By on January 17, 2012

UAW president Bob King endorsed the 54.5 MPG CAFE standard for passenger vehicles while testifying at CAFE related hearings in Detroit. Automotive News quoted King as saying “The proposed rules are sensible, achievable and needed.” The standards would have to be met by 2025 and work out to about 40 mpg in the real world.

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46 Comments on “UAW President Bob King Endorses 54.5 MPG CAFE Rules...”


  • avatar
    gslippy

    He must have a lot of confidence in the Volt’s future.

  • avatar
    tced2

    I am always amused by these new MPG requirements “x MPG” will save us. Someone picked 54.5. Why not 54.7? or 99.9? or 54.21?
    Also, why do the MPG requirements have to be adjusted in large amounts at irregular intervals? Why not continuous improvement? Say, 3% each year?

    • 0 avatar
      sitting@home

      It’s the result of a calculation based on the number of cars, electric vehicles and votes in the Senate that are expected to be sold.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Or, how about raising gas taxes so that the cost-per-mile of the 54.5mpg car is the same as the cost-per-mile of an average car now? So.. If an average car gets 25mpg, and gas costs $3.20/gal (both for arguments sake), fuel cost would be 12.8 cents per mile. So, at 12.8 cents per mile and 54.5mpg, gas would have to be… $6.98 per gallon. So that’s a gas tax of $3.78.

      This would be the fairest and least asinine way to go: the market would satisfy the requirement of high mileage, yet people who need or want or can afford large guzzlers could still have them. No need for big brother black boxes, no need for an expensive federal inspection and certification regime, just more revenue and/or more efficiency. Phase it in over the same timeframe that they would phase in the CAFE increases, using the same sort of calculation.

  • avatar
    replica

    Why is CAFE a good thing? It just encourages urban sprawl and long commutes. Higher MPG encourages more driving, which in turn, lets out the Anti-Christ’s farts into the ozone layer.

    When consumers care about the efficiency of their cars, they’ll vote with their dollars. No need for CAFE.

  • avatar
    slance66

    Of course in order for cars to be this efficient, and at a price people will pay, they will all need to be built in Mexico. Nice job UAW.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    “Ladies and Gentlemen!”
    “I am completely irrelevent in 2012!”
    “I will agree with what I am told to agree with because I haven’t a clue as to what I am agreeing with!”
    “I want a CAFE of 54.5. I also want poop to smell like roses and taste like ice cream, as mandated by our friends in this administration!”
    “If this was already done tomorrow, yesterday would be like the future we never had tomorrow!”
    “Thanks, and keep paying those dues involuntarily!”

  • avatar
    replica

    But without labor unions, we wouldn’t have a canary in every mineshaft. How dare you sir.

  • avatar
    James2

    I once caught a fish t-h-i-s big…

  • avatar
    redliner

    I recently rented a Chevy Malibu, and I couldn’t help but notice how ironic it was that the sticker on the window, “built with UAW pride” or something to that effect, was crooked and it had air bubbles trapped underneath it.

  • avatar
    Rick T.

    Always wondered what happened to Mr. Carlin from the old Bob Newhart show.

    http://people.zap2it.com/p/jack-riley/28480

  • avatar
    djoelt1

    I think the notion that cheaper driving results in more driving needs to be reevaluated. Everything is so spread out now and there is so much traffic that I imagine most people don’t have any more time to waste in transit than they currently do, regardless of cost. I wouldn’t drive more if the marginal cost were zero, because I don’t want to waste any more time in transit. If I were paid to drive more, I could sacrifice other fun activities, but I’m not going to sacrifice things I do now to spend more time in transit. I doubt my situation is unique.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      I think that fuel prices have a significant effect in how far we buy our homes from work, shopping, friends, family, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Exactly! People trade off commute time vs. quality of life for their particular stage in life with fuel costs somewhere down the priority list. In fact, lower insurance rates in the ‘burbs might offset the extra cost of gasoline. Middle class people with school age children will buy a house that provides a good compromise between good schools for the children and acceptable commute times to a good paying job.

    • 0 avatar
      fred schumacher

      Re: “I’m not going to sacrifice things I do now to spend more time in transit”

      Historical research by Cesare Marchetti and Yakov Zahavi has shown that the amount of time humans budget for daily travel has stayed remarkably constant over thousands of years and averages about an hour and a quarter per day. As speed increases, distance increases, but time remains the same.

      Ancient cities were designed with this time constraint (called the Marchetti Constant) in mind. In ancient Rome one could walk from the farthest point inside the city walls to the Forum and back in one hour. (Note: wheeled, animal-drawn traffic was banned during daytime.) The average commute today is less than one hour total.

      However, there’s a caveat. The Great Recession has severely limited people’s mobility in changing housing, while at the same time making jobs less secure. It’s not a simple factor anymore to move closer to one’s job. Travel time will most likely increase.

      For three decades, Congress dropped the ball on energy efficiency legislation. For individual manufacturers to break the mold and do what is needed to radically improve fuel economy across the board is highly risky. For example, we drive cars today that follow the lead of the Chrysler Airflow, a car which itself was a marketing disaster. It came ten years too early.

      The new CAFE rules place all manufacturers within the same constraint and thus reduce the risk of change for each individual manufacturer. That is why there has been remarkably little opposition by auto manufacturers to the new rules, and why the UAW would jump on board with the industry. This willingness to comply, rather than oppose, is a signal that the auto industry believes greatly increased fuel prices are coming not far down the road.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      However, data does indicate that people drive less when it costs them more (gas prices go up) and more when it costs them less.

      I have said this before, but the biggest factor is not the car they drive, but where they decide to live & work. If you live 40 mi from work, you will burn a lot of gas no matter the car. Cut your commute in half, and you consume half the fuel without changing your car or driving habits. (And there are secondary benefits as well: shorter commutes mean less overlap with other drivers–i.e., traffic–which means less stop-and-go & better mpg; less time spent in traffic reduces stress & gives back valueable time at home; less stress & traffic means more casualness when driving which also improves mpg, etc.)

      Will better mpg mean more people will live even farther from work? I don’t know. We may be at a travel time limit as it is; people don’t want to spend even more time in their cars. And the driving force for long commutes is affordable housing, and that may be (permanently) affected by the housing slump. However, I can say that not improving mpg because it may lead to people driving more is bass-ackward logic.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Forget CAFE and tax gas like they do in europe. That’s the best way to get the US off imported oil. This whole thinking that if we just make cars more fuel efficient, that will solve our energy/pollution problems is pathetic.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Even with those higher taxes, Europe imports virtually all of the oil it uses. About the only way higher taxes will lead to the United States abandoning imported oil is to drive the price so high that hardly anyone can afford to use it.

  • avatar
    Mike Kelley

    Like a union president would have any clue about what was “sensible”. When (rarely) I look at my socialist Steelworker Union newsletter, I feel like puking.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Without a 54 mpg CAFE standard, the average new car will cost $100,000 in 2025. With it, the average new car will cost $200,000 .
    Either way, the UAW will be just a memory unless they change their name to the Chinese Auto Workers Union.

  • avatar
    dismalscientist

    Self driving cars are the solution, and will be, within 20 years, probably closer to 10.

    You wouldn’t need to own your own car, and could marshal one at will as you do a taxicab. When you a buy a car today, it has to satisfy almost every possible use you could have for it. With a robocab, because you get a different one each and every time you commute, you could get one tailored to your specific circumstances. Thus, you wouldn’t need one with occupancy for five when it’s only you traveling to work. These pod cars would be much smaller in width and length, meaning you could comfortably fit two side by side in a single lane. It could have a weird teardrop shape that minimizes drag, because, hey, you’re not the one who has to own that ugly thing, you just have to pay your fare. Their fuel economy would be much higher, due to their reduced size and drag. The reduced energy use could make electric variants a lot more viable. If robot cars became dominant enough, safety requirements for robocars could be reduced, due to the reduced incidence of accidents, thereby further reducing weight and raising fuel economy.

    Credit: Brad Templeton, http://www.templetons.com/brad/robocars/ [I am not Brad Templeton]

    There are obstacles to this future, but “OMG COMPUTERZ ARE STUPID!!1!” isn’t really an argument.

    Look for the 2013 Mercedes S Class to give a small taste of the selfdriving cars of the future: http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/news/autoexpressnews/274699/new_sclass_to_drive_itself.html

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “About the only way higher taxes will lead to the United States abandoning imported oil is to drive the price so high that hardly anyone can afford to use it.”

    Well at least maybe they won’t be able to afford to waste it anymore. And that alone should get us off imported oil while promoting mass transit, alternative energy vehicles and life styles that don’t include 70 mile daily commutes to get to a job and back home.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      No, insanely high gasoline taxes in the US would lead to a black market, crime, and violence that would make prohibition look like a church picnic. Enormous sums of money and the American way of life would be at stake.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Black market gasoline? Violence? Seriously?

        Gasoline takes up too much space. A ‘dealer’ would need a facility so large (probably the size of, oh, maybe a gas station) that he can’t move/hide it. Gasoline isn’t something that someone can cook up in his garage, which means he will have to get it from refineries, and good luck doing that. (I don’t see anyone sneaking a oil tanker across the border, either.) As far as crime, it’s more likely that more poor people will simply not be able to afford a car and so won’t buy gas. Since they don’t need gas, they aren’t going to commit crime to get the money to pay for it. Similarly, I don’t see ‘turf wars’ springing up like with drugs.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Self driving cars are the solution, …. but “OMG COMPUTERZ ARE STUPID!!1!” isn’t really an argument.

    Actually, it is a good argument. There’s a lot of work to be done. It takes a hell of a lot more than a few sensors. Google and others are naive if they think they are even remotely close to a product. By the time technology progresses to the point that autonomous vehicles can operate on public streets, chances are you won’t need transportation because your job will have been eliminated by a robot and ai technology. It’s that difficult.

    I’ve developed two collision avoidance systems (including one ground based system) that are currently on the market and I’m currently working on technology that will be used on autonomous vehicles. I have a good understanding of the huge laundry list of problems that need to be addressed before we’ll see true autonomous vehicles on the road. To dream about this stuff is one thing, but trust me, grasping the immensity of the problems that need to be overcome and implementing it for real is tremendously difficult.

    • 0 avatar
      fred schumacher

      Whenever I look at old magazines or old “World of Tomorrow” exhibits, I am struck by how far off they are in predicting the future. Self-driving cars are in that realm.

      What laymen don’t grasp is the incredible complexity of the system, and the enormous processing power required for safe, effective isotropic transportation not guided by a human brain.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Kill them all. God will know his own.

    • 0 avatar
      dglynn

      Yikes.

    • 0 avatar
      fred schumacher

      “Kill them all. God will know his own.” This is the famous statement by Papal Legate Arnaud Amaury that triggered one of the clearest historical examples of a war crime: the massacre of the entire population of Bezier on July 22, 1209 during the Albigensian Crusade against Catharist heretics. The largest mass killed were old men, women and children burned to death inside the Catholic Cathedral, where they were seeking holy sanctuary.

      Amaury, abbot of Citeaux and head of the Cistercian Order, was asked how the crusaders were to distinguish between heretics and Catholics in the captured town, which was filled by refugees fleeing the armies. The town fathers had refused to hand over 222 known heretics, even though the vast majority of Bezier were faithful Catholics. Amaury’s instructions unleashed a bloodbath. Afterwards, he reported to Pope Innocent III: “Today your Holiness, twenty thousand citizens were put to the sword, regardless of rank, age, or sex.”

      The Albigensian Crusade was a land grab, under the aegis of the Pope, by northern French lords of southern lands. The military crusade failed in ending heresy, although many people died by extremely cruel methods. Simon de Montfort, who led the attack on Beziers, was himself killed in a later siege by a rock shot from a catapult manned by women, an appropriate end for a man responsible for the deaths of so many innocents. The Catharist heresy was eventually smothered by counterinsurgency methods by the Dominican Order that have influenced counterinsurgency methodologies practiced today.

  • avatar
    Carl Kolchak

    The man is describing how far his head is up his back side. The CAFE number is unrealistic and would force to buy the cars the government wants us to buy, not the cars we want to buy.
    As for the gas tax, here is an idea. Use the gas tax for roads, bridges and other auto related infrastructure. If you want bike paths, tax the bicyclists. The American people are not the government’s piggy banks.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Yeah, because every compact that has come out this past year meet already meets the CAFE requirement (and it’s a sliding scale based on the size of the car, too).

      But I don’t understand why those who hate cyclists so much aren’t eager to get them off the road and out of their way, which is exactly what an asphalt ‘side walk’ would do. Since when have side walks been such a burden that we have to tax pedestrians to build them?

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Good grief, he’s the UAW leader.

    This means:

    1. He couldn’t pass an elementary mech engineering course.
    2. He’s a crook.
    3. He knows nothing about cars.
    4. He (obviously) knows nothing about people who like cars.
    5. He’s probably never done an honest day’s work in his life.
    6. He makes roughly 25x the average UAW worker’s salary.
    7. He doesn’t give a smelly Obama about his fellow union members.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Bob King=Elton John lookalike

  • avatar

    Considering that union bosses have no one’s interests at heart other than their own, it gives one pause to consider how this position is posed to line their already silver coated pockets?

  • avatar
    geeber

    Carlson Fan: Well at least maybe they won’t be able to afford to waste it anymore.

    No, they won’t be able to afford it, period, which is hardly a desirable outcome. Just because someone is using gasoline in a way that you don’t like doesn’t mean that they are “wasting it.”

    Carlson Fan: And that alone should get us off imported oil while promoting mass transit, alternative energy vehicles and life styles that don’t include 70 mile daily commutes to get to a job and back home.

    As I posted above, Europe has very high gasoline prices, and imports virtually all of its oil. When I was in Germany in 2004, I paid between $6-7 for a gallon of gasoline.

    The idea that we will switch to mass transit is a fantasy. We don’t have the population density to support it in most areas. In those areas with higher population density – New York City, for example – mass transit is viable.

    In Europe, cars account for 80 percent of the distance traveled in every western European country except Austria, Denmark and Ireland. This is on a continent with high gasoline prices and much higher population density than the United States (the United States, for example, has less than 1/6 the population desnity of Germany).

    We already have an extensive rail network. We use it to transport goods, while Europe uses its rail network to move people. We ship over three times as much freight per capita in the United States than the European nation with the highest rail-freight usage (Sweden). Meanwhile, all European nations send a higher percentage of freight by road than the United States.

    redav: Gasoline takes up too much space. A ‘dealer’ would need a facility so large (probably the size of, oh, maybe a gas station) that he can’t move/hide it.

    Tanker trucks can be easily hijacked – which already has happened with tractor trailers. Unlike the goods contained in most hijacked tractor trailers, it will be virtually impossible to trace gasoline once it is sold and used by the customer.

    redav: Gasoline isn’t something that someone can cook up in his garage, which means he will have to get it from refineries, and good luck doing that. (I don’t see anyone sneaking a oil tanker across the border, either.)

    As I said, trucks carrying gasoline can be hijacked. If it becomes profitable enough, some of the refined oil leaving the refinery may mysteriously “disappear” before it is loaded on to the tractor trailer.

    Carlson Fan: As far as crime, it’s more likely that more poor people will simply not be able to afford a car and so won’t buy gas. Since they don’t need gas, they aren’t going to commit crime to get the money to pay for it.

    You are assuming that people will simply give up the car. Sorry, but that is unlikely to happen, as people will do anything to keep driving, particularly in rural areas.

    In Philadelphia, automobile insurance became prohibitively expensive about 15 years ago. Using your hypothesis, Philadelphians would have simply given up their cars. After all, Philadelphians can use the extensive mass transit system provided by SEPTA (the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority).

    What really happened is that, at any one point, over one third of all cars on the road in Philadelphia were not covered by any vehicle insurance.

    People used every trick they could to keep driving, including snipping the registration sticker from the corner of other vehicles’ license plates (the registration sticker, renewed annually, requires proof of insurance), and breaking into cars to steal the owner’s name and registration information, and using it to obtain “cloned” vehicle registration stickers.


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