By on August 2, 2018

After months of discussion, circulating drafts, and arguing with the State of California, the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration formally unveiled their plan to rewrite the existing corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) rules and replace them with something far less stringent.

The proposal would freeze the presiding standards in 2020 under the “Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks” plan, which is a mouthful.

It also moves to revoke California’s authority to set its own mandates, as predicted. The Golden State made it clear that it wants to maintain the Obama-era limits. However, the proposal includes a section emphasizing the importance of a single national standard, saying it would seek to withdraw the waiver granted to California in 2013.

“Attempting to solve climate change, even in part, through the Section 209 waiver provision is fundamentally different from that section’s original purpose of addressing smog-related air quality problems,” reads the proposal. “When California was merely trying to solve its air quality issues, there was a relatively-straightforward technology solution to the problems, implementation of which did not affect how consumers lived and drove.”

Basically, the EPA and NHTSA think California is overstepping its bounds, noting that the state “disproportionately focused on [greenhouse gas] emissions” over the last decade while ignoring other air quality issues, especially outside the automotive sector.

It also mentions that California’s own rules conflict directly and indirectly with the existing and proposed federal mandates, regardless of how strict they are. While that’s definitely true, the administration’s decision to lower the standards isn’t really going above and beyond in terms of environmental welfare, either.

That’s not to suggest the new proposal is entirely environmentally backwards. Corporate average fuel efficiency will still increase through 2020, leaving the government with the option of raising the limits later on. But how likely that might be is another matter — the bulk of the plan seems to revolve around consumer feasibility and what works for automakers.

It doesn’t try to make this a secret. The proposal explicitly states that the agencies’ analysis of CAFE and CO2 standards involves two basic elements: how manufacturers would respond to evolving emission mandates and what affect this would have on consumers. We already know U.S. drivers are opting for larger vehicles to a degree that completely stagnates the sales-weighted efficiency average. The government seems concerned that forcing more fuel efficient models risks the health of the automotive industry, adding that it would be physically dangerous to customers.

“A 2018 government study by NHTSA shows new model year vehicles are safer, resulting in fewer deaths and injuries when involved in accidents, as compared to older models. Therefore, the Administration is focused on correcting the current standards that restrict the American people from being able to afford newer vehicles with more advanced safety features, better fuel economy, and associated environmental benefits,” reads the proposal.

This is rather specious reasoning. While shifting toward extremely strict economy standards would likely involve downsizing vehicles to some degree, they wouldn’t suddenly become less safe than vehicles from decades prior. Larger vehicles will always outperform a smaller one in a collision, but advanced safety technologies won’t be abandoned overnight just to save weight.

The only real risk here is the added costs manufacturers will have to take on to ensure safety while also maximizing efficiency, which will affect their bottom line and trickle down to consumers. But the NHTSA sees this as a life-or-death situation. “If adopted, the proposed rule’s preferred alternative would save more than $500 billion in societal costs and reduce highway fatalities by 12,700 lives (over the lifetimes of vehicles through MY 2029),” the proposal claims.

“A 2018 government study by NHTSA shows new model year vehicles are safer, resulting in fewer deaths and injuries when involved in accidents, as compared to older models. Therefore, the Administration is focused on correcting the current standards that restrict the American people from being able to afford newer vehicles with more advanced safety features, better fuel economy, and associated environmental benefits.”

Honestly, we’re more concerned with the prospect of pint-sized engines than the safety aspect, and this reads like the government is more interested in helping automakers sell cars than anything else. It’s hard to know who to root for, as there’s so many things to consider. Automakers are worried about volume and profits, customers are worried about size and price, enthusiast are worried about performance and innovation, environmentalists are worried about pollution, and so on and so forth.

However, the EPA can’t enforce a national rollback if California and a handful of other states are playing by their own rules. Automakers would have trouble catering to a handful of states adhering to a different set of rules and their ability to do so would undermine the federal government’s authority on the matter. Revoking its waiver under the Clean Air Act had to happen, and a showdown is coming.

California Gov Jerry Brown promised his state would fight the new plan “in every conceivable way possible.” He’s already leading the charge in a lawsuit against the EPA. “For Trump to now destroy a law first enacted at the request of Ronald Reagan five decades ago is a betrayal and an assault on the health of Americans everywhere,” Brown of the Clean Air Act. “Under his reckless scheme, motorists will pay more at the pump, get worse gas mileage and breathe dirtier air.”

Obviously, the EPA and NHTSA have differing opinions on the matter, but both frame the proposal as a way to mitigate regulatory initiatives in a manner that wouldn’t negatively impact the economy without the wholesale abandonment of efficiency mandates.

“There are compelling reasons for a new rulemaking on fuel economy standards for 2021-2026,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. “More realistic standards will promote a healthy economy by bringing newer, safer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles to U.S. roads and we look forward to receiving input from the public.”

“We are delivering on President Trump’s promise to the American public that his administration would address and fix the current fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards,” added EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

“Our proposal aims to strike the right regulatory balance based on the most recent information and create a 50-state solution that will enable more Americans to afford newer, safer vehicles that pollute less. More realistic standards can save lives while continuing to improve the environment. We value the public’s input as we engage in this process in an open, transparent manner.”

The Department of Transportation is seeking public comment on regulatory issues and has allowed for 60 days to provide feedback on this proposal. If you’d like to take a look at the document in full, it’s available here. Comments can be made through regulations.gov, using docket EPA-HQ-OAR-2018-0283.

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117 Comments on “EPA and NHTSA Officially Release Fuel Economy Plan, California Decidedly Pissed...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Beautiful.

    OMG we have to conform to 49 other states because we’re actually part of the Union?

    The horror.

    • 0 avatar
      pdq

      California cities (like Los Angeles) have US Govt EPA restrictions on clean air that we DO have to comply with. The more 12 mpg musclecars we have, the more smog we have. Do you get it now?

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        No I don’t get it at all. Californians can stop buying 12 mpg musclecars anytime they want. In fact, nobody is forcing California to buy cars at all – you all can go back to mules and horses, bicycles and walking.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        Because of the lay of the land LA has had smog problems for many decades and the natives there called the valley the valley of smoke. That said, the current 50 state emissions are far better than they were just a few years ago and CO2 is not a contributor to smog where oxides of nitrogen are. The new cars have so little CO and oxides compared to a real muscle car that a 1965 Mustang will have more harmful emissions (CO2 is not harmful in this context) sitting in a garage than a new GT driving through town in a civilized manner.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Beautiful.

      OMG we have to conform to 49 other states because we’re actually part of the Union?

      The horror.”

      STATES RIGHTS!

      that is, unless a state wants to do something you don’t agree with.

      You’re all a bunch of worthless hypocrites.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    California is such a national embarrassment.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    I missed something. Are Californian consumers forced to choose gas guzzlers over small, fuel efficient cars?

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      It is a bit odd – if Californians really want efficient cars, what is stopping them from buying some? I’ll invoke one of the most useful axioms in life -watch what people do, not what they say.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Yes, but Leftists believe that most people will make the wrong decisions unless Leftist Big Government forces them to do the “right” thing. Leftism is all about perfecting the human species with regulations and taxes, and if those don’t work: re-education camps, prison, and execution.

        • 0 avatar
          megaphone

          Many people will do the wrong thing unless we have laws to curb their worse impulses. In this case the EPA in the last administration was trying to gently curb Americans appetite for gas guzzling autos. Hardly the brownshirt hell that you seem to envision. Living in a free country doesn’t mean being free to do just any thing you want. We all have responsibilities to our fellow citizens such as trying to not do further damage to the planet.

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            How is doubling CAFE in 15 years gentle? How is making cars thousands of dollars more expensive to buy and repair due to all the required “green” technology gentle? How is forcing automakers to produce unpopular and unprofitable green cars gentle? How is trying to shut down coal, fracking, and pipelines that generate thousands of high paying jobs (without subsidies) gentle? Furthermore, who made you and the unelected EPA bureaucrats the judge of what the “wrong” kind of vehicle is?

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            Big 3 – anything that makes carbon based fuels cheaper makes energy consumption cheaper. Hence increased fuel supplies will cause people to buy the big, powerful cars and trucks that they actually want to own, rather than the small, pedal powered vehicles the Obama types want us all to have (with themselves exempted because they are important people and need their comfort and security). Thus CAFE only works when fuel is expensive, but US politicians are too afraid to tax the crap out of gasoline like they do in much of the world.

          • 0 avatar
            Flipper35

            The unintended side effect of said rules is that people will buy trucks because there will be no cars that are affordable and roomy. Not everyone wants a Chevy Spark with a .75l turbo three pot with a CVT that needs a tail wind to get up to speed on the interstate. Those that don’t buy trucks but want something roomy will buy old cars that are inherently less safe but affordable like a Crown Vic.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @stingray65 – Your initial statement is incorrect on multiple levels. There are those in positions of power on both sides of the political spectrum that feel people will not make the “right” decision.
          “re-education camps, prison, and execution” has been used by both sides.
          Anyone consider ISIS or those in control of Saudi Arabia as liberal? Is Russia’s current regime liberal?
          The USA through proxies in South America carried out all sorts of atrocities fighting socialism. Was the USA right or left when they tortured prisoners in “Black sites”?

          I’m sure you will reply with a list of “liberal” regimes that have carried out atrocities all in the name of control. That isn’t my point.

          It doesn’t really matter where you are on the political spectrum, there will always be those that feel they need to control the behavior of others.

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            Lou – It is you that is wrong – Russia is very leftist – the “atheist” government controls everything directly or indirectly and doesn’t like a free-press. Saudi-Arabia and ISIS are also leftist, the “Muslim” government controls everything directly or indirectly and doesn’t like a free-press. Nazi-Germany was also leftist, with Hitler’s gang controlling everything directly or indirectly, and they also didn’t like a free-press.

            Right leaning governments are always smaller and less controlling than leftists, and hence are almost never involved with re-education camps, political prisoners, and political executions. It isn’t the Republicans that are banning straws in the People’s Republic of California. I also don’t see any Republicans locking up journalists, even those from fake news central CNN, but guess who did send the powers of government after journalists: Leftist Obama.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @stingray65 –

            Religion………..
            “Vladimir was baptized into the Orthodox Church as an infant.1

            In an interview with Russian journalists published in 2000, Putin explained the significance of his well-known Orthodox cross pendant:

            In 1993, when I worked on the Leningrad City Council, I went to Israel as part of an official delegation. Mama gave me my baptismal cross to get it blessed at the Lord’s Tomb. I did as she said and then put the cross around my neck. I have never taken it off since.1”

            “PUTIN: First and foremost we should be governed by common sense. But common sense should be based on moral principles first. And it is not possible today to have morality separated from religious values.”
            “Construction and restoration of Orthodox churches, started in the 1990s, has continued under Putin, as has the teaching of religion in schools (parents can choose for their children to learn one of the traditional religions or secular ethics).5

            Putin took an active personal part in promoting the Act of Canonical Communion with the Moscow Patriarchate, signed May 17, 2007, that restored relations between the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia after the 80-year schism.5

            In a presidential address in 2014, Putin emphasized the religious importance of the Crimea for Russia”
            ………………………………………..
            Conservativism
            “During his first term, President Putin desperately and persistently tried to hint at the agenda that he was going to propose to the nation. Many wanted him to speak out with more clarity and to be more concrete, but Putin’s style tends to be more general: he gives us an idea and leaves a lot of room for interpretation. But gradually, everything seemed to come together. The enigmatic Putin, silent, simultaneously frowning and smiling, finally let us know that his presidential programme would be defined by one simple word: conservatism.

            So, during his two terms Putin ruled in the vein of a ‘conservative programme’ and clearly intends to continue this policy into his third term.”

            You can be Totalitarian right or left just like you can be libertarian left or right.

            ISIS is conservative. There is no such thing as liberal religious fundamentalism.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I would point out that California is perfectly permitted to raise its own gas taxes as a way of addressing the issue. I’m sure some egghead at USC can come up with research to show how high they have to jack the price to impact behavior.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      This is frankly the easiest and most obvious response. Up the gas tax to $2.50 or $3.00 a gallon, use the money to massively reduce state income taxes and pay a refundable state tax credit to lower-income drivers that offsets the increase in the gas tax, and let the market take care of it. More efficient and effective than CAFE standards anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        It could even be “indexed” to guarantee that a gallon of gas would always cost $X.XX – at least for a fixed number of years. Raise and lower the tax based on the price of a barrel of oil.

        (FYI old Ross Perot essentially proposed the same thing in his presidential campaign, however he wanted to spend the money on the highways themselves.)

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Please don’t give the fools in Sacramento more ideas on how to make it more expensive to live here. Please.

      • 0 avatar
        volvo

        Except the tax generated by such an increase would be used to fund the unsustainable public pensions payouts the state is faced with.

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          Money is money is money. If it comes from a gas tax rather than an income tax, who cares?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Who cares? People of low to middle incomes, who will pay a much larger percentage of their income for your regressive energy tax, right up until it no longer makes sense for them to work. All consumption taxes are about making the poor subsidize the rich. I’m sure you’ll love it right up until someone dimes you out to the SJWs.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            Hence the “use the money to massively reduce state income taxes and pay a refundable state tax credit to lower-income drivers that offsets the increase in the gas tax.”

            It was right there, Todd.

        • 0 avatar
          pdq

          Errrmmmm.. there’s that whole rainy day fund that Jerry’s been building. Let me guess, you’re one of the trolls that was “pushing” the break up of the state into 3 pieces.

          Nice try Komrade

      • 0 avatar
        pdq

        We account for a significant percentage of US new car transactions. Do you really think that California is going to get a break from the EPA on smog issues? We either fu$k ourselves with the EPA or we try to improve our (incredible) lifestyle. If you dont like our lifestyle that’s fine. Cleveland/Dayton/Flint is……lovely.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          @PDQ…I’m so sick of this line of thinking. First off, it is an INDIVIDUAL income tax assessment. While I live in a so called “taker” state, I personally pay a metrick fnck ton in income taxes. I bet good money I pay more than you and probably your average Californian. I am in a field that lets me have some choice in my location so I live somewhere where 1 million bucks gets me more than 3 bedrooms and 1300 square feet.

          Having said that, I love going to California. The state is breathtaking and has something for everyone. Fortunately I can afford to visit because there is no way I’d give up my house on a mountain.

          But who the heck are you to wag your finger at people like me because you have some actors and Silicon Valley types that skew your average tax contribution? I pay plenty. Thousands.

          And being able to deduct your ridiculously high state income taxes is nothing more than people like me subsidizing crap you voted for. You want it, pay for it.

          Lastly, how is that where “we pay more than we get back” calculated? I ask because many red States have lots of federal dollars spent on things like Military Bases (you know, California had tons of them but you priced Servicemen out of the real estate market). Not every federal dollar is welfare so your meaningless stat is more meaningless without background.

          So I’d simply say “your welcome” as someone who pays a whole lot of federal income taxes every year. A societal leeches in a blue state p!sses me off as much as one in a red state.

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          I used to live in SoCal. I miss it about as much as a colonoscopy with 4″ PVC.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      They just raised the gas tax. But now the gas tax repeal is on the ballot this fall.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      If CA raises their gasoline tax, it will crowd-out federal collections in California, and lead to more federal subsidization of California’s road system. As the state income tax deduction allows state treasuries to help themselves to federal funds so too does raising state tax on gasoline.

      That’s not to say they should do it, but the rationale is siphoning money out of the other 49 states by reducing federal gasoline excise tax revenue. They couldn’t care less about saving the planet. Sticking with the CAFE 2025 regulations is a vain attempt to force people to patronize the green energy industry they’ve been subsidizing for decades. Same with the Paris Climate Accord. They don’t care about mother nature. They are trying to save themselves from insolvency and the ash heap of history.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        The SALT deduction cap contained in last December’s tax bill, plus Trump’s announced plan to subsidize farmers affected by his tariff spats, amounts to siphoning $12 billion away from California and giving it to a handful of states in the midwest. Can’t fault California if they decide to take a bit of it back.

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          @ Astigmatism

          The SALT tax deduction cap reversed the trend of states subsidizing their tax increases on the upper middle class with federal dollars.

          California is an agricultural powerhouse, and federal aid to farmers was a boon to the state.

          • 0 avatar
            pdq

            We send more to Washington than we get. Try again.

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            @ pdq

            I don’t need to try again. Your comment is irrelevant. We’re not talking about overall balance of tax flows, and even if we were, no one gives California or the Northeast any credit because they are voting for the federal government to loot their states.

            There is no social capital acquired by voting for involuntary contributions to the federal government, especially when the rest of the country is telling you to stop because it’s hurting the broader economy.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            “There is no social capital acquired by voting for involuntary contributions to the federal government…”

            Then why were you complaining that a gas tax would “crowd-out federal collections in California, and lead to more federal subsidization of California’s road system”?

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            @ Astigmatism

            I’m not complaining as much as I’m stating economic fact. Furthermore, my original post made it clear that the prevailing notion of tax federalism is that we no longer exist in a time-space where lobbying for higher statutory tax rates throughout the US, and then using the US Treasury to subsidize state tax increases is acceptable. That practice must stop. We’ve been fighting it for over a half century now.

            If I were complaining, I’d ask the communist robber barons in California why they think I should payer higher taxes on gasoline in California to enjoy the privilege of driving on federal infrastructure I’ve already paid for. Texas is not nearly so disrespectful to Californians who are driving through our state.

            Gasoline excise is junk in the pantheon of taxes, and balancing the tax among various competing tax authorities is even more difficult. Personally, I think federal excise should be abolished so California can do whatever they want. Do you think Californians want that? No, and so continues the long-running Greek tragedy of blue states voting to destroy themselves and then blaming everyone else for their treachery.

      • 0 avatar
        pdq

        Boris, Boris, Boris. If they ever let you out of the Gulag, you should visit the Castro district.

    • 0 avatar
      volvo

      Unlikely to be USC. One of the UCs perhaps.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      California is perfectly permitted to use vehicle registration and plate fees to address the issue.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “and a showdown is coming.”

    SCOTUS will decide.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      A showdown’s always good. Josey Wales: “Are you a bounty hunter?”…Bounty Hunter: “A man’s gotta do something for a livin’ these days”…Josey Wales: “Dying ain’t much of a living, boy”

  • avatar
    bkojote

    What about “states rights” and all that crap Republicans were brow beating about? I guess that only matters about the gays getting married and their ability to peddle scam health insurance plans.

    Sure, California cares about greenhouse gas emissions because they’re on the coast and they want to act in their state’s best interest, and they’re a bit smarter than the red states (including my own South Carolina) that still think their disappearing coastlines are just regular erosion and saving them would mean giving in to the socialists or something.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      As a state, California absolutely has the right to influence what their citizens drive through means like displacement taxes, fuel taxes, even a carbon tax on emissions should they so decide. The sky is the limit and it is frankly between the California voters and their representatives.

      They do not however have the right to influence what residents of my state drive based on their unique desires and Geography which my state does not share. Cars are sold and travel across state lines with their owners and as such should fall under the interstate commerce and be regulated at the federal level. The same should apply to Gaypeople getting married, health insurance, and concealed carry for that matter.

      Californians should absolutely structure taxation to support their goals.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Well said, Art, as always as long as your states rights don’t infringe on my constitutional rights we’re all good

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          They could expand the way they charge for tags on the cars. $375 for a 3000# car with a 4 cylinder, $425 if it has a six cylinder. $775 for a half tone 6 cylinder pickup. $1050 for a V8 half ton. $3000 for a 3/4 ton gas and $5000 for a 3/4 ton diesel. and so on and so forth. They already do it somewhat this way , why not go whole hog.

          Or a sliding scale based on the EPA combined sticker. $300 for a car that gets 30mpg combined and $6000 for one that gets 15mpg combined.

      • 0 avatar
        Erikstrawn

        California set rules on what can be sold in their state. As a citizen of another state, you can buy a car in your state and drive it through California. That falls under the interstate commerce laws. If a manufacturer decides that it’s too much trouble to make California cars separate from non-Cali cars, and they sell one car that meets both standards, it’s not your place to whine, but it is your right to buy a different manufacturer’s car. The fact that thirteen other states have adopted California’s emissions standards should tell you it’s too definitely a case of the states exercising their rights.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      Exercise “states rights” then. California DMV may impose vehicle registration and plate fees in such manner to regulate the automotive market within California.

      Empbrace the solution, control California pollution.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Giving California what it, or at least its fruitbats in charge, are asking for might not be the worst thing in the world. It’s still promises of free unicorns at this point. Who but oilmen and racist Republicans could be against more efficient cars and cleaner air?

    When those promised unicorns turn out to actually be the huge price hikes and mandatory clown cars that they actually are it might wake a few voters up.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Unfunded pension liability in California is estimated at $26K per household, fourth worse in the U.S. The system is funded at 69% and cuts may be coming. A gas tax may be the last thing the state wants to impose at this point, it’s easier to drag the whole country into their warmist fantasy. Taxation is already high and immigration policy is stressing resources. The vaunted “world’s fifth largest economy” has a soft underbelly.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “In a state often cited as home to scores of billionaires, almost 4 in every 10 residents are living at or near the poverty line.”

      http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-road-map-poverty-report-20180729-story.html

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Don’t worry. Sacramento is going to start a political movement in November. They will impeach Trump and open the borders. Then they will have tens of millions more slave laborers, all federally subsidized, to bail out their pension system. If that doesn’t work, they can always pack a killaton of dynamite in the San Andreas and see if they can trigger The Big One. FEMA money will rain down on them like mana from heaven.

      In defense of the California-Uber-Alles brownshirts in Sacramento, they didn’t pass Prop 13. That’s the state’s biggest economic problem. “My house is making me too rich!! I demand a tax cut, and an injunction against all property value adjustments!!” Gee, how did that possibly go wrong?

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    EPA and NHTSA have in essence given the “double middle finger” to California… But, as only 1 of 50 states, it was actually surprising that their legislation was originally enacted

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    How about end all mpg regulations and market manipulations, get the egghead beauracrats the F out of it? Some people will want high mpg econoboxes (or not be able to afford better), some want larger more powerful vehicles. Asian marques will succeed in the former category, the D3 in the latter, and the Europeans will have some of both. Let the buyer vote with his/her wallet. Last I checked, all the regulations do is drive up costs and force the customer to either buy crap they don’t want or kill off what we really want (V8 Wrangler, anyone?) all because paper pushers have to have control. Last I checked, the EPA, NHTSA, etc don’t exactly buy very many cars. So appeasing regulators doesn’t get customers to writing checks. This crap Almost bankrupted 2 of the D3 during the malaise era…why are we playing the same games again?

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      That’s a hard sell 10 years after consumptive oil imports exploded the trade deficit, and put the US on a collision course with the Great Recession. It’s like pushing for open borders after 9/11.

      The maleficence with which our trading partners loot this country and imperil US citizens means we will always have some sort of fuel-efficiency regulations working in the background. CAFE is probably the worst of the available options, and CAFE 2025 is probably the worst iteration of CAFE regulations. That is the main problem.

      • 0 avatar
        Tele Vision

        “The maleficence with which our trading partners loot this country and imperil US citizens means we will always have some sort of fuel-efficiency regulations working in the background.”

        Uh, what?

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      If you can find a way to prevent your pollution from affecting anyone else other than you, sure.

    • 0 avatar
      Hydromatic

      It’s the fear of car buyers reverting to vehicles with sub-teens gas mileage, only to be sucker-punched by yet another fuel shortage, the effects of which will drag the economy further down the tubes.

  • avatar
    TW5

    “This is rather specious reasoning.”

    The reasoning is sound. NHTSA decided to use footprint as the fuel economy attribute because they wanted cars to be bigger and safer. The degree to which footprint has made this happen is debatable, but, regardless, vehicles are safer now than they were in previous model generations thanks to better tech and design.

    If the federal government forces the auto manufacturers to add $1,000-$3,000 in equipment to every vehicle to increase fleet fuel efficiency by 60% in 7 years, the EPA reckons vehicle safety technology will be the loser. Whether they are right or wrong about the technologies that will lose out is somewhat irrelevant. Something will have to give, and the unintended consequences could be catastrophic.

    This revision is necessary. The current CAFE regulations are wrong for a litany of reasons ranging from scientific to moral. It is unscientific to effectively ban a bevy of sportscars and offroaders, while subsidizing the less efficient American pickup industry. It is wrong to make fuel efficient manufacturers like Mazda add thousands of dollars in costs to their vehicles so other manufacturers can sell more light duty trucks.

    The only reason people think CAFE 2025 works is because they don’t realize the last 10 years of improvements were achieved under Bush-era CAFE 2016 regulations. CAFE 2025 has only been in place for 1.5 years, and the hell on the horizon is obvious to everyone who understands what the Obama administration proposed.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      What the government is saying is that by forcing expensive tech onto new cars in such a short time frame, prices will rise and consumers currently driving older, less safe vehicles will have to keep driving them rather than upgrade to newer, safer vehicles. It’s an economic argument, really. I’ve argued the same thing in comments here and elsewhere. Have a pause in the fuel economy targets, and let the prices of the tech come down.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        Perhaps this is what they mean because safety technology suites generate CAFE credits, but I doubt manufacturers will let SAAR fall as margins decline. They will probably start eliminating non-essential systems, many of which could be safety related since hybrid powertrain will put most vehicles in compliance.

        Regardless, the result is the same. The public has less access to newer, safer vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        Duaney

        Correct!

      • 0 avatar
        NTGD

        I was beginning to think I was crazy! I read this far down in the comments because I just knew I couldn’t be the only person to read that as newer cars will be too expensive and not larger cars are safer! How much of an impact that has is still debatable but saying new technology will make cars too expensive and keep folk in older less safe vehicles exactly makes sense.

    • 0 avatar
      Duaney

      Perfect!

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    It was mentioned above, I really could use some help in understanding why fuel taxes are not currently used to steer the buying publics behavior. We could use the tax revenue near as I can tell; provided the funds are used for actual infrastructure rehabilitation.

    Perhaps stupidly on my part, it makes sense to me that as the tax per gallon increases people will make decisions based, in part, on mpg as their current ride ages out.

    • 0 avatar
      Duaney

      Here’s help. Back when the economic collapse was starting, there were many people that had to pick between paying for gas to get to work, or paying their house mortgage. Remember $4-$5 per gallon? Those high fuel prices helped create the economic collapse. Also, high fuel tax’s destroy the tourist industry, as well as discourage other economic activity that makes our economy strong. In fact ALL taxes impede all economic activity and are a damper on economic growth and viability. We do need some taxes, but excessive tax is a problem. Take a look at Socialist country’s with super high taxes. Their economy’s are a joke, and it’s due to their high tax structure.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      87 Morgan, the last thing politicians want to do is risk p!ssing off the majority of voters in their district. Gasoline prices are among the most transparent in that the price, including tax, is on a big sign by the street that you can see as you drive past. If you make gasoline prices higher, the majority of voters get reminded of the higher price multiple times a day everyday including primary and general election days. In contrast, if you make new cars more expensive, only the minority of voters buying a new car in a given year see the price increase.

  • avatar
    FWD Donuts

    Gotta love Jerry Brown. Holds a press conference to moan about climate change — then hops onto a private jet to vacation in France. And the idiot voters here hang on every word that fraud says. I really hate it here anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      Just like New York’s mayor who travels in the city with a convoy of Suburbans. Even billionaire Bloomberg frequently took the subway.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      Without leaving our country entirely, you have 49 other states to choose from. Don’t let the border gates hit you in the rear bumper. Oh, haven’t you read – this is Governor Browns’ last year as governor. Maybe that will sway your decision to leave or stay.

      • 0 avatar
        FWD Donuts

        Brown will be replaced with Newsom — who’s an even bigger idiot. His campaign strategy? Visit every union firehouse, climb on a fire truck, and shout “I’ve got your back!” He’ll win, lie to the fiscally illiterate of this state — who will get stuffed when the trillion dollar pension tsunami rolls in.

        Would love to move — but I’ve got an established business here and don’t feel like cashing out. Yet.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      California voters (meaning those who vote) are by and large sheep. They’re following the herd, even if the herd is walking off a cliff.

      Most in CA don’t vote, and those that consistently do vote have much to gain directly for the outcome (cough, public employee labor unions, cough). That’s how we got here.

      It’s similar to NRA members who are HIGHLY motivated and are asked to speak up for gun rights. Very active, but not necessarily producing good outcomes.

  • avatar
    epc

    We laugh at the foul air and dirty water of the industrializing China and India, yet forget the US in the pre-EPA days was in the exact same boat. Why is our air so clean now that my colleagues from China would step off the airplane in EWR (New Jersey!) and marvel at the incredible sweet smelling fresh air? It’s not because of the corporate conscience for sure. It’s also not because we let our environmental regulation stood still and stayed at the state of the art of the day EPA was formed.

    If you worry CAFE 2025 will make your next new car less safe, don’t forget the automakers have to comply also to crash safety regulations. Unless the federal government is going to water down crash safety while keeping CAFE 2025, then your cry about “CAFE is going to be deadly” is going to be, yeah, specious.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      The air is clean today because of cars built in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Your argument that we have to keep tightening standards is no argument at all. If a diet made you fit, starvation will make you live forever!

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        This. We’ve been in the realm of diminishing returns for a while now in much of the country. Certain geographies in th US are more sensitive (inversion and all that), and they can regulate to address that.

    • 0 avatar
      FWD Donuts

      Here’s an idea. How about getting China and India to clean their filth up first? That’s the low hanging fruit.

      Instead, you’d rather strangle our own economy and drive our costs up for ever diminishing returns — so what happens?

      In the case of manufacturing, more production is moved overseas so global pollution actually gets worse.

      Makes perfect sense.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        We produce double India’s emissions. On a per capita basis we nearly triple China’s.

        Maybe we should keep cleaning up our sh&t too, while they do the same.

        • 0 avatar
          stingray65

          Who is the “we” you are talking about? How much are you contributing to reducing emissions to the per capita level of India? Have you stopped flying? Do you and your family live in a one room flat that is heated and lighted with a candle? Is your bathroom communal? Have you given up driving and walk everywhere? Have you given up meat and processed foods? Changing your lightbulbs and voting for candidates that promise to tax your “ungreen” neighbors is not going to do the job.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    +1

    I might be a bit more sympathetic to arguments that CA’s goals are too pie-in-the-sky, except that electrification makes those goals much more obtainable.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    If you want an efficient car, buy one
    don’t force other people do it.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The intent of CAFE was to light a fire under automakers to push technology forward and *WITHOUT* cramming us all into tiny micro cars running on watch batteries by 2025. But that’s exactly what CARB wants, regardless of stupid impact to industry or consumer wants/needs/tastes etc.

    It would turn the US into an automotive Cuba.

    CAFE has done its job, and automakers took it as far as it could go, diminishing returns and whatnot. And they took it serious too, eventually realizing it was joke, overkill, not possible, more fiction than science.

    CARB wants insane, dramatic change, or they get paid in huge fines, billions a year, while only a few hundred dollars per non compliant car/truck. Either way they win.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    The only purpose of CAFE is the end goal; ratchet up the ambiguous requirements until you’re past the point of what is physically possible so you can extort the automakers for penalties. The politicians obviously don’t care that it’s more money from the consumer via the raised prices of cars, and they don’t necessarily want us all driving electric or efficient ICE vehicles, they just want more money for themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      IBx1

      Because 1) other countries are hellholes for taxing the commoners out of happiness that’s supposed to be reserved only for the elite, and 2) we are not at their breaking point yet. CAFE 2025 would have done it for certain, and there are already manufacturers paying for “carbon credits” and other greenie crap.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Big 3- Regulation is only good for Big Business because if keeps out the new/small competition that can’t afford all the lawyers and accountants and lobbyists – regulation is almost never good for the economy as a whole. I’d also like to see your sources for how US prices are still lower when taxes are excluded, and how CAFE regulations have lowered car prices.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      The end goal is actually to move trillions of dollars in purchases from the oil industry to their friends in the green industry. That’s what the entire CO2 apocalypse is about, and international agreements like Paris Climate Accord. If they gain control of the automotive industry along the way, it’s just a bonus.

      The only “green” they care about is money, and they’ve promised a lot to the people who control and fund their eco operations and political orgs.

      • 0 avatar
        megaphone

        I don’t understand all the anger being expressed about CAFE standards and green initiatives. Even if you don’t believe in climate changer reducing oil consumption by CAFE standards will still improve the quality the the air we breath, reduce your energy costs and reduce imports from countries that don’t like us. The fact that you refuse to accept the scientific consensus that climate change is real is your problem.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Big 3: you and megaphone are consistently wrong about everything – you must live in California and be the types that keep voting idiots like Pelosi, Brown, and Feinstein in office. The US buys very little oil from the Gulf (17%), and our defense of the region is mainly to help out the rest of the world (and little thanks we get for it). 47% of net US oil imports are from Canada and Mexico. Countries using the most home grown solar and wind have the highest energy prices in the world, and the highest energy poverty rates among developed nations – in fact such is the prosperity, they are cutting back on the renewable subsidies.

        https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=727&t=6

        https://www.manhattancontrarian.com/blog/2018-7-17-a-modest-proposal-for-wholesale-electricity-pricing

        https://www.manhattancontrarian.com/blog/2018-6-14-germany-april-fool-no-more

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        @ Big3 Beancounter

        Blood for oil is not a economic paradigm. It’s a lame campaign slogan. We don’t care if we’re buying oil from Kuwait one day and Iraq the next day. If we go into the theater of combat it’s for political or perceived security reasons, not so we can knock down the price of oil by a $1. We can do that much more cheaply by expanding production in the US.

        As you point out, the benefit of letting green energy robber barons control the energy industry is that energy becomes entirely domestic.

        But I thought it was wrong to reduce trade among the many nations!!!

  • avatar
    megaphone

    Stingray: As someone who has a degree is history you could not be more wrong that the Nazi’s were leftist. They are in fact regarded as the far right whereas the Soviet Union was considered a far leftist regime. What history tells us is that taking any political philosophy to the nth degree usually ends up with similar tactics of repression being used. They were both wrong.

    The US is and has always been a capitalist country. All that who you consider to be leftist or Progressives here have done is try to ameliorate the worst affects of capitalism by have a social safety net so that no one gets hurt. We have never even remotely approached a socialist of communist government is this country so you can stop looking for commies undertake bedposts.

    Obama was trying to bring our efforts in line with Europe and have some positive affect on climate change. Since you choose to not believe that climate change is real no about of talking to you would be very fruitful.

    Have a good day!

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      Megaphone – my condolences on your history degree – it only means you were indoctrinated by one of the most leftist faculties on the leftist university campus. The left doesn’t want to claim Nazis, so they have promoted the Nazis as right wing since WWII, but if you look at their policies they are absolutely leftist. The left likes high tax rates – so did the Nazis, the left likes identity politics – so did the Nazis, the left are big “greenies” – so were the Nazis, the left wants to control industry – so did the Nazis, the left hates the free press – so did the Nazis. The only regimes in history that have had mass political prisons, political executions, re-educations camps have been leftists – killers of 100+ million people in the 20th century.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      @megaphone Fascism is a left-wing construct. Take your history degree and make a paper airplane or something. Good grief. Had you received that degree prior to 1950 you’d be singing a different tune. It comes as no surprise that you’re a Warmist as well. You’ve got some kool-aid on your shirt, you may want to pre-treat that.

    • 0 avatar
      mechaman

      The original title for the party that became known as Fascists, was Corporatists…not exactly leftwing, methinks.

  • avatar
    tobiasfunkemd

    As a California native, I find these comments endlessly fascinating. California is a Rorschach Test; how you perceive it says more about you than the state itself. I pay significant taxes and brutal housing prices for a quality of life that no other state provides. If you want a massive house and multiple luxury cars in the garage, moving to a lower cost of living state makes sense; if you enjoy beaches, mountains, great weather and are willing to forego the estate and the car collection, California is your place. I’ve made my choice, and its clear that most on this thread have as well. My one bone to pick is those people in California bitching about the State government, taxes, traffic, etc. NO ONE IS MAKING YOU STAY. Nevada, Arizona, and Texas would be thrilled to take you. Living in CA is a choice. Like it or hate it, California must have some appeal for those predisposed to creativity and entrepreneurial talent. I would argue that it comes from a robust investment in higher education (which is slipping, to our detriment) and a welcoming attitude towards people who think differently (apologies to Apple). We as a state tend to allow people with weird ideas to thrive, for both good and bad.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Well said. I love California for all the reasons you mention, but made my choice for those reasons as well. I prefer living in the large house on the mountain versus looking up at it but you are right, it is a beautiful state and I always look forward to my trips out there. But the lifestyle changes to live out there would crush me. Still, I love the high desert.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “I pay significant taxes and brutal housing prices for a quality of life that no other state provides. If you want a massive house and multiple luxury cars in the garage, moving to a lower cost of living state makes sense; if you enjoy beaches, mountains, great weather and are willing to forego the estate and the car collection, California is your place.”

      People also pay brutal taxes, housing prices, congestion, etc. to live in the DC swamp with no geographic amenities whatsoever.

      It’s not quality of life. It’s quality of job.

  • avatar
    megaphone

    StingRay and Sub-600:

    Unless you are getting your history from some idiot like Denesh D’Souza I have no idea how you came to such an absurd conclusion. But there is no arguing with people who are so far to the right. Your minds are closed.
    I’m sure you think your opinion is a fact uniquely discovered by you and a few other people you think equally smart.

    Your opinion is not a mainstream one in legitimate political thought. And btw I used my history degree to get into a good law school and have had a very nice career. And of course I’m sending my daughter to an equally liberal and east coast college. Your ideas are part of the past.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      @megaphone Here’s a chance to further capitalize on your law degree, sue the school that issued you the Revisionist History degree. Cha-ching!

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      “And of course I’m sending my daughter to an equally liberal and east coast college.”

      Is she going to an equally liberal, east coast college or is she going to an equally liberal college that is equally east coast? (Equally east coast to…?)

      Heh heh I couldn’t resist.

      Question: Would you say that grammar nazis are left wing or right wing? Heh heh I couldn’t resist that either. Does the answer depend on who’s history book or grammar book one believes? I crack myself up sometimes!!

      But seriously, are you guys really arguing about this stuff on here?

      edit: @Sub-600, that goes for you too!

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      Megaphone – simply spouting the views of your leftist history and law professors is not very persuasive. How do you define left vs. right politically and economically? If you are mainstream you should understand that leftists desire big government to control the economy and much of society (i.e. public health care, public day care, etc.), while the right tends to believe in small government devoted to rule of law and property rights and greater economic freedom. By those criteria – Nazi Germany was a socialist/leftist government – heck its even in the name: National Socialism. If you actually want to learn some real history you might look at the following:

      https://econjwatch.org/articles/faculty-voter-registration-in-economics-history-journalism-communications-law-and-psychology
      https://mises.org/library/nazi-economic-policy
      http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/fr/630472/posts
      https://www.academia.edu/4736105/Economic_Policy_in_Nazi_Germany_1933-1945
      http://www.spunk.org/texts/places/germany/sp001630/peter.html

  • avatar
    megaphone

    You’re right, pointless argument. Conservatives just drive me up the wall sometimes. I leave the conversation since we will never agree on this.


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