By on March 15, 2012

Last week in a speech at Daimler owned Freightliner truck plant, President Obama said that the new 55mpg CAFE standards will save a typical American family $8,000 a year on gasoline. That would be great news to most American drivers if it were true but the president took political science and law courses in college, not math. Or maybe his math isn’t off.

“When I ran for office, I went to Detroit and I gave a speech to automakers where I promised that I was going to raise fuel standards on our cars, so that they’d go further on a gallon of gas.  I said we should do the same thing on trucks.  I have to tell you, when I said it, I didn’t get a lot of applause in the room, because there was a time when automakers were resisting higher fuel standards — because change isn’t easy.  But you know what, after three decades of not doing anything, we got together with the oil companies, we got together with the unions, we got together with folks who usually do not see eye to eye, and we negotiated new fuel economy standards that are going to make sure our cars average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade.  That’s nearly double what they get today — nearly double.  (Applause.)

Now, because of these new standards for cars and trucks, they’re going to — all going to be able to go further and use less fuel every year.  And that means pretty soon you’ll be able to fill up your car every two weeks instead of every week -– and, over time, that saves you, a typical family, about $8,000 a year.”

A typical American family can’t save $8,000 a year on gas because a typical family in American doesn’t spend that much on gas a year in the first place. Using the president’s math, the average car gets 55/2=27.5mpg. The average driver drives about 12,000 miles per year, which works out to 436 gallons @ 27.5 mpg. Even at $4/gallon, that’s still only $1745/year. Cutting that hypothetical typical American driver’s gasoline bill in half will save $872.72 a year, not $8,000.

Reading over the transcript of the president’s remarks it’s possible the he simply misspoke. According to estimates, the new CAFE standards will save about $8,200 over the life of the vehicle, not in one year. Earlier in the speech Obama praised Freightliner’s participation in the federal “SuperTruck” initiative, whose target is saving $15,000/year per large truck. A big over the road truck travels so many miles in a year that a significant improvement in fuel economy could save that much. A typical American family, though, doesn’t drive their car 100,000 miles a year. So maybe the president confused savings per year with savings over the life of the vehicle and didn’t just make a bad math error.

On the other hand, there is one way that the president’s math works out. His recent press conference remarks about rising gas prices not being good for him politically are true. However, the president is talking about the savings that will take place in “the middle of the next decade”, meaning 2025, thirteen years hence, when he’ll be long out of office and earning six figure honoraria for his speeches. An average family could indeed save $8,000 a year if gasoline rises to $37/gal by 2025. While I believe that the president’s policies are aimed at making traditional energy more expensive in order to make alternative energy more financially viable, I sincerely doubt that even he would want a nine fold increase in the price of gasoline over the next decade.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading– RJS

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180 Comments on “President Obama Says New CAFE Standards Will Save Average Driver $8,000 a Year....”


  • avatar

    >>>”However, the president is talking about the savings that will take place in “the middle of the next decade”, meaning 2025, thirteen years hence, when he’ll be long out of office and ***earning six figure honoraria for his speeches.***

    How is this relevant to the story?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Eh, it’s snark. This site was built on snark: recall the Right Honourable Robert Farago’s inquiry into Bob Lutz’s pension vis a vis bankruptcy.

      Ronnie might (!!) be partisan, but this is a fair jab.

      • 0 avatar

        Thank you. I am partisan but I tried hard to be very fair to President Obama. I’d have to see the prepared speech, not the transcript, but I think he just misspoke.

      • 0 avatar
        Hildy Johnson

        “This site was built on snark.”

        The truth about snark? The snark about cars? The snark about the truth about cars?

      • 0 avatar

        I almost never disagree with you, but O’s future earnings, which will probably not be much different from those of other recent past presidents of either party, have nothing to do with the subject of this article. This is fish on bicycles snark.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        @David: I’m not disagreeing with you on it’s relevancy, just that in the grand scheme of things it’s no worse a journalistic poke-in-the-eye than is common on this site.

        I will—and have!—happily disagreed with Mr. Schreiber on any number of points and poke him in the metaphorical eye when he deserves it. This is probably one of the few times I don’t see the need to. I didn’t see the point of riding George Bush about his verbal and mathematical gaffes, either.

        Either that, or I’m mellowing in my old age.

    • 0 avatar

      Retired presidents make good coin doing speeches. Clinton’s made a decent sized fortune from his speeches. I see that Bush II has started working the rubber chicken circuit. That’s all. Just my way of saying that in 2025, he won’t care about reelection.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      This will happen once the oceans reside, the air is cleaner, children become thinner, Guantanamo is closed and after he has visited all 57 US States.

      He also promised to buy a Volt in five years, but at the rate he is going, I’m betting he is going to end up making news by buying a $100,000 Nissan the former first lady is going to have to return to nullify the contract he signed.

  • avatar
    replica

    I’d like to know if higher MPG makes drivers use less gas annually. Generally, if gas is cheap or a car gets good MPG, it encourages urban sprawl and people tend to move to suburbs and so on.

    What does CAFE accomplish again? I’m also wondering how much the price of these 55mpg cars are going to cost over a current “27 mpg” car. Technology isn’t free.

    • 0 avatar
      missinginvlissingen

      In a CAFE-regulated world, we have a 300-hp base Mustang that gets 30mpg. If anyone would like to go back to a market with 165hp V8 “muscle” cars, go ahead and buy a pre-CAFE classic. I like today’s choices better.

      I think what CAFE accomplishes is to make sure that at least some of the technological improvements go toward burning less fuel. Many car enthusiasts (including me) are glad for this.

      And if costs are a concern, keep in mind that high-mpg cars are usually cheaper to buy and own than those that use more fuel. Also, in order to sell the high-profit gas guzzlers, automakers have to keep the prices on efficient cars low enough that they will sell in large numbers.

      I don’t see what useful choices CAFE is preventing consumers from having.

      • 0 avatar
        jsal56

        Competition makes cars better, not government.

        Most if not all of our problems can be traced to government intrusion, (see Fannie Mae, Education, health care. etc) that goes for both Democrats and Republicans.

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        Why would you assume cars wouldn’t improve on their own? It’s funny you mention 165hp V8’s. That was ALSO the result of government intervention with emissions laws.

      • 0 avatar
        missinginvlissingen

        @Replica & jsal56, I agree that cars improve primarily from competition.

        But my point is that competition and technological improvements are powerful forces that will make cars better even if regulations are fairly tight.

        Those 165hp V8s probably *were* the product of automakers who didn’t know how to build powerful engines that could meet the new emissions standards. I bet the manufacturers complained that combining power and low emissions was impossible. But competition forces engineers to figure it out, and eventually the regulation becomes trivial because every carmaker has a solution.

        Competition is great, I’m a huge fan. But sometimes regulations provide a helpful push.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree with Jsal, govermint doesn’t make cars better. It put all that damn safety equipment in that keeps crashes from natural selecting the population; it’s taken much of the smog out of the sky so we have to look at those damn twinkle-twinkles at night, and it even provides roads and bridges and stuff to drive the stupid things on.

        And health care, Obamacare will force insurance companies not to cancel peoples’ insurance when they get cancer, like they used to do, and Obamacare will prevent insurance companies from avoiding paying for pre-existing conditions. That’s bad, because pre-existing conditions used to force people to stay in jobs they didn’t like, instead of starting new companies, like my former fifth grade teacher’s husband wanted to do but couldn’t because he had to keep the health insurance to pay for her breast cancer care. Now insurance companies can’t protect themselves anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        Yeah, Obama sure is sticking it to those insurance companies by FORCING us to buy their products. They must be furious!

      • 0 avatar
        docrock

        To paraphrase Homer Simpson, “Ahh Government, the cause of and solution to all our problems.”

        D’OH!

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Weimer

        Um, 165hp V8 “Muscle Cars” were CAFE cars. Pre CAFE cars made much more HP than that. It’s only in the last 15 years or so that the companies have been able to engineer 300 hp, 30 mpg vehicles while adding still weight and complexity. I’d check gearing to see the compromises needed to get that mpg.

        Of course, there were many more reasons than CAFE for the drop in hp and mileage – the change to unleaded fuel and emissions controls contributed mightily to both the loss of horsepower and fuel mileage until it could be ameliorated.

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete

      Cheap gas doesn’t cause urban sprawl — crappy urban environments and expensive urban housing cause sprawl.

      Seriously: raise gas prices by four dollars. That costs me an extra $2000 a year. I can handle that. What I can’t handle is paying an extra $1000 a month to live in a crappy apartment in a dirty noisy neighborhood, when I can live in a 4br detached house in the suburbs for $1000 a month less.

      You’d have to increase the price of gas by $25 a gallon before it would even start to make sense to live in the city (DC suburbs).

      • 0 avatar
        MattPete

        > Competition makes cars better, not government.

        That does not mean that government makes cars worse, which is what you imply.

        > Most if not all of our problems can be traced to government intrusion, (see Fannie Mae, Education, > health care. etc) that goes for both Democrats and Republicans.

        I’m admittedly no fan of Freddie or Fannie, but blaming them for the financial engineering that got us into this mess is to let the real culprits off the hook.

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        Raising gas prices will probably just make living in the city even more expensive since the desirability of that property will skyrocket.

      • 0 avatar
        jsal56

        If you mean the true culprit is Wall Street, yes them too, but the big zombie banks in the country (BOA, Citi etc) are subsidiaries to the US Government.

        Tim Geithner at the NY Fed had a front row seat to the bank scam and debacle and now he is in charge? They are all working together.

        The joke is that the “taxpayer” is on the hook,and the “taxpayer” bailed everybody out, you could tax us a 100% for the next 100 years and you can not pay back the vig on the trouble we are in.

        I blame Dems and Reps, I am done with both of them, they are one party.

      • 0 avatar
        MattPete

        Yes, those guys.

        I’m just tired of people making stuff up with the whole goal of scoring points against the other team, truth be damned. And the “truth be damned” part bothers me even more, as it distorts reality, lets the guilty off-the-hook, and causes people to make bad decisions based on mistruth.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        MattPete: That does not mean that government makes cars worse, which is what you imply.

        Actually, yes, government regulations once did make cars worse. A typical 1975 car was slower and less fuel efficient (thanks to emissions controls), uglier (thanks to 5-mph bumper regulations) and built with cheaper materials (thanks to other govermment mandates) compared to a 1967 model.

  • avatar
    Franz K

    Yeah right !

    What Obamaclaus isn’t telling you is that it’ll cost you $16K a year in new car prices in order to save you $8K in gas prices . Another round of Obamanomics !

    Somebody in DC please convince ObamaClaus that he has no clue what so ever when it comes to Automobiles , Green Issues , EV’s, Hybrids , Alternative Energy etc etc : seeing as how the Republicans offerings this Election have about a Bats Chance in Hades of winning and we’ll all be stuck with ObamaClaus for another four years

    • 0 avatar

      Depends on the car. According to CARB, low powered EVs and PHEVs will end up paying you back. The other 60% of low emissions vehicles won’t.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        I love it when government talks dirty to me! I’m sure the CARB calculations fail to mention the fact that part of the price advantage of EVs is that their owners avoid paying road use taxes which drivers of ICE-powered cars pay when they buy gasoline or diesel fuel. Nor do they mention that, if such tax evasion becomes widespread (because of widespread adoption of EVs and PHEVs), the government will find other means of replacing these lots revenues from drivers, thereby reducing their cost advantage over ICE-powered vehicles. I believe Oregon is exploring imposing a mileage tax on vehicles to at least partially recapture this revenue, and to account for decreasing tax revenue associated with decreasing fuel consumption resulting from more economical vehicles.

        CARB also fails to advise people that EVs and PHEVs merely export the pollution associated with generating the electricity which powers them to places like New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado, home of the “Four Corners” coal-burning power plant, partially owned by Southern California Edison.

        Of course, they want you to believe that these things are powered by windmills and solar panels, which make a miniscule contribution to the total electricity requirements of the state.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      ObamaClaus
      ObamaClaus
      ObamaClaus

      ObamaClaus

      Sorry, reading the above comment I thought these things must get funnier with repetition. Guess not.

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    This wasn’t a mistake by the president. This is all a part of politics in America. Politicians lie. Voters know they lie. Politicians know that voters expect them to lie. And on and on. Until he lies to us about a dead co-ed in his Olds we really can cut him some slack.

    • 0 avatar
      Franz K

      Lies are Lies and $23.77 Billion in Tax Payers losses lies ( to the auto industry alone ) deserve Zero slack as far as I’m concerned .

      Toss in the ‘ New ‘ ObamaMath , factor in the billions more he’s thrown away on Pie in the Sky ” Green ” projects , along with our roads and cities falling apart , Detroit ( the city ) about to be taken over by the State of Michigan and the US government ( because the Big Three are doing so well and hiring so many new people ) and I say its about time for some Bloody honesty and Full disclosure on the part of the man ( President ) who’s salary we pay for .

      Its about damn time all Politicians get a grip on the idea that they SERVE us , not the other way around

  • avatar
    HankookSteve

    “We negotiated new fuel economy standards that are going to make sure our cars average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade. That’s nearly double what they get today”

    You’re reading this as saying the average MPG of the vehicle fleet is 27.5 mpg? Only if every vehicle on the road is a 2012…

    The true avg MPG of the fleet is much much lower, closer to 15mpg. Even so, you’re correct that $8,000 is too much but from where we are now a yearly savings of $3,000 per car isn’t out of the question.

    If you use the median miles traveled instead of the average it’s even more. The average family isn’t a retired couple driving less than 1k miles per year.

    Also, the average family has slightly over 2 cars and they both travel an average of 12k miles per year. You should check your definitions before you criticize the math.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    What BS…..

    How about let us tapping into our large reservoirs of oil, and use economic-positives of being more energy-independent to invest in “green energy”.

    Instead we’re trying to invest in new technology with money that we just don’t have, while at the same time struggling with energy prices in a very fragile economic state. Some people think Obama is out to actively destroy the country. But sitting at those $10,000 Democrat fundraiser tables myself, I can tell you personally that these people in politics are just that clueless…… good intentions and all, but just downright stupid nevertheless.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      You know that oil companies tap into reserves whereever and whenever it’s economically feasible, right? And that the US is a net exporter? And that oil (and NG) is a fungible commodity anyway?

      Getting off petrochemical fuels is a sane, sustainable, long-term strategy. “Drill, baby, drill” is very much not.

      I don’t think they’re stupid as much as they’re looking at the long game.

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        Why isn’t oil sustainable?

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        I guess re-election obviates everything:

        Exclusive: U.S., Britain to agree emergency oil stocks release

        (Reuters) – Britain has decided to cooperate with the United States in a bilateral agreement to release strategic oil stocks, two British sources said, in an effort to prevent high fuel prices derailing economic growth in a U.S. election year.

        A formal request from the United States to the UK to join forces in a release of oil from government-controlled reserves is expected “shortly” following a meeting on Wednesday in Washington between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron, who discussed the issue, one source said.
        http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/15/us-oil-reserves-idUSBRE82E0UM20120315

        btw, I have never heard anyone accuse the Dem party of thinking in the LT, at least in the country’s interest over its own

        from the same article:
        “”The Obama administration can only take so much political pain from rising gasoline prices, which pose a serious threat to the economy and the president’s re-election,” said Bob McNally, a former White House energy adviser and head of energy consultancy Rapidan.”

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        thornmark, Obama knows he has his re-election sewed up. The Republicans don’t have any candidates that a majority will rally behind, and certainly very few Independents like myself will vote for if one becomes the nominee.

        That’s why Obama can make these, and other, brash statements and totally omit fiascos like Solyndra and the Volt. Without divine intervention we can all look forward to four more years of Obama after the 2012 elections.

      • 0 avatar
        WardMD

        NOT when Government CONTROLS the Oil Leases!

        The ONLY leases ON PUBLIC LAND that are producing oil, were the leases from the BUSH Administration.

        Obama has granted LOTS of leases on Public Lands with LITTLE or NO OIL! Like MOST Government Programs… Obama counts “SUCCESS” by counting the number of LEASES issued – NOT on the OUTCOME of the exploration.

        Obama’s Administration is ACTIVELY FIGHTING fracking and the construction of NEW COAL power plants.

        WHERE do you Lefties think all the Electricity for all these Electric and Hybrid cars COMES FROM?

        I SAY we DEMAND that 100% of the power for these electric and hybrid cars come (so-called) “Renewable” sources: Wind and Solar!

        AND, STOP with the Government (aka Taxpayer) subsidies of these cars! You WANT ONE – PAY FULL PRICE (like WE have to do for our gasoline)!

        IF Obama was SERIOUS about reducing (or eliminating) our dependence on Foreign Oil, he would ENCOURAGE the use of ALL sources of DOMESTIC OIL PRODUCTION (rather than fighting it)…

        Obama DOESN’T MEAN to reduce dependence on FOREIGN oil, he means reduce our USE OF OIL (regardless of its origin) – he just doesn’t have the cojones to say so!

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      No, tornadoes, wildfires, droughts and rampant flooding are going to destroy this country.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      That’s a terrible idea! Due to global demand alone, petroleum will increase in value until we stop using it. That means the smartest thing to do is use everybody else’s oil while it’s cheap, and use our own later, when it’s expensive.

      • 0 avatar
        WardMD

        I agree!

        If we REALLY want to put an end to Radical Islam – we should be buying and USING every DROP of oil THEY HAVE…

        The Problem, of course, is that to do that, we have to send THEM our money (rather than keeping it in OUR economy)!

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      If you tap into our “large” reserves of oil, what stops the oil companies from sending it overseas? How do you guarantee that American oil goes to American gas tanks? Currently the US is exporting oil despite the rising gas prices that are not tied to supply.

      From what I’ve heard, we account for a greater proportion of the world’s oil consumption than we do proven reserves. Until that changes, it might be smart to think of alternatives for the future. What policies you implement from that is up for debate.

      • 0 avatar
        Lokki

        I have posted this before and don’t have the time right now to do all the links but gentlemen:

        The carbon-base fuel shortage is going to become a thing of the past. You are probably aware of shale oil but haven’t grasped its significance yet. There is more than all known reserves out there. You may be already noticing lower electricity prices (we are in Texas) from lower naturalgas prices ( of which we in the US have a 600 year supply. Then there is methane-hydrate which is essentially methane gas held in frozen suspension in the ground. There is more of that than oial AND gas.
        These are not someday things; they’re all within 20 years environmentalist resistance not withstanding.

        Now the question that will enrage environmentalists. How clean is clean enough? There is no dispute that we needed environmental regulation in the 70’s. There’s no argument that we still need them but is it necessary to keep increasing the standards as we b
        T

      • 0 avatar
        Lokki

        I have posted this before and don’t have the time right now to do all the links but gentlemen:

        The carbon-base fuel shortage is going to become a thing of the past. You are probably aware of shale oil but haven’t grasped its significance yet. There is more than all known reserves out there. You may be already noticing lower electricity prices (we are in Texas) from lower natural gas prices ( of which we in the US have a 600 year supply. Then there is methane-hydrate which is essentially methane gas held in frozen suspension in the ground. There is more of that than oial AND gas.
        These are not someday things; they’re all within 20 years environmentalist resistance not withstanding.

        Now the question that will enrage environmentalists. How clean is clean enough? There is no dispute that we needed environmental regulation in the 70’s. There’s no argument that we still need them but is it necessary to keep increasing the standards as we become able to measure smaller amounts? Does the Law Of Diminishing Returns -ever- set in? Is it better to destroy parts of the economy? Will America automatically become a better place if we increase the CAFE to 50 mpg? If so why?

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Lokki – Interesting point with regard to shale. Personally I think CAFE should be done away with simply because with the amount of competition in the modern automobile market I don’t see then all coming out with guzzling monsters and there being no alternative, as we saw prior to the 1980s. You’re right, what is a reasonable amount of ‘clean’ in the 2010s?

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Obama lies, the economy dies.

    No big deal. Hey, the NCAA’s are on!

  • avatar
    Franz K

    WTH does Obamaclaus get his MATH from ?

    Here’s the numbers

    Assuming 16,000 miles a year

    Assuming my current vehicle gets 21 mpg

    Assuming worst case scenario over the next six years $6 a gallon

    I’m currently spending $4772

    So lets factor in the same numbers at 55 mpg

    Now I’m spending $1746

    Now if I’m not even spending $8K a year in Gas and in Truth will only save $3,026 WTH does Obamaclaus come up with his $8K a year savings ? Even if i factor in the wife’s car , which gets 35 mpg , I’m still only saving $4,022 Total !

    ObamaMath . The New Math for the 2010’s .

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Yet another reason politicians should not be involved in any way with automobiles or Cafe which does not really work as we all know. What he isn’t telling anybody of course is that to buy that 2015 car that achieves XX miles per gallon will cost you $8000 more bucks to buy over a current gas engine car of equivalent size, will be considerably more complex with resulting higher repair bills and increased frequency of repairs and one last thing that they probably havn’t thought of. These figures are based on today’s $4.00 per gallon gas. Surely the price of fuel will be much higher by 2016 when these new unrealistic regulations go into affect.

    • 0 avatar
      missinginvlissingen

      CAFE took effect in 1978. Today’s engines are smaller but more powerful, and cars overall are more reliable and durable. They have more comfortable interiors relative to their exterior size, and are vastly safer.

      “Cafe which does not really work as we all know.” CAFE works fine for me, thanks.

      Also, Obama is talking about the middle of NEXT decade, not 2015.

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        How do you know all of those improvements are the result of CAFE? Perhaps people wanted better cars so to stay in business, car companies made better ones?

      • 0 avatar
        missinginvlissingen

        I don’t know whether those improvements were the result of CAFE; as mentioned earlier, I suspect most were not. But I do know that CAFE didn’t prevent them.

        These cries of “CAFE will ruin our cars” ring hollow to me.

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        Automakers sat on technology to make cars safer and less polluting for decades until they were forced to do so in the late 60s/early 70s. There was nothing particularly magical about installing working bumpers, seat belts, and collapsible steering columns- these were all known quantities long before their installation was finally required. So were catalytic converters and other pollution controls, although admittedly the science behind them was less refined than it is now.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        “CAFE took effect in 1978. Today’s engines are smaller but more powerful, and cars overall are more reliable and durable.”

        Engines were getting smaller and more powerful prior to 1978. Compare a 1977 Corolla to a 192x Model T.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        PintoFan: Automakers sat on technology to make cars safer and less polluting for decades until they were forced to do so in the late 60s/early 70s.

        The automakers “sat on it” because they knew most customers would not pay for those features. Ford offered optional safety belts as early as the 1956 model year. Demand was tepid at best, and Chevrolet whipped Ford in the sales race.

        Most people didn’t even wear safety belts until the late 1980s.

        Early emissions control equipment was unreliable and hurt performance, fuel economy and driveability. Any automaker that would have done the “responsible” thing and installed this equipment on its cars, while competitors offered better-performing, more economical cars without the equipment, would have quickly gone out of business.

  • avatar
    TireIrony

    Occam’s Razor. Someone in the President’s information supply chain mixed up “over the life of the vehicle” (the simplest comparison for adding cost to the vehicle) with “per year” and the words came out the President’s mouth. D’oh. A rational country would point it out, call for a retraction, and move on… but isn’t it more fun to bang the Obama-is-the-devil tribal drums?

    Anyway, I get the case for CAFE, but I still think it sucks, at least as the only solution. Expand the gas-guzzler tax (funding a technology-neutral gas-sipper credit) and tweak up the gas tax over time (funding alt-fuel incentives and road maintenance) so that the effect of individual consumer choice isn’t quite so obscured.

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      Why is there a need to have the government play with oil prices? The market price for oil will determine what people choose to drive. Owners of vehicles that get poor fuel economy already pay more for ownership since they have to buy more gas. What’s the problem with that? People paying for exactly the amount they wish to consume.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo2

        “Why is there a need to have the government play with oil prices?”

        Because, when Ahmadinejad starts sinking tankers in the gulf or Arab Spring breaks out in Saudi Arabia – the public is going to insist that the government step in and save them from their own foolishness.

        Knowing that is an essential fact of life – why don’t we just deal with it now.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Yeah, we should act more rationally…you know like the left treated Bush.

    • 0 avatar
      dejal1

      So, it’s not Obamas fault, it’s someone in his information supply chain?

      He said what he said.

      A country is supposed to bring this up? Wow.

      Hey Ronnie, guess what, you have no right to question what came out of a politicans mouth. Call it day folks, shut the newspapers, TV, radio and internet down. Censor all mail because none of us have the right to question.

      I don’t expect a retraction even if asked. It is not in this mans make up.

      • 0 avatar
        TireIrony

        I didn’t say it’s not his fault; he’s the President, and he needs to own up to the mistake.

        But yeah, your ridiculous hyperbole is a lot more entertaining to read; screw being reasonable adults.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      @TireIrony “Someone in the President’s information supply chain mixed up”

      This is not a Mars project. It takes 5 seconds of thinking to know that the typical American family don’t spend $8k on gas per year.

      And this president is going to approve a multi-billion project without 5 seconds of thinking.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Isn’t that what Gingrich was doing when he said we needed to go back to the moon and establish a moon base?

        Both parties are spending taxpayer’s money on whims.

        The need to go to the moon – not really that important. The need to make wise decisions about consuming a fossil fuel that is sensitive to everything? A reasonable line of suggestion.

  • avatar
    jmo2

    The president was talking about the average family – not the average driver.

    The average family has 2.28 cars and the average car drives 15,000 miles a year and the median fuel economy is 21.5mpg. So, the average family buys 1590 gallons of gas per year. A $4 a gallon that’s $6362 a year. If gas prices rose to European norms over the next decade, very likely with Middle Castern trouble and the rise of China and India, the president would be right for the average family.

    • 0 avatar

      Your position is not an unreasonable one, and I considered that, but the president was talking about a single car.

      “you’ll be able to fill up your car every two weeks instead of every week -– and, over time, that saves you, a typical family, about $8,000 a year.”

      I would like to point out that in a previous post about Dan Akerson’s claims vis a vis first year Volt sales vs the Prius, commenters were criticized for trying to postulate what he really meant.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo2

        “but the president was talking about a single car.”

        Then why in your article did you say:

        “President Obama said that the new 55mpg CAFE standards will save a typical American family $8,000 a year on gasoline.”

        If he was talking about a single car, rather than a family(which has on average 2.28 cars), please edit your article.

      • 0 avatar

        I read it as describing that the savings an average family will see from one car. It’s not an inaccuracy but a judgement call based on the president’s not too precise language YMMV.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    I support the new CAFE standards and I’m happy to see the new crop of 40mpg gasoline cars. But yeah- this was a dumbass mistake by the president!

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      There have been 40mpg cars for a while. Most any small 4cyl car in the 80’s could get damn close. Has nothing to do with CAFE.

      • 0 avatar
        missinginvlissingen

        Nothing to do with CAFE, are you sure? The standards took effect in 1978. There weren’t many 40mpg cars in the 1970s, were there?

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        Gas was cheap in the 60’s so MPG didn’t really matter to consumers. Then gas prices went up in the 70’s so car makers reacted throughout the 70’s. The price of gas determined consumer demand, not some artificial number dreamed by politicians. When people demanded fuel efficient cars, they got made. The market is a wonderful thing.

      • 0 avatar
        MattPete

        It does have everything to do with Japanese PV standards…

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Are we sure we’re not just looking at the historical trend of increasing vehicle fuel economy and then assuming that our world view is responsible for it?

  • avatar
    mkirk

    A nuclear reactor under the hood would save even more. Just sayin’

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I wonder what a pint-sized nuclear meltdown would look like in my driveway. Say, if I didn’t keep my radiator topped off properly.

      Installing replacement fuel rods would be a heck of a DIY job…

  • avatar
    GS650G

    I didn’t know that all we had to do was pass a law mandating 100 mpg by 20whatever and that in itself would solve the technical problems. Who would have thought all we need to do is vote for the charismatic Obama again and we’ll get 55 mpg gallon average fuel economy.
    Those elected officials, so much smarter than the rest of us.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Yes, we should add that this car can only cost a couple hundred bucks too. Night as well throw in a provision mandating world peace.

    • 0 avatar

      Technically, no law was passed. Ray LaHood and EPA head Lisa Jackson said that they’re implementing the standards administratively, citing what they characterized as Republican intransigence.

      Not surprising. The IRS is claiming it has the authority to license tax preparers (and charge a fee whether or not you get the license) even though it has no statutory power to do so.

      Regulators gonna regulate.

      • 0 avatar
        GS650G

        Who needs laws passed by congress when the EPA can impose fines for non compliance. Which get passed along to customers. They are accountable to who? Voters? Not really.

        @mkirk Actually with subsidies certain people would get a free car paid for by the productive, as a way of encouraging green car use, preventing the great unwashed from driving dirty, old, polluting trash heaps.

      • 0 avatar
        dejal1

        Saw the IRS “license” story yesterday. All it does is help outfits like H+R Block who can afford the red tape.

        Hey looky there:

        http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?strID=C00188177

        Don’t know how you can donate negative money in 2012 though.

    • 0 avatar
      PintoFan

      If the standards are unattainable, then why did manufacturers support them? Why isn’t there rioting in the streets of Detroit and Tokyo? Your position is untenable.

  • avatar
    reluctantcommuter

    I guess it doesn’t get as many page views to write a post saying the President misspoke in saying per year instead of over the life of the vehicle in a speech and provide the following:

    The average estimated fuel cost over the lifetime of a Model Year 2010 vehicle is said to be $17,500 by the EPA. The goal average of 54.5 would save $8,200 dollars over the life of the 2025 vehicle compared to the life of the 2010 vehicle.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/fuel_economy_report.pdf

  • avatar
    jsal56

    I would like to disagree.

    Obama knows EXACTLY what he is doing.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Any chance he’s factoring in military savings?

  • avatar
    LectroByte

    $8,000 a year savings seems at least as realistic as Newton-Leroy’s $2.50 gas that he’s promising us. Maybe he should talk to that Michele and figure out how to get it down to $2.00 she was promising.

  • avatar

    My wife and I burn a lot of gas given my R/T commute is 54 miles, hers is 26, we take a couple of long road trips a year, and our vehicles average about 23 miles per gallon

    In the last 365 days we spent $5,339 on gas with most of that spent in notoriously expensive New England.

    Maybe Obama’s teleprompter typist just slipped a decimal point? Eight hundred dollars ($800.00) is pretty close to being correct given the math in Bertel’s OP.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    It’s really hard to understand how the little people live when you fly around in a luxury jet to fundraisers, play golf every weekend, get millions in gifts and donations from liberal celebrities, take enough vacations to get the average American fired, have your meals prepared by a gourmet chef, take your wife out to 1000 dollar a plate dinners (by luxury jet, may be two if she can’t be bothered to leave at the same time as you), and just believe that the reason all of us plebs get bent out of shape about gas prices is because we’re out there driving wasteful cars and not something powered by wind power and algae… Not that we’re getting gouged by rising food prices because we actually have to buy and prepare our own food and the cost of transporting all that stuff has skyrocketed. Or that even if we wanted to get a fancy new 40-50 mpg car, we’d have to PAY for it with money we earned that wasn’t taken from us by the IRS (it’s also odd that the Great One doesn’t realize that not everyone can just plonk down 20-30 grand for the newest fuel efficient car every time gas prices take a step northwards).

    • 0 avatar
      GS650G

      Quit being realistic and just vote for him. You don’t want any hope or change NOW, do you? He’s not done being King yet, and there are so many more vacation hotspots for the family to visit with a 45 person, 4 jet, 3 car entourage.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      All of your diversionary gripes are true of every modern President. If you want to get nasty about it, his predecessor (despite being a self-inflicted wartime President) took more vacation time than just about anyone else, including the current guy. So I don’t frankly see the relevance.

      As for the little guy? My taxes went DOWN under this president. And I haven’t heard anything to suggest that Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum is remotely concerned about the widening wealth gap in this nation, as we plebs are. That political party has been doing its best this year to label me a jealous class-warfare monger for being concerned about it.

      • 0 avatar
        GS650G

        Sorry to hear you AGI is lower than before, but that’s one way to pay less taxes by joining those who don’t pay the rates others do.

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        Is it the government’s role to make sure X amount of the population ends up with Y amount of the wealth? How do you determine a proper distribution of wealth? How many should be middle class? Lower class? If wealth can be divided by the government, does that take away an individual’s chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by taking someone’s money and giving it to someone else?

        Yeah, I think class warfare might be a fitting label.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        GS, what I think 30-mile was saying was his taxes went down, not his income. Same for me with an above average income I am paying less tax due to the “Making work pay” tax credit in 2009 and 2010 and the 2% reduction in the payroll tax. Not saying these are good or bad polices, just stating the fact that for average (and above average) working Americans the amount of federal income tax has gone down not up.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “Yeah, I think class warfare might be a fitting label.”

        Shows how far down the rabbit hole of partisan sniping you’ve gone. Here’s a concept to wrap your mind around: being concerned with a widening income gap does not mean that you want everyone to be equal or nearly equal. I’m fine with a capitalistic society that rewards the innovative and hardworking. I have no problem with a substantial wealth gap. I DO have a problem with that gap growing larger and larger, with the middle class losing ground despite their hard work and the already-wealthy gaining even more of it. You’re welcome to be rich. Even filthy rich. But don’t expect to get filthy, filthy rich at society’s expense.

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        “Is it the government’s role to make sure X amount of the population ends up with Y amount of the wealth?”

        No, but it is the government’s job to assure that future generations won’t be subjected to life of grinding poverty under a repressive oligarchy.

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        So you want to limit the amount of money people make? Again, I can’t think of a better term than “class warfare.”

        What is everyone’s obsession with the middle-class? Why do we aspire to be mediocre? Why do we want a larger middle-class? Why would we artificially want to grow it?

      • 0 avatar

        Income inequality can be a good thing. I’m sure that I can’t do the esteemed Richard Epstein justice, so I’ll just let him explain it himself.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8iSTGQWQuw

        Epstein on income mobility:

      • 0 avatar

        Got truncated

        Richard Epstein on income mobility

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        We’re not going to see eye to eye on this, replica. Especially if you admit “class warfare” is the furthest your mind can reach on this issue.

        Equating monetary wealth with exceptionalism and the middle economic class with mediocrity is a terribly narrow view of human potential, value, and ambition.

        Ronnie:
        I’m no socialist, so you won’t get an argument from me against income inequality. My argument is against the magnitude of that inequality. I think it’s getting extreme, but others will disagree.

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        What do you propose we do about income inequality?

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        PintoFan: No, but it is the government’s job to assure that future generations won’t be subjected to life of grinding poverty under a repressive oligarchy.

        It might help to actually spend time with poor people. Most people are poor because they repeat the same stupid behaviors that keep them poor. The distribution of income has nothing to do with it. Government programs may help them survive, but they also encourage those ultimately detrimental behaviors.

      • 0 avatar
        PJ McCombs

        “What is everyone’s obsession with the middle-class? Why do we aspire to be mediocre?”

        Yeeeeikes. It’s been really creepy, over the last four years, to observe the developing idea that wanting the US to have a large and thriving middle class is something vaguely like a communist manifesto.

        I’ve lived in Australia for the last couple years, a country with a similar average household income to the US, but with far less deviation from the mean. Meaning–in automotive terms–you see more Accords and fewer Audis, but you also don’t find yourself at those intersections with a Bentley idling next to an old hag picking garbage out of a trash can (like the last time I was in LA). Which I regard as a plus.

        OK–off to write “DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS ON POLITICAL TTAC POSTS” on the chalkboard 100 times.

  • avatar
    George B

    Barry is not my president, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he misspoke regarding the time period of the potential fuel economy savings. We could turn down the heat of political arguments by pointing out errors without accusing the other side of intentional deception.

    Ever tougher government standards for cars demonstrate diminishing returns. There was a huge improvement when car manufacturers first started improving aerodynamics, added transmissions with lock-up torque converters and overdrive, and improved control of the fuel/air ratio. Each incremental improvement in the fuel efficiency of cars makes a small percentage change on a smaller total fuel consumption. I appreciate 6 speed automatics and efficient 4 cylinder engines, but improving compact car highway fuel economy from 40 mpg to 50 mpg may make no sense in terms of dollars saved. Improving the city cycle fuel economy of a high-volume light truck like the Ford F-150 is a bigger deal in terms of gasoline consumption and dollars saved.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      +1
      A very reasonable and level-headed assessment.

    • 0 avatar
      PintoFan

      Agreed. And improving fuel mileage in the heavy-truck category will save everyone money in the long run.

    • 0 avatar

      Re improving light truck mileage. GM got criticized for the two-mode hybrid (that BMW, M-B and Chrysler bought in on), but that increased the mileage of their pickups by 25%. Improving the pickup fleet’s mileage by 25% will save more gasoline than introducing a new 45 or 50 mpg fuel sipper.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      “Improving the city cycle fuel economy of a high-volume light truck like the Ford F-150 is a bigger deal in terms of gasoline consumption and dollars saved.”

      I agree, that’s the sweet spot. I just worry though if this is legitimately possible, it seems as if they are throwing everything but the kitchen sink at it as it is… (X speed slushboxes, CVTs, displacement on demand, etc). How much further can the gas ICE go in terms of city fuel economy?

  • avatar
    vww12

    You know, if I wanted to save $8,000 a year, I wouldn’t be driving 12 and 8 cylinder cars.

    I don’t appreciate the government reducing my car choices to “help” me save money.

    I understand the government is nearly bankrupt, how about the leeches start saving some money themselves?

    If people want to save $8,000 a year, they should buy themselves a Kia Rio, a smart, or a Yaris. If they do not, there must be a reason why people actually prefer to spend the extra $8,000 a year.

  • avatar
    replica

    Perhaps a better way to improve fuel economy is relieving traffic congestion and having more efficient roads?

    • 0 avatar
      Jesse

      That would be awesome. I would be really into investing our tax dollars into roads and other forms of high speed transportation. If only the president also wanted to invest in that. Oh wait…

  • avatar
    Acd

    Would this $8000 savings apply to residents in all 57 states that he told us about in the 2008 campaign?

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      He’s still too busy closing Gitmo within his first year in office as promised. Oh, and getting out of Iraq sooner, you know, ahead of what Bush had established years prior with the Status of Forces agreement, but then not.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Really? You’re going to lob snark at the current president for not being able to quickly extricate us from a war his predecessor chose to start?

        I do remember howls of protest from some on the right, accusing Obama of destroying national security by getting us out of Iraq. Forgetting, of course, the Status of Forces agreement you just cited.

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        Yes, because he promised it. A big part of his campaign was “ending” the war in Iraq. It ended no sooner than Bush originally intended. I was on a plane leaving as the base I was on got handed over to the Iraqi security forces.

        It’s pretty common for Republicans to say that continued US presence in Iraq was a national security issue. I don’t know what that has to do with me. I don’t share that opinion, nor am I Republican.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        This may be a bit off subject but with regard to the wars, it still kills me there was no formal agreement to repay some of the incredible costs incurred in ‘liberating’ those countries. Sure its somewhat imperialistic, but that’s life. Iraq, Libya, and possibly in the future Iran will all be fought over control of oil. Man up, admit it, and demand your cut from the puppets put in charge.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Oh my some things never die. There were 57 states and territories in the primary campaign. I believe your chap Romney won American Samoa, you must be proud!

  • avatar
    Aardvark

    First, we really don’t know what classes Obama took in college since he refuses to release his transcripts (probably for fear that they will not support the mantra that he is a brilliant, intellectual kind of guy). It is obvious that if he took economics and math, he learned very little in either class.

    He is right however that under his energy policy, the average family will save $8,000 per year because the cost of gasoline will be so high that they will be unable to purchase fuel except for very special occasions.

    • 0 avatar

      Obama’s smart, no doubt. Brilliant? It depends how you define it, but he doesn’t show any signs of being a genius. I guess his IQ to be about 130 maybe 135. I’ve been around a lot of smart people.

      Half of everyone are (is?) stupid and the difference between 99th percentile and 99.5 is exponential. I do well on standard tests and people have used the G word around me a bit, but I know a couple of true geniuses (PhD in Nuclear Chemistry from Princeton and taught at Mich State which has the best nuclear chem dept in the country – a rabbinic scholar who can tell you where on what page the citation is in the 24 volume Talmud) and they have to walk very slowly for me to keep up.

      Big difference between getting an A in calculus and being a mathematician.

      So it doesn’t surprise me that people think Obama is smarter than he really is because they don’t have perspective. He’s smart enough for people to think he’s very smart but he’s no Daniel Moynihan.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      “the cost of gasoline will be so high that they will be unable to purchase fuel except for very special occasions.”

      That may be the point Aardvark, new serfdom. Whether you subscribe to the peak oil theory or not, the facts are we globally have an ever increasing population and upward mobility in lifestyle for most of the worlds population. Either the resources which fuel those lifestyles must increase, or the overall demand for said lifestyle must decrease, else demand outstrips supply. Since I doubt the supply of resources is going to increase much in the next 50-100 years, we as a civilization either expand beyond our planet, or we reduce the surplus population. I see the latter as a more probably eventuality.

  • avatar
    Darkhorse

    By 2050, we’ll look like Cuba, with 50 year old cars covering the pot holed roads.

  • avatar
    jsal56

    The TTAC boys are smart, they post Obama’s smiling face and get a lot of extra hits to drive up the ad revenue.

    But riddle me this, why were Conrad Black’s assets frozen so he could not defend himself against accountanting problems in his own company, thrown in jail, released from jail and thrown back in jail again where he is today BUT the thief Jon Corzine, who bankrupted a company, threw people out of work, destroyed shareholders and stole $1.6 billion from segregated accounts allowed to walk free?

    At least Corzine’s assets have not been frozen.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not that calculating. TTAC has standards for sourcing photos and C-SPAN allows their images to be used and that was the only screen cap from C-SPAN that I found. If I had first found one with the president frowning or looking serious, I would have used that one.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Like the Akerson Volt story, this one misses the point. Obviously, it was a misstatement, and as far as gaffes go, it’s not a big deal.

    What is worth discussing is this notion of CAFE saving consumers money. The short answer is that I would contend that it probably doesn’t save us any money at all, and that over the long run, CAFE’s main contribution to fuel economy has been to encourage the expansion of the SUV and pickup truck markets, which would mean that it inadvertently made things worse.

    • 0 avatar
      PintoFan

      I would counter by saying that the expansion of the pickup truck and SUV markets was more due to consumer preference brought on by low gas prices, and that these markets will continue to contract as long as the price of gas continues to rise. There are no doubt many who will choose to bite the bullet and keep driving large vehicles (as is their right) but for everyone else, CAFE will provide at least some benefit.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I would counter by saying that the expansion of the pickup truck and SUV markets was more due to consumer preference brought on by low gas prices”

        Prior to CAFE, the pickup truck market was small and largely commercial, while SUVs were practically non-existent.

        CAFE required Detroit to sell small cars. None of them were great with it, and GM was particularly inept at this.

        Because they weren’t good at making them, they commanded low prices, which made them unprofitable. Since Detroit had no magic bullet to improve the quality of its compacts, they were prompted to find other products that could offset these mandated losses.

        Trucks were perfect for Detroit: frame construction, big inefficient motors, low R&D. Gussied up with trim and options, they could become highly profitable, if only they could figure out ways to make these relatively unpopular behemoths appeal to the masses.

        And they did. With the large sedan market dead and superior compacts coming from abroad, Detroit focused on its core competencies. One would have hoped that this requirement to sell small cars would have prompted them to make good small cars, but instead, they just churned out mediocre rentals that could be used to allow them to sell them more trucks.

        Part of the reason that Detroit fleet sales are so high is that they can’t sell the output for retail. But they may have hit lower fleet numbers if they weren’t also building rental cars just so that they could sell more trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark45

      “Obviously, it was a misstatement, and as far as gaffes go, it’s not a big deal.”

      What makes it a big deal is most people will never do the math and just believe what he said. He will be a hero saving them $8000 a year.

      • 0 avatar
        TireIrony

        What makes it not a big deal is that everyone does this all the time. The news is a never-ending barrage of sensationalist first-to-print gaffes and unchecked spin, and significant portions of the population believe all kinds of crazy stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “What makes it a big deal is most people will never do the math”

        Please. Even relatively unintelligent people know that they aren’t spending $8000 per year on gas.

        Not that I should be giving advice to the right-wing, but seriously, you all look like a bunch of buffoons when you embrace turning molehills into mountains as some sort of lifestyle choice. While this may play well to a small group of some very unintelligent people, it just sounds like crying wolf to the rest of us.

        When you focus on trivialities, it reflects badly on you. Again, it may resonate nicely to those who reside within the safety of the echo chamber, but it causes others to not take you seriously. And I assume that you do want to be taken seriously.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    This administration hates oil, NG, coal, in general they are against private use of energy since they feel it harms the planet, causes wars, and gets in the way of the Utopia.

    • 0 avatar
      PintoFan

      Would you like to refute the fact that competition for fossil fuels causes wars and harms the planet?

      Go on, I’ll wait. Fortunately for the rest of us, most of the people in the current administration don’t have their heads so far in the sand when it comes to renewable energy policies.

      • 0 avatar

        How does drilling for natural gas in the domestic US cause wars?

        Also, it seems to me that the more competition there is for “conflict oil” the less that oil can be used to keep the conflicts going.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        PintoFan: Would you like to refute the fact that competition for fossil fuels causes wars and harms the planet?

        So, drilling for natural gas in North Dakota or Pennsylvania causes wars? Is China planning to invade North Dakota or occupy Tioga County, Pennsylvania, because of natural gas production happening there?

        I think that refutes your point quite handily.

        I hate to break it to you, but there is plenty of energy production happening right here in the United States.

        As for “renewable” energy policies – would that be like those tried by Spain, which ended up destroying more jobs than they created? Or Germany dialing back on nuclear power, and therefore being forced to import more electricity generated by France and the Czech Republic to meet domestic needs? Those really worked out well!

      • 0 avatar

        I need to clarify my word. That should have been “more competition to conflict oil”, not competition for it. The more alternatives there are to oil from the Mideast and other problematic regions, the less those problematic regions’ instability will affect domestic gasoline prices in the US.

  • avatar
    Herm

    probably did not see the decimal point in the teleprompter

  • avatar

    Obama is a phony, a puppet of the international bankers. he has lied, murdered, and belongs in a prison if not the electric chair. he has violated his oath of office and further bankrupted our nation. the words I’d like to use won’t make it past the censors.

    • 0 avatar
      drylbrg

      I thought he was a socialist? How can he be both a tool of the banks and a socialist? Oh, and he’s supposed to be both a Muslim terrorist and after the destruction of religion. Please. This is why I’m starting to avoid this site. Too many foil hat types.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        People here are cool until one of these articles pops up. Then the freaky personal beliefs that were hidden before come out in force.

        Don’t do what I did today. Don’t read these articles or the comment threads. I got sucked in. I’m regretting it. I feel dirty and I feel like the whole human race is dirty.

      • 0 avatar

        30 mile, it wasn’t my intention to provoke a big political debate and yes, there have been some intemperate things said on this thread, which I regret. The figure was so high I really don’t know how he didn’t correct himself. He was driving his own car and pumping his own gas just a few years ago, he’d have to know that $16,000 a year for gas is silly. That’s why I think he probably misspoke.

      • 0 avatar
        TireIrony

        30-mile fetch: a thousand times yes. And the feeling lingers.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Sorry, Ronnie, I’m really not blaming you. I think your article was written quite fairly, and given the magnitude of the $8000/year error, it should be reported here. You guys can’t be expected to control what we commenters do with your work, so it really is my fault for reading the comment thread in the first place. I knew what I was getting myself into, but chose to anyway.

        So keep on keepin’ on.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Wasn’t it Lenin who said something to the effect of “they will sell us the rope with which to hang themselves”?

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        I feel the same way. I see so much insane stuff posted about Obama it’s kind of scary. At worst, I can see calling him an “Ehh!” POTUS, but some of the stuff posted about his is just plain insanity.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        I feel the same way. I see so much insane stuff posted about Obama it’s kind of scary. At worst, I can see calling him an “Ehh!” POTUS, but some of the stuff posted about him is just plain insanity.

      • 0 avatar
        CamaroKid

        Ronnie,

        Not probably misspoke, DEFINITELY misspoke

        Here is the same/similar speech a few days later
        Scan ahead to around the 17:25 minute mark…
        Then at 18:12 he says $8000 over the life of the car.

        So we have a thread full of insanity when the President made a simple error, one that he recognized and corrected in the very next (and subsequent) speech.

        Its not like he said he was going to kill planned parenthood right before he is going to keep it.. or that he was against the Blunt amendment before he was for it.

        While we “demand” that the President clarify his remarks… (which he has done) I wonder how long before this web site corrects this thread.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Mr. Dowdall, your Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is ready…

      • 0 avatar
        CamaroKid

        Interesting.. You tube clip was cut out of my post…

        I will try again:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7o–wFAlTQ

        [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7o–wFAlTQ&w=560&h=315

        The interesting part again is at the 17-19 minute mark…

        Ya, in the previous clip he misspoke.

  • avatar
    PintoFan

    I think it says a lot that internet commenters have done a thousand times as much crying and whining about the new CAFE standards, than has any representative from any automaker.

    You know, the people that actually build, design, and engineer cars, and who know something about the limits of applicable technology. Not armchair political hacks shopping around for another chance to display some phony outrage.

    • 0 avatar
      TireIrony

      Well, you know, there’s more of us. :)
      And we tend to rail against the inevitability of political tides and compromise, as a group.

      Automakers complained about fuel economy standards, and some have taken criticism from environmental groups for being obstructionist and making political moves to forestall increases in them… in present-day US I suspect they quit complaining because they knew they were going to get stuck with some changes, so by compromising they could at least get some lubrication with the bendover :)

      The footprint rules might work better; we’ll see.

      It’d still be nice if we didn’t put the entire burden on automakers hitting CAFE.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The automakers supported the 55 mph speed limit, too. I hope that no one is stupid enough in 2012 to say that it was a good idea…

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      And if Bush had proposed these exact same regulations, and the auto companies had still gone along with them, I’m guessing that you would be the first to squawk about how corporate America is running the federal government. You’d claim that the Bush Administration was too soft on the auto makers, no doubt because of all of those campaign donations (with the obligatory Enron claim thrown in for good measure).

      So pot, meet kettle…

  • avatar
    kenzter

    The quality of comments on this site has gone down since a TTAC article was linked from drudge report.

  • avatar
    MusicMachine

    To think that American polotics has anything to do with the price of oil or how american industry should conserve is just plain cute.

  • avatar
    Adamatari

    While most of the people here are having a right-wing seizure, I would like to remind you all that no matter WHAT party was in power, oil prices are almost entirely out of their control. And as much as we talk about fracking and oil sands, China, India, and many other countries are more than willing to use that up to attain a middle class lifestyle.

    There has been MORE drilling in the US under Obama than under any other president. Stop having a fit and face the facts. Energy is just not going to be as cheap as it was during the 90s.

    I’m sure nobody wants a 9x increase in gas prices, but if we pretend we can keep living in sprawling cities and driving 50 miles to work, we will get that future. Heck, we may get it even if we try to fix those things, because countries like China and India are willing to pay more for oil.

    • 0 avatar
      dejal1

      Dept. of Interior says oil production is down 14 percent on federal lands and 17 percent from federal waters.

      Production is up, due in no thanks to the administration, because the price per barrel is up making drilling on private land worthwhile.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        US oil production has been on the decline since 1971. Production dropped every year during Bush 43’s administration, and increased 10% between 2008 and 2010.

        http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MCRFPUS1&f=A

        Some folks need to wake up and realize that we just don’t have that much oil. We use far more than we can possibly produce.

        I’m confident that we could fix everything by forming a big prayer circle, with Jesus using a trip in the wayback machine to kill off more dinosaurs for us. But since the Big Guy seems to be busy, in the meantime, we might need to find an alternative.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Fact, there is more drilling despite Obama. He illegally tried to close the Gulf and has hindered drilling on land under Federal control:

      OBAMA FOUND IN CONTEMPT OF COURT: Gulf Drilling Moratorium, U.S. Federal Judge Rules
      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-03/u-s-administration-in-contempt-over-gulf-drill-ban-judge-rules.html

      Increased drilling comes despite his efforts. It’s happening on state and private lands.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      >>Some folks need to wake up and realize that we just don’t have that much oil. We use far more than we can possibly produce. <<

      Not really.

      Scarce Oil? U.S. Has 60 Times More Than Obama Claim
      “…A separate Rand Corp. study found that about 800 billion barrels of oil shale in Wyoming and neighboring states is “technically recoverable,” which means it could be extracted using existing technology. That’s more than triple the known reserves in Saudi Arabia.

      All told, the U.S. has access to 400 billion barrels of crude that could be recovered using existing drilling technologies, according to a 2006 Energy Department report.

      When you include oil shale, the U.S. has 1.4 trillion barrels of technically recoverable oil, according to the Institute for Energy Research, enough to meet all U.S. oil needs for about the next 200 years, without any imports….”
      http://news.investors.com/article/604303/201203141303/oil-abundant-in-the-united-states.htm

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        And now you wonder why I can’t take you seriously.

        Investor’s Business Daily is a right-wing rag that was touting the birther cause, among other nonsense. I would suggest using it as a birdcage liner, if it wasn’t insulting to the bird.

      • 0 avatar
        kenzter

        “technically recoverable”?
        Is that like it’s “technically possible” for us to send people to Mars? Doesn’t mean it’s cost effective.

  • avatar
    stuki

    “….I was going to raise fuel standards on our cars, so that they’d go further on a gallon of gas.”

    That, right there, tells you all you need to know about progressives and engineering.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    My friend has Volkswagen Passat TDI. He got 40 mpg in the city.
    He is average driver (15000 miles/year) and he spent 1200 USD/year on gas.
    (I drove 1998 Volkswagen Passat 1.9 TDI in Europe 14 years ago, so it is not new technology, this car came on the market 14 years ago !!!)
    So when he will save 8000 dollars, 1200-8000= -6800 (minus)
    it means that every years from somewhere in the car will crawl out 6800 USD.
    From car exhaust ?
    But I still believe president Obama, so I will check exhaust pipe every day.

    Car printing money? Yes, we can.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    How can I save money when the car/truck with the power/size I want goes from $25,000 to $55,000 because of CAFE standards? Oh, wait, I get it: I only get to save money when my choices are legislated away!

    BTW isn’t available funds for roads only going to go down as vehicles use less and less fuel? Will the powers that be have to find something else to villify and tax to pay for infrastructure?

  • avatar
    yesthatsteve

    If this isn’t a mistake, I fear for the future. My wife and I drive about 40,000 miles a year between us: 16,000 in an Odyssey that averages 22 mpg (approx. 29 CAFE mpg), and 24,000 in a 1st-gen xB that averages 35.5 mpg (approx. 47 CAFE mpg).

    At an average 55 CAFE mpg (~41 actual mpg), we’d use 427 fewer gallons of gas a year than we do now. That means gas prices would need to reach $18.74 a gallon for me to save $8,000 a year.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    What THE HELL is he smoking? I just can’t listen to him anymore. Hey, Canada, need any mechanics? lol

  • avatar
    sundaydriver

    This current presidents golden tongue is misleading people,
    and people are taking him seriously. We are in trouble
    Personally this current gas hike is politically driven. Get people scared and buy battery powered cars.

    There are two truths left driven and right driven.

    Remember when our previous president gave a go ahead to increase oil drilling and almost overnight gas prices dropped from $4.00 to $2.00?

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Seems like Obama and his handlers don’t really care if what he says is accurate or not. Sure, car blogs and others who pay attention will notice it’s a silly number, but most people will not give it much thought and buy it as is.

    Watching Obama’s defenders flail about in reaction to Ronnie’s article is just as silly. You guys need to go do yoga, or get a glass of wine, or walk around the block… anything. Just chill. Ronnie was giving your guy some slack.

  • avatar
    grinchsmate

    “I promised that I was going to raise fuel standards on our cars”

    Really, I suppose he could spend the next 13 years getting an engineering degree, applying for a job at GM and working his way up to a R@D role, but when would he find the time to prepare for his 6 figure speaches.

  • avatar
    shaker

    As much as President Obama can be accused of using hyperbole (when it was likely that he misspoke), his Republican opponents are even worse – promising low gas prices that are completely outside the free-market reality that they so frequently defend.

  • avatar
    redav

    One thing in the president’s favor is that the typical American family drives more than one car. So, as a family, they may drive 30k mi/yr. That has a big effect on the calcs.

    Also, we all know that no car gets CAFE mpg in the real world. A 55 CAFE car will get around 45 hwy, so let’s assume it gets 40 combined (that’s generous, IMO). The most recent US efficiency average is just over 23, but let’s make that 21 so that the new one is “nearly double.”

    With those assumptions, gas only needs to cost $11.79/gal. But we’re still not done. If we assume that those $8000 are in future dollars, then the inflation that our deficit will generate would explain a lot of it because each dollar will buy a lot less: so, 13 yrs at 5% inflation turns $4/gal gas into $7.54/gal. Then, because supplies will be tight (being past peak oil) & we’ll have a carbon tax, the actual cost of the gas only has to increase 56%, or 3.5% each year. (This also assumes that the price of the car doesn’t go up at all. We’ll give him this one because I’m sure he’s assuming that people already own the cars, thus it’s $8k in op-ex.)

    All snark aside, it actually could happen. But if it does, we’ll have bigger problems to deal with.


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