Pistonheads' Presidential Primer Part Three

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson
pistonheads presidential primer part three

In parts One and Two of this series, we looked at the websites of eight aspiring Chief Executives in an attempt to divine their positions on policies relating to automobiles. To say that our commentators considered their remarks fatuous would be like saying that a Hummer H1 would be slightly out of place at a Prius Owners Group. Still, civic duty inspires us to press on. Here’s what (the other) John, Joe, Chris and Ron have to say about alt. fuels, mpgs, etc.

Unlike every other candidate so far, the issues’ page on former naval aviator and Arizona Senator John McCain’s website doesn’t have an “energy” section. In a speech at a Bio Economy conference in Iowa, McCain came out against subsidies for big oil, ethanol and hydrogen; and promised “no mandates” for renewable fuels. Instead, McCain promised “a declaration of independence from the risk bred by our reliance on petro-dictators and our vulnerability to the troubled politics of the lands they rule” with a “national energy strategy.”

McCain says the government should set targets for “the diversification and conservation of our energy sources and conservation” and then get the Hell out of the way.

Delaware Senator Joe Biden has been in the US Senate since the dawn of time (1979). On his Energy issues page, Senator Biden promises to create a five-year, $50b “Apollo Project” for energy and climate change. He’d reduce greenhouse gas emissions by imposing a cap and trade system.

According to Senator Biden, “China alone is expected to add 120 million vehicles in the next five years,” and since “more than 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from passenger vehicles, increasing alternative fuels is critical.” Biden would raise fuel economy standards by one mpg per year, using the fiendish, industry-friendly footprint system. This slight of hand would increase fuel economy to “40 mpg by 2017.”

Senator Biden would invest $100m into research on lithium ion batteries “needed for the next generation of plug-in hybrids, which can get up to 100 miles per gallon…” He’d require that all new cars run on E85 by 2017, and force the major oil companies to sell E85. Finally, Senator Biden says he’d “provide new incentives to vehicle manufacturers and parts suppliers to retool for the future by giving them credits for “investments and employee training.”

Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd has been hanging with Joe in the Senate for five terms. Dodd’s Energy Independence page also favors a cap and trade system to “reduce 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.” He’s hot for a corporate carbon tax, with the income to be put in a “trust fund” used for research into renewable technologies like “wind, solar, as well as ethanol and other biofuels.”

Senator Dodd swears he’ll “eliminate our dependence on Middle East oil by 2015.” He claims “America will lead the world in fuel economy standards,” and says all cars will get 50 mpg by 2017. As for hybrids: “Americans will purchase more efficient cars and trucks like hybrid[s] and by providing an array of incentives and tax rebates, we can speed the transition from traditional cars to much more efficient hybrid vehicles.”

Finally, to save on fuel costs and lower pollution “by reducing the number of cars on the road during rush hours,” Senator Dodd would “increase access to affordable and convenient mass transit systems” across the USA.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul is a 72-year-old medical doctor turned politician. On his Environment page, Paul says he encourages “the development of alternative and sustainable energy properties,” such as solar, fuel cell and wind, but makes no mention of cars.

On the subject of pollution, Congressman Paul says “The federal government has proven itself untrustworthy with environmental policy by facilitating polluters.” He says property owners should sue. “If your property is being damaged, you have every right to sue the polluter, and government should protect that right.”

As for cross-border car shopping or auto manufacturing, Congressman Paul’s American Independence and Sovereignty page points out that he’s no NAFTA fan. According to Paul, “NAFTA’s superhighway is just one part of a plan to erase the borders between the U.S. and Mexico, called the North American Union. This spawn of powerful special interests, would create a single nation out of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, with a new unelected bureaucracy and money system.”

And there you have it. All of the candidates from all of the parties promise energy independence. All (save McCain and Paul) aren’t afraid to redeploy your tax dollars to achieve it. At the same time, none present what might be called a comprehensive energy policy, and no one seems particularly big on conservation. Given the uniformity of platitudes and policies affecting the auto industry, pistonheads would be well advised to cast their vote according to other issues.

Click here to go to Part One

Click here to go to Part Two

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  • Virtual Insanity Virtual Insanity on Dec 13, 2007

    The issue I find with public schools is they teach in order to pass these lowest common denominator tests, and the LCDs still fail them. They don't teach actual history, math, science, and English, they teach them how to pass a standardized test in order to raise state standing on an educational level. Of course, I hardly believe in public anything, so I tend to be a bit biased towards that. For some ass odd reason, the school I went to (private) required us to take a portion of the TAAS or TACHS or whatever the hell it is called. I was pretty well put off by the questions they were asking, and the fact that some people fail those tests is scary.

  • 50merc 50merc on Dec 13, 2007

    Mr. Lang's post on the Think Tank is a gem. (What entity was it -- Brookings? AEI?) If people only knew how public policy is made, there'd be a lot less support for statist "solutions" to "crises." Once I was assigned to analyze a long and complicated bill that had purportedly been authored by a key legislator, but actually was written by a lobbyist. It was immediately clear to me that the bill would result in two things: give special advantages to the lobbyist's organization, and create administrative snafus. I wrote a long and critical analysis, and sent it in. When the bill had its committee hearing, the key legislator showed up to speak for it. He admitted he hadn't had time to read the bill but had been assured it was a good measure. The committee (which was just as ignorant of the details) immediately OK'd it, and the bill later became law. It's tempting to provide my own thoughts on presidential candidates and the issues, but as a kid I was told arguing religion or politics accomplishes nothing but aggravating everybody. So with that, I'll shut up except for suggesting it'd be better for TTAC to avoid creating openings for political commentary.

  • TheEndlessEnigma GM, Ford and Stellantis have significant oversupply of product sitting on dealer lots and banked up in holding yards across the country. Big 3 management is taking advantage of UAW's action to bring their inventories inline to what they deem reasonable. When you have models pushing 6 months of supply having your productions lines shut down by a strike is not something that's going to worry you. UAW does not have any advantages here, but they are directly impacting the financial well being of their membership. Who will be the first to blink? Those UAW members waving the signs around and receiving "strike pay" that is, what, 20% of their wages? UAW is screwing up this time around.
  • CEastwood Seven mil nitrile gloves from Harbor Freight for oil changes and such and the thicker heavy duty gripper gloves from Wally World for most everything else . Hell we used to use no gloves for any of that and when we did it was usually the white cloth gloves bought by the dozen or the gray striped cuff ones for heavy duty use . Old man rant over , but I laugh when I see these types of gloves in a bargain bin at Home Cheapo for 15 bucks a pair !
  • Not Previous Used Car of the Day entries that spent decades in the weeds would still be a better purchase than this car. The sucker who takes on this depreciated machine will learn the hard way that a cheap German car is actually a very expensive way to drive around.
  • Bullnuke Well, production cuts may be due to transport-to-market issues. The MV Fremantle Highway is in a Rotterdam shipyard undergoing repairs from the last shipment of VW products (along with BMW and others) and to adequately fireproof it. The word in the shipping community is that insurance necessary for ships moving EVs is under serious review.
  • Frank Wait until the gov't subsidies end, you aint seen nothing yet. Ive been "on the floor" when they pulled them for fuel efficient vehicles back during/after the recession and the sales of those cars stopped dead in their tracks