By on April 18, 2017

Out of Patience Fuel Gauge Mug

Not to go all political on you, but it’s amazing how President Obama acted more like a bitter foreclosure victim — one who goes nuts and destroys as much of the house as they can, just short of being arrested for vandalism — during his last days in office, and not a graceful man given two terms as the leader of the free world.

Mr. Obama did this in two ways: one action affected a short list of government folk, and the other impacted one of the most important industries in our lives — the auto industry.

The short-listed government victims are those affected by Obama’s order to share dirt on people talking with “foreigners.” It’s against the law — but when did that stop the former President? What’s worse, and perhaps deadly, is Mr. Obama’s decision to renege on his promise to check and perhaps re-adjust the daunting future Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard his administration first put in place in 2009, which the administration made even wackier in 2011.

How wacky? The automakers, most of them with guns to their heads, agreed in July 2011 to increase fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025. Everybody was on-board this Titanic, including major automakers, the suicidal United Auto Workers, and the People’s Republic of California. But there was a huge “but.

That “but?” CAFE kills.

Back in 2002, the National Academy of Sciences — a non-political group of fairly smart people — conducted a study on the effects of CAFE on the dying — ahem — driving public. It found that over the nearly three decades CAFE had been the law of the land, downsizing of cars and trucks for fuel economy has cost America about 2,000 lives a year. The media scoffed at the study results. Maybe it was because at around the same time Arianna Huffington and the What Would Jesus Drive nut jobs were demonizing SUV owners and the makers of such vehicles. Oh, and the Earth Liberation Front, was burning dealerships that sold SUVs. Nice, non-violent crowd.

The facts got thrown aside, as usual. The gas-guzzling SUVs were the safest vehicles on the road, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). The deadliest class of vehicles? Small cars, the ones that sipped gas. The saying is simple: you can’t re-regulate the laws of physics, and the takeaway was that we could downsize and lightweight ourselves, literally, to death.

I lost my 17-year-old niece in a traffic accident nine years ago. She was in a small car. Had she been in an SUV or a midsize car, she just may well have survived. Sadly, the little s—t box gave her no chance. It crumbled.

Why in the world do automakers agree to these goals? Simply, fear and old men.

Back in the mid-1990s I was a young PR guy at Chrysler in charge of technology and regulatory issues. While I reported to PR honcho Steve Harris, I actually worked for Ron Boltz, a genius engineer and one of the smartest guys I’ve ever worked with. We were fighting the U.S. government’s attempts to raise CAFE at the time. Our livelihood was on the line. We fought an epic battle with the U.S. government and environmental groups. Then, we caved.

I asked Ron why we gave in. It was simple, he said: “These standards are 15 years away. I will be retired by then.”

Crap, I was in my mid-30s. I was screwed.

So true for the original CAFE agreement with Mr. Obama in 2009. Let’s see, who was doing well at the time? Nobody. GM and Chrysler in bankruptcy, Ford on the brink, and the supplier community on death watch. Mr. Obama was holding a fraternity paddle and the automakers were bending over. Thank you sir, may I have another?

Fast-forward to 2011, around the same time the Environmental Protection Agency declared carbon dioxide a pollutant despite the fact it is the thing that makes plants grow, Mr. Obama’s big CAFE push got turbocharged to 54.5 mpg. However, the 2011 rules established a mid-term review in 2016 to look at how the industry was progressing in meeting the future standards. Last July, the powers to be — the EPA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the People’s Republic of California — weighed in with a technical paper that was surprisingly honest. They said the auto industry was doing a pretty good job towards the whopper of a future CAFE standard, but that the 2025 goal of 54.5 MPG was “unrealistic.”

Why “unrealistic”? It’s called the real world. When gas was $3.50/gallon in 2009 and 2011, CAFE modelers in the U.S. government and the People’s Republic of California surmised half the market would be hybrids and/or pure electric vehicles by 2017. Instead, electrics vehicles are half of one percent of the market, and hybrids — including plug-in hybrids — are here and there at 2.5 percent of the market in the first quarter of 2017. The geniuses predicted a market split of 67-percent cars and 33-percent trucks and SUVS now, but trucks and SUVS are rocking. (Very safely, by the way, according to fatality rates, but that’s another issue the greenies don’t want to hear.)

So much for facts. Enter President Obama. At the end of 2016, as he and Michelle were packing up and not stealing the White House silverware, his EPA locked in automaker targets under the CAFE standards demanding automakers meet a fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025, despite the mid-term review results.

Can the automakers meet this future standard? They, as they always do, will try. Back in the early 1970s, the U.S. Congress created a tailpipe emissions standard that no automaker on the planet could meet. What happened? Did the geniuses at Daimler and Toyota find the answer? No, it was the nerds at General Motors that invented the catalytic converter for cars. Their reward? Calls that they were lying and hiding a solution all along, instead of a Nobel Peace Prize.

Today’s vehicles get remarkable fuel economy considering all the safety equipment included in even the most entry-level passenger car. But the question remains: Will the automakers fail to meet the upcoming CAFE standard, less than a decade away? As it stands: yes, but probably not, and not because of some technological advancement that’ll put fuel economy in hyperdrive.

The new President has ordered a review of the process. The Donald has placed unnecessary and costly regulations in his crosshairs. The U.S. automakers are privately cheering him on, despite the fact that he bitch-slapped Ford (in particular) and GM during the primary for potential job losses that are now, magically, fixed.

Expect by fall that Obama’s CAFE stranglehold to disappear and a sensible, yet challenging future CAFE standard the law of the land — one that doesn’t make automakers do stupid things that make their vehicles unsafe at any speed. The enviro-crowd will go nuts — bank on it — but I hope we let the Force of Physics be with us.

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251 Comments on “That’s Off-The-Record: A CAFE With a Bad Menu...”


  • avatar
    caltemus

    “Not to go all political on you…”

    Well you did. This whole editorial was a diatribe against Obama. You don’t even mention the different, lower standards that light trucks have to meet. I’ll agree that CAFE was a contributing factor to some of the problems US automakers are facing, but there are several more rational ways to approach that argument.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      So much for that “no politics” dicteum.

      So, Mark, how about bringing in a flaminig leftie to counterpoint this diatribe?

      • 0 avatar

        I never said no politics full stop. I said no politics that do not relate to the automotive industry. This is squarely in our wheelhouse. Don’t agree with the sentiment? Comment. But this is well within our scope of content.

        For the record, I don’t agree with some of it — but I’m happy as hell to publish it and I’ll defend it.

        • 0 avatar
          MPAVictoria

          “The short-listed government victims are those affected by Obama’s order to share dirt on people talking with “foreigners.” It’s against the law”

          This is related to cars how?

          • 0 avatar

            He was talking about the two actions taken by Obama on the way out. I’m not going to take away Jason’s creative license and say he can only mention one of those two things.

          • 0 avatar
            King of Eldorado

            MPAV, you left off the last, most political part of the second sentence. It read in full: “It’s against the law — but when did that stop the former President?” It’s ridiculous for the author to suggest that Obama, the most scandal-free president in decades, routinely failed to observe the law.

            I disagree with but accept Mark’s “creative license” rationale for allowing the author to mention what he believes to be a specific second example, but a blanket unsupported suggestion of criminality? Nope. That’s pure politics, and a lie.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I think you’re hitting that bong a bit too hard there, King.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          “…but I’m happy as hell to publish it and I’ll defend it.”

          Hope you have no other pressing items today, then.

          This guy’s hair is on fire – you bought it hook, line and sinker.

          Carry on.

        • 0 avatar
          marc

          An article that has political points about the auto industry is to be expected. A hack hit job on the outgoing president with incomplete facts (the numbers cited were not agreed on even by the committee), appeals to emotion (unnecessarily bringing up the death of a family member), and outlandish partisanship (cheerleading for Trump and lying about investigations into Americans) is a new low. Not that I have come to expect anything else from this site recently.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Obummer!

          • 0 avatar

            Do you know the difference between news and an opinion column? This is the latter. Like I said elsewhere in these comments, I don’t agree with some of the points, but they’re definitely within our scope.

          • 0 avatar
            Jason Vines

            Please, please tell me where I got facts wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Jason,
            What you have incorrect. Your whole view is incorrect. This has lead to a poor assessment. Just re-read your opinion piece here.

            A 2002 SUV is safer than a smaller car.

            US SUVs and pickups were very unsafe.

            Global pickups were as well until 2011 when the mainstream brands started building 5 star pickups and SUVs.

            The US is finally building safer large vehicles.

            You appear to support CAFE, but not in its current state.

            I don’t support CAFE.

            The US should adopt the same regulatory instruments that its competitors are using. This will facilitate trade, produce safer vehicles reducing the US’es nearly 3rd world road fatality rate and reduce the cost of vehicles to the consumer.

            It is a sad story regarding your niece. But the reality is if she was in the EU or Australia she would have a 50% better chance and possibly still be here today.

            So, why is it countries with little sh!tboxes have a far superior road safety record.

            So, stop cherry picking anecdotal data and use real data and make real comparisons with competitors.

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          Thanks. Everybody has an opinion and they day we all drop everything to sit in our comfy chair and stop any and all critical thinking but instead sit and nod saying “uh huh” every time we read an article it is time to put this nation to pasture. There are days that civil discourse seems to have run its course and the only way to talk is to either yell or get violent. (Or burn down a Starbucks, but is that really a bad thing or good thing?)

          These very forums can be used to provide a counterpoint to an opinion piece, which most reviews are also, but it seems people would rather go on about the intent and not the content.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @Jason:

            I wouldn’t argue with your facts as much as I’d argue with your interpretation of them.

            Example:
            ” The saying is simple: you can’t re-regulate the laws of physics, and the takeaway was that we could downsize and lightweight ourselves, literally, to death.”

            The first part is fact, and the second part is just silly rhetoric that ignores simple economic reality. I don’t doubt that I’d be safer in a 6,000 pound monster SUV than I am in my Jetta. But I can’t afford a 6,000 pound monster SUV. I can afford my Jetta.

            The question is how to make that Jetta as safe as it can be. And there are two approaches: 1) “the market,” and 2) regulation.

            We know automakers won’t build small cars with all the safety stuff on their own. That’s business reality. We both know what the reasons are (limited margins, cost-conscious buyers, etc). And that reality makes sense from a business standpoint. From a moral standpoint, it’s reprehensible. If small cars aren’t built to a higher standard, then the likelihood of someone else dying the way your niece did just goes up.

            Your piece would have been far stronger without specious reasoning like “we’re downsizing ourselves to death.”

          • 0 avatar
            Willyam

            “We know automakers won’t build small cars with all the safety stuff on their own. ”

            You aren’t kidding FreedMike, they won’t put the safety stuff in big trucks on their own, either. For reference: 2015 Ford F150 wheel intrusion and the IIHS offset test.

            And this from Ford, caught sans pants by Pinto-BBQ’s, who should know better by now.

            Full disclosure – I owned a 1998 version, one of the most origami trucks in a crash ever made.

          • 0 avatar

            @Flipper: Well said, sir!

            I also support Mark’s decision on publishing this. Civil discourse “demands” opposing views and “thoughtful” discussion. Said another way – civil discourse is NOT my way or the highway. Whether I agree with it or not, I should be encouraged to think about what was said and why I do or do not agree with the writer’s opinion.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Mark,
          I’m with you on this.

          I support very little of this opinion piece.

          Lots of alternative facts. Hopefully most who read this take it with a grain of salt.

        • 0 avatar
          Whatnext

          Just a political screed dressed up as editorial.

          Just curious if Jason’s niece was killed by an SUV driver? I guess the safest daily driver vehicle to buy would be a Freightliner?

        • 0 avatar
          PeriSoft

          “I’m happy as hell to publish it”

          Sorry, Mark. This was the last straw. I recently wrote an answer on Quora recommending that someone who wants to get information on the car industry come to TTAC. The next window my browser opens will be to delete that answer.

          Disappointing. That’s all, really.

        • 0 avatar
          Shockrave Flash Has Crashed

          It was clear to me that the readers of this site do not want see this kind of article. I had assumed it slipped through by accident again. Mark, you’re the boss and it’s your call, but don’t act surprised by the blow back.

        • 0 avatar
          ccd3

          This article could have stood on its own restricting its coverage to CAFE instead of putting forth “alternative facts” that you feel the need to defend.

      • 0 avatar
        Salzigtal

        As a Republican who voted for Pete McCloskey, I’m comfortable with the lefty label. Our customers in the “Signals Acquisition Industry” (DoD gave us that label) are allowed to listen in on conversations between the US & foreign soil. But only from one end of the fiber – radio wave – wire. Anything a US employee says on the taxpayers dime = no expectation of privacy. Talk to Ivan, and we’ll pull down your pants & expose your shortcomings.

      • 0 avatar
        Salzigtal

        As a Republican who voted for Pete McCloskey, I’m comfortable with the lefty label. The fatality imbalance can be easily solved with the ancient Car & Driver / Road & Track solution to the 55 MPH speed limit. No speed limits. MPG limits. Not on ability, on performance. The joke was Mr. Lotus, you can travel at 35 MPG aka floored. Mr. Land Yacht, you’ll never get to exceed 35 MPH. You have the freedom to choose your response to the oil embargo. It needs to be updated for BroTrucks. They’re probably on their way to their GED test, they can pretend they’re in a School Zone 24/7. Is that close enough to a diatribe? Both parts.

    • 0 avatar
      dougjp

      Either this was an intentional click bait article, or TTAC got conned big time. A lead in disclaimer does nothing.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Jason Vines has an excellent grip on the grim reality that besieges the US auto industry. For the auto enthusiast the only hope is Trump.

    Rolling back the enviromental activism of the last administration is a good thing. Nay, a GREAT thing!

    • 0 avatar
      reclusive_in_nature

      “But derp! You don’t want derp clean air! You want more pollution! Derp-ta-derp da derpity derp!”

      There. Just saved your naysayers the effort of making their arguments without the effete self-righteousness.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I hope there will be some changes comin’.

        Maybe Pruitt will be the deciding force behind scaling down the EPA.

        And Chao can review what mandates should be retained, and which ones abolished.

        There’s hope yet.

        But nothing is for certain less than 90 days into this administration.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Yes, HDC. Back to business in the U.S.A.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            We were never “out of business,” Norm.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            FreedMike, the way I see it, America was not as productive as it should have been, eight years after the Great Recession.

            A lot of people still hurting, smarting, and most had not regained their self-dignity.

            That’s why……..Trump.

            Seriously! People who never voted before in their lives, and people who always voted Labor with the ‘crats in the past, turned this past election upside down by voting populist Trump.

            Regardless of our own political inclinations, Trump could have a major impact on the US auto industry, right down to the Mom&Pops who feed the individuals, toiling to bring us cars, their lunch every day.

            I’m rooting for Trump! I hope he succeeds.

            I doubt he will. The deck is stacked against him with the GOP, the ‘crats AND the Fake News Media all relentlessly undermining him.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            A lot of people are hurting and smarting because the economy that supported them isn’t there anymore.

            And sorry, HDC, Trump’s not gonna change that.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        Reclusive, carbon dioxide is not pollution. It is plant food. Letting fuel economy standards plateau a the 2021 ubiquitous turbo 4 level instead of continuing to the 2025 gas-electric hybrid level has no effect on the separate set of real pollution laws that deal with photochemical smog.

    • 0 avatar
      Jason Vines

      Thanks highdesertcat. I assume you and I will be in the minority. Bring it on, I say.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Jason, the hallmark of effectual writing is that it always elicits a torrent of discussion.

        I am a political Independent, so I see the merits in your article.

        But there is no doubt of the effect that any administration has on the US auto industry. We know what the last administration did. I hope Trump can and will undo most of it.

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          “We know what the last administration did. I hope Trump can and will undo most of it.”

          You mean you’re hoping that Trump lets Detroit go bankrupt?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Astigmatism, in 2009 I was against the bailouts, handouts and nationalization because it was done selectively.

            I was against it when Shrub did it and I was against it when the last administration doubled down on it to repay the UAW to put their guy in office.

            Who knew Trump was union guy? Even Richard Trump ka has sidled up to Trump since backing Hil was a bust.

            I’m waiting for George Soros to endorse Trump next and get an Ambassadorship to Hungary, or wherever he is from.

            May even see cancelled-chech Ivanna as Ambassador to her country of origin.

            Lotsa changes comin’. I hope they make America better than the past eight years.

            But regardless, jobs for Americans in the auto sector (and the economy) should be at the core of it.

            The past eight years were all about mandates, regulations and government control. I hope Trump can undo all that damage done.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Jason,
        Judging by your comments you also believe that Mexico and China are a part of the US losing exports.

        But yet you support the protection and manufacture of large vehicles protected by a raft of barriers.

        So, if the US concentrates on large vehicle production it is not producing a product that is wanted by the wider world. How can you types whine about the US not exporting competitive products.

        It seems to me you are more concerned about US made large vehicles than safety.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “…worked for Ron Boltz, a genius engineer and one of the smartest guys I’ve ever worked with.”

    I asked Ron why we gave in. It was simple, he said: “These standards are 15 years away. I will be retired by then.”

    Doesn’t sound like genius to me. Makes me think of the “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” – cloaking devices were never invented but they learned how to engineer a “not my problem” field. It made things invisible by making everyone think “not my problem.”

  • avatar
    Sam Hall

    This is going to light up the comments like not even Baruth can…

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      ……because so many of us care.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam Hall

        The volume of comments that attend certain types of posts would suggest you do

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Sam Hall, whether we each are an EV advocate or a rollin’ coal advocate, many auto enthusiast values are deep-rooted in American culture. Demolition Derbys are YUUUUGE in some places.

          The difficulty is in when one or the other tries to influence the industry to go in only one direction.

          There’s room enough in the US auto industry for all enthusiasts to do their thing.

          I grew up as a kid with drag racing, 5 gallons of fuel to the quarter mile! I doubt I will ever give a hoot about mpgs or fuel economy.

          But I respect those who do.

          I hope Trump does the right thing for ALL Americans by abolishing the cut-throat mandates on the US auto industry perpetrated by the last administration, while at the same time leaving room for the greenweenie uber-left liberal tree-huggers to pursue whatever wet-dream they may have.

  • avatar
    jmo

    WTF? I get the need for clickbait but this is just way too much.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think this is clickbait. It’s opinion. Just because you don’t share that opinion doesn’t make it clickbait.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        You don’t think it’s clickbait? As in intentionally inflammatory in a way designed to maximize page views? Then I don’t what to say other than if you let it happen again you’ve lost me as a reader.

        • 0 avatar

          It’s opinion well within our wheelhouse and I stand by it. Like I said above, I don’t agree with some of it, but I’ll defend it. Free speech and freedom of the press are wonderful things.

        • 0 avatar
          56BelAire

          Awwww…..people are so easily “offended”. Grab a teddy bear buddy.

          “If you let it happen again you’ve lost me as a reader.”……..Don’t let the door hit your ___ on the way out.

    • 0 avatar
      Goatshadow

      It’s kind of the opposite of clickbait. The title is innocuous enough. Then you click it and find a dumpster fire.

      I agree with the sentiment that the CAFE standard is unreasonable. But this is terrible writing and poor judgement illustrated.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Firstly, pretty much every president that wasn’t assassinated has always tossed a few parting shots over the proverbial transom. Obama wasn’t the first (from either party) and he won’t be the last.

    And the “CO2 can’t be a pollutant because it makes plants grow” idea? Are you daft? A coating of bovine manure also helps plants grow, but if you cover your lawn in too much of it (say, the quantities coming from your keyboard), you’ll kill the plants instead. This is not a difficult concept.

    I’d pick apart much of the rest, but frankly I don’t have the time; the opening certainly wasn’t promising.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      You and I are on the same level. Lots I could argue, but I came down here to pick out the same comment.

      Mr. Obama made EPA change a rule classifying milk as an oil and referred to it in this somewhat famous groan-worthy lead up to a joke.
      https://youtu.be/KVDvAob5a0E

      This despite milk fat being an oil and deadly (just like everything else) when released into the wrong environment – in this case if it gets into a waterway.

      It’s usually best to keep political goals out of trying to decide scientific merit, regardless of what side of the shouting match you prefer.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Beat me to it.

      What happens when CO2 displaces oxygen?

      In the USA there are 10 deaths per day from exposure to excess dihydrogen oxide.

      Crash Test 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air VS. 2009 Chevrolet Malibu (Frontal Offset) IIHS 50th Anniversary
      ht tps://www. youtube. com/ watch?v=joMK1WZjP7g

      MAGA – Make Auto’s Giant Again

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        But what happens when you crash two cars of different sizes made in the same era?

        http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/44/4/1

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Then the answer, ajla, is to make the smaller car as safe as possible. The question is how that happens. Do you let “the market” dictate that, or do you regulate?

          If we “let the market decide,” then I can predict how that plays out. Small car buyers probably wouldn’t pay much more for safety, and automakers don’t make enough off small cars to just throw in every safety feature as a selling point. Therefore, you’ll see less safety in smaller cars. That’s “free market” reality. Automakers will sell the latest safety features to the people who can afford them. Put differently: would a $17,000 Corolla be as safe as it is without regulation? I can’t answer that in the affirmative with a straight face.

          Clearly the author ignores that fact.

        • 0 avatar
          operagost

          That damn right-wing org, IIHS! And physics, a fascist invention of the GOP!

  • avatar
    kenwood

    Wow. Did I just read a semi-political article here that didn’t compare Trump to Hitler, blame everything on Russians and not reflect tearfully on the glory days of Obama? Did you guys get bought out by Breitbart? Is O’Reilly working for you now?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @kenwood – that is old news. China is no longer a currency manipulator and the new bromance is between Xi Jinping and #emptyvessel. Russia just said twitterpotus was more dangerous than Kim Jong-un.

      One can’t compare #emptyvessel to Hitler. Hitler had fixed beliefs and a plan to implement them.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    This article is The Truth about cars. Great post.

    It is not possible to separate the political reality that Mr. Obama was Pres. Obama, that he did promise a mid-term review, that the science of the review said it was not reachable, but that the fear that set in from Trump ascendant and Clinton failing completely made for some real bad policy decisions as the fourth branch of government tried to lock up the future administration with regulation. It’s a shame this wasn’t reversible like the unprecedented overturning of other administrative regulations that has happened this year with Congressional review.

    These CAFE standards are going to be hard to reach without an electrified fleet, which America will not have, and which China will not have. The ability to hit those targets probably died with the possibility of a diesel renaissance in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Trump can always overturn the CAFE standards. And I hope he does. But that only delays these unrealistic mandates until the next ‘crat administration takes the helm and tries to shove us all into electrified Euroboxes on wheels.

      I think EVs should be part of the picture. I’m all about choice even though I won’t ever buy one.

    • 0 avatar
      Jason Vines

      The diesel renaissance got bitch-slapped by the VW debacle. Sadly.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I guess I would ask the writer if he is in favour of government mandated safety measures. He seems to be against any government intrusion into industry, but also likes the idea of safety – so which has priority? Also, if safety is a concern, and CUV/SUV have greater impacts on pedestrians and small cars, should we get rid of SUV/CUVs?

    The clickbait crap is getting a bit insufferable here – at least Baruth is a decent writer when he jumps off the deep end.

    • 0 avatar

      This is not clickbait. This is opinion. Clickbait is more along the lines of “CAFE WILL KILL YOU. HERE ARE 10 REASONS WHY”.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        MY RANGE ROVER IS IN THE SHOP AGAIN: HERE’S WHY

      • 0 avatar
        gottacook

        “This is opinion.” Sure. But the writer ignores the long-established science around greenhouse gases and their effects. A great deal of that research is international and unrelated to (for example) who the U.S. president is. An opinion that ignores this research because it doesn’t fit the writer’s politics is a willfully stupid opinion. It is a stain on this site for a willfully stupid opinion to be published.

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          gottacook, we’ve had a couple decades where temperature increases predicted in climate models haven’t shown up in the satellite temperature measurements. One would expect radiative forcing by carbon dioxide to cause some temperature increase, but less than the increase predicted by climate models with lots of positive feedback. There is a pretty strong divergence between what most climate models predicted and measured results.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            George B, you’re talking to Tim Cook of Apple, a dedicated and proactive advocate for the planet and the environment.

            I doubt you will change his stance on the environment.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            The hottest year on record was 2016. The hottest year on record before that was 2015. The hottest year on record before that was 2014. And 2017 is currently outpacing 2016. The models have predicted temperature rise well within their confidence intervals. (See e.g. http://www.ocean-sci.net/12/925/2016/ )

            Please update your talking points.

          • 0 avatar
            gottacook

            Wha’? I am not Tim Cook of Apple. In any case, I don’t wish to engage in an argument with George B over data interpretation and the influence of any given choice of statistical methods. Many other governments (such as those of Mexico and Brazil) are actively trying to make their car and light truck fleets more energy-efficient so as to emit less CO2; are they all fools?

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          Just because something may be a greenhouse gas does not make it pollution. Or should we ban water vapor as well as a pollutant since it is responsible for far more greenhouse effect than all others combined?

      • 0 avatar
        deanst

        Ok, maybe not clickbait, but just poorly reasoned rhetoric. The idea that a study done with data from the 70’s has direct relevance to today’s environment is silly. Downsized cars in the 70’s resulted in 3300 pound full size cars and sub 2000 pound compacts. Today’s cars are much heavier even as manufacturers try to maximize fuel economy. Accident rates are probably down by 50% since then, and countless safety features are standard on all cars.

        I agree CAFE is folly – just tax gas if you want people to use less of it- but this opinion piece adds little to the discourse. Perhaps I’m also tired of the trump is hitler / Obama is a foreign born Muslim memes that seem to be everywhere these days.

      • 0 avatar
        Salzigtal

        And the clickbait gives you 5 reasons and 5 ads. And then you click the close box, 5 more ads.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    “Today’s vehicles get remarkable fuel economy considering all the safety equipment included in even the most entry-level passenger car.”

    They’re also vastly safer than their equivalents from any period in the past. Faster, too.

    This is, of course, primarily due to those very same regulations you decry.

    If you doubt this ask yourself whether GM would have dedicated resources to develop the catalytic converter in the absence of regulations that required them to.

    • 0 avatar
      Jason Vines

      Agree with your last line about GM, but, it wasn’t only GM. ALL automakers had a gun to their head, demanding technology that had not yet been invented. GM engineers came up with the solution. Did they get a thank you. Nope. They were forever doomed as the “can’t do” industry. Thanks for nothing. I love moon shots, but when someone succeeds in bringing it about, you should not accuse them of being liars instead of giving them an attaboy or an attagirl.

      • 0 avatar
        deanst

        My understanding was that Honda solved the problem with their CVCC engines, whereupon GM stated that Honda’s solution was only good for their “toy engines”. Soichiro Honda took this as a personal insult, bought an Impala, had it sent to Japan, and fitted the 5.7L V8 with the CVCC system – and it worked. The day GM stops talking out of their @ss is the day they will get a little respect.

        • 0 avatar
          operagost

          Do Hondas have CVCC now?

          Spoiler: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

          By 1983, all the CVCC engines ALSO had a catalytic converter, and the CVCC technology was byzantine and far less reliable than the catalytic converter. Have you ever seen the hose diagram under the hood of a CVCC car? Besides, the cat helped usher in the era of unleaded gas as a side benefit.

          CVCC was a clever band-aid.

        • 0 avatar
          Salzigtal

          Your understanding matches my memory of those events. GM claimed it wasn’t’ possible. It was. GMAC ran GM proper into the ground.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I like to read views different from my own, to understand where they are coming from and allow their arguments to challenge my own notions and teach me something.

    But when you write like a complete d*ck, I’m not going to be very receptive. I’d encourage the author to hire a crane to remove the ten-ton chip from his shoulder and rewrite this screed into an essay that isn’t terminally smothered by his infantile rhetoric.

    I’m a left-of-center person who was very skeptical of the 54.5 mpg cafe mandate, but after reading your flame war catalyst I wish it had been 70mpg just so it would increase your chance of heart palpitations. That’s how this stuff works. If you want to try to convince people, go excrete your bile elsewhere and return to the keyboard when you can write like an adult.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Agreed.

      It would have been much more effective TO…EXPLAIN…HOW…CAFE standards are linked to 2,000 deaths per year.

      “The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards are regulations in the United States, first enacted by the United States Congress in 1975, after the 1973-74 Arab Oil Embargo”

      Gerald Ford was President at the time. He took over after Trum…..sorry Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment.

    • 0 avatar
      Jason Vines

      I am currently researching what writing like a complete d-ck entails. Back to you on that later, or you can just wait for my next column.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “I am currently researching what writing like a complete d-ck entails”

        Should be super easy, just scroll up to the editorial above this comment thread for an excellent example. It’s poor form to cite oneself too many times in one’s research, though.

        Hey, I was encouraged to see that you think the NAS is “a non-political group of fairly smart people” and should therefore be taken seriously. What do you then think of their position that global climate change is human-caused, since so many idiot scientists have forgotten that CO2 makes plants grow?

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      100% agreement. This piece is an example of how to lay out your ideas in such a manner that you literally change no one’s mind. Decrease the rhetoric by about 70 to 80% and you’d be having an interesting debate about topics that a large number of people from both parties would actually agree with you about. As it stands, it’s only my familiarity with the topic that makes this readable. I would be your ideal intended audience as a left leaning voter who deplores executive over-reach and utopian regulation writing. But only if what you were trying to do was convince people as opposed to just picking a fight.

      Also, you need citations for your fatality claims. I know this isn’t a research paper but I’ve seen data supporting the argument that the larger vehicles drive up incident rates as well as fatalities for their own operators as well as the counterparties. It would be nice to support those claims since physics is on the other side of that argument as well. Momentum kills. My car was totaled a month ago with kids in the car because the 3 row behemoth behind my wife couldn’t get her vehicle stopped. In that distance any compact car would have had no problem.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Tedward’s first paragraph speaks for me. No other comments, as there is no way an article this inflammatory and misleading can lead to a good discussion.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “This piece is an example of how to lay out your ideas in such a manner that you literally change no one’s mind.”

        Maybe the merit is to lay out the tenets of both sides so as for everyone to gain a better understanding of how the other side sees the issue.

        It’s doubtful that anyone will change their mind on the issue.

        The lefty greenies see it only their way and want to change the world in accordance with their vision, while the nonbelievers don’t give a rat’s @ss about what the greenweenies think and go about their own liberty and pursuit of happiness.

        Hopefully Trump can find that happy equilibrium between full-utilization of America’s resources, while at the same time being a good steward of the environment.

        Pruitt is the guy to do that. Chao is the gal to do that.

        But the lefties will never be happy unless it all goes their way. And that’s the way it was for the past eight years.

        Things are gonna change. I hope.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Correct.

          The left won’t rest until cars are eliminated, or at least replaces all cars with self-driving, amorphous blobs.

          Me, I don’t think that a Suburban or Expedition is the best choice for a solo commuter, but I’m not going to wish to take that choice away, either! (Just don’t pi$$ and moan if/when gas hits $4/gallon!)

          I just want to be able to get a nice midsize sedan with a nice, naturally-aspirated V6, that can handle reasonably well on 87-octane gas, but sadly, thanks to the “greenies” winning a specious argument around the world, that choice will probably be limited to one Japanese maker where “fun” left the building years ago (and arguably didn’t exist in the specific vehicle I cite), leaving in its wake likely yet another vehicle with inherently inferior drive characteristics, along with possible issues with increased maintenance costs and decreased durability. (The Fusion Sport is the exception, but even that choice brings with it a host of issues.)

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            sgeffe, that “nice midsize sedan with a nice, naturally-aspirated V6, that can handle reasonably well on 87-octane gas” is still doable today. (But maybe not for long.)

            I’m a Toyota fan these days, so I would recommend for you to look at the Camry XSE V6. It handles more than just reasonably well.

            (The XLE V6 is too cushy IMO and rides more like an Avalon with which it shares suspension and engine parts.)

            And as far as the cost of gas, I believe that during the Trump years, gas will not reach the $4/gal range, all things remaining equal.

            If we’re forced into a shooting war with North Korea, that will change calculations some, especially if that nut-case Kim nukes Seoul.

            BTW, I think that unresolved ’50s Armistice problem with North Korea is long-overdue for a resolution. Gen MacArthur wanted to nuke North Korea but Truman stopped him, so we’ve been on this warpath before.

            Trump may just be the guy to call their bluff. And I hope he does.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            “Trump may just be the guy to call their bluff. And I hope he does.”

            As soon as THE ARMADA arrives at the Korean Peninsula.

    • 0 avatar
      operagost

      Why is it that radical leftists always say they’re “left-of-center”? I mean, technically that is true, but it’s like saying that the 2008 Detroit Lions were “flawed”.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    To summarize:

    1) Small cars can’t be engineered for safety because one of them wasn’t nine or more years ago.

    2) Carbon dioxide isn’t a pollutant, AKA global warming isn’t caused by humans.

    3) President Obama’s “destructive frenzy” of activity in his final days consisted of NOT changing the future gas mileage targets. Shame on him.

    Mark, TTAC’s got some expraining to do.

    • 0 avatar
      MPAVictoria

      Also this little gem-

      “The short-listed government victims are those affected by Obama’s order to share dirt on people talking with “foreigners.” It’s against the law.”

    • 0 avatar

      1) When a small car collides with a bigger car, physics dictate that the bigger car (and its occupants) win. And considering the massive shift toward crossovers and SUVs as of late, this is an even bigger problem. Fortunately, there are automakers addressing this as much as they can. Honda, for instance, goes out of its way for bumper structures to match up across its model lineup so they “match” in an accident.

      2) I don’t personally agree with this statement, but Jason isn’t wrong about CO2 being necessary for plant life. We definitely have too much of it in our atmosphere, and we should be trying to curb it from our emissions — and by that I mean all emissions. Cars and trucks are just a small part of that.

      3) The initial target was decided with certain assumptions, and those assumptions didn’t hold true. We are buying more trucks and SUVs. There aren’t as many hybrids and EVs on the road as expected. The target should have been adjusted to reflect these realities, IMHO.

      • 0 avatar
        benders

        3) The initial target was decided with certain assumptions, and those assumptions didn’t hold true. We are buying more trucks and SUVs. There aren’t as many hybrids and EVs on the road as expected. The target should have been adjusted to reflect these realities, IMHO

        But doesn’t that risk rendering a target useless? What’s to stop the auto industry from completely ignoring the target and then at the mid-cycle review, saying that we can’t hit it so it should be relaxed.

        CAFE isn’t intended to push a certain technology level, it’s to improve the fleet average. How do you hit that goal if you don’t try to influence product mix?

        • 0 avatar

          “CAFE isn’t intended to push a certain technology level, it’s to improve the fleet average. How do you hit that goal if you don’t try to influence product mix?”

          When /attainable/ targets are made based on certain assumptions and those assumptions do not come to pass, it’s better to set another /attainable/ target. If it’s significantly difficult to attain a target to the point where the current market demands a certain product mix like we have now, then it’s better to set another progressive target. Why? Because there are financial penalties involved here. If an OEM has no hope of hitting a target, it will instead focus purely on making enough of a profit to cover the penalties, and that’ll do more harm than good in the long run.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            I agree, but has it been proven that the target is completely unattainable?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Of course it’s attainable. Building a luxury space liner to Mars is also “attainable,” I suppose. The only question is how much it costs.

          • 0 avatar
            benders

            That still doesn’t address the first question of an industry deliberately sabotaging the assumptions. We all know that crossovers are the fastest growing segment but there are only a few hybrid models available. Can we blame the market for low sales or the automakers for not offering a hybrid?

            Hybrid tech is two decades old now, I don’t think the automakers should get a pass because they’ve been dragging their feet.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Mark Stevenson –
        A small car can be built from depleted uranium but if it hits something much bigger it isn’t going to fare too well.
        Ride height has a much greater role in crash survivability.

        You hit a Yaris with an F350 4×4, the F350 crumple zones override most of the small car’s crumple zones. You have a direct incursion into the passenger compartment.
        Put the impact points at the same level and survivability improves. We have already seen mandated lower bumper heights on larger vehicles.

        My wife’s friend lost a daughter in a crash last year for that exact reason. Mismatched impact points/crumples zones.

        One needs “room to live” i.e. intact space around the passenger and controlled deceleration/transfer of force.

        There are three collisions in a car crash:

        1. Vehicle striking other vehicle or object.
        2. Occupant striking restraint devices and/or structure of car they are within
        3. Vital organs within one’s body striking skeleton or tearing against anchor points.

        Velocity is another factor and literally carries more weight i.e. force than size.
        K.E. = 1/2 m v2
        K.E. = kinetic energy
        M – mass in kg
        v – velocity meters/second

        A 6,000 lb pickup at 30 mph has 36,869 Joules of Kinetic energy.

        A 2,200 lb car at 50 mph has 37,960 Joules of Kinetic energy.

        • 0 avatar
          Salzigtal

          Thanks for the numbers. Lets abolish the MPH limits and switch to JPKE limits. Might be just the thing us Fahrenheit Monkees in the US need to leave Liberia & Myanmar in the dust.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Mark, IMO, #1 and #3 are the same problem: It’s not that the fuel economy targets went too far. It’s that they didn’t go far enough, because they carved out a damaging exception to appease the domestic industry by sparing their cash-cow big SUVs and pickup trucks.

        If the standards were to be revisited, it should have been in the direction of cracking down on the remaining offenders, not easing up on those already set to be regulated. This not only would have cut emissions further, it would have produced the side benefit of lightening heavy vehicles, as proven by the fact we’re just now starting to see that process belatedly gain momentum with vehicles like the aluminum F-150.

        As for #2, water is also essential for life, but if you stand in seven feet of it, it will kill you. The fact that CO2 is necessary for plant life is true, but deliberately misleading and in this context irrelevant. Throughout our time on the planet, we’ve depended on plant life to counter the opposite process with animal life – we suck in oxygen and send out CO2, plants rebalance the atmosphere by doing the opposite. Now we’ve ratcheted up our CO2 production while cutting down the most productive groups of plants. The recent trajectory of our climate proves this trend is unsustainable.

        Every scientist outside of America agrees with this – it’s no longer even viewed as a question. Only our fossil fuels corporations’ bribery of our political officials and press has made some of us fail to see that. TTAC’s support of this column does not put it on the side of science, history or humanity that I suspect a decent sort like you wants to be on.

        • 0 avatar
          Sloomis

          ‘Every scientist outside of America agrees with this”

          As do fossil fuel companies. Their own research backs it up. They’re just no longer willing to admit it.

      • 0 avatar
        Willyam

        Now these are great topics for debate. The arms race (point #1) is definitely on here in flyover country. I am truly scared to have my kids in smaller vehicles, and I’m a bit worried about myself (see tedward’s experience above). My current used Grand Cherokee DD is comparatively tiny in the parking lot, and used to be considered full size.

        Must we all escalate vehicle weight and height just to survive our commutes? Weight and center-of-gravity greatly affect performance as well as safety and mileage, so is driving a fun car (e.g. Miata) about to be as insurance-friendly as going by motorcycle? Can anything short of another reactionary move in oil prices stem the tide of Ogre’s on our streets?

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      tonycd,

      1) Even when a small car is well engineered for safety, physics and conservation of momentum still apply. When a safe big car and a safe small car crash head on, the combined mass of metal tends to keep moving in the direction the big car was moving with less dramatic deceleration for the occupants of the big car.
      2) Carbon dioxide simply IS plant food. It’s the naturally occurring source of carbon plants use to make cellulose. When the concentration of carbon dioxide available to plants goes up, plants grow faster.
      3) The Obama administration sped up the mid-term review process of the 2022-2025 fuel economy rules and finalized the rules a week before Obama left office.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      You’ll also notice that the Helen Lovejoy who wrote this failed to mention what small car was the apparent death trap. Like, as an ex-Cavalier owner, I can absolutely say I’m lucky I never had an accident in the thing, but that hasn’t stopped me from buying newer, safer small cars.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    During the Obama Administration, we got the Leaf, the Volt, the Model S, a plethora of 25 mpg CUVs, and the Hellcat.

    There is a flavor for everybody – not much to complain about, IMO.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I don’t like CAFE *at all* but the automakers played themselves.

    If they didn’t all mis-manage themselves into bankruptcy (or near bankruptcy) then Obama never would have had the political capital to pass the tougher standards. Not only that all the automakers lined up and APPLAUDED the new standards when they went through.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Hopefully, all this will be overturned by Trump, at least for the next 4 or 8 years.

      Whatever Trump does will have a direct impact on the US auto industry.

      I hope Trump relaxes the mandates on ICE vehicles, drops the subsidies on EVs and encourages the use of all of America’s natural resources, including solar and wind, where feasible.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    CAFE article without the E85 loophole? Nope.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Good Insight. Now I’ll just wait for the usual Trump is the Devil crowd to show up and burn down the thread.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    Did this go through an editorial review, or does Jason have Bark-style “carte blanche to share his opinion as he see fit”?

    In other words, is this article representative of the sort of content that TTAC plans to feature in the future?

    • 0 avatar

      What’s your issue with it?

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al From 'Murica

        Duh…It is too far right/pro Trump/Pro ‘Murica and is therefor “hate Speech” or whatever. Why do you hate the environment/children/baby polar bears Mark?

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        I think marc’s post above did a pretty good job of answering this question.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        I don’t object to the content or the point of view at all, actually.

        I think a discussion of where diminishing returns sets in with emissions and fuel economy is overdue and potentially very interesting.

        Same goes for the tradeoff between economy/emissions compliance and active/passive safety.

        My “issue” is that Jason was either deliberately trying to be hyperbolic and incendiary, or unable to prevent his own strong feelings from overwhelming his fundamental logical case.

        For example, if I wanted to have a serious/productive discussion about environmental regulations and safety I’d avoid references to “greenies”, “nut jobs”, and 3 separate mentions of “The People’s Republic of California”. I’d avoid similar terms for people who have the opposite position.

        This is not primarily out of politeness, although that plays a role too, but because I genuinely think we’d have better conversations in the comment section if the original author sets up an atmosphere that is conducive to real discussion rather than emotional partisan squabbling.

        Encourage people to think and discuss; not pick sides, dig in, and fight.

        • 0 avatar

          Thank you for getting to the point.

          There are two ways to going about this type of content: leave the bias in or take it out entirely. Personally, I’d take a step back as I don’t see myself as a political cheerleader one way or the other (these days at least). Some people want to take on automotive issues from a partisan position, and that’s what Jason is doing here. I’m fine with that, because at least the bias is out in the open for everyone to see and readers can make their decisions on the content of the piece accordingly. And it’s totally up to commenters if they want to see the forest from the trees.

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            Mark,

            Please consider that it is possible for a piece to be “biased” inasmuch as it conveys the author’s strongly held opinions, but to do this in a way that is productive rather than provocative.

            Take two sentences:
            1) “Nut job greenies in the People’s Republic of California are using their CAFE stranglehold to force us to die in small cars that crumple on impact.”
            -or-
            2) “Proposed emissions and fuel economy regulations are likely to cause more harm than they prevent due to the negative impact they’ll have on crashworthiness.”

            Both get essentially the same point across and accurately convey the author’s “bias”.

            However, (1) is an obvious setup for an unthinking partisan screaming match and (2) is a good lead-in to a productive conversation.

            Honestly – do you see any difference between them? If so, which one do you think more accurately conveys the tone of this piece?

          • 0 avatar
            tedward

            Mark, I’d suggest there’s a sweet spot between squeeky clean objectivity and lip spittle rhetoric. A sure sign the author has missed that sweet spot is when a large number of comments address the tone while simultaneously welcoming the topic.

            It’s an immature piece, but a great topic.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          ^This. There’s nothing wrong with the idea of restructuring CAFE, but there’s no way to even start a dialogue when both sides are content to call names and use fallacious reasoning.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          +1 to bikegoesbaa.

        • 0 avatar
          deanst

          +1000 for bikegoesbaa, additional 1000 for his name

          I can enjoy – in Moderation – going to both far right and far left websites, but the comment sections do tend to go toward very abrasive, if not scary, rhetoric. I’d much rather commenters direct their vile at deplorable cars and not deplorable trump or Hillary supporters.

  • avatar
    cincytm

    My condolences about your niece.

    But let’s place blame where it fits: on the driver of the SUV. Probably hooning around (Dodge/RAM drivers seem to be the most egregious), on top of the world in his (I imagine it was a him) oversize, overweight, over-everything truck.

    I’m not saying the 54.5 mpg CAFE goal doesn’t have its problems. But the real problem as I see it is Americans’ obsession with monstrous vehicles. Why does one need some gigantic SUV? They are inefficient; wasteful of resources; not fun to drive and a danger to any of us who drive anything smaller.

    If it were up to me, gas would be $8/gallon; we’d have decent roads, thanks to the tax on that gas; and people would gravitate to smaller, more efficient, more enjoyable vehicles.

    And don’t give me the bull about “I need a big vehicle for (a reason)!” If you’re a contractor, perhaps. If you have 6 kids, perhaps. But a Ford Ranger or a Honda Odyssey would fill the bill for nearly all those folks. One doesn’t need a 3500-series truck to haul plants for your garden.

    It comes down to personal choice vs. the greater good. For me, the greater good wins every time.

    And then, a 54.5 mpg average mi

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “It comes down to personal choice vs. the greater good. For me, the greater good wins every time.”

      That’s your call. I’d rather air haul with a Power Wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      You mean like how California, already having the highest gas tax around, having spent it all on building bike paths and siphoning it for the railways, just passed more gas taxes and registration fees and admitting it will spend on things other than roads?

      The roads in california is crap and we all know much of the funds never got to CalTrans.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        OK, TwoBelugas. Let’s say that instead of the taxation scheme you’re talking about – let’s call it “we get you on the back end because you refuse to pay it on the front end” – the state proposed an income tax hike to pay for all that?

        What are the chances that it’d pass? We both know the answer to that question.

        States do this because if they asked voters to just pay higher income taxes, they’d converge on the statehouse with torches and pitchforks. So they invent schemes like this one. They can then say, “hey, we didn’t raise your income taxes, did we?”

        I think the more logical approach here would be for people to truly get handle on what they want government to do and sit out of, and just fund it out of income taxes.

    • 0 avatar
      operagost

      Another leftist who trots out his straw man. How do you know whether someone “needs” an F-350? Should we have a government bureaucracy that interrogates citizens, and declares what vehicles they are allowed to own? Maybe you need a special license to buy anything with over 300 HP, or weighing over 4,000 pounds?

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Precisely!

        I should be able to CHOOSE whether I can have reasonable power, or efficiency über alles! If it were my choice, an NA V6 beats a turbo four any day!

        But these CAFE standards, plus the emissions stuff going well beyond the point of diminishing returns, is taking that choice away!

        And I resent that happening based upon what is, at least on the surface, bovine feces!

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “But these CAFE standards, plus the emissions stuff going well beyond the point of diminishing returns, is taking that choice away!”

          No doubt the booming sales of gas guzzling trucks and SUVs is incontrovertible evidence of this.

  • avatar
    benders

    I get that this is an editorial but People’s Republic of California? Fine, you disagree with some of the actions but disingenuous name calling should be confined to the fringe, partisan corners of the internet.

    Also, references to Clinton conspiracy theories seem a bit out of place.

    Finally, the author seems to be missing a critical consideration, if everyone has a small car, they’re safe. Physics only comes into play when a small vehicle is in a collision with a larger one. So very strict CAFE standards could help those who don’t want or cannot afford to buy a 6,000 lb truck by downsizing the entire fleet.

  • avatar
    gaspassoregon

    Disappointing. At the bar with your like minded buddies delivery vs journalism. The opinions are somewhat interesting. The reasoning underwhelming.

    The engineering of vehicles to crash well is not entirely size dependent. Look at the iihs offset crash video of a Honda Pilot pre 2015 or so, for an example of how size is a variable not a guarantee. Or the examples of modern passenger cars vs the huge Detroit iron monsters of the 60s, which certainly had plenty more mass. More importantly, there is no reason not to move towards more efficient vehicles and push the technology for both crash safety and efficiency. Bigger batteries would add mass and range.

    Returning it to the good old days is such a lame and ugly conclusion, which, to be honest, betrays a white privileged elitist silly world view. Innovate or decline.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Setting aside the “privileged white male viewpoint” nonsense – and it’s nonsense, for sure – you’re right. You innovate or you decline.

      What this author ignores in his haste to trash regulation is that it was, at minimum, a driving force behind the development of far safer, more efficient cars that we take for granted now. If left to its’ own devices, would “the market” have eventually demanded things like airbags, ABS, crush zones, better fuel economy, and less pollution? Of course. But it’d have taken a lot longer.

      And since this author is concerned about safety, and how the small car that his niece was riding in was less safe than whatever hit her, one wonders if he thinks she’d have been safer in, say, some late-’50s rolling barge built before the quasi-fascist hand of government forced the poor, defenseless car companies to build cars with more safety systems.

      Well, that question’s easy to answer, isn’t it?

      http://www.leithcars.com/blogs/1421/lifestyle/crash-test-video-1959-chevrolet-bel-air/

      So, really, if we’re going to bring the “morality” of regulation into this, then it begs the question of how many people like this guy’s niece would have died needlessly before “the market” finally demanded more safety.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        GM first offered an “Air Cushion Restraint System” on its 1974 full-sizers and personal lux coupes. It bombed.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Exactly, Zhivago. “The market” rejected airbags in 1974. And since no one required them, they weren’t included as standard safety features until the late ’80s.

          Now, how many people died as a result?

          People who like to advocate for “market based solutions” gloss over the fact that when it comes to auto safety, there are real, measurable and very serious consequences for waiting for demand to force innovation.

      • 0 avatar
        gaspassoregon

        It isn’t nonsense in the context of this editorial “if only we could go back to the good old days…”

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          All due respect, but this is more silliness.

          No, harking back to “the good old days” isn’t necessarily emblematic of white-folks-first thinking. Plenty of white folks back in the day knew that was wrong, you know…and plenty of non white folks are more than happy to be racist towards white folks today.

          You paint with too broad a brush.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “I lost my 17-year-old niece in a traffic accident nine years ago. She was in a small car. Had she been in an SUV or a midsize car, she just may well have survived. Sadly, the little s—t box gave her no chance. It crumbled.

    Why in the world do automakers agree to these goals? Simply, fear and old men.”

    Well…sorry to hear about the niece. Truly. And maybe people would all be “safer” if we all rode around in Yukons (I’ll accept that BS for argument’s sake for now).

    But why do automakers build smaller cars?

    It has nothing to do with CAFE. It’s not because of Obama. It’s not because of the Big Bad Gummint Conspiracy To Sap And Impurify All Of Our Precious Bodily Fluids.

    Automakers sell small cars because people ****buy**** them. And they buy them in very large numbers. Why do they buy them? Because – hold on here, folks, here comes a radical idea – it’s what they can afford to drive. Don’t believe me? Roll on down to your Ford dealership, and tell me what a Focus and Expedition sticker for. I’ll wait.

    And, amazingly enough, even though the Trump Revolution has been in effect for three months, people are ***still buying smaller cars***!

    Mind-blowing, eh? Sounds like the free market at work to me.

    What to make of all this? Well, either a) automakers have invented the Jedi Mind Trick, or b) maybe lots of folks LIKE smaller cars. And, yes, it’s a shame that in a collision with some 6,000 pound Yukon, a compact car is going to be at a disadvantage. But the idea here – that if we all drove Yukons, we’d be safer – ignores economic reality. And in the end, isn’t ignoring economic reality what folks like Mr. Vines accuse Obama of?

    (And then there’s this: think whatever you will of the whole global warming debate, but a) we know pollution from cars is harmful, b) cars that use more fuel pollute more, c) pollution causes all kinds of environmental damage that has nothing to do with climate, and d) having too many gas guzzling vehicles opens our country up to the kind of thing that happened in 1973 and 1979. For the record, neither a), b), c) or d) are arguments. They’re facts.)

    And as far as political commentary on TTAC is concerned, whatever. It’s the United States (or Canada). People are allowed to have different viewpoints. One just hopes that those viewpoints make sense, versus being screeds. This one doesn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      To Sap And Impurify All Of Our Precious Bodily Fluids.

      Do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk, ice cream? Ice cream, Mandrake? Children’s ice cream!

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      In comparison to large vehicles small cars are NOT purchased in very large numbers…not in the US anyway. Were it truly free market I submit many automakers would drop them. They exist to allow the automakers to meet CAFE in many cases which is kind of the opposite of the free market.

      As to not making sense, you can make an argument we are at a point of diminishing returns with respect to safety and pollution controls. You may not agree with that, but one can make a strong and logical argument to that point. From a global perspective if you are talking cars you are wasting resources on the US anyway…our fleet is pretty clean by global standards. What you are doing is trying to have the US auto buer subsidize the gross polluters in places like China, India, and the so called developing world.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “In comparison to large vehicles small cars are NOT purchased in very large numbers…not in the US anyway.”

        That’s not even remotely true. Compacts and subcompacts account for hundreds of thousands of sales every year.

        And, yes, I agree that we might be at a point of diminishing returns when it comes to fuel economy. And, yes, Obama’s CAFE policies may have been unrealistic (and I say that as a guy who voted for him twice).

        Now, if the article had made that point without a) ignoring economic reality (i.e., a huge slice of the car buying public can’t afford $40,000 or up for some big CUV or SUV), b) implying that the only reason smaller cars are made is because of CAFE, which is complete BS, and c) the stupid junior-high political name calling, then it’d have produced some real discussion, versus this food fight.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        ‘Murica, in a free market the most likely result would be US manufacturers concentrating on large vehicles with a relatively small number of small cars imported from other countries. Some US buyers bought Volkswagens before CAFE.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      “But the idea here – that if we all drove Yukons, we’d be safer – ignores economic reality.”

      Physical reality too. If we all drove Yukons, we’d be as safe as if we all drove small cars. If we all drove Yukons, then people would need to buy 3/4-ton and larger trucks to win the arms race. And they would, and the Yukon would then become the dangerous s–tbox.

      What we really need is accountability for those who kill others, regardless of their chosen form of negligent behavior.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    All these complaints about clicbait yet I scroll to the bottom of the page and there sits an article about the GT350 and the horsepower wars with all of 16 posts.

    The readersip of this site is like the midsize truck and brown diesel wagon brigade…We want this and I’ll buy that but when somebody provides it they never buy and when it disapears they scream the loudest.

  • avatar
    pdl2dmtl

    Oh no… they didn’t….
    Yes, they did. Get over yourself. If you do not like the article, flip over the friggin’ page.
    Don’t act like you own this place just because you come and read everyday.
    It’s like in a marriage. Some days you like, some you don’t.
    Being pollitically correct is a lie.

  • avatar

    Jason, biggest cojones of the day award to you, fine sir.

    And Mark, kudos for posting it. There’s a place where politics and the auto industry collide and TTAC dare not ignore it.

    This isn’t 1960 or even 1980 anymore. Our air and water are in much better shape than they once were. With that said, I don’t expect any “rollback” of EPA standards to take us back there.

    1) We no longer sell leaded gasoline in the US, if it hasn’t been banned worldwide.

    2) Today’s gasolines are cleaner even factoring out tetraethyl lead.

    3) Ditto today’s motor oils.

    4) Today’s engines are simply designed to be cleaner and more efficient even before any add-ons such as catalytic converters and O2 sensors.

    Beyond the environmental concerns, the public simply demands this.

    But we’ve reached a point – as noted in previous TTAC posts – where to meet tighter emissions standards, we have to sacrifice fuel economy. There IS a point of diminishing returns…and while I believe that point is a moving target as technology improves, we have, for the time being, crossed it.

    And folks, to the subject of SUVs versus small cars, it’s the Bill of RIGHTS here in the US. NOT the Bill of Needs.

    Let the hatin’ continue.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Point taken, Budda Boom.

      But what you’re leaving out is that we have a lot more people and cars than we did back in the ’60s, particularly in areas where things like smog continue to be issues.

      Is the country going to look like Beijing as a result of Trump coming into office and undoing CAFE? Doubtful. If nothing else, if that happened on any politician’s watch, that’d make his chances of re-election substantially thinner.

      But there’s no doubt that emissions cause pollution, which is still a major problem, and even setting aside the whole climate question, we know it causes real problems for all of us. If we’re walking these standards back, we should do so VERY carefully. And I don’t get that Trump is careful about anything. That worries me. And I think it’s a valid source of concern.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        CAFE is a fuel economy standard so its repeal would not cause China-like smog unless other emission standards are also rolled back.

        All else equal, a place running only uncorked Polo TDIs would have more smog problems than one running only Escalades. Even though the VW one is using way less fuel.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          And given the guy in the White House, is it likely that other emissions standards will be rolled back?

          I’m going with “very likely” on that one.

          Are the current standards too strict as is? I can see that argument. But my feeling is that there are a lot more cars and people in general than there were in the ’60s, and that’s particularly true in the areas that are disproportionately affected by emissions pollution.

          Bottom line: we need to tread VERY carefully. At a minimum, we shouldn’t dismiss the folks in California as “tree huggers,” “eco-weenies” or whatever else they’re dismissed as. For example, folks in L.A. know firsthand what excessive pollution is. They know it has a real impact on their lives. Dismissing their concerns out of hand is insulting.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      I agree, Boom. We are approaching the asymptotic limit of what gas engines can do unless we want the government to start central planning of what products should be available to which class of citizens.

      I know quite a few CAFE Mpg increase cheer leaders in California who are also into cars. They only buy pre-75 cars since those are smog exempt. But then they complain that 40 year old cars in good conditions, that are simple to work on, are getting expensive. :/

    • 0 avatar
      Jason Vines

      Thanks Budda-Boom. Not large you know what, but appreciate the comments of all sides. Personally, do I want, do we need, better fuel economy? Yes, if done right. I am friends with the CEO of AVL, whose dad first did a fuel injection of a diesel engine. The company believes we are less than 50 percent efficiency-wise in I.C. engines. Do I hate electrics. Far from it: Love the Volt. However, for many impractical. Considering buying this moonshot when I lived in Alexandria, but I parked on the street. It would take one idiot to trip over my electrical cord, recharging, from my patio across the sidewalk to get me sued. Hope to keep the conversation going we you and the others on TTAC. Jason

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    Out of curiosity, how many TTAC readers would take seriously an op-ed about cars in a political blog?

  • avatar
    windnsea00

    TTAC is starting to push the conservative end of the political sides between this guy and Baruth’s rants, part of a larger strategy?

  • avatar
    Sloomis

    The National Academy of Sciences also acknowledges the reality that human activity is accelerating climate change and recommends aggressive action be taken to address it.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “I asked Ron why we gave in. It was simple, he said: “These standards are 15 years away. I will be retired by then.””

    This is the wisdom to take from this piece.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    Alright. Putting aside the baseless hit theatrics of the anti-Obama opening rant, let’s focus on the automotive claims. The 2025 CAFE fuel efficiency standards set numeric test goals that are not equivalent to what will end up on the sticker. The static test conditions target of 54.5 mpg is an average, and it equates to approximately 36 mpg in real world conditions. Automakers are, by their own admission, ahead of pace to meet the 2022 standards. I have no doubt they can meet the 2025 standards if left in place. Further, CAFE standards are flexible in that there are targets set for categories of vehicles, such that if the market mix reflects slower embrace of the higher mileage vehicles overall, the CAFE targets adjust to market reality. Repeatedly over the last 50 years, we’ve seen the recurring pattern of the automobile industry resisting safety and emissions regulation, only to meet or exceed requirements when the regulating agencies are unyielding in their rules-setting for the common good. The best way for the auto industry to avoid what they regard as over-regulation is for automakers to adopt behaviors (and fuel innovation) that remove the need for oversight in the first place.

    What possible disadvantage is there to burning less gasoline? Since anthropogenic climate change is inexplicably (from any rational standpoint) toxic politically, let’s keep the peace and put that aside too. Vehicles of all types are vastly cleaner insofar as emissions are considered, by the decade over the past 40+ years. But gasoline and diesel fuels are still polluting locally in the aggregate, and the global oil supply chain adds to this environmental burden while also raising inter-state violence levels and transferring wealth from liberal democracies to despotic regimes.

    After suffering an initial sag in power output at the dawn of the push for lower emissions, engines have been on a long march to today’s unprecedented power/efficiency combinations since digital control of engines was widdely adopted in the 1980s. Also, yesterday’s soda-can small cars evolved into today’s vastly more impact-managing car structures. Engineering doesn’t stand still. A Smart Car today is safer than a ’70s pickup. So where is the imagined penalty to regulation of automakers? How are you harmed by lower chemical and particulate pollution? How would you be harmed by reducing our dependencies on petroleum, domestic or foreign? How would you be harmed by successful reduction of CO2 emissions if postulates for anthropogenic climate change turned out to be wrong? You certainly benefit if those postulates prove correct.

    Then of course, you sideswipe America’s most successful state with the pejorative epithet “People’s Republic.” One of the reasons California leads the US in innovation and long-term economic performance is that its regulatory apparatus relentlessly attacks pollution and fosters increasing attention to the environmental factors affecting quality-of-life. There’s no contest of this. America’s private transportation is overall cleaner and more efficient because California acted more aggressively than the federal government and its market size embedded the influence.

    Mary Barra should be ashamed of herself for allowing GM to join the call for rollback of the 2025 EPA goals. She’s an engineer, for cryin’ out loud! She leads the carmaker with the most practical and attainable electric vehicles (with, btw, the best-engineered EV and EREV batteries). One can make excuses for that grinning idiot salesman Mark Fields or the ever-cynical Sergio, but Mary Barra should be standing apart from her automotive CEO peers to insist that GM and the industry can – and will – meet the 2025 regulations as currently codified. History says they can.

    The NAS study relating efficiency-related reductions of vehicle mass to traffic deaths is now 15 years distant from its publication date — the data is even older. Do you doubt that today’s fleet of vehicles in every class are safer than the fleet that prevailed in 2002, when, say, a 1988 car was only 14 years old instead of 29 and likely out of service today? What do you suppose the net lost-lives-and-treasure cost of oil politics and militarization has been even if the NAS study was correct? And do you think they successfully accounted for the deaths that didn’t occur because of accidents avoided by the maneuverability of smaller vehicles?

    Face it. Regulation of the auto industry, particularly in the realms of safety and emissions have been good for everyone, including the automakers. There’s nothing in the Obama-era CAFE requirements for 2025 that Mary Barra’s engineers can’t satisfy. The foot-draggers will be the buying public, and the 2025 regs account for that, too.

    I had my share of high-power cars, albeit at progressively improved efficiency over the years. In 2010, 81% of the US population lived in urban areas. The percentage is higher now. I live in one of those areas, Los Angeles. My average speed per tankful of gas has been 24-25 mph for the last 12 years. GM’s Voltec platform, under my 2013 Volt and 2016 Cadillac ELR, give me muscle car city performance (0-40 mph acceleration) with effortless and quiet highway driving, absent any range concerns. I bought just 20 gallons of gasoline in all of 2016, for about 12,000 miles of driving. My power bill barely noticed. Every year, LA DWP generates a rising percentage of its power from greener sources. Coal shifted to natural gas; increasing wind and solar; and as the drought eases, hydro bumps up. Is California relentlessly prodding this change? Yes, and so are energy economics. Everyone benefits. There isn’t a downside. Trump may induce a hiccup in our progress but the long arc will forget him and his reprehensible, retrograde cabinet. The electric power industry isn’t going back to coal, Europe and China aren’t reversing course on cleaner air, and the auto industry is going to continue getting more out of a gallon of gasoline.

    Phil

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      Great comments, but your linkage between California’s economic performance / innovation and its attacks on pollution is unsupported. Likewise, your comments about there being no downside to green energy is also false. As someone living in a jurisdiction which experienced a > 100% increase in electricity costs due to the elimination of coal and other changes to the system, I can definitively tell you that millions of people would disagree with your statement.

      • 0 avatar
        Phil Ressler

        California’s environmentalism (protection of its natural assets and improving urban livability) contributes to attraction of talent for many industries, and both directly and indirectly creates relatively high-value jobs. I’m sorry but I don’t consider higher energy costs a downside to greener power. The sometimes-higher direct costs simply reflect the truer-costs of energy. Fossil fuels derive from heavily-subsidized industries that load the economy with systemic costs, which you might not pay monthly in your electricity bill, but you pay them nevertheless. Gas is displacing coal for electricity because fracking has revived it as a plentiful, relatively clean and cheaper fuel. Solar is trending to parity or better. Wind plus batteries will eventually alter the economics favorable as well. Electricity rates were trending up for decades. While I certainly agree that people should not have to choose between food and warmth, for example, that problem originates in larger economic dysfunction, not the push for greener power.

        Phil

    • 0 avatar
      Salzigtal

      Thanks, being semi-fluent in FedSpeak I should be less surprised to hear that 54.5 = 36.

  • avatar
    alfaromeo

    My suggestion on this issue is,
    Just do what Bob Lutz said, drop the CAFE but raise fuel price. That will guide people make their own choices and feed the response back to manufactures. Meanwhile, keep the safety and emissions regulation in book. These are critical to life but fuel economy is not.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    I have news for Jason: If your niece was driving a ’65 Impala, she’d still be gone. But you can thank the “lefties” for giving you basic safety standards that you take for granted today.

    My recommendation is that editors get their “facts” and historical info from something other than Breitbart.

    I don’t think any halfway intelligent adult believes that the laws of physics don’t apply to the small VS. large car contest. And here’s some food for thought: larger vehicles are more dangerous for whomever they hit. These morons that speed around in brodozers like they’re in the Indy 500? They’re going to kill someone–and probably walk away.

    Also, there’s not a reputable scientist in the world who doesn’t think that emissions regulations and limits on the black goo that comes out of the ground is anything other than a good idea. What are the benefits to regulations and this line of thinking? Just ask fisherman and tourists along the gulf coast.

    So are long one-sided political rants are going to be the new kind of garbage that gets published on this site? Isn’t this the kind of stuff that’s caused so many problems in the comment section? But THIS is okay? Pffft.

  • avatar
    rtr

    Mark,
    I am a long time daily reader but infrequent commenter. TTAC has – at least in the comments section, been overpopulated with lefties. Jason’s article certainly belongs here given the impact EPA regs have on the auto industry. A few swipes at Obama are fine as additional flavoring. The EPA ran amok during the Obama years and a number of industries have suffered. Automakers for sure, farming in California for another. Unrealistic fuel economy standards cannot survive. The laws of physics don’t just apply to crashes but also how much energy can be extracted from a gallon of fuel. How many of the left leaning here actually drive electrics or even hybrids?

    So, feel free to publish articles which are important to the auto industry – maybe we’ll see more of the forgotten people” post here. Trump did win the vast majority of the country in spite of NY and CA. Oh, and don’t feel the need to be defensive!

    Best,
    Bob

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I’m a regular lefty commenter here, and one of my two cars is a PHEV. We love it as a car, not just an environmental statement.

    • 0 avatar
      Phil Ressler

      >>Trump did win the vast majority of the country in spite of NY and CA<<

      Geography isn't population. If land could vote, and it does to a degree via our Senate and partially in the electoral college, you'd be correct. But if the country is comprised of its people, you have to admit that Trump is a president elected and supported by a minority of the those who voted and of the country's populace at large. He has an opportunity for the next few years to convince a majority he is worth supporting, but he hasn't thus far. The majority of the country's people are living through, not endorsing of, this presidency, even if Trump's electors and supporters are dispersed across a majority portion of our acreage. Our constitution establishes the circumstances by which this can happen, so we live by the rules and campaign another day. But let's not misrepresent what happened.

      Phil

    • 0 avatar
      Whittaker

      I don’t mind the lefties. I just wish they would speed up the grief process a little. Trying to oust writers with whom they disagree(on a free site) is akin to college weenies blocking streets and doorways so nobody else can hear a controversial speaker. Its juvenile and counterproductive.
      The ‘well-adjusted’ course is to not click on their articles.

      The election was 5 months ago.
      Locate yourself.

      Denial
      Anger ……….YOU ARE HERE!
      Bargaining
      Depression
      Acceptance ………YOU SHOULD BE HERE!

      Grief is normal. Getting stuck in the anger stage of grief is unhealthy and indicates the need for counseling.
      That’s what this is.
      No charge & you’re welcome.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “Trying to oust writers with whom they disagree”

        That’s the whole tenet of the left. Free Speech is only allowed if it is what they want to hear and/or read.

        Hence…….Berkeley, NYC, and all those other demonstrations because the lefties lost this election.

        And they fear what is coming during Trump, because it will not be what they envision the world should be.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “That’s the whole tenet of the left. Free Speech is only allowed if it is what they want to hear and/or read.”

          I’d post a list of right wing dictators that would prove you were incorrect but that list would be too long.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Whittaker – The Kübler-Ross model of grief and loss.

        It isn’t a linear process, not all people are affected the same, nor do all people move through it at the same pace.

        Oh and most experts don’t view grieving as a dysfunction until it goes beyond 6 months to a year.

        A grieving model is hard to apply to the empty vessel that is the potus since the points of grievance change faster than one’s ability to adjust and cope.

        • 0 avatar
          Whittaker

          I’m familiar with the details of grief.
          Being stuck in the anger stage 5 months after the death of a loved one would be concerning but not extreme.
          Being stuck in the anger stage 5 months after a presidential election is seriously emotionally unhealthy.
          I’m not saying everyone who opposes Jason’s piece is stuck in the anger stage. But some clearly are.
          The people who are arguing against Jason’s viewpoints are fine.
          The people who are lashing out against the very presence of Jason’s viewpoints…not so much.

    • 0 avatar
      Jason Vines

      Thanks Bob. I actually promised Mark to not be too political. But, some auto issues are political. Oh, crap, I am full of it. Most are. Not ashamed of my political leanings, but willing to listen to other opinions, and, of course, demeaning comments. My thick is pretty thick after years in the auto PR world. JV P.S. Hope you keep commenting, Bob.

  • avatar
    thatoneguy247

    I stopped reading a few sites because the Trump-bashing had gotten out of hand. I know politics and the automotive industry are closely tied, but maybe sentences like:

    “At the end of 2016, as he and Michelle were packing up and not stealing the White House silverware…”

    aren’t conducive to any discussion, political or otherwise. Even the basic notion of the article about CAFE being a killer is tough to reconcile with the very sources quoted. From that study in 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences – “a non-political group of fairly smart people” – the report goes on to say:

    “Because of concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and the level of oil imports, it is appropriate for the federal government to ensure fuel economy levels beyond those expected to result from market forces alone.”

    They even go on to stress the relationship between fuel economy and safety and urge NHTSA to reevaluate their 1997 analysis on the matter.

    Bigger cars aren’t safer; safer cars are safer. I’d rather be in an accident in a 2016 Focus than a 1966 Bronco. Not just the engineering that goes into the vehicle structure like crumple zones, but also materials engineering and high-strength metals have advanced how we should think about the old “bigger = better” idiom when it comes to cars.

    Jack Baruth might indulge in some poking and prodding, but he always comes across as well-articulated and seems to know what he’s talking about. That this is not.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The same thing happened when the last guy got into office, but then the argument against that guy was that he was woefully unqualified because of his ascent from the slums of Chicago to the highest office in the land.

      This time around, the shoe is on the other foot. We’ve got a privileged 1-percenter rich guy without ANY political experience, who never held an elected office, and who scoffs at the deep entanglement of the entrails in the swamp.

      AFAIAC, I’ll put my money on Trump. He’s got a decades-long successful track record where it counts — in the real world!

  • avatar
    King of Eldorado

    I frankly don’t see any real problem with the way Obama handled this just before leaving office. A key sentence in the article is this: “The new President has ordered a review of the process.” Notwithstanding that the original agreement provided for a midterm review of the 54.5 standard, the administration, whoever it might be at a given point, could change the rules at any time. President Romney could have dumped them in January 2013 without waiting for the midterm review results. Given this reality, President Obama’s lame-duck “locking in” of the rules was more of an aspirational statement than an etched-in-stone irrevocable mandate. Trump is apparently going to do exactly what Obama thought he might do. No news here.

  • avatar
    Nooly

    What a breath of fresh air! I get so sick of reading the anti-Trump garbage on Jalopnik and other sites written by 20 year old pajama boy bloggers. You know, the ones who can’t write a column without putting the “F” word in the title for attention. Keep up the good work!

  • avatar
    quaquaqua

    This piece had absolutely no point, let alone no actual merit. The way people will bend over backward to defend poor, defenseless multi-billion dollar industries (and, ironically, raise hell when the government steps in to bail them out) is nothing short of lunacy.

  • avatar
    raph

    Whew! Glad this article came along! Its gonna save me trip to the store since my salt shaker just hit empty!

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    My two cents..I get that no one cares..but anyway…and it may be harsh.

    The deadliest class of vehicles? Small cars, the ones that sipped gas. The saying is simple: you can’t re-regulate the laws of physics, and the takeaway was that we could downsize and lightweight ourselves, literally, to death.

    I am terribly sorry for the loss of your niece; without fail a tragedy.

    However….someone, most likely not her, chose to put her in that small car. That person has to own the decision that cost her life. Period. Safety is expensive.

    Small cars, that use and take less metal to build and get good gas mileage, I mean really good, because they are light are for types of people:
    1. Folks who like to be kind to their own wallet and are willing to take the risk while having a desire to be ‘green’
    2. People who are POOR.

    The reality is being poor sucks. In a lot of cases, not all, you get second best and sometimes third best. You can buy your way into safety.

    As for the rest of it..do I think the CAFE laws are obtainable by 2025? Nope. Will Trump change them? Most likely.

    Do I drive large, purported, gas guzzling full size SUV (suburban) and/or full size sedan (Lacrosse)? Yup. My families safety is worth more to me than 40 mpg.

  • avatar
    headphone lampshade router

    Strange, I don’t recall bookmarking Breitbart.com…

  • avatar
    tedward

    Leaving the politics critiques aside I think there’s a really interesting discussion to be had about vehicle size here. The author’s personal experience sharing leads it, and I actually think it adds to the article.

    I’m going to say that the problems we have with vehicle size are a function of where we use and buy each type. Those compact cars, which I now own three of, are urban or suburban in terms of their primary market. Fewer people need the extra mass for cargo needs, and these vehicles are most exposed to lower speed accidents where their superior abilities handling-wise don’t help as often. The trucks otoh, are primarily rural, but that’s the environment where average speeds are highest, road conditions are the most challenging, and collisions are likely to occur with stationary objects that their mass doesn’t help with. Physics are not on their side here, momentum is not a good thing on center crowned roads with blind crests.

    So we use trucks where they are most disadvantaged by their mass dynamically and where the mass isn’t likely to help in a collision. We use cars where accidents are most likely to occur with other vehicles and at lower speeds, and where a large mass delta is going to screw them hardest even at those lower speeds.

    This is not a fixable problem in the simple layout above, but we were used to this status quo. SUVS screwed all of this up by invading the suburbs (I grew up driving trucks and broncos in just such an environment). Now we have a huge group of high mass vehicles with most of the true truck weaknesses occupying the compact car environment. On the highways the high speeds worsen this problem, and for both types of vehicles. Trucks can’t avoid accidents for s..t at those speeds, cars can’t hit trucks well at those speeds.

    I’m leaning towards a propoganda solution to the problem, not a regulatory one. 99% of large vehicle owners in the suburbs have never been exposed to the mass argument outside of the author’s point that in a straight up collision mass wins. We as a group are the ones who should spread the other half of the argument. More education might not need better drivers, but it might be able to drive better vehicle selection.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    I don’t get any of this.

    Alls I know is that Obama had proven ties to black people and little crampy cars will always suck.

    I think this makes me a moderate.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I appreciate the presence of insight from someone who actually saw the realities of bad regulations from inside the auto industry and who doesn’t live in fear of telling the truth. Nobody disagreeing with him is as informed on the subject as he is, but that won’t cause them to question their silly beliefs. I deal with ignorant voters who are paying the price for their brain washing every day. They never make the connection either. It doesn’t create much hope, but it does create much mirth.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      Pretty sweeping statements dont you think. Or maybe you didnt either way the reason I like this site is because you have folks from all walks of life and one of those sectors is that we have some individuals that work in the industry and have worked in it just as long as this gentleman has or longer. They dont use their real names to alleviate conflict.

      Everyone including yourself have “silly beliefs however you seem to think that the author of this articles silly beliefs are more valid than others..they are not sir.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “Nobody disagreeing with him is as informed on the subject as he is, but that won’t cause them to question their silly beliefs.”

      Good to see a staunch conservative accept the existence of anthropogenic global warming.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        When the AGW crowd makes a prediction that is correct instead of hilariously and undeniably wrong, get back to me. Until that happens, I consider believing in a fantasy that leads to so many inconvenient truths to be a mark of mental frailty.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          To paraphrase your earlier quote,

          “ToddAtlasF1 isn’t as informed on the subject as the climate scientists, but that won’t cause him to question his silly beliefs”.

          I’m really amused you don’t see the irony here.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            I’m amused that you don’t understand that bad legislation leads to bad realities and that settled science isn’t science at all. I’m sure you do the best you can with what you’ve got.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Be honest now, Todd. Nothing truly amuses you. You’re a humorless wad of dyspeptic snark. The closest you can feel is smugness.

            But, if you were as free from mental frailty as you believe, you’d be able to separate scientific conclusions from public policy and admit that you don’t like the latter and don’t understand the former.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      ToddAtlasF1 – I made a post earlier on in the tread in relation to crashes.

      Care to explain how my beliefs in relation to crash dynamics are silly?

      There wasn’t anything political in those comments and I’m willing to debate motor vehicle crash dynamics and their affects on the human body.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    You look forward to a shorter life expectancy, driving/riding in smaller vehicles and sports cars. This was true before CAFE/EPA/NHTSA. Ask James Dean.

    It’s just one of the things you accept, for their greater benefits, fun, exciting to drive, etc.

    But if you drive with that in mind (death, permanent injury, pain), and respect the physical “needs” of bigger vehicles, and the big difference in mass, height, you’ll most certainly outlive drivers and riders of Tahoes, F-series, etc, not to mention, RVs, commercial vans, buses, semis, to name a few. They’re mush less likely to wear seatbelts, especially in urban areas.

    Yet I’ve seen drivers of smaller vehicles (including motorcycle, bike riders) do some sh!t awful stupid things in front of bigger vehicles, including 18-wheelers, that could’ve easily cost them their lives, if not for the quick (evasive) actions of the bigger vehicles.

    I’m real sorry about your niece, but no matter how big a car she could’ve drove, there’s always bigger vehicles on the road. And it’s real easy to assume the accident wasn’t her fault, but it probably was.

    My own niece drives an ’87 Cherokee 2-door deathtrap, first car. That’s between her and her dad. She first wanted a Bronco II and I did manage to talk her out of it. And I really like those!

    Most of us started out with much worse VW bugs, buses or similar, and somehow came out of it, many with bad brakes, bald/old tires, floors rusted through, etc. Probably we’re better for it.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I am not in totally disagreement with the article above but does Jason want to eliminate all pollution, safety, and fuel efficiency standards and go back to the way things were 60 years ago? Maybe we could let companies dump their waste in streams and rivers and allow people to throw their waste out in streets as was done 100 or more years ago. Better yet take away all speed limits and traffic lights and make it a free for all.

    My opinion is the better way is to put a freeze on all future safety, pollution, and efficiency mandates and at the very least postpone the 2025 mandates. Any future regulations should have input from actual automobile engineers as well as environmental groups, the public, and government bureaucrats. Cost, reasonable and attainable goals and deadlines, and input from the public should all be part of the process of coming up with any new regulations.

  • avatar
    Shockrave Flash Has Crashed

    Mark, are you sure this is the direction you want to take this site? I can’t believe this is still up. The lack of the caps lock crowd is why I come here. I can’t believe I’m alone in this opinion. I only reason I bothered to comment on this twice is because I look forward to reading this site’s content and will miss it.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    Love it or hate it, this is exactly what Farago would publish. And then defend the reasoning. I recall seeing a few emails come in at wee hours with addenda to previous arguments. I am a long way from agreeing with any of this screed, but the key is dialogue. I have recently thrown a good friend overboard because of my deep disappointment with the election. To say I miss our discussions would be trivializing his addition to my life. Were we to itemize our lives, 90% would be common to urban dweller and farm boy alike. Surely 10% cannot be the Hadrian Wall of American politics?

  • avatar
    RobbieAZ

    It’s hilarious how those on the tolerant Left get so worked up whenever they have the misfortune to read an opinion that differs from their own. Their immediate reaction is always to cry for censorship like they’re terrified of any alternative opinions coming to light. Bravo to Mark for not caving to this nonsense.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      You’re not entirely wrong but the Right’s no different. They created an entire news network years ago and the recent concept of ‘alternative facts’ to shield themselves from information that differed from their opinion. The proliferation of fake news blogs, Facebook echo chambers, and screaming conservative pundits show they don’t handle opposing opinion any better.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Yes, when people ‘on the left’ read stuff that’s disrespectful of their strongly held viewpoints on environmentalism – i.e., “Greenies,” “enviro-nuts,” they tend to get upset.

      Thus, the intolerance.

      Glad I could clear that up for you.

  • avatar
    RobbieAZ

    They created a news network because they got tired of the Liberal bias in the mainstream media. We had been getting only one side of the story, or only stories that benefitted a particular agenda.

    And to claim the Right alone created the concept of ‘alternative facts’ is laughable. The Left has been employing that concept forever; it’s part of their playbook. You may know it as propaganda.

    Finally, there are certainly as many screaming Liberal pundits as there are Conservative ones, probably more. And they tend to be much nastier, using personal attacks and throwing around the race card and whatnot whenever they can’t win an argument on its merits.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “They created a news network because they were tired of liberal bias and wanted conservative bias instead.”

      There, fixed it for you. Shall I send you an invoice?

      • 0 avatar
        RobbieAZ

        If it’s ‘conservative bias’ to present the other side of the story, or to report on stories the mainstream media won’t then fine, have it your way.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          It has nothing to do with “presenting the other side of the story.”

          It has everything to do with presenting the other side of the story in a way that reinforces the preconceived notions or ideology of the reader/viewer.

          THAT’S how you do bias.

          And outlets like Fox (or WSJ, or Wash Times, and on and on) do it every day.

          The only difference is that you agree with their bias, but disagree with CNN’s.

          • 0 avatar
            rtr

            Are you seriously comparing the Clinton News Network to the ones that told both sides of the story?
            I’m glad to see that some conservatives have raised their heads in this thread. The comments section has looked more like the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed for a while now. Jason and Mark, I’m delighted to see that there is some controversy that does not involve brown wagons with stick shifts.

            Bob

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          There used to be laws in place that forced media outlets to provide balanced coverage of controversial topics. It was known as The Fairness Doctrine and was instituted in 1949. The doctrine was repealed in 1987 due to pressure from Ronald Reagan.
          There is always going to be bias of some form. Human nature is such that people will not seek different opinions other than their own.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “And they tend to be much nastier, using personal attacks and throwing around the race card and whatnot whenever they can’t win an argument on its merits.”

      You know Hannity and Limbaugh have been on the air for decades and draw audiences in the millions don’t you?

      Ignoring the other aspects of irredeemably biased and selective reasoning in your post, one thing that does remain is that you admit that both the right and the left seek out facts and opinions they are comfortable with and attack others who do not agree. Why, then, in your original comment you attribute this entirely to the left is an interesting question.

  • avatar
    RobbieAZ

    I don’t believe anything I said was “irredeemably biased and selective reasoning”.

    I used to listen to talk radio years ago. I even gave Air America, or whatever the liberal station was called, a listen. And I know that Hannity and Limbaugh are nowhere near as nasty as the people on Air America were. Or the people on MSNBC for that matter.

    And I believe what I actually attributed to the Left was their tendency to want to censor all opposing viewpoints. I suppose I could have done it in a more diplomatic way.

  • avatar
    kobo1d

    Dear TTAC: Less politics, more cars.

  • avatar
    anomaly149

    You know, you say there are issues with CAFE? Sure, I’ll bite. CAFE incentivizes light trucks and CUVs over small cars for numerous reasons enumerated on this very website.
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/how-cafe-killed-compact-trucks-and-station-wagons/

    CAFE is also questionably enforced, and its credit (and corresponding penalty) system are easily exploited. No objections to CAFE’s imperfections.

    However, claim CAFE kills? Alright, let’s review the above mentioned 2002 paper “Effectiveness and impact of corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards”
    https://www.nap.edu/read/10172/chapter/2#3

    The paper is 15 years old, and repeatedly cites a paper from 1993 (old enough to drink even) about vehicle performance in the 1980s. Suffice to say that these vehicles performed a tad differently from vehicles today. (remember – dual airbags weren’t mandatory until 1995) The paper not only devotes considerable amount of effort to discussing caveats their conclusion, it also includes (as an entire appendix to the paper) a lengthy dissenting analysis contending any impact would be in the statistical weeds. Finally, and perhaps someone could point at the line in the paper, but I’m not seeing 2,000 lives per year over 30 years, only a mention of several hundred to over two thousand in 1993.

    This editorial relies on a paper that goes to great lengths to add a mountain of caveats and dissension to the central premise of this article. Editorializing aside, this article is as unconvincing as its attendant source material.

  • avatar
    Sceptic

    Thank you! Great article. This government nonsense has to stop. And Trump is the man to do it.

  • avatar
    Troggie42

    I pretty solidly agree with everything bikegoesbaa said in their comments, but I’d like to add that as a filthy casual non-daily viewer and mostly lurker, this kind of article is what will keep me away, and I say that as someone who likes and liked both Baruth brother’s articles and views on things. This just comes off as intentionally inflammatory with the intent of stirring up shit, without a LOT of substance to back it up, if I’m honest. Yeah, CAFE is bad. We have beaten that to death, but when most of the article is “obama sucked” and “I have an irrational dislike for California” with some facts peppered in here and there, it’s just not what will keep me, or probably other people, coming back. I LIKE this site, a lot actually, but this kind of thing? Nah.

  • avatar
    eamiller

    I’m out. I’ve been reading this site since the Farago days, and even helped bolster his coverage on certain topics (I won’t give my secrets away), but this is the biggest load of crap article I’ve seen from TTAC in a long time.

    I understand “opinion pieces”, but when you’re going to start throwing out inflammatory wording and don’t even bother to cite sources (something that contributed to the political quagmire we are in now) for your inaccurate information then you’ve lost the plot as a serious journalistic endeavor.

    If you want TTAC to be like Alex Jones, you’re making the right move Mark. I can get my automotive information elsewhere.


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