding liens to your property and considering legal action, you’ll pretty much have your answer then.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      Not a bad idea. And the states will also bump their own gas tax.

      The ASCE believes that overall infrastructure repair costs approach two trillion dollars and highway costs are a large fraction of that. So I’m OK with it provided that all the money goes to highway infrastructure build, maintenance and repair. That means no light rail, no high speed rail, no bike paths, no hiking paths and no parking garages sold as a way to reduce highway congestion (happened in my state several years ago). The Feds should also have a requirement that to get Fed matching funds, the states must have a dedicated highway fund – no pitching the state gas tax into general revenue funds if they want Fed loot. My state skims the take and consequently only applies about half the percentage of highway funds to repair/maintenance as neighboring states do and you know it the moment you cross the border. We have the highest percentage of obsolete and substandard bridges of all the states – 53% IIRC.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Except that those SOBs won’t keep the gas tax money for transportation uses. They’ll use them to fund entitlements and other stupidity.

      • 0 avatar
        M 1

        Your preferred solution is artificially induced poverty and hardship?

        What wonderful people you are.

        When did “continuous punishment” become the answer to everything in this country?

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        M1, what are you saying? That is an incoherent response to a legitimate post.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        If Gas money were hard-locked toward transportation maintenance & improvement, I’d be all for adding $4 to $5 in Federal gas taxes.

        But we all know that won’t happen.

        The moment Gas money starts driving some kind of surplus, it’ll be given away as another entitlement program.

        Therefore, no dice.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalCaliente

      Been thinking this for years. Raise fuel tax $.10 year for 10 years we’d still have cheaper fuel than europe and they have pretty nice stuff. I imagine that would bring a few bucks into the treasury. I already leave the M3 home a lot and commute in the family Sentra.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    EPA
    USA

    At least one of these two won’t exist in 2025.

  • avatar
    djoelt1

    Lack of imagination here. Who says a vehicles that carries 2 people and 2000 lbs of 4×8 building materials that looks like today’s pickup is going to be the vehicle sold to people that need that functionality? I was a homebuilder and my pickup truck, capable of hauling 2000 lbs, did better than 40 mpg and carried 5 and had a built-in Knack Box. It was a Honda Civic with a tow hitch. Functionally adequate, yet a completely different form factor.

    I’m waiting for high mpg cars. I’m in an income bracket where the industry expects me to spend over 40k PER YEAR on automobiles. Yet we spend less than $3000 per year on used cars on average, since there are no high mpg options available, and it makes no sense to waste excess money and lavish rewards on the failed market. Prius is now an option for us and we’ll get one soon.

    Wasting gas does not equal freedom it equals shortsighted foolishness.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Does denying people what they want equal freedom?

      • 0 avatar
        segfault

        Does wasting natural resources equal freedom?

      • 0 avatar
        Strippo

        Does wasting natural resources equal freedom?

        Strictly speaking, yes. Yes it does.

        Besides, if you want to preserve the “natural resource,” quit dicking around and tax the crap out of its use. CAFE is stupid. But you probably already know that.

      • 0 avatar
        Tree Trunk

        If you take needlessly large slice of a shared cake of a largely fixed size you are eventually infringing on my rights to have may fair share.

        What about my freedom?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Earn your piece, Tree Trunk. Your feelings have no place in a free society.

      • 0 avatar
        aspade

        Letting other people define need and needless to you is no kind of freedom.

        Letting other people define your property as their birthright is even worse.

      • 0 avatar

        Does allowing people anything they want equal freedom? I’m sure some would like the freedom to clock their neighbors in the nose for stealing their paper. Or the freedom to rob a bank. Or the freedom to randomly kill a bystander for no reason.

      • 0 avatar
        Tree Trunk

        Think about it, if your kid was taking such a large slice of a shared birthday cake that he was going to get sick and the cake was going to run out before every kid got a slice, would you complement him on how he expressed his freedom to be a glut?

        Or would you kindly ask him to scale back a little bit so there was enough to go around?

        Cars are certainly here to stay, if we scale back a bit on the amount of fuel used to power them, more people will enjoy the freedom of movement that they offer.

        Now how can that be a bad thing?

      • 0 avatar
        M 1

        “Cars are certainly here to stay, if we scale back a bit on the amount of fuel used to power them, more people will enjoy the freedom of movement that they offer.”

        Aw shucks, you went all down-homey friendly there. This 65MPG fantasy — even one defined by CAFE standards — is hardly scaling back “a bit.”

        I’m sure CJinSD understood your position without your patronizing birthday cake example. The problem in this conversation is that you do not understand his position.

        Simply put, you don’t have “a right” to anything which might constitute “your fair share” — a concept which has no definition. You have the right to do your best to earn whatever share you can manage to obtain, but your position is one of entitlement, and that mentality is one of the core problems in this country.

        But that discussion takes us far off-topic.

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        “Simply put, you don’t have “a right” to anything which might constitute “your fair share” — a concept which has no definition. You have the right to do your best to earn whatever share you can manage to obtain,”

        How very Nietzschean of you! This kind of “might makes right” mentality may be well-suited to certain kinds of totalitarian or authoritarian societies, but it doesn’t fit well within a democratic state. Democracy aims to secure the freedoms (and rights) of all people, particularly those who may be subject to the tyranny of others (including the tyranny of the majority). Maybe you just don’t like democracies… (but then, Niezsche–and Thrasymachus–despised democracies as well).

      • 0 avatar
        cackalacka

        “Does denying people what they want equal freedom?”

        One of the rights of passage into adulthood is to be able to legitimately prioritize what one’s wants and desires.

        We passed a gentleman in an H2 with a custom plate that said ’8 MPG’ two days ago. He was middle aged, but it is arguable as to whether this guy was an adult.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      A new car every 3 year at half your yearly income.

      So $240 000 a year

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    CAFE is just more government control.

    CAFE shouldn’t exist. Period.

    People should have the freedom to buy what they want. 60mpg or 10mpg. simple as that.

    I’m simply tired of political groups and the government thinking they know what’s best about everything. Just stay out of it.

    • 0 avatar

      Out here in the free world CAFE does not exist you can buy any car you want and a lot you cant get too gas is about $10 a real gallon so ya get ta pick any car you like to feed me Im getting a Citroen diesel coz diesel is cheaper to buy and these do 50mpg

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Maybe we will soon actually be able to buy compact pickup trucks again! These were very useful machines which sold in large volumes, but are simply not sold in the US at this time.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      Canyon/Colorado and Ranger are the closest thing we have at this point. You can even get a V8 in the GM trucks that gets worse mileage than the same V8 in a larger, heavier full-size truck. The mind boggles.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      I foresee the return of the El Camino, as an even lighter-duty alternative to the Canyon/Colorado to help further pump the “Truck” mpgs.

      • 0 avatar

        The basis for the “El Camino” currently being looked at is the Holden Commodore Ute. It’s a good tradie car (and lots use it as a work car), but I’m not sure the fuel economy benefits without going to the 3.0 V6 compared to the V8 donks mostly found here in Australia.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        I don’t think you’ll see car-based pickups until a) fuel gets really expensive, b) people stop looking at EPA highway mileage alone, and c) truck people get over their inherent biases against unibody construction and front-wheel drive.

        Small, rear-drive BoF trucks aren’t appreciably more efficient than big, rear-drive BoF trucks (or, for that matter, rear- or all-wheel drive full-size sedans) and as such the likes of the El Camino don’t really make much sense.

        You’ll know small trucks have arrived with, eg, Toyota starts selling a front-drive Corolla-based trucklet with a 1.8L four.

  • avatar

    CARB could help by loosening their near death-penalty on Diesel for small cars. (which is based on exceedingly faulty math… what was it by their own admission, off by 320% or something?)

    But they’ll never do that. It would require admitting they have been wrong many times over.

    • 0 avatar
      colin42

      I’ve not heard this before – please explain (and reference?)

      • 0 avatar

        340% actually: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/10/08/MNOF1FDMRV.DTL

        It has never been corrected either. But somehow VW, BMW, etc have managed to meet the req. The downside however is the technology used has been so specifically tweaked for petro-Diesel that it negates the use of BioDiesel in concentrations above 20% for all newer Diesel cars in the USA.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      CARB killed off any possibility of diesel light trucks. Ford will begin selling gasoline powered F-650/750s next year FFS.

  • avatar
    Tommy Boy

    For anyone who’s read the fabulous book “Liberal Fascism” by Jonah Goldberg the following will make perfect sense. This reeks of Obama administration regulatory czar Cass Sunstein’s “nudge” technique to stealthily impose “progressive” social engineering, via “non-reform reforms” (a concept beautifully exposed in the book “Radical in Chief” by Stanley Kurtz).

    Under the guise of “green” initiatives and regulatory reform the government artificially raises the price of operating an automobile so that folks will be “nudged” into using all those shiny new “high speed rails” that the administration is pushing, and live in cities so as to avoid the now exorbitant cost of commuting … and so reduce the progressive’s hated “sprawl.”

    Here in the (increasingly misnomered) “land of the free and home of the brave” the social-engineering elite “progressives” can maintain the pretense of freedom so much of the public won’t catch on, while still getting the same end result through the de facto coercion of “non-reform reform” regulatory changes billed as accomplishing “A,” but really accomplishing “B.”

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      High speed rail competes with airplanes not with cars

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        Hence the TSA presenting people with the choice of sexual assault right now versus cancer later…

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        Which, BTW is why Obama assassinated Osama once he found out that Osama was going after the American railroads. Placing rail under TSA would get people flying (same choice between sexual assault vs cancer) or (worse) driving personal vehicles (choose for freedom), and that couldn’t be allowed to happen…

      • 0 avatar
        Tommy Boy

        Not in the current administration’s view. The one proposed in Florida (turned down by its Governor) was intended to compete with automobiles — nobody flies from Orlando to Tampa, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        charly

        The Tampa to Orlando line would be a tourist line with a stop at Disney. You don’t need a car in Disney World

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      “Interesting” “Views” “Tommy”

    • 0 avatar

      I call BS.

      Obama is not a liberal fascist. If anything he has adopted more of a moderate Republican line than some sort of socialist left ideal you seem to think he’s at.

      The EPA should have the power to regulate pollutants like in most other countries. It’s the reason your car has a catalytic convertor instead of letting market forces determine the sulfur level of fuel, or the levels of other tail pipe emissions such as NOx and CO.

      Economical cars and encouraging the conservation of our dwindling reserves is a conservative position. I don’t know where the far right and libertarians get the idea that encouraging profligate use by all, market interventions such as ethanol and oil company subsidies (essentially redistribution of wealth) of a social good like oil should be their policy. Seems wonky to me.

      CAFE has never and will never work as it’s a second order effect, and one with a lot of loopholes. That’s why the car companies like it (even though they moan and complain at additional costs, even if they then when sell you $2500 satnavs worth $150, HIDs, electric lift gates, and rear DVD players costing far more than any of this stuff would cost.

      There needs to be a first order effect for real change. Fuel costs are a first order effect. It means that folks who need large BoF SUVs buy them because they need them. Everyone else downsizes to CUVs and hatchbacks, and fuel economy figures go up.

      • 0 avatar
        M 1

        “Obama” “moderate Republican line”

        LOL… You remind me of a local Democract running for mayor. He has been running commercials insisting that he “is a businessman.” His ONLY private-sector employment was cutting meat in a grocery store in college. He worked for Clinton, he has held various positions in the federal and state government, and now he’s a community college “administrator” with no staff or budget… but he’s “a businessman.”

        Simply stating something doesn’t make it so.

      • 0 avatar
        Tommy Boy

        >>I call BS. Obama is not a liberal fascist.

        Consider the totality of what he has done and is doing. ObamaCare and de facto by regulation socialized medicine — and forced purchase of health insurance, enforced by the IRS.

        Government takeover of student loan program. Of banks. Of automakers.

        Now telling federal contractors that their executives must report to Herr Commissar their personal campaign donations.

        Ignoring court orders to continue his ban on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico (if a Republican tried such a stunt the media would have been calling for impeachment).

        His Attorney General ignoring subpoenas from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and for the first time in history saying that oh, by the way, the U.S. Justice Department isn’t going to defend a U.S. law against legal challenges because the President (not the courts) has unilaterally decided that it’s “not Constitutional.” (Ditto on media calls for impeachment.)

        Cap and Tax through the EPA, because Congress has refused to enact it (so why have a legislative body at all? “Constitution? We’re ‘Hope’ and ‘Change’ – we don’t need no stinkin’ Constitution!”). (Ditto on media calls for impeachment.)

        Now look into Obama’s background — the book “Radical in Chief” or online at Trevor Louden. The man has spent his entire adult life working with neo-Marxists who seek to bring a socialist (and eventually communist?) economic system to the U.S. via “non-reform reforms” and by collapsing the system. When you read “Radical in Chief” and the archived documents from Midwest Academy, Gamaliel, ACORN etc. you can’t help but see the resemblance of Obama’s agenda to the strategizing that started in the 1970′s and 1980′s of how to use “non-reform reforms” to collapse the U.S. economic system, not suddenly, but by subterfuge and sabotage by regulation.

      • 0 avatar
        car_guy2010

        We’re NOT on a political website. This is TheTruthAboutCars.

        Please take your political trolling elsewhere.

        Why does every single post about hybrids and higher mpg always involve some douchebag that decides to use it to bash liberals?

      • 0 avatar
        Tommy Boy

        Car-guy2010:

        Yes this is a car site. But the topic is a government / Obama administration regulation that directly impacts cars now, and more importantly what we may (or may not) be “permitted” to purchase in the future. So vis-a-vis cars, this discussion of regulation and the motivation(s) of the administration peddling them is very much relevant. To do otherwise is to put our heads in the sand.

        Consider that it’s not a huge leap from an administration that is forcing “free” citizens to purchase health insurance in order to fund the “collective” health care to (particularly if reelected) to have EPA under regulatory “cap and trade” to declare that no vehicles over 15 years old can be registered for operation on public highways, because they don’t meet current emission and fuel economy standards.

        “First they came for others’ SUV’s, and I was silent. Then they came for others’ pickup trucks, and I was silent. Then they came for my mint 1967 Mustang …”

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        “First they came for others’ SUV’s, and I was silent. Then they came for others’ pickup trucks, and I was silent. Then they came for my mint 1967 Mustang …”

        Very good…

        I’m actually inclined to think that older vehicles that are reasonably well maintained should be grandfathered for this kind of thing (for a whole host of reasons).

      • 0 avatar
        SP

        Car_guy2010 …

        If politicians would stop making laws about cars, then car guys wouldn’t be talking politics so much.

        The article is about politics, so obviously the responses are political in nature.

      • 0 avatar
        cackalacka

        Talk about politics all you want, but Goldberg’s tripe isn’t politics, it is pure B.S.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Cheap gas lead to urban sprawl, big cars, travel trailers, personal use trucks, declining mass transit, middle east occupation, rich Arabs and toppled buildings… So what’s the problem? Maybe in retrospect, things should have been done differently but it is what it is. We are what we are. Anything else is not freedom.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Out of what hat do they pull numbers like 62 mpg? If 62 is good, wouldn’t 92 be better? Why not 162? Why?

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    You folks realize, do you not…that personal transportation is only a small part of the nation’s oil usage, right? Long ago I cooked the figures…using the DoE figures, I believe it was around 15 percent in year 2000. The other uses for oil were industrial and manufacturing of various types, as well as commercial transportation, all types.

    So we’re talking about saving, or wasting, a fraction of a fraction. And, at what cost? Mandating formerly free citizens to own and use cars that are at best useless to them (put five kids in a SMART, see how that goes) and in worst cases, dangerous (look at accident pictures of small cars – the ones where the bodies have been removed).

    Sure, some people who own pickups don’t really need them. That’s their business and their watch. Others, contractors and farmers, DO need them…and there is no frikkin? WAY a truck designed to carry 3/4 ton, can get 63 mpg. Or even forty…fuel savings come from weight reduction. Cut the weight of the vehicle, and the three-quarter tons it carries becomes increasingly formidable to the vehicle. Which is why high-capacity trucks are HEAVY trucks.

    This is a busybody’s wet dream of forcing others to live his fantasies. Oil savings will be marginal; the costs heavy; and if it’s forced on us with fuel-cost pressures, we won’t be buying cars anyway. We won’t be able to afford them.

    Because oil costs intersect with ALL aspects of modern life. Our cost of living will skyrocket, and there won’t be household budgets to afford cars that cost $3500-$8000 more than those today.

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    I am not looking forward to buying a $75K F150 for my business 10 to 15 years from now, but that’s pretty much what its looking like. Hopefully by then we’ll get someone in office that realizes that essentially outlawing medium-duty trucks will be a very bad thing for our economy.

    I know everyone hates the guy who buys a truck ‘just-cause’. Damn the selfish SOB to hell for wasting our precious natural resources and reminding others what a castration-on-wheels their Prius is. But seriously, my concern is for small-business owners. There has to be some exemption made for those farmers/ranchers/construction workers ect. who really do need trucks.

    • 0 avatar

      Ask yourself what farmers/ranchers/construction workers use in Europe and other countries. Outside of North and Central America, you see precious few pickup trucks being used for such work. Everywhere else, you have panel vans and flat-bed utes based on car platforms, and forward-control box trucks powered by small-displacement diesels.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Ask yourself why you want the US to emulate other countries. Maybe you’d be happier in one of them. Obama is giving us their 10% structural unemployment in real time, which is certainly one symptom of their over-regulated economies.

      • 0 avatar
        M 1

        Those farmers/ranchers/construction workers would give their left nut to have a big-ass American truck. I export vehicles for a living and they’ll gladly throw down $65,000 for a stripped-down Ram or F150 in places like France.

        If you talk to the actual “regular folks” who live and work there, they’re even more screwed by their government than we are. And they’re endlessly puzzled by the fact that we seem hell-bent on following them off the same cliff.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Ask yourself why you want the US to emulate other countries

        Because just because Americans do it a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it.

        See: health care and taxation.

      • 0 avatar
        charly

        Trucks are cool unlike panel vans. But that doesn’t make them right for the job

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      There will be no more small businesses in a progressive future. California loses 4.5 businesses a day, and that is net. 4.5 employers disappear from California’s economy that are not replaced every day.

  • avatar

    To cut through the bullshit, driving is considered a privilege, not a right. It’s not something you’d find in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

    A lot of Americans attach the concept of “freedom” to owning any vehicle they damn well please. And for a long time, most Americans have been having their cake and eating it too, by buying and driving the largest vehicles they can afford while paying some of the lowest fuel prices in the developed world. With an increasingly fierce global market that includes a growing number of Chinese and Indian drivers, that free lunch is quickly coming to an end.

    I’m not trying to criticize people who buy full-size trucks and SUVs — only the attitudes that espouse doing nothing as the best policy to pursue. It’s one that allows people to keep having their cakes and eating them, until one day they run out of money to buy cakes.

    I’m wondering if that’s the real end-game people are going for? To simply do nothing until the price of gas naturally rises to such a level that makes full-size trucks and SUVs untenable for everyone except perhaps contractors and people who actually need them? At least that way you won’t have to suffer the pain of a fuel tax increase. I’m just wondering how high the price has to be before people start seriously cutting back on the cake.

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    I always get a charge out of these discussions. People drop the “F” word as if they were taking candy from a baby.

    People spout their love of freedom here all the time, yet many forget (or are willfully blind to the fact) that freedom does not exist in a vacuum. We are social beings, not atomic individuals. If freedom meant doing whatever you want, and everyone stakes the same claim to freedom, then you end up in a state of constant conflict and radical unfreedom (e.g., Hobbes’ war of all against all).

    Why do people always forget that freedom entails responsibility? For me to have my freedom requires that other people not act in ways that will cause unreasonable harm to my ability to secure my own needs, wants, preferences, and so on. In other words, my freedom depends upon other people curbing their own freedom to act so as to cause minimal harm to me. But it also works both ways. If other people are to curb their freedom ‘freely’ (as a freely made, responsible decision), then I have an equal responsibility to curb my freedom so as not to cause undue harm to others.

    Freedom requires reciprocity. I won’t cause undue harm to your ability to secure your own needs, wants, preferences, and so on if you’ll do the same for me. If I choose to ignore the harms I might cause to others and act as I want, then others have the equal right (either individually or through the representative authority of the ‘state’) to ignore the harms they might cause to me and act as they want or deem fit. It goes both ways.

    The kinds of automobiles we buy can put others at risk of certain harms. Sometimes the risk of harm may be acceptable, sometimes not. When it is not, then I have a responsibility to curb my freedom to act. Vehicle emissions constitute one type of possible harm I may cause to others (both present and future generations), and if the risk of harm is deemed excessive or unreasonable, then I may have a responsibility to limit my choice of vehicles (or have them limited for me). Now what counts as excessive emissions is still very much a matter of debate, but the simple appeal to freedom is not enough to rule out the possibility of setting reasonable limits upon one’s choices.

    Freedom does not exist in a vacuum, and always entails some responsibility to respect the freedoms of others.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      “If freedom meant doing whatever you want, and everyone stakes the same claim to freedom, then you end up in a state of constant conflict and radical unfreedom”

      I’m glad you tipped your zero-sum card early so I didn’t have to read the rest of that.

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        Yet another person who doesn’t need to read because he already knows everything beforehand. It must be so comforting to be able to dismiss other people’s ideas so readily simply because they don’t conform to your own pre-determined expectations. (And here I thought absolute knowledge was something that only a God might have.)

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Read ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Philosophil. It articulates realities that you really need to learn.

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        I read ‘Atlas Shrugged’ when I was in my early twenties. I’ve also studied (not read, studied) numerous other books by Rand, including her non-fictional stuff (her philosophical manifestos and such), so I’m quite familiar with the kinds of ideas she develops. The main problem with her account of things is that she doesn’t like warts (and she says so herself). She hates the fact that life, freedom, and the very truth of existence comes with warts. Put simply, she doesn’t like to see or even acknowledge things that don’t fit within her unblemished, idealistic conception of things. Her views are incredibly abstract and unrealistic, and she would rather hide the truth, to make it over, rather than face up to the cold, hard facts of existence with the courage needed to affirm life, warts and all.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        That’s a non-sensical approach to a set of works that identified the realities of progressive political manipulation of the market well in advance of their implementation. When someone’s vision is proven to have been correct, there is little point to refuting it. You’re like a lawyer who exploits their lack of ethics to get their murdering clients acquited and then claims to be blameless and principled when their clients re-offend. If Rand was wrong about anything, it was as a result of her atheism. She thought progressives were greedy, lazy and stupid. As a christian, I see them as the embodiments of evil that they are.

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        CJ you said it perfectly. Rand’s atheiam was a huge blind spot of hers. I really never understood how she didn’t accept that religion adds a moral component to society that makes capitalsim work as it is intended. She was right about progressives too as are you.

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        Proven to be correct? How? Where? What you really mean is that her ideas coincide with yours, so she must be correct.

        I’m like a lawyer? Good lord!

        As I said, I’ve read her work carefully and with an open mind, and I think most of her ideas have little merit. I’m sorry it doesn’t coincide with your beliefs and I honestly don’t know what else I can say. There are far better, more comprehensive, truthful accounts of things out there and I suggest you begin reading some of those as well.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        We have a real unemployment rate so high that nobody dares speak of it. Schemes to remove people who aren’t working from the tally of the unemployed have failed to keep up with growing joblessness. Progressive policies are cutting down productive enterprises on a daily basis. In spite of this, ‘enlightened’ people with ‘more comprehensive and truthful accounts’ are used to justify prioritizing energy conservation more highly than full employment! It is psychotic. We’re already conserving plenty of energy, by rendering a large proportion of our population idle.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato (“Everything inside the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State”).

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        I’m sorry, but I honestly don’t know who that is directed towards. I personally am trying to defend the notion of democratic freedom in a democratic state, and am a strong opponent of facism and authoritarian societies of any sort.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        A large part of it is because the American Right has no sense of perspective. Absolutely none. Years of echo-chamber intellectual wankery and saturation in anti-Communist hysteria has left the Right unable and/or unwilling to distinguish between a leftist like Mahatma Gandhi and a leftist like Josef Stalin, or between socialism like Norway or Sweden has versus that of Cuba of Soviet-era Russia.

        It’s sad and rather pathetic because it means that many on the Right, and especially those who purport to be Libertarian, end up demonizing the social democrats that they have quite a lot in common with and cozy right up to corporatists and autocrats who speak the “right” passphrases. It’s also dangerous because it allows all sorts of abuses, as long as it’s being done by “our team”.

        It’s also why the discourse about the Obama administration is littered with hysterical cries about Big Mean Socialists coming to take away their pickup trucks. I mean, come on, on most points Obama lands to the right of H. George Bush, Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.

        Get a sense of perspective. “Nothing outside the state”? Scandinavia doesn’t even have that. Hell, China doesn’t. By those standards, American Democrats aren’t even on the map.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Schwartz

        If the flew poops wear it.

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        Grow up…

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      Phil, the logical extension of your philosophy can lead to only one conclusion. You must commit suicide because you are using resources that would be better used by someone else more needful of them. If you’re that altruistic, then there is no other path to take. Your belief that everyone ought to think of society rather than themselves denies human nature and is impossible on any large scale. That is why socialism and collectivism has never and will never work. That is why it will always become authortarianism.

      The dirty little secret of you social responsibility types is that you want everyone else to be responsible while you enjoy the fruits of their labor and sacrifice. You always assume that you will be one of the enlightened, the priviledged, who will tell the masses how to live while not following your own orders.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Mike, the logical extension of your philosophy can lead to only one conclusion. You must commit mass murder because you are using resources that could be used by someone else who might use them to exercise power over you. If you’re that selfish, then there is no other path to take. Your belief that everyone ought to think of themselves rather than society denies human nature and is impossible on any large scale. That is why anarchy has never and will never work. That is why it will always become authortarianism.

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        Mike. That is not the logical extension of my philosophy. No offense, but that is the logical extension of someone who doesn’t fully understand what is being claimed.

        Reciprocity does not entail altruism. In its most basic form, political reciprocity is best expressed by the old adage, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” Expressed in terms of freedom, this would be “You respect my freedom and I’ll respect yours.” I’ll respect your freedom to get the clean water or air that you need if you’ll respect my freedom to get the clean water and air that I need. But I need clean air just as much as you do, so if we’re going to be able to exercise our freedom to the fullest extent possible as democratic citizens, then we’ll need to compromise. You can have some of the clean water and air, and I’ll have some as well. If you don’t soil my water or poison my air, I won’t do the same to yours. In political terms, it’s not called altruism, it’s called being ‘rational’ or reasonable.

        It’s true that we can’t do whatever we want, but we can do whatever we need, whatever is within our ‘rights’ as democratic citizens (for freedom and ‘right’ are also closely related notions). Of course you might believe that “might makes right” and try to take more than your share of the basic conditions of existence, or poison my air as a way of getting rid of the competition, but these are not the actions of someone who believes in democratic principles. These are the actions of an authoritarian, a fascist, or a gang-mentality tyrant.

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        Psar, one big difference, I never claimed to be an anarchist. I believe in the original intent of the Founding Fathers of this country, a small, weak central government with most of the power in the hands of states and localities. That work just fine until Abraham Lincoln but it hasn’t been tried since.

        Your philosophy tends to devolve into an elite who believe that the masses are beasts who aren’t capable of thinking for themselves. I assume that given a choice, people will mostly do the right thing, what is best for them without hurting society at large. But I also believe that those who hurt or steal ought to be punished harshly and quickly.

        Psar, I do wish you would address the last paragraph in my post before this one. The belief among the left/socialists that they will become the ones in charge and able to put into effect their version of utopia has always fascinated me. You’re like believers in reincarnation who always claim their past lives were as lords and ladies, never were they serfs.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Psar, one big difference, I never claimed to be an anarchist.

        And we never claimed to be totalitarian socialists. That didn’t stop you, and others, from extrapolating the philosophy to what you saw as it’s natural conclusion.

        This is why arguing from a skewed perspective is self-defeating: it’s so very easy to turn that logic around and parody you with it. You cannot cry foul when someone does to you what you just did to someone else.

        I believe in the original intent of the Founding Fathers of this country, a small, weak central government with most of the power in the hands of states and localities. That work just fine until Abraham Lincoln but it hasn’t been tried since.

        That’s because what you want is, frankly, unworkable, and for the same reason that what art-house Socialists want is: it fails to take into account how the world actually works.

        Interestingly, this is exactly what gets said to recreational Communists, and it’s equally apt here: you can’t say “Well, pure _____ works, but it hasn’t been tried!” or “So-and-so wasn’t a real _______!” and expect people to take you seriously. If it hasn’t been tried, or it wasn’t ideologically pure, it’s because it doesn’t really work.

        Wishing that we could return the pre-Industrial government systems when the world is completely different is exactly the same faulty logic that leads communists to think that, because communism works at the tribal level it can scale up to work for a modern nation-state. It can’t, and neither can yours.

        Empirical evidence tells us, in the contemporary era, that social democracy, of varying degrees, seems to result in the best quality of life for it’s citizens and the most rational balance between freedom and stability.

        Your philosophy tends to devolve into an elite who believe that the masses are beasts who aren’t capable of thinking for themselves.

        And yours devolves into a plutocracy that, functionally, results in the same thing.

        I assume that given a choice, people will mostly do the right thing, what is best for them without hurting society at large. But I also believe that those who hurt or steal ought to be punished harshly and quickly.

        The problem is there are parts of the world where such a system exists, and those places are largely hell-holes subject to the “he who has the gold makes the rules” law and order.

        Psar, I do wish you would address the last paragraph in my post before this one. The belief among the left/socialists that they will become the ones in charge and able to put into effect their version of utopia has always fascinated me.

        It’s no more delusional that the belief you hold that, somehow, people who make money and gain power won’t somehow try to use the power to keep their advantage? Or that in the society you advocate you’ll automatically be a benefactor, and not a wage-slave?

        But it also begs a question of mine:

        What I find fascinating is why so many on the right are unable or unwilling to distinguish between, say, Sweden or Germany and, say Cuba. Obviously, all of them are socialist, so they’re exactly the same, right?

        What is it with the “ignoring the full spectrum reality and trying to cram everything into only two buckets?” thing?

    • 0 avatar
      SP

      I think you are confusing freedom and justice a little when you say, “Freedom requires reciprocity.”

      I agree, there should be reciprocity.

      But you are making a moral argument and not a strictly logical one.

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        No. Though freedom and justice are closely related notions, I have a reasonable grasp of their essential differences, and was speaking specifically about freedom here. Further I was not making a moral argument, nor a strictly logical argument, but a political argument from well-developed and well-respected political philosophies all the way from from Plato and Aristotle through to Hobbes, Locke, Kant, Hegel and others, as well as Rawls, Taylor, Habermas, Honneth, and so on. I can give you some references if you wish.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    Isn’t this the “let the free market decide” country that’s supposed to stay out of the private industry and let the consumer decide? Oh wait, we’ve never been that country.

  • avatar
    shaker

    These “discussions” always degrade into some sort of tirade out of an Ayn Rand book.
    If we don’t get a handle on our oil consumption, it won’t be our “children and grandchildren” that will be riding bicycles, it will be us.
    Of course, we can take what is “ours” (by birthright?) now, whether by war overseas, or by drilling for the last drops in our backyard, but any method is going to be more expensive (and destructive to our economy) then taking the turn away from that iceberg as soon as possible. If anyone believes that our current standard of living can remain the same for the foreseeable future, you’re living in a dream world. If the current energy policy in this country continues, “freedom” will be a distant memory, as we’ll be slaves to a diminishing resource that we have no control over.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      …the above makes the assumption that the supply of oil, and other resources, is finite.

      Geologists today are coming to believe that the process of oil creation within the earth, is an ongoing process – which explains why we continue to find more oil after pumping oil for 120 years; why recoverable reserves keep increasing, not diminishing.

      If we hobble and starve ourselves for our grandchildren, they won’t be using oil, either. The progression of industrial development will be lost…knowledge builds on knowledge. If our leaders and scholors reject and stigmatize oil, new uses and ways to recover oil aren’t going to be passed on.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        The whole “abiogenic petroleum origin” thing is a crazy fringe belief.

        http://dx.doi.org/10.1111%2Fj.1751-3928.2006.tb00271.x

        Call me back when somebody has been able to use this hypothesis to actually find any oil deposits and I’ll start buying it. Until then it goes in the same bin as homeopathic medicine.

      • 0 avatar
        JustPassinThru

        Sure. What’s shale-oil production, if not a crude duplication of what happens under the earth’s crust?

        Why do you have such an emotional vested interest in believing oil is running out, against all experience? Because it gives you and your types the POWER, the control over others’ lifestyle?

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        Even if it’s true that oil is being continuously created with the earth (which it may well be), wouldn’t the time scale associated with this make the whole issue largely irrelevant? After all, wouldn’t the production of oil in nature happen at something like a geological rate, not at the massively re-scaled rates of technological production and use?

        Surely the motivation for curbing fossil fuel dependence and use is not simply power and control. Much of it (at least among the scientists that I know) is based on the perceived need to recognize limits if they exist and if there is sufficient evidence to support those claims, and to try and better manage our use of and dependence upon these kinds of resources if in fact they turn out to be as limited as some contend.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Yes. Geologists today think that. Similar geologists also think that the earth was formed in 4004 BC. The idea that hydrocarbons can be produced without biomass is true (it rains something like oil on Titan) but it’s also true that we’re running out of easily accessible oil, which is why things like Alberta’s tar sands are suddenly commecially viable.

        People used to say things like “if we stop hunting whales we’ll lose access to oil and revert back to the dark ages”. Guess what? We found a way around it. We’re finding all sorts of ways around all sorts of constraints.

        It helps, sometimes, that we plan in advance and have contingencies ready. Which, consequently, is something the free market is very bad at.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Totally absurd. CAFE needs to go away and let the masses decide what they want to drive. With oil prices all over the place many consumers are going to pick the most fuel efficient choices by default. Then there are the folks out there that still need trucks and larger sized cars. What are we supposed to do take out riding lawn mowers to work?

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Of course, no matter how many layers of sugar you put on it, government-mandated anything, in connection with a consumer product substitutes the judgment of a group of people (“experts,” lawyers, elected representatives) for the judgment of the individual with respect to that product. In that sense, government-mandated fuel economy is no different than if the government mandated that all clothing be made in the natural color of its fabric because dyes used to produce colors are harmful to the environment. (I’m making that “fact” up, but you see the point.)

    That alone doesn’t make it bad. After all, consumers operate with less information, so it might be o.k. to let the “experts” with more information makes certain choices for consumers — safety standards come to mind.

    But, even with these, the government takes away the individual’s cost-benefit calculation. For example, safety standards appear to the be reason that a medium-sized sedan from the early 1990s that would weight 3200-3400 lbs. now weights 3600-3800 lbs. or more, with the same passenger and cargo capacity. (I’m thinking of, say, the Ford Taurus and the Volvo 740.) Most people don’t/didn’t think of these cars as deathtraps (unlike, say, the early 70s Ford Pinto with the exploding gas tank). But the government has decided for them how much their car will weigh, with all of the implications that has for performance and fuel economy, etc.

    If people really want fuel economy, they will buy it. That was the key to the initial success of Volkswagen and other inexpensive European cars, long before the days of CAFE, when you could drive up to a gas station and ask for “a dollar’s worth” and drive away with 3 – 4 gallons of gasoline.

    Like all regulatory schemes, CAFE has various built-in loopholes (some intentional, some not) which have their own political supporters. CAFE classifies “light trucks” more leniently than “passenger cars” so Detroit starts building “light trucks” (i.e. minivans, SUVs and CUVs) to satisfy the existing demand for what used to be called “station wagons.” In a rational regulatory scheme a “light truck” would be a two or three-passenger vehicle (as pickup trucks used to be) and perhaps 8-passenger vehicles over 6,000 lbs. GVW. Everything else would be a “passenger car.”

    And, yes, it would be better if vehicles were rated in gallons (or fractions thereof) per mile rather than the other way ’round. It would make purchasing decisions easier.

  • avatar
    mykeliam

    What are the zombie righties going to say ten years from now when the price of gas is even higher?? Pump more oil domestically?? It’s higher now than it was during the last oil administration! http://www.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_crd_crpdn_adc_mbbl_a.htm so you can’t try that weak crap about Obama won’t let us drill in the gulf *Whine* Didn’t the US auto manufacturers whine and cry about every CAFE goal? Yet, somehow they are all crowing about the 30mph sedans they have. Each and every one of them!
    In conclusion, we need to move public transportation and manufacturing over to natural gas. We need to encourage China and India to find natural gas in their own countries, and petroleum costs will stabilize for the foreseeable future (10-15 years)

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      Nice guy, way to make a resonalble arguement to win over the other side. If there are zombies, I got to say that your type or more unthinking and rigid in your beliefs. Guess what, we can’t drill in the Gulf, what has that got to do with your whining about oil production? Don’t you realize that if we could drill in the Gulf we would have more domestic oil and less reliance on imports? Every barrel drilled in this country is good for exactly that. Yes auto makers complain about CAFE, guess what they do it because it increases car prices not because economy gets better. They recognize basic economics, after a point increasing prices hurts demend. You appearantly don’t. Eat some brains, it may help.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      mykeliam: What are the zombie righties going to say ten years from now when the price of gas is even higher??

      They will say that gasoline prices increased dramatically even with CAFE, just as prices have this year, so it’s largely ineffective. Which is par for the course, as CAFE has failed to reduce American reliance on imported oil, which was the stated goal of the legislation mandating CAFE when it was passed by Congress.

      Maybe we can reinstate the 55 mph speed limit and 85-mph speedometer rule, too, as those laws were supposed to save gasoline and calm the hysterics who wet their pants at the thought of driving 80 mph on a limited access highway.

      After all, one largely ineffective law deserves another.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Here’s the question of the day: In 2008, oil got to $144.00/bbl = $4.06/gallon. Now, in 2011, oil is around $100 – 110/bbl = $4.15/gallon. What’s up with that? No one, I mean NO ONE has brought that question to bear, yet, whether in the MSM or internet! That was just for gas!

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      Maybe diesel was more expensive so the output mix was different.

      ps. A gallon of crude is a lot heavier than a gallon of gasoline

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        That is true to a certain extent. In my area at least back in 08 diesel was going for ~25% more than gas and now it’s at ~15% more than gas. Though I doubt that can account for all of the difference.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        Here in the Greater Toronto area we are looking at approx $5.20 a US gallon.

        You wouldn’t believe the number of boats I see for sale. I’ve cut all unecessary driving, and semi retired my Jimmy.

        Most everybody I know is doing something to cut consumption.

        Yes…higher prices do indeed have an impact.

      • 0 avatar
        charly

        10% of the sale price means a lot more on the refinery price so that could be explanation enough. Also there was a lot more demand for diesel compared to gasoline back then and he US is more a consumer of gasoline than diesel. This could be enough of an explanation.

  • avatar
    djoelt1

    “It’s a free country and I get to choose to drive what I want!”.

    A government decided where to put the roads. It was decided before us what side of the road to drive on. Engineers determined how many wheels a car should have, and which end should steer. Safety engineers chose 6 square inches of brake light and someone dictated all belt release buttons would be orange. Headlights are located no more than 18 inches from the ground and windshields are safety glass. Fuel tanks may not explode on impact. A CHMSL is mandatory. You need a driver’s license and must be insured. Engineers other than you did calculations and tests and invented things to get your car down the road. At the end of this long line of a huge segment of society being focused on enabling individual transit in a car, you think choosing WHICH CAR is freedom? At the end of the long chain, the choice of car is immaterial compared to how thoroughly you have been boxed in by choices made by people other than you, choices made by private corporations even. Choosing a product is not freedom; it’s the antithesis of freedom, since all other choices have been eliminated from the market. Yes, it is more choice than a Lada or a Lada in the Soviet Union, but if you think freedom is a small number of consumer choices that is largely identical in function, size, and appearance, you have no idea what freedom is.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      All of these…are arguments IN FAVOR of the Free Market.

      Road location…once upon a time, was done by locals in service of their own needs and wants. Then, the great mighty Federal Government…got involved, first using logic and rationality; then incrementally, using caprice and politics.

      Some choices are going to be made for us, true. But I’d rather it were the engineers at GM or Toyota or BMW…than by educated-fool bureaucrats who’ve never held a real job in their lives.

      We have more choice than Lada or Yugo/Jugo customers, true. But we’re getting less and less every year – and these fantasy standards are putting us in that same direction, harder and faster.

      And this does lead somewhere. It leads to a nation given Hobson’s Choice…you pick the Lada, or you take the People’s Bus. In this case, the Lada will be named Volt.

      That’s right…government cars. Anyone care to name a Government Car that was worth a damn? Trabant? Lada? Renault, it its state-owned days? British Leyland?

      No, free enterprise and choice gave us this marvelous society we have, where the common man can own a car and travel at will. And the intrusion of government will take that choice away…the cost, the disincentivizing, the very fact that people now in government hate the freedom to the proles that the auto provides.

      It’s amazing to me that on an auto-enthusiast board like this one, we even need to have such a discussion.

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      Djoe, you have a misguided idea of freedom. Freedom doesn’t mean making every choice for yourself, that’s just silly no one can do that and wouldn’t want to do it. You’re practicing Newspeak an Orwellian twisting of the language, war is peace and the like. Choice is being able to buy products you can afford that have been produced by businesses whose survival depends upon making products that appeal to customers and a price they can afford.

      Go back and study economics and a dictionary and learn something.

  • avatar

    By the logic of those who say that drilling now won’t help for years, we should also never bother to plant trees.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    The solution here is for Californians to revolt and smack CARB down. They can do that by voting for people who’ll do it – and if perhaps carmakers decide that California isn’t worth it, that might even happen.

    Likewise at the national level – it’s not like the EPA is some magical godlike force that can only be kowtowed to; it’s not just a political beast, but one that could not only be forced to do whatever Congress likes in this regard, but simply removed if necessary.

    It is by no means obvious that the ratchet of continually-improving economy is viable politically – because it’s not viable, practically.

    Backlash might already be starting, at some level, and the better air quality and the like are the less moral power the EPA has to “make things better” – ’cause we already got the low hanging fruit there, 20 or 30 years ago.

    We can actually stop now. It’s cool. The difference between 10mpg and 30mpg is not, despite “the number of mpg difference” being the same, remotely like that between 30 and 50.

    (10mpg = 10ga/100mi. 30mpg = 3.3ga/100mi. 50mpg = 2ga/100mi.

    Notice that the first one saves you 6.7ga/100mi – a 2/3 reduction in fuel used per unit travel. The second one, despite looking like “the same increase” saves a mere 1.3ga/100mi – a bit over 1/3 reduction of the already reduced use.

    We have already gotten the big, cheap gains.

    This is true in pretty much every part of energy consumption in the first world since the ’70s – we learned from the OPEC shocks, and there’s no more cheap gains left.)

  • avatar

    The CAFE standards play an important role in keeping the auto industry prepared for swings in oil supplies and prices. Imagine how high gasoline could have gone in 2008, had there been no CAFE standards.

    The truck standards sound difficult; however, if you think about what a hybrid system could do for a truck, or for that matter light weight materials, then you see its not so difficult afterall. It’s a lot easier to make a truck lighter, while still meeting safety standards for example.


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