By on February 27, 2010

The Obama Administration warns that automakers could be hit with unintended acceleration of  their costs if Congress succeeds in blocking EPA greenhouse gas emissions. The Detroit News reports:

In a letter to congressional leaders, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s chief counsel, O. Kevin Vincent, said Congress would jeopardize a deal reached by automakers, California and the White House if it blocks the EPA from using its power to limit greenhouse gases.

California and a dozen states could go forward, each with its own rules, if Congress blocks EPA from setting national standards. That would have the impact of “creating confusion, encouraging renewed litigation, and driving up the cost of compliance to automobile manufacturers and consumers alike,” Vincent wrote.

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27 Comments on “NHTSA: Congressional Blocking Of EPA GH Gas Rules May Backfire...”


  • avatar

    The best part was when they said “yes we know that the IPCC AR4 was based on fraudulent pseudo-science, but our trusty American scientists say that CO2 is baaaaaaaaad”. Bet they meant Mann and Hansen.

    And stop scaring us with The State Menace. Jeez. As California slides deeper into the the liberal cesspool and ireelevance, its power to push the anti-car agenda diminishes correspondingly.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “Congress would jeopardize a deal reached by automakers, California and the White House”

    SFW?

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    I wouldn’t bash it already, the car will be more expensive, but also more fuel-efficient. Seems to be the same overall expense, or even a saving for the buyer. Especially considering right now gas is dirt cheap due to the recession.

    It is more important to have stable rules scoped out for the next years. That way manufacturers can plan ahead. It will be more expensive to everyone if every administration changes the rules.

  • avatar
    criminalenterprise

    We need an international compact on vehicle emissions and safety. Maybe start with just EU-Japan-U.S. and see who climbs aboard from there. A balkanized regulatory environment hurts consumers.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      +1
      Add standardized safety and emission regulations and we could have better and more economical cars and could have more variety on each continent.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      That’s the absolute last thing anyone would want. Absent multiple rules regimes, what kind of checks would there be on “the one” regime who by accident of history happened to be in place?

      As long as American consumers are able to observe Europeans and Japanese somehow avoiding immediate death even in the absence of three ton single occupant commuters, and Europeans are able to witness how Americans still have functional lungs despite prevalence of said vehicles, there is at least “some” checks on wannabe Ralph Nader style busybodies and alarmists.

      The greater the variety of pretty much anything, the more information is available to those stuck under any given regime. Groupthink always leads to bad, and over time increasingly so, outcomes; no matter how cute and “efficient” it might look on the back of a budding central planner’s napkin.

    • 0 avatar
      criminalenterprise

      The system we have now leads to less consumer choice.

      An international agreement would allow one nation’s regulatory approval to be valid in another market.

      Knee-jerk opposition to international accord is so goddamned old, and has been proven foolish on almost every occasion. GATT, WTO, Bretton Woods and on and on, these agreements have opened the economies and markets of the world up so much and benefitted so many.

      International trade and regulatory agreement is essential for liberal economics. If you’re “free trade”, libertarian, or consider yourself economically right wing you should be all over this. You should hate the closed regulatory system now in place. Turn off the AM radio and read something intelligent.

  • avatar

    @criminalenterprise: Splendig idea!
    Let’s found another UN organization, set it up like the WHO, make it open to political and economical pressure/bribery. Locate it in Geneva, because this is an expensive, but nice place to live. Pay a bunch of useless people enormous sums to live there, and the world will be saved, finally.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Why doesn’t the Administration simply outlaw personal cars via the EPA, so we can start the Second Revolution immediately?

    Instead, we’re enduring death by a thousand cuts.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr Lemming

      That’s kind of what Detroit said in the 1970s about CAFE standards. Instead of it hurting them the standards actually saved their butts by forcing them to come out with more efficient, front-wheel-drive cars. Without CAFE, at least one of the Big Three would have gone out of business in the early 1980s.

    • 0 avatar
      guyincognito

      @ Dr Lemming,

      Ha ha. I agree. The loopholes in CAFE certainly allowed the Big 3 to prosper, but I doubt that this round will be so kind.

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    No national standard, every state for itself, car companies will go nuts complying with 50 types of emission standards, and cars with ICEs will cost a lot more.

    This will be wonderful and help push us towards electric and hydrogen cars. Seriously I love this.

    Usually the “I hate government” types just annoy with their lack of foresight but in this case they will get me what I want – less noise and heat from inefficient ICEs.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      The ‘every state for itself’ works – until it doesn’t. The Commerce Clause isn’t going away. Congress can crush the states’ laws anytime. And if states get too stupid congress will.

  • avatar
    crash sled

    Heck yes, every state for itself.

    I got sick of watching programs struggle to meet that Cali CARB nonsense, just to make the claim of being 50 state compliant. Let California rot, and do without diesels, and all the vehicles smart people in the rest of the states want.

    Everybody should pull their manufacturing out of California, and forget selling vehicles there. Then it’ll be like Cuba… everybody will be driving around in 30 year old Buick Centuries.

    Not that this will happen. Government Motors won’t allow their vehicles NOT to be sold in California, I suspect. Somebody’s gonna put a muzzle on the EPA, knock them back in their box, and knock California back into their box, so they can keep selling those Super Duty’s there.

    • 0 avatar

      California is by far the biggest car market in the US. The Japanese and Koreans will have no problems meeting whatever standards are set, even if it means importing the micro cars they sell elsewhere in the world. The only companies that will suffer from any sort of boycott of California would be the ones based in Detroit.

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      What “boycott”? It’s just smart business. Many companies ignore the Cali CARB foolishness. It’s been going on for years now. Why increase product complexity, and pay for product development and tooling investment, just to be chasing market share, in an obviously stupid and unfriendly market? So, some ignore the stupid segment of the market, and go for a profitable subset. That seems to be what we’ve been seeing re Cali. Oh, and companies pull manufacturing out of that market, since the stupidity seems to spill over into that arena, too. We’re seeing that as well, obvoiusly.

      If Government Motors decides that those micro cars won’t be allowed to roll over the dock, as they can and will, then they won’t roll over that dock, and Cali will be stuck with the 30 year old Buick Centuries. Good luck with that. Fidel would be proud.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I got sick of watching programs struggle to meet that Cali CARB nonsense, just to make the claim of being 50 state compliant.

      Except that the states with the most money (and, coincidentally, the higher levels of education) all follow CARB regulations, so manufacturers would be slitting their financial throats.

      California, wounded as it is by the credit crunch, is still the largest economy in the United States and one of the largest in the world. Add New York, most of New England, and the other CARB states and you’re talking about a big chunk of change.

      Let California rot, and do without diesels, and all the vehicles smart people in the rest of the states want.

      Again, the higher levels of education and tested intellect, on average, show up in California and the CARB-adhering states. Never mind that diesel emissions really are worse, especially in urban areas (which the CARB states tend to be). Never mind that diesel is on the wane in Europe, now that it’s artificial tax advantage is waning.

      Before you play the “California versus the rest of the US” realize that most Americans live in states, and voted for state governments, that support CARB. Maybe, just maybe, you’re not the majority you think you are?

      Then it’ll be like Cuba… everybody will be driving around in 30 year old Buick Centuries.

      I’ve actually been to Cuba recently. Most cars on the road are either late-model LATAM-market Hyundais or 50s-era American metal (modified to run on sugar-based ethanol), the Russian stuff having fallen apart and melted for scrap a long time ago.

      Cuba’s problem is that they can’t buy anything (and believe me, they will buy stuff) because anyone who does business with Cuba is pretty much excluded from doing business with the US. Interesting how the US picks and chooses which oppressive Communists regimes are ok to trade with and which aren’t.

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      “Except that the states with the most money (and, coincidentally, the higher levels of education) all follow CARB regulations, so manufacturers would be slitting their financial throats.”

      No, a multiple of OEM’s are ignoring CARB foolishness, and merrily selling away, elsewhere. Been going on for years. You seem to assume there is no cost to developing and producing technology, and that this cost isn’t being utilized in the business model. It is, and will be. It’s not “slitting their financial throats”, it’s business.

      And, as the Detroit 3 have been chasing market share for decades now, and now appear to be moving away from that foolish strategy, don’t be surprised if they finally shirk this never-ending quest for 50 State compliance. Daimler-Chrysler did in spots, although not sure Ford/GM ever have. But they likely will now. Why? It’s smart business. You ignore a stupid market, and pull manufacturing out of it. That’s what we’ve been seeing in Cali, as we know.

      And I’m not speaking of the little baby diesels that Cali is rejecting, I’m speaking of the 700 ft-lb bad boys that they’re rejecting. Sure, gasoline replaces the pea shooters, but it ain’t shown capable for the real work, yet. Let Cali reject that… they do so at their own peril. Hey, the Detroit 3 can leverage the grey market, even if the Sacramento fools lock them out. There are many ways to skin a cat.

      So, let Cali set their own rules. Point is, it ain’t the catastrophe the EPA drones are making it out to be. We’ll be fine. And Cali’s wall will only hurt them. The Detroit 3 is cutting volume and capacity anyways, this just makes their decision matrix a might simpler, and less capital intensive, in this tight era.

      And don’t look now, but all the educated and enlightened folks out in Cali appear to be flushing themselves right down the toilet, currently. I’m enjoying this show. It sorta reminds me of back in the 90’s, when the Ford family located the PAG out there in LaLa Land, and claimed it’d be turning 2/3’s of Ford’s profits soon. We all just laughed at the time. It was pretty funny, that they thought they were gonna ramp up automotive product development amongst that crowd. You can forget that “silicon valley” charade… that’s yesterday’s news… and you can get microprocessors from mud floor huts in Indonesia. The REAL measure of economic vitality is what you can produce that’s unique and relevant, profitably, and right now, I wouldn’t envy Cali’s trajectory in that regard, “educated and enlightened” or not. Ford got smart, finally. The shell game those geeks are playing with that electric car out there should be proof enough of the “intellectual” void out there (and they got their hand out, same as the Governator).

      And they’ll all be driving 30 year old Buick Centuries, sounds like, as Government Motors sure ain’t gonna open up the docks for them any time soon, and there are no Super Duty imports to roll across those docks, in any event.

      I’m OK with all this, let ’em enact their own rules. Go for it.

  • avatar
    timlocke

    If the separate states all passed their own emissions/economy laws is there anything in US law that would prevent a manufacturer from just not selling in some states. I read the various above comments and I ( not an American nor a resident of the US) get the impression that it would be unlawful if, for instance, GM, just stopped selling cars in “awkward” states.
    Is this the case?

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      “If the separate states all passed their own emissions/economy laws is there anything in US law that would prevent a manufacturer from just not selling in some states. I read the various above comments and I ( not an American nor a resident of the US) get the impression that it would be unlawful if, for instance, GM, just stopped selling cars in “awkward” states.
      Is this the case?”

      .
      .

      No, I don’t believe it’s the case that you can force a company to do business in any state. I’m not a lawyer, but there are automotive OEM’s who ignore Cali, for example, but sell elsewhere.

  • avatar
    Packard

    Congress blocking the new standards doesn’t allow 50 states to set different regulations, but merely goes back to the system under which California can set its own standards, which other states can adopt if they wish, provided the EPA approves the California standards where different than federal standards. So, no different than now.

    What is really at stake is the Obama administration’s love of the “carbon is evil” powertrip, which they want to continue even as the “science” behind global warming hs discredited as nothing but fraud.

    Congress should block these standards – not so much because it helps or doesn’t help the automakers (including the one they own), but because letting Obama and his crowd make laws based on myths is a really, really bad idea.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      What is really at stake is the Obama administration’s love of the “carbon is evil” powertrip, which they want to continue even as the “science” behind global warming hs discredited as nothing but fraud.

      I know this is like poking a sore tooth, but the science wasn’t proven fraudulent at all. Not even close.

      I do find it interesting to see how what actually happened (a misunderstanding about how data normalization works and some untoward comments by one scientist) has been proxied into “The whole thing is a fraud!” through a mass-media version of Telephone.

      It’s amazing how, if you repeat a “creative misunderstanding” often enough people start to believe it.**

      ** eg, like Intelligent Design.

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      Of course it’s a fraud. If you actively supress the peer review process, that is a fraudulent action, and it also moves your own work into the realm of fraud. Quite simple, really, and you don’t have to look at a scrap of that work to come to this determination.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    Progressives rule!
    Eat it baby, the majority voted for it.

  • avatar
    George B

    All states have the ability to do the one thing guaranteed to reduce carbon dioxide output: raise fuel excise taxes to make fuel expensive. I hear California could use that tax revenue right now too. Using pollution regulations to try to force consumers to buy more fuel efficient cars is a weasely way for politicians to act green while only pissing off the minority of voters buying a car in a given year.

    If I understand the structure of the Clean Air Act, it allows California to have a separate set of pollution regulations because CARB existed before the original clean air act, but new state regulations different from California are preempted. If congress blocks federal carbon dioxide regulation, auto manufacturers would have to go back to dealing with separate “California” back door fuel economy rules vs. uniform across the country fuel economy rules. Why would auto manufacturers choose uniform rules pushing uniform low profit small cars over two sets of rules and the chance to profit from light truck sales in most of the states?

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    First off, allowing CA to set their own standards is a good test of what can be done.

    Second, LA, CA is hemmed in by mountains and has an enormous number of cars so the people there need relief from engines that can’t produce some power without making a mess.

    Third, the idea of CA, OR, WA, BC, HA, and maybe Japan getting together and creating a new country might be a very good idea. This new country wouldn’t have to subsidize the corn growers, the coal companies, or pay for the wars to keep oil prices lower.

    And you “I hate government” types would have great fun seeing how much your government would shrink after loosing CA tax revenue.

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      “Third, the idea of CA, OR, WA, BC, HA, and maybe Japan getting together and creating a new country might be a very good idea. This new country wouldn’t have to subsidize the corn growers, the coal companies, or pay for the wars to keep oil prices lower.

      And you “I hate government” types would have great fun seeing how much your government would shrink after loosing CA tax revenue.”

      .
      .

      Well, I’m all for Cali setting whatever standards they want. And I’m all for Cali seceding from the Union if they want. I don’t think you quite understand the ramifications of that secession, however. It’ll hurt Cali far more than it hurts anybody here in the US.

      – The newly founded nation state of California would be devoid of harbors, as all navigable waterways belong to the Feds. Those would be available for lease to Cali, for a price. Alternatively, Cali could build their own. Good luck financing that.

      – The interstate highway, rail and even utility rights-of-way would belong to the Feds, and be available for lease or purchase, or not, as the case may be.

      – Past utilities agreements would be void. Favored status would revert to the remaining states, and past Cali rolling blackouts would become an everyday occurrence. Good luck financing replacement capacity.

      – All military reservations would remain in Fed hands. All foreign nationals might be removed from those locations, or not. Purchasing would favor US interests, not a foreign nation’s.

      – Cali territorial waters to extend only to a 3-mile limit. Outside that, and with the removal of Cali enviro foolishness from the equation, the oil/gas drilling derricks would pop up like Spring crocuses. Drill, baby, drill! Oh, and all other inland federal lands in Cali would do likewise.

      – Of course, the US would likely be leasing harbor space to whoever wants it, like maybe the Somali pirates for example, who’d be free to go gangsta on a feeble nation’s shipping. Good luck financing a Navy.

      – That Fed paid water in the Valley? Gone. The backbone of Cali… agriculture… gone. No more greening of the desert at Uncle Sugar’s expense. There’ll be a meter on that water, for the first time ever. However, I don’t expect Cali to unlatch from this welfare teat… ever. It’s their backbone, and paid for by the rest of us.

      – The US would allow current companies and citizens the choice of whether to remain a part of the US, and the most productive would certainly opt to do so. Cali would be left with a bunch of public employees, a disfunctinal Sacramento government, and a prison system chock full of criminals, plus some nice beaches. The largest welfare state in the world. The US would lose Pebble Beach. Oh well.

      Hey, I’m all for Cali exercising their right to self determination. It’d save us the Governator’s pleading for $10B of our cash right now, for sure. And we wouldn’t have to fund that Tesla scam.

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