By on February 13, 2018

It’s no secret that the Trump administration will eventually come forward with a relaxed version of existing automotive fuel economy targets. Despite previously agreeing to them, most automakers have decided Obama-era goals are less than ideal and have reached out to the current president to take it easy on them — something he appears willing to do.

However, the White House is going to have to sell the decrease to numerous states that claim they won’t accept such a proposal, as well as a driving public that likely doesn’t want to spend more money on fuel than it has to. Fortunately, the administration has a strategy for this, and has tapped the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for backup. It’s trying to prove that cutting fuel economy would actually make vehicles safer. 

According to documents obtained by Bloomberg, the NHTSA claims lower MPG standards could lead to a potential drop in highway deaths.

A specific example in the agency’s safety analysis would permit an average fleet-wide fuel economy standard of 35.7 miles per gallon by 2026, down from a 46.6 miles per gallon under the Obama-era target. It states that traffic fatalities would be reduced by an average of nearly 1,200 per year from 2036 through 2045.

The reason for this has everything to do with size. One of the easiest ways to improve economy is for a vehicle to shed weight. Lighter materials are already an essential component in keeping  models trim, especially as vehicles become outfitted with weightier high-tech systems. As well, consumer preferences trend toward larger vehicles.

Simple physics backs this theory up. Imagine the difference between dropping a grape onto a cat from six feet up and dropping a watermelon. In one of those scenarios, you’ll have to get a new cat.

If you’re asking yourself, “What about crash test ratings? Small cars can still get five stars,” you are correct in your befuddlement. While most crash testing is a good metric to compare cars within a given segment, it’s less useful in a real world setting. Throwing every car at the same stagnant barrier is a great way to see how it would fare against a car exactly the same size as itself. But it’s less useful when trying to see how it would stack up against a much larger vehicle. Let’s not forget the watermelon.

The NHTSA has even said in the past that heavier vehicles “offer more protection than light vehicles with the same safety equipment, particularly in two-vehicle crashes.” And, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s new focus on illumination and autonomous safety systems is nice, that group doesn’t tell you how your Honda Civic will stack up against a Chevy Suburban in a head-on collision either.

That means the Trump administration has a compelling argument against stringent economy regulations that might force automakers to scale down models and put them on the streets with the behemoths of today. It could also mention that the public’s interest in crossovers and SUVs has stagnated real-world fuel economy averages for years now.

Does this mean we should slash the existing economy targets by 23 percent? That’s debatable. While highway deaths have risen in recent years, it might not be possible to attribute the problem to vehicle size. Those fancy semi-autonomous safety systems have been proven to make drivers less attentive, despite also helping already poor drivers avoid accidents. But the real culprit is likely the fact that more people are driving now than ever before. Longer distances, plus additional drivers, equals more accidents.

Either way, California is ready to oppose the dismantling of the Obama-era regulations. Environmental officials within the state have already said they would fight to uphold the existing standards. They’ve also warned that slashing MPG targets would make U.S. manufacturers uncompetitive — as there would be no incentive for them to invest in electric cars and other advanced fuel-saving technologies. Meanwhile, automakers have started suggesting that California may be asking for too much with its zero-emission vehicle initiatives.

Whatever your take on economy targets, we can all probably agree that it would be nice if the decision was left up to scientists and not politicians.

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126 Comments on “Here’s Trump’s Ace in the Hole for Dialing Back MPG Rules...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “If you’re asking yourself, “What about crash test ratings? Small cars can still get five stars,” you are correct in your befuddlement. While most crash testing is a good metric to compare cars within a given segment, it’s less useful in a real world setting. Throwing every car at the same stagnant barrier is a great way to see how it would fare against a car exactly the same size as itself.”

    Easy fix. Just get the concrete barrier AND the car to move toward each other at 65 mph.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Problem solved, indeed.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      PrincipleDan,
      I hope you “speak” in jest.

      Why is not best practice to build any vehicle as safe as possible?

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      You’re not really doing much more than speeding up the same test by doing that.

      What you want to do, is crash the car into a) a pedestrian, b) a bicycle, c) a motorcycle d) a Miata ) e) Camry f) a Pilot g) a Cummins 3500 h) a Peterbilt and g) a solid wall.

      Then rate it according to how it performs against each “barrier,” so prospective buyers can make an informed decision about things a bit more realistic than slamming into walls only.

      Then, in turn, levy a fee on the test vehicle, according to how much damage it does to each “barrier.” IOW, you should pay for how much risk you pose to others. If you manage to do much damage to the solid wall, you should probably be barred from public roads, period.

      So that, and you’ll end up with a proper balance of concern, for the occupants of the car under testing, as well as for other trafficants.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Most prospective buyers think a 60mph + 60mph head-on collision is like hitting a solid wall at 120mph.

        Those of us who are smart enough to understand the difference are also smart enough to assess our own risks just fine.

        A lot of prospective buyers used to get tippy SUVs, built on primitive truck frames, with almost no rollover protection, and mediocre brakes and handling, back in the 1990s.

        Let the free market decide.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    This decision should actually not be left to either politicians or scientists. Tax fuel at an appropriate level to fund necessary infrastructure, index to inflation, and let the market decide what to produce and buy. Radical concept, I know.

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      Agreed!!!!
      Tax fuel at a reasonable level. Current? TOO LOW.
      End the over regulation.
      Let the market decide !!!!

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      Then start taxing bicyclists appropriately for the pavement that has been rapidly grabbed and dedicated for their use.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        Don’t forget to start taxing the battery electric vehicles extra to compensate for the lack of gas taxes for their owners, too.

        • 0 avatar
          TwoBelugas

          And stop subsidizing bike lanes, buses and light rails with gas taxes like so many states do, since all of a suddenly pro-fuel-tax people consider themselves the voice of the market.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Stop subsidizing roads, period. Nothing wrong with Raptors, dirtbikes, mountain bikes horses and boots. Then stop subsidizing cops and lawyers as well. Honestly nothing wrong with fists and guns either. Given the current, and worsening, decrepit state of the West, it’s getting harder and harder to argue it has much recommending it over Mogadishu in the 90s.

            As long as you do have a government building roads and enforcing “laws,” you want to skew taxing of different activities, such that each road user sees, with as little distortion as possible, the cost of their own specific use. A road fee per mile per pound of vehicle, and per horsepower at the rear wheel, per footprint of space it takes up, per amount of sight lines it blocks for others and per risk of harm it poses to others, is a good way to start.

            Back in ancientdom, pre computers with the ability to cheaply work with large numbers of measures, simplifying everything down to a few classes of vehicle, may have been justifiable. But now, it makes sense to go for a bit more precision.

      • 0 avatar
        Add Lightness

        I will subsidize the asphalt when you stop using my oxygen.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      How does raising gasoline tax improve market efficiency?

      Raising federal gasoline tax crowds-out state revenues. If we doubled or tripled federal gasoline tax, fuel demand would decline in the long run, and states would earn less revenue, which would require new taxes elsewhere or federal bailouts. Furthermore, how does raising gasoline/diesel tax do anything other than incentive electric cars, which do not necessarily improve carbon emissions and which do not decrease road maintenance demands?

      You’re actually creating deadweight loss, undermining the principle of federalism upon which this country is founded, significantly increasing cost of living for seniors and poor people, creating an irrational preference for pollution at the power plant situs, and claiming that the world will be a better place.

      How does this sort of lunacy get installed in people’s brains?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Near complete control of media and mainstream public schools. Tell the big lie over and over until proles believe it.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        TW5,
        The problem of State funding is an easy fix. The Federal Government provides more funding to the States.

        This has its up and down sides as that how it’s done in Australia.

        The Federal Government dishes out the majority of taxes collected to the States.

        States like NSW indirectly adds funds to places like the Northern Territory for infrastructure and development.

        This has reduced the disparity between States. For major infrastructure the States must put forward complete impact studies, the major infrastructure programmes are then prioritised according to needs (sometimes).

        The down side is the States that subsidise the other States and Territories lose money.

        In Australia States are not allowed to tax persay, they levy charges and duties. You’ll find most of the methods employed by States have a negative impact, the “taxes” are not good “taxes”.

        Consumption tax is the best and most efficient method for taxation. The problem with taxation (in Australia and most likely any OECD economy) is the ability to write down profits unfairly.

        The average guy running Joe Pizza Parlour, Joe the Plumber or Joe the wage earner doesn’t have the same capacity to write down much, like major corporations. So, it seems to more you have the easier it is to write down profit.

        Australia now has this push to drop Corporate Taxation down to 19% from 30%. The problem is that’s the headline tax. The effective tax rate is guess what? 19.5%. So what’s the gain. One in five major Aussie corporations paid no tax on their profits over the past several years or so. That’s how poor our tax system is.

        Yet the guy out working can’t get the same degree of tax write offs as easily, unless you do as I did, have lots so you can write it down.

        Here’s a good read, and most of what is here occurs in the US of course at differing levels.

        http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-14/corporate-tax-australian-companies-havent-paid-in-10-years/9443840

        http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-09/corporate-taxes-not-paid-by-more-than-one-third-of-companies/8106480

        I think if the US wants to build infrastructure I’d consider the first place to look at is corporations.

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          @Al

          The federal government already provides road funds to the states. By raising gasoline tax significantly, the feds are effectively taking away a state’s ability to levy tax and fund their own infrastructure. Instead, the states much rely even more heavily on the federal governments. I don’t see a benefit, especially considering fuel taxes have no history of creating alternative powertrain tech. CAFE has a better track record, though not much better.

          Consumption tax is a good tax if you’re trying to get rid of an negative externality. Burning gasoline produces positive externalities in the form of a modern functional economy. That’s why we use emissions regs rather than consumption regs to clean up particulate matter.

          In the US, small businesses have more leeway for expensing incidental costs, particularly for employees. The issue is with pension and healthcare. Corps have more leverage and they have the resources to exploit policy.

          Changing the marginal rate is critical. If the marginal rate is 40% and the effective rate is 20%, a company earning net profit of $10M is actually paying 0% on the first $5M and 40% on the next $5M. This is fundamentally different than 20% on every dollar. Furthermore, systems with high variance between effective and marginal tend to have poor distribution of incidence. This was particularly true in the US where companies like Walmart were paying over 30%, and the tech giants were paying 15%-20%. The taxcode was undermining American business.

    • 0 avatar
      Higheriq

      AMEN!!!

  • avatar
    carguy

    I don’t buy the argument. Over the past 20 years vehicles have become larger, safer, faster, cleaner and more efficient. There is no reason why this trend cannot continue.

    Motivating OEMs to work towards efficiency is what will enable US consumers to continue to enjoy full size trucks and SUVs – and that is a good thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yes there is a reason that the trend can’t continue for ever, at least not with significant leaps and that is the laws of Physics. The low hanging fruit has all been picked long ago and what is left has significantly diminishing returns.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        You and your “physics” and “thermodynamic limits”!

      • 0 avatar
        carguy

        @Scoutdude: That’s pretty much what OEMs said 20 years ago and 20 before that. They also said the same thing about every safety standard that became mandatory.

        The ICE is barely at 30% thermal efficiency. There is plenty of room for improvement. All the technology already exists to get ICE to 50% TE and meet the current MPG targets. No electrification required.

        • 0 avatar
          npaladin2000

          “The ICE is barely at 30% thermal efficiency. There is plenty of room for improvement. All the technology already exists to get ICE to 50% TE and meet the current MPG targets. No electrification required.”

          You do realize that the true purpose of the ever-increasing MPG targets is to eventually force electrification, right?

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          No there is no economically viable technology currently available to increase thermal efficiency to 50%.

          • 0 avatar
            carguy

            @Scoutdude: Both turbulent jet ignition and variants of HCCI (such as Skyactive-x) can do 50% TE. Neither are prohibitively expensive.

            The problem isn’t the technology. It’s that the moment you give up on progress it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            @carguy
            ” Both turbulent jet ignition and variants of HCCI (such as Skyactive-x) can do 50% TE. Neither are prohibitively expensive.”

            Skyactiv is mostly hype. Skyactiv is a group of technologies, the sum of which results in mileage gains. Most are very common, such as lighter parts, adding a gear to a transmission, or in the case of Skyactiv-D, using a diesel engine. So far as I know the only aspect of Skyactiv that is proprietary to Mazda is the compression ignition of Skyactiv-X. Compression ignition is not used all the time in Skyactiv-X, and Mazda has not released mileage gains for it, let alone the CI portion of Skyactiv-X. Let alone thermal efficiency numbers. So your 50% claim has no basis.

            No car is being sold yet with Skyactiv-X, so comments on its performance are speculative. As are conclusions regarding the CI engine’s cost, durability and emissions.

            Note that Skyactiv-G was a pricy option on some Mazda 3’s and standard on a loaded model. The sort-of innovative portion of Skyactiv-G was using the alternator to sometimes regenerate charge to a very expensive battery. For 2018 Mazda has reduced its availability. Not a good sign of viable technology. Mazda 3’s with Skyactiv-G did not provide exceptional mileage for that class of cars.

            And note that most ICE efficiency upgrades could also benefit hybrids.

            Bottom line is to not get too excited about Skyactiv.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Taking the gas, and brake, pedal away from people; and scaling engines sizes, accelerations and following distances optimally; it’s quite easy to build a vehicle mix that consumes the equivalent of what the current fleet would at 50% efficiency……

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Certainly there is room for more efficiency improvements, however they are constrained by emissions regulations.

          For example, today’s technology could allow for significantly higher compression ratios, however in most cases NOx emissions are very difficult to control.

          So npaladin is essentially correct that the mandates basically force electrification.

        • 0 avatar
          chuckrs

          What is the thermal efficiency of power plants weighted by delivered power of each plant? Wikipedia says the plants range from 33 to 48% efficiency. That’s without counting transmission losses to point of use or in the case of electric cars, some additional inefficiency in converting the electrons to a form digestible by the EV or hybrid.
          So a 50% efficient ICE would have that weighted average beat.
          For power plant efficiency, EIA.GOV has some interesting information online, too.

          • 0 avatar
            chuckrs

            A car life cycle is 15 years or so. Power plants life cycle is up to 75 years. Efficiency improvements therefore enter the market much quicker with cars than power plants.

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            If you’re going down the road of electrical efficency from building generation to delivery to ev’s, then you also have to factor in all the losses and inefficiency of locating fossil fuel and getting it into gas tanks. It might be useful to also factor in the downstream costs such as pollution.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      California says “this trend will not continue.” Therefore it will be so.

    • 0 avatar
      Higheriq

      Sure, let the government force companies to make stuff that the buyers might want, or…let customers dictate what companies make in order to satisfy wants/needs. But, buyers really have no idea what they want to spend their money on. Far be it for anyone to make a conscious choice of how to spend their money. Right?

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        Do you think that private car buying choices reflect completely free will? In the face of an unrelenting barrage of advertising that has the effect of conditioning?

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        I’d like to extend that reasoning to other government activities as well. Pay the taxes yo wish, buy the guns and rugs you fancy, follow the laws you agree with, and we may just start getting somewhere.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Make America Atlantis Again.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    It is not the NHSTA who has a new focus on headlights, it is the IIHS who has taken up that fight. There is a huge difference. NHSTA is a gov’t orginization who creates binding laws on vehicle safety. IIHS is a trade group of the Insurance industry who’s #1 goal is to set the rates you and I pay for insurance for a particular vehicle with a secondary goal of shaming the manufactures into making vehicles that have lower payouts.

    For most consumers there will be no back lash in reduced CAFE standards, fact is that currently most consumers aren’t that concerned with fuel economy. If MPG was truly a great concern for the majority of consumers we would see them buying compact and mid size cars and choosing the more fuel efficient versions of them. However the fact is every year consumers are abandoning those models for less fuel efficient trucks, SUVs and CUVs. Even of those who do stick with the more fuel efficient car don’t choose the model with the better MPG as frequently as they choose either the cheaper or more powerful version instead of the Hybrid version.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Fuel economy typically ranks around #4 on the list of “why buys”. The important thing to note that this is usually within the vehicle class that they are shopping. People in general don’t care enough about fuel economy to sacrifice space, comfort and capability. There is enough competition between manufacturers within segments to ensure that fuel economy bragging rights are still a thing, though. No regulation needed.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “Fuel economy typically ranks around #4 on the list of “why buys”. ”

        Most Americans don’t care about FE or mpg. That’s why pickup trucks are the best-selling vehicles. Incidentally also the best money-makers for the OEMs.

        I hope that this administration will relax the mpg rules so as to allow bigger engines for those who want them. Like me.

        But raising the gas tax is a given. It hasn’t been done in more than 25 years and the US is now producing more than 10-million barrels of crude per day.

        If all those daily barrels of crude were taxed at the well-head, rather than at the pump, I believe it would be better all-around, and less painful for all ICE drivers.

        Then again, I also believe that EVs, PEVs, and Hybrids need to have the hell road-taxed out of them, and the sales-subsidy withdrawn. Those skinny high-pressure tires cause more wear on soft asphalt than normal low-pressure wide tires do.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @HDC:” Those skinny high-pressure tires cause more wear on soft asphalt than normal low-pressure wide tires do.”

          A 1st generation Leaf SL uses 215/50-17 tires and a Tesla P100D has 265/35-21 tires. At what point is a tire not considered skinny?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I went to lunch with a friend in his Prius yesterday, and I thought those tires looked pretty skinny.

            Then, when he dropped me off at the house after lunch, he left ruts in the dirt driveway, something that does not happen with my 1989 Camry, our Sequoia or any of the trucks and vehicles I used to own.

            Right now, EV drivers enjoy a special status, which includes a taxpayer subsidy of $7500, and I think the states should levy ball-dropping taxes on EVs like they do on ICE vehicles.

            Call it a road-use tax, at registration renewal time. I’ve been told Oregon is considering it. Mileage tax + road-use minimum annual tax.

            Like paying a flat fee for gas, electric, water infrastructure for your house each month, now so common in use.

            Anyone know more about this?

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “If all those daily barrels of crude were
          taxed at the well-head”

          I do get taxed at the well-head for oil and natural gas I produce from my wells near Hobbs NM. There’s an entire column for taxes on my statements.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Hobbs, eh? That’s close to my neck of the woods.

            I know producers get taxed at the well-head. The thread dealt with increasing gas taxes at the pump.

            My contention is that taxing at the well-head results in a lower gas tax increase at the pump because it would eliminate the tax upon tax upon tax of the production and delivery process.

            Ironically, not too long ago, when the price of gas took a nosedive, the Great State of NM was hurting for oil revenue and debating whether or not to tax each tier of the production and handling process to increase revenue to the State.

            Whatever happened to that debate? Do you know? Did they ask you for input? Did Steve Pearce offer any input?

            And what about all that PEMEX gas that is routed through the El Paso Refinery for delivery to the Southern part of NM?

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          “EVs, PEVs, and Hybrids need to have the hell road-taxed out of them, and the sales-subsidy withdrawn. Those skinny high-pressure tires cause more wear on soft asphalt than normal low-pressure wide tires do.”

          My hybrid uses the same tires as the non-hybrid version. I get no subsidies or special treatment other than parking at Ikea. In fact I paid extra sales tax because it cost more. Why should I be penalized for reducing my gas consumption by 40%? Should we reward people for pouring gas on the road and setting fire to it?

  • avatar
    don1967

    How about just letting the free market decide what MPG it wants from cars, while the EPA focuses on catching bad guys who pour radioactive sludge into our drinking water?

    I know, I know. We’ll never control the weather that way, or achieve a Venezuelan social paradise. But still it’s worth a shot.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    There’s a variety of factors that could be sold, but are probably too complex for the average consumer to understand.

    The SAE estimates that CAFE 2025 will add in the neighborhood of $5,000-$8,000 of cost per vehicle. That’s not an insubstantial amount. The point that needs to be conveyed is that automakers won’t eat the brunt of this, consumers will. Automakers are uneasy about this because it does put pressure on their margins because cost increases are hard to sell, but make no mistake, prices will go up (and have).

    While reliability of new vehicles is good, it has plateaued in recent years with the rapid introduction of new technology. There is an impact.

    Trends going back to the original CAFE implementation show that dramatic increase in fuel economy mandates do in fact increase highway deaths. Not because newer and lighter vehicles are inherently unsafe, but because they crash with vehicles that are heavier and less safe.

    Unfortunately, the average consumer believes these regulations will magically force automakers to dig up the magical big oil supressed fuel injection system and let their Suburban get 54mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      danio3834, I’ve been surprised how well auto manufacturers have been able to game the system and offer vehicles designed to get high mpg scores on the EPA tests. The problem is they’re getting close to exhausting the small turbocharged engine paired with an automatic transmission with 8+ gear ratios programmed to ace the test route. Eventually they’ll have to sell hybrids and batteries and electric motors add a lot of cost or sell a larger.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        >>Eventually they’ll have to sell hybrids and batteries and electric motors add a lot of cost or sell a larger.

        Exactly. The current 2025 rules practically mandate this.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      There in lies the problem, the unintended effects of the rules. Joe consumer who goes to turn in his $199/month lease to find the new version gets 4 mpg more, will be thrilled to see that. However the fact that the lease is now $249 a month and the car is now more cramped, louder, and/or slower may very well drive him to his bank for a loan to buy out his current lease. Since that will cause the sales to drop that means the price of the vehicle will need an even greater increase in price to fully amortize the development of that new technology. Which leads to even fewer sales of the more efficient vehicles. Meanwhile that lack of a 3 year lease return will ripple down through the automotive food chain. The guy with that 6-7 year old car will hang on to it for a few more years as will the guy who was going to buy his once it was traded in.

      The net effect is that increasing the standards too much and/or too rapidly will have a lesser effect on reducing the consumption of fossil fuels than will the gradual economically viable increases.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Uninformed consumers are the issue. As you point out, few are aware of the cost issue. Fewer are aware of other unpleasantry within the regs.

      Until recently we were on the relaxed CAFE 2016 program, which was a compromise between the 110th Congress and the Bush administration. CAFE 2025 is a different legislative paradigm. It is not evolutionary, nor does the legislation particularly concern itself with the notion of consumer choice. CAFE 2025 is a revolution that will alter the dimensions of our vehicles and radically alter powertrains to achieve sharply rising fuel economy.

      In other words, it’s not just fundamental ignorance regarding the cost of CAFE, but also an ignorance to the fact that their preferred vehicle may no longer exist. As you say, they prefer to believe that regulations really will get their suburban to 30mpg, if only the government makes GM do it.

      They will not get a 30mpg Suburban. Instead, their Suburban will disappear or become so expensive that it will “necessarily bankrupt” the average driver.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Obviously the solution is to make private cars the size of school buses. Look, you can walk to the kitchen for a drink while the thing pilots itself! Can’t live without it.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “Obviously the solution is to make private cars the size of school buses. Look, you can walk to the kitchen for a drink while the thing pilots itself! Can’t live without it.”

        Ironically, the CAFE 2025 rules have this effect with the footprint adjustment curve that allows larger vehicles lower standards.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “the White House is going to have to sell the decrease to numerous states that claim they won’t accept such a proposal, as well as a driving public that likely doesn’t want to spend more money on fuel than it has to”

    Nobody’s stopping people from buying a more fuel efficient car without a Magical Mandate From On High, is there?

    And if there’s enough demand for such a thing that it’s a significant political factor, *there’s enough demand for market power*.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Gaia and the Kenyan Oracle will not be pleased.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    So, Trump’s ace in the hole is consumer perception that you can’t be safe in a smaller car.

    Well, he probably figures if consumers were silly enough to elect him in the first place, they’ll buy anything.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “So, Trump’s ace in the hole is consumer perception that you can’t be safe in a smaller car.”

      He didn’t say that.

      What’s being said is, all things being equal you’re safer in a larger car with more mass.

      If you want to twist the words to make it look like your nemesis said something ignorant, go right ahead. The only one looking ignorant is you.

      Facts. Who’d’a thought they were so important.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      In a collision between a Honda Fit and a Ford F-250, which would you rather be in?

      If we all drove F-250s, everyone would be on the same playing field. Likewise if we all drove Honda Fits, the playing field would be equal.

      If you would rather be in the position to absorb and dissipate the majority of the kinetic energy in a crash, you are welcome to do so. Just don’t pretend that the person in the F-250 is going to have the same outcome as you.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “In a collision between a Honda Fit and a Ford F-250, which would you rather be in?”

        Good question, to which I ask you one in return: in an emergency situation that requires sharp steering, braking and handling to avoid becoming an actual accident, would YOU rather be in a Fit, or a F-250?

        Safety isn’t all about crashworthiness. But – as I was saying – the public’s *perception* is that size equals safety, and Trump’s banking on that bunkum assumption.

        • 0 avatar
          Garrett

          When I think about the accidents that have involved members of my family, none of them would have been prevented by nimble handling.

          For example, when my wife was rear ended, she was at a dead stop. Handling did not come into play.

          My sister running into a deer. While you could say that maybe handling would help, when you’re talking a dark country road with no shoulders that’s tree lined, you’re better off plowing forward.

          Based upon what tends to happen in the real world, where the frequency of evasive maneuvers working and not creating a worse situation is small, I would easily pick the larger vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            We’re both talking about anecdotal evidence, but in my case, I can think of any number of accidents in my driving history that were avoided purely by my reflexes, and the handling capabilities of my car.

          • 0 avatar
            MrGreenMan

            Dittos, Garrett.

            Every accident I have been in was somebody smacking the rear-end of my car. Most of these were at dead stops.

            My old boat 88 was able to maneuver around road hazards. The maneuverability and prowess of, say, the Honda Fit is overblown. Most cars can maneuver enough.

            We had a bad wreck up here in Michigan last week, which was a mirror of a wreck last year, also caused by ice the little car being run over by something bigger that could not stop. The person I knew in the wreck last year spent months being re-assembled by the doctors and still has trouble walking. The person in the 5-star crash rating Chevy Cruze that was up on US-23 last week is dead. The person in the P.O.S. old van that was also hit up on US-23 last week is reported as having not had serious injuries. The big rig driver that squashed them both walked away without a scratch.

            This would be a great benefit to Chrysler. They always were good at making safe, heavy lumps of cars.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      What input did the public have when the 54mpg target was rammed through at the last minute?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        About as much as they have in this debate, if you think about it.

        But is this about resentment about the old standards being “rammed through,” or questioning whether it makes a whit of sense to somehow sell lessened standards as a “safety benefit”?

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        When they elected people to ostensibly watch out for their interests.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I don’t see that happening with these proposed standards any more than with the old ones. I mean, I don’t see Trump or the EPA calling for a national referendum on this. So, really, the process is about the same. The only difference is that, presumably, you agree more with the new standards than the old ones.

  • avatar
    George B

    I predict that the 2022 – 2025 fuel economy standard will be watered down and delayed. Those standards start to force manufacturers to make more gas electric hybrids independent of consumer demand. On way to water down this requirement would be to give manufacturers some automatic credit for offering a hybrid version of a vehicle independent of the take rate. For example, Ford automatically getting to count 10% of Fusions sold as hybrids even if consumers only buy 2% as hybrids. This arrangement gives manufacturers an incentive to offer more hybrids models even if consumers don’t want them when gas prices are relatively low.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      They need to be scrapped. Those augural standards, which are subject to Congressional review, are not compatible with the automobile industry or consumers. They aren’t compatible with US excise tax and road funding, either. They were pie in the sky negotiating tactics, and the groups who pushed for CAFE 2025 were surprised that the augural rules survived the negotiations and public comments.

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        @TW5

        What is this Congressional review of which you speak? Congress just enacts broad mission statements. The regulations are written by the DC regulatory mandarinate.

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          CAFE 2025 has a provision for congressional review to be conducted in 2017. The review will only affect the augural standards (2022-2025). I think the deadline for proposed changes and public comment has already passed, but they pushed everything back to April 2018, IIRC.

          • 0 avatar
            chuckrs

            Joe CongressCritter –

            Got my rubber stamp right handy for that review. Count on the bureaucrats to never make a mistake. And now back to fundraising for the next election.

  • avatar
    wcooperdaub

    As written, your grape/watermelon analogy makes no sense and actually suggests the opposite of what you mean. In your example the bigger, heavier watermelon kills the cat and is thus more dangerous (and I doubt the watermelon itself would fair any better). Maybe a more apt analogy in the same vein would be dropping a cantaloupe on a mouse or a dog. The dog will survive, as it’s bigger and stronger.

    I do find it interesting though that the safety discussion always occurs from a selfish perspective. It’s always about what is safer for ME (and my family) rather than what is safer for people generally. Are we really made safer by permitting cars to continually gain mass rather than encouraging them to slim down? A Civic might do poorly in an average collision here in the land of the full-size-truck-as-family-car, but it would presumably do well in many European cities where it would be above median in size and weight. Which result is safer? Do we really want to be stuck in an arms race to drive bigger and heavier cars than our neighbors so that we can feel relatively “safe”?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Pragmatically, it’s not possible to mandate all the older, heavier vehicles off the road right away. In the meantime, they have to share the road with the lighter ones. The most obvious cause and effect study of this was done in the late 70s and early 80s when weight and size reduction were most apparent. I suspect that today the impact will be less substantial because of safety improvements across the board, yet still there will be an effect since the current CAFE rules in practice are forcing everything to become an elevated “truck” in order to meet less stringent standards than cars. A height difference plays a big part in impact fatalities as well.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “Do we really want to be stuck in an arms race to drive bigger and heavier cars than our neighbors so that we can feel relatively “safe”?”

      Not the government’s job to dictate to consumers what to buy. Unless we’re talking about health insurance.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      I’ve been hearing about this theoretical arms race for about 25 years now, and it hasn’t come true. In fact, the really big vehicles (Excursion, Suburban, H1 Hummer) are either dead or not significantly bigger than they’ve always been.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Agreed. Likely this will be nothing more than fodder for boring arguments until technology prevents cars from running into things such as each other. Then there will be one less foolish argument against improved mileage requirements.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    Just get rid of CAFE altogether.

    If people want fuel efficient vehicles, gas hogs, hydrogen vehicles, or battery powered vehicles, they can figure out the costs and benefits and decide what’s best.

    Our fleet is going to be primarily electric anyway over the coming decades, why on Earth make consumers suffer through expensive, Rube Goldberg type contraptions in the meantime? Almost all of the analysis is saying it would add up to $8,000 per vehicle all to save like $5 a month in gas.

    Affordable, safe vehicles that average around 35+mpg until electric is the dominant powertrain is a pretty nice compromise.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “If people want fuel efficient vehicles, gas hogs, hydrogen vehicles, or battery powered vehicles, they can figure out the costs and benefits and decide what’s best.”

      I tend to agree with this. When CAFE was initially enacted as a response to OPEC strangling US oil supplies. It was a national security interest. These days, North America combined is a powerhouse of energy production. The justification now is “consumer protection” and “the environment”, CAFE does a poor job of addressing either.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Personally I believe that the market place should shake itself out based on sales demand.

        If EVs weren’t rammed down our throats, and sugar coated with the $7500 subsidy, even fewer people would be willing to shell out real money for them.

        Maybe this administration will change things. I sure hope so. I long for the days of grunty, gnarly V8 Big Blocks for people who can afford them.

        Most Americans are driven by finances and economics in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Transportation/cars/trucks is just another level within the hierarchy.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      “Almost all of the analysis is saying it would add up to $8,000 per vehicle all to save like $5 a month in gas”

      We’ll see. Already hybrids can save far more than that, and some cost the same as the equivalent non-hybrid.

      If you added up the cost of the features that are standard on cars now that were not standard, say, 20 years ago, what would those features’ total cost be? A helluva lot more than $8000.

      So what’s going on? Partly cars cost more now than they otherwise would because they have so many features. But are they more expensive relative to the average person’s net worth? Probably not.

      Certainly features such as power door locks and windows are vastly cheaper than 20 years ago. So why should we believe that cars will be 25% more expensive in X number of years due to mileage improvements?

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The problem with the “make up the added cap-cost in fuel savings” argument is that in order to save money, you have to spend it first. For people on the bleeding edge of being able to afford a new car, the added up front cap cost may be no go when it comes to getting financing and making the note. With a conventional, cheaper car, a person could decide day to day or week to week whether they can afford extra driving. To make up the cost savings with a hybrid, a driver is forced to drive tens of thousands of miles first. Grandma on her pension who drives 4 miles a week will never see a return.

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    Countries that historically have high fuel prices have made the finest drivers cars.
    Porsche, Lotus, Alfa.
    North America – Mustang, Charger and ok, the somewhat bulky Corvette.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      lol yeah but there are many Americans to whom the “finest cars” means – ones that are quiet inside and don’t make me spill my coffee when I hit a bump.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      And some of the biggest stinkers, don’t forget that – some of the worst pieces of junk that the common plebs got to drive.

      To paraphrase Jeff Gordon about the final C6 base model, it was an incredible car for the money that could be had by the common working schlub.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      @add lightness

      “…Porsche, Lotus, Alfa (vs)… Mustang, Charger and ok, the somewhat bulky Corvette.”

      Leave Lotus entirely out of it plus the Alfa 4C and CayBoxsters also. The rest of your examples today are all kinda porky.

  • avatar
    TW5

    They aren’t really trying to prove that fuel economy kills. They are using the Obama-NHTSA argument against itself. The NHTSA believed CAFE regulations alone would lead to serious safety concerns; therefore, footprint-specific regulations were necessary. Fuel-economy-kills was a determination made by the Obama NHTSA.

    If you read between the lines, an obsession with road fatalities, despite the existence of anti-road-fatality policy (footprint) suggests footprint-specific regs are falling by the wayside?

    Eliminating footprint, if possible, is critical because it’s creating numerous problems. First, it has put offroad vehicles and fullsize family sedans on the chopping block. They simply will not be able to pass what CAFE 2025 demands. Wrangler will never get 37mpg in current config. It would struggle to make 37mpg as a plug-in. Similarly, Dodge Charger isn’t going to make 34mpg combined.

    The footprint regs are also recreating the perverse incentive from a bygone era. CAFE 1979 is what created the SUV boom, and created segments like the minivan. It also turned Ford F150 into the best selling vehicle in America by ruining the fullsize American sedans of the 60s and 70s. CAFE 2025 is doing the same. People are swapping cars for CUVs/SUVs/trucks, which has caused the EPA to downgrade projected fleet efficiency in 2025.

    Despite the fuel efficient leanings of certain blue states, they will probably go along with relaxed regulations because CAFE is undermining their fuel tax receipts. CAFE at 36 rather than 47 is worth billions of dollars to states like California and New York.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “The footprint regs are also recreating the perverse incentive from a bygone era. CAFE 1979 is what created the SUV boom, and created segments like the minivan. It also turned Ford F150 into the best selling vehicle in America by ruining the fullsize American sedans of the 60s and 70s. CAFE 2025 is doing the same. People are swapping cars for CUVs/SUVs/trucks, which has caused the EPA to downgrade projected fleet efficiency in 2025.”

      Nailed it. A substantial amount of the increase in popularity in trucks/CUVs/SUVs is attributable to OEMs pouring more resources into those types of vehicles to begin with due to decreased regulatory pressure. By pouring more resources into these models, OEMs have created a Say’s Law situation out of necessity. They have to please the regulators before they can ever get a chance to win a customer.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Here’s whats happening:

    EPA invents an unrealistic standard and establishes testing standards. Industry complied by gaming the standards. The result is product which not only does not meet those standards in real world use but utilizes technology which is not appropriate for long term reliability. Thus the customer is the one who loses here, twice.

    Here’s whats going to happen:

    EPA will relax standards and give a BS reason instead of just admitting the truth of the above scenario. In the next product cycle, industry will likely hone its technology as it did during the long period from 1990 to 2010 when the standard remained unchanged at 27.5. Ultimately this should benefit customers in terms of reliability over time, however the current product cycle will likely remain unchanged. Extremists within bureaucracies will be furious and raise automotive related taxes significantly within states or regions and use political reasons as cover. This however will be a lie as with a few exceptions, most states and municipalities are insolvent. ACA is a large reason since states were forced to expand Medicaid, and states which went along with it still need to come up with 10% of this expansion from 2020 forward. Another hammer coming down will be the Administration’s infrastructure proposals, whatever they end up being, will involve state, local, and private funding. So wham, already poorly run states/munis will be hit again with another large unplanned cost. Too bad six to twelve trillion was spent on wars which accomplished nothing. Jack Ma was right of course.

    “The federal government paid 100% of the cost of Medicaid eligibility expansion in participating states in 2014, 2015, and 2016; and will pay 95% in 2017, 94% in 2018, 93% in 2019, and 90% in 2020 and all subsequent years.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Affordable_Care_Act#Medicaid_expansion

    “These are following by an extended period during which the passenger car CAFE standard, the observed average passenger car fuel economy, and the price of gasoline remained stable, and finally a period starting about 2003 when prices rose dramatically and fuel economy has slowly responded.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_average_fuel_economy

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      Ironically, the Kenyan Oracle’s most successful program may have been “Cash For Clunkers”. The ACA and the “shovel ready” green jobs, not so much.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I once read an interesting analysis of CFC. One of the conclusions was the drop off in supply and increased cost of used cars was five years of significantly decreased production, not CFC, which seems to have been corporate welfare for a wounded automotive industry. On another note I’ve said for the past three years wholesale is still 30% higher than it should be (given increased supply and other factors).

        EDIT: I am now wondering what really did happen in the lets blow money for nothing act of 2009. I suspect most of it was embezzled off the books. Funny how that NEVER comes up. Folks will nail the Communists on Obamacare and numerous small wars they started but never the Recovery Act of 2009.

        • 0 avatar
          Sub-600

          CFC had visual results, whereas the ACA seemed hypothetical to most people, right up to the minute they rammed it through. I’m sure CFC was rife with graft, but compared to the rest of his ideas it wasn’t a complete disaster. The ACA was absurd, the second I heard “pre-existing conditions” I chuckled. If you told me 20 years ago that the government would sell something and force me to buy it, I’d have laughed in your face. It seems like only yesterday that the Kenyan Oracle and The Bern were touting Venezuela as proof that socialism could work. Now Venezuelans are eating their pets and massing on the Colombian border, these scenarios always start with “How can we give everyone free healthcare?”. As far as auto industry welfare, his hands were tied.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I think it was foolish not only because it was corporate welfare but because every vehicle motor was destroyed leading to incredible waste. There could have been some kind of metric where a vehicle which wasn’t awful could have been saved and either resold or given to charities for resale. Destroying vehicles which could have been re-purposed hurt poor people more than any because it is largely they who depend on older used but serviceable cars. America’s truly poor are not and were never on the agenda.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            And because the EPA choose not to update the older car’s posted numbers they were not eligible for the program.

            So instead of it getting rid of the dirtiest and least efficient cars it forced them to be kept in service longer as the cleaner more efficient cars were scrapped.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “EPA will relax standards and give a BS reason instead of just admitting the truth of the above scenario.”

      Exactly, and if that’s the way it goes, then I’m not all that worried. The Republic will survive looser CAFE regs. I do have two wishes, though:

      1) Places like California that DO have a very legitimate reason to worry about increased fuel usage and emissions should be able to get some wiggle room here. Omaha, Nebraska is NOT L.A., and vice versa.

      2) I just wish the administration was being real and saying “hey, automakers aren’t making enough money because of CAFE.” Agree with that or disagree with it, but it’s a point to discuss, versus, “well, if we have bigger cars we’ll all be safer,” which is nonsense. Ditto for the “we’re making a HUUUUUUUGE infrastructure investment” proclamation – translated, it means, “we’re just gonna shift the cost burden on the states, and when they say they can’t afford it, we’ll just sell our roads to private interests.” Why not, “let’s privatize our infrastructure?” Again…agree with that or disagree with it, but it’s something you can debate logically, versus a bunch of rhetorical nonsense.

      Then again, we’re talking about a president who got rich peddling nonsense, so why should this be different?

      • 0 avatar
        IBx1

        FreedMike, how bad was the LA smog in the early 2000’s? How bad is it now? We’re not talking about removing catalytic converters from all newly manufactured cars, we’re simply accepting that we’ve done our job and can enjoy reliable pre-2010’s downsized/turbocharged everyday-car engines.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          That’s a valid point, but then again, how many cars were there in L.A. in 2000, and how many *will there be* in, say, 2050?

          And, yes, I’m sure some of this is just California being California. But they have a legitimate point to worry about here, given the history.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Smog and fuel economy are different issues anyway.

          A valley city full of uncorked Polo diesels will have low fuel consumption but higher smog-forming particulate emissions compared to the same city running a fleet of low compression port-injected 4.0L SOHC V6s.

          Old school iron lumps on a modern catalyst can be “good” for air quality. In the early 90s GM was able to meet emission targets on the 3800 without an EGR, when the Series II came out it was the first ULEV certified V6, and when the Series III was released it was the first nonhybrid certified as SULEV.

          tinyurl.com/ycy7xtgm

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        L.A. is in a unique place vis-à-vis emissions, however the technology exists to reduce these and increase economy via hybrids. They will follow the example of London and levy a tax on everything they deem a threat to their safe spaces, no sarcasm. What this is really about is unelected bureaucrats imposing their will on the nation through blackmail (preventing access to the Cali market). This in and of itself needs to stop, but believe me they are salivating at the taxes *they will impose* on the populace to fight the Administration, ManBearPig, or [insert here]. This as usual boils down to cashflow.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Why do you think the administration is saying that automakers are not making enough money because of CAFE?

        And so what if it is saying that; it’s true. Think of CAFE as a tax: it applies to everyone. However, if compliant cars are, say, $5000 more expensive as a result, then 2 things will definitely happen: (1) people will buy fewer, or cheaper, cars because increasing the price of something reduces demand for it and (2) some portion of the population will be priced out of the new car market and will buy used cars. The net effect will be reduced new car sales volume. Even if manufacturers don’t reduce their margins and therefore make the same per-unit profit, because of reduced sales, their total profit will be less. And, incidentally, this will reduce jobs in the industry.

        Regarding pollution, today, the global warming folks have cleverly conflated locally harmless CO2 emissions with noxious stuff like unburned hydrocarbons, particulates and oxides of nitrogen. The latter are what produce smog and all the respiratory distress that comes with it. I spent the summer of 1969 working in Los Angeles, so I’ve experienced that in all its unpleasant glory.

        So, it’s hard to know how much more “traditional’ pollutants these proposed new standards will reduce. Moreover, anyone who’s been to LA recently knows that the place is pretty much saturated for traffic. It’s hard to imagine significantly greater numbers of cars being on the roads, without building more (or wider) roads — and that isn’t happening. The LA-San Diego metro area seems to have reached the physical limit of its footprint. More population — and its not at all clear that the metro area population is growing — is going to require more density, which will make mass transit more efficient and attractive if its able to be segregated from car traffic.

        Of course, given California’s increasing reliance on power generated outside of the state and closing of its nuke plants, substantial growth in the use of electric vehicles will simply export California’s pollution to some other state.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “Of course, given California’s increasing reliance on power generated outside of the state and closing of its nuke plants, substantial growth in the use of electric vehicles will simply export California’s pollution to some other state”

          Excellent point.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        “Here’s whats happening:

        EPA invents an unrealistic standard and establishes testing standards. Industry complied by gaming the standards.”

        Do you believe the car companies did not influence the standards that were instituted? Whose idea was it to exclude light trucks?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          If they have any real influence, why are they now complaining?

          Does FCA want to lose 20K on every 500e?

          “The U.S.-market Fiat 500e, on the other hand, causes FCA to lose a whopping $20,000 a pop. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed this figure in a speech on Monday.”

          http://www.motortrend.com/news/report-automakers-continue-invest-evs-despite-high-battery-costs/

          Did GM like losing 49K on every Volt it sold in 2012?

          “Nearly two years after the introduction of the path-breaking plug-in hybrid, GM is still losing as much as $49,000 on each Volt it builds, according to estimates provided to Reuters by industry analysts and manufacturing experts.”

          https://www.nydailynews.com/autos/sales-high-costs-chevrolet-volt-general-motors-loses-49-000-vehicle-article-1.1155853

          Lobbyists can only do so much in any negotiation. Industry is in it to make money, government is only in it to exist. Negotiating with the behemoth means compromises, this doesn’t mean the finished agreement reflects reality.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      The issue was not that the money was spent on war. WWII, Korea, and Vietnam made us exceptionally wealthy because much of the tax revenue was flowing to workers via war-machine manufacturing, R&D, soldiers wages, job training, etc.

      Our economic decline is sadly associated with a long era of peace, during which we have transferred all productivity spending away from DoD, DoT, NASA, etc to entitlement programs for people who produce nothing.

      Anyway, the WOT problem was the never-ending Marshall Plan we inherited when we shut down the Afghan poppy fields and we blew up Iraq, including some of their oil infrastructure. We can only speculate how much money was looted, laundered, stolen, and used against the interests of Americans.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        Speaking of economic decline, consider the vast waste of resources devoted to the grossly inefficient private car culture as practiced in North America. Just diverting 10% of what people spend on private cars to mass transit would provide stunningly comprehensive, fast, luxurious and efficient mass transit. Anyone who is from or has visited the advanced countries knows this.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It’s like our parents are fighting on where to eat. But what about us kids?

    Do we really want some of our favorite choices taken away? For vehicles we don’t really want? And have to pay lots more for the trouble?

    Our main focus should be safety then emissions, letting MPG find its own way, locking in current CAFE standards until the wheels fall off. We don’t have to be Europe and we sure as hell don’t have to be ruled by California.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Cheap, Lightweight, Safe – you can only have 2.
    Obama and Eco-weenies want Lightweight and Safe.
    Trump and most US car buyers want Cheap and Safe.
    We live in a Democracy supposedly – so market desires should prevail.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    “Whatever your take on economy targets, we can all probably agree that it would be nice if the decision was left up to scientists and not politicians.”

    No we can’t all agree. Here’s a novel idea: Leave the decision up to the consumer.
    .
    .

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      No, the decisions are being made by the wealthy who own the car and oil industries. Those industries buy the advertising and offer products that shape consumer choices and the viewpoints of the chatteratti. Anyone who thinks otherwise has consumed too much of the Koch coolaid.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “we can all probably agree that it would be nice if the decision was left up to scientists and not politicians.”

    The only scientist I need to hear from on the issue is Dr. Oldsmobile.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      The authorities I trust are Dr. Bill Nye, Dr. Al Gore, and Dr. Barack “Settled Science” Obama. Let’s see, who else?….Dr. Phibes, Dr. Strangelove, Dr. No, and Dr. Jerry Buss.

  • avatar
    hondaaustin

    “A country cannot regulate its citizenry into prosperity.”

    -HondaAustin

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The cost of energy is not the only consideration to look at to improve profits and that’s all anyone in the thread has talked about. Profits.

    As energy costs increase there ARE increases in efficiencies.

    The use of less energy also reduces emissions. This can’t be a bad thing.

    I’d support Trump’s plan if it is offset with increases in fuel tax to modify vehicle culture, that also includes design and engineering of future automobiles.

    Another aspect overlooked here is the US will fall behind in the technologies involved within the auto industry.

    Then, again, we will see people whining “why is it other countries” are exporting their vehicles to the US.

    The US ain’t alone with the push to improve efficiency and reduce emissions, the rest of the world is involved. Only the US (Trump’etes) seems to believe climate change is not occurring.

    So, it is also makes economic sense to continue down the current path, or better still the US adopts the same standards as used by the rest of the world.

  • avatar
    vvk

    Yeah, let’s all drive tractor trailers. Heavier is better for safety.

    The only way to increase fuel economy is to make market forces work their magic. Increase the price of fuel by raising taxes and people will stop buying large trucks to go to work.

  • avatar
    vehic1

    His term is already in its second year, and to say the least – the jury is out on whether he’ll get another. Whatever whim he indulges in his quest for revenge with the Black Guy may not last forever. Also, gas prices aren’t going to drop dramatically, unless oil companies start simply giving it away – so it’s unlikely that everyone will purchase the T-rex Guzzlinator 4WD Chrome Edition Dually pickup (rated .05 mpg).

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    What is with the fractional MPG targets? Just set it at 45 (or 40) and call it done.

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