By on August 21, 2019

According to recent reports, there’s trouble with the White House’s fuel economy rollback. The Trump administration is said to have been meeting with automakers, asking them to stand behind its proposal to freeze economy standards at about 37 mpg until 2026. The New York Times indicates it was an act of desperation, spurred by claims that Mercedes-Benz was on the cusp of supporting the California compromise. Based on existing standards, which would raise the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, the deal would delay its targets by one year.

Honda, Ford, Volkswagen, and BMW previously agreed to support California’s proposal in July. However, the deal is non-binding if the White House decides to push through a rollback, and most of the rhetoric being used by the industry seems more focused on a joint standard.

“A 50-state solution has always been our preferred path forward and we understand that any deal involves compromise,” read the automakers’ joint statement.”These terms will provide our companies much-needed regulatory certainty by allowing us to meet both federal and state requirements with a single national fleet, avoiding a patchwork of regulations while continuing to ensure meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reductions.” 

Good luck finding the straight scoop on the matter, however. The media has been terrible at framing this. Even Jalopnik went so far as to claim a letter signed by 17 automakers that asked the White House to seek compromise with California was tantamount to a public protest of the rollback proposal.

In our estimation, automakers simply don’t want to be caught with their pants down. Since they already had to adhere to existing regulations, it makes sense many would already be compliant with California’s very minor compromise. But a willingness to adhere to it is not officially a rebuff of the rollback. We’d assume most automakers would actually prefer softer standards ⁠— they did ask for them ⁠— assuming they were adopted nationwide. The key is avoiding surprises. Automakers want a clear regulatory framework they can work with above all else.

As for Mercedes-Benz, The Times article only said it expected the company to agree to California’s terms. But the manufacturer hasn’t confirmed anything officially. There’s also a mystery firm that’s yet to reveal itself.

From The New York Times:

In addition to Mercedes-Benz, a sixth prominent automaker — one of the three summoned last month to the White House — also intends to disregard the Trump proposal and stick to the current, stricter federal emissions standards for at least the next four years, according to executives at the company.

Together, the six manufacturers who so far plan not to adhere to the new Trump rules account for more than 40 percent of all cars sold in the United States.

“You get to a point where, if enough companies are with California, then what the Trump administration is doing is moot,” said Alan Krupnick, an economist with Resources for the Future, a nonpartisan energy and environment research organization.

Which side is the correct one to support? We don’t actually know. The rollback is being framed as a way to keep aggressive energy standards from disrupting the market like they have in Europe and China. It’s also supposed to keep the price of new cars down by neutralizing the need to implement expensive battery technologies and ensure a steady stream of vehicles Americans are more likely to purchase. Due to the complex footprint rule found under CAFE, a rollback would go a long way to preserving small, cheap, fuel efficient cars.

However, those opposed to it claim it will cost consumers more by effectively forcing them to buy more fuel. Consumer Reports estimated that the rollback rollback would cost consumers $460 billion between vehicle model years 2021 and 2035, an average of $3,300 more per vehicle when combining car prices and gasoline purchases. But that assumes people won’t be buying hyper-efficient cars by choice in a few years and that hybrid/battery technologies are truly the best path forward to saving the environment. Considering people can buy an economy car already (but often don’t) and battery production/disposal creates its own ecological problems, we’re hesitant to proclaim either side as truly superior.

That said, the White House’s plan is practically guaranteed to result in more oil consumption overall. It would also strip California of its ability to self-regulate. And, if that’s all you care about, then the choice on who to back is relatively easy.

We’re not going to pretend that a portion of the automotive industry offering California lip service in a bid to promote a national fuel standard inside the U.S. means outright support for stricter standards. But we also can’t say the sector is standing behind the White House. Of course, its inability to support the rollback doesn’t mean there won’t be one. Even if the current administration were to agree to California’s terms today, it would have still achieved a minor victory by deferring Obama-era standards by one year. But we’ve a long way to go before all of this is settled.

President Trump has already taken to Twitter to chastise the automaker’s willingness to court California. “My proposal to the politically correct Automobile Companies would lower the average price of a car to consumers by more than $3000, while at the same time making the cars substantially safer,” he wrote on Wednesday. “Engines would run smoother. Very little impact on the environment! Foolish executives!”

Meanwhile, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said it was eager to see a final draft of the rollback proposal. “We support increases to standards that optimize all the priorities, including affordability so more Americans can buy a new car, plus preserving jobs and safety at the same time,” it said while remaining as noncommittal as possible.

[Image: Nithid Memanee/Shutterstock]

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92 Comments on “Gas War Update, Choose a Side Edition...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    If we’re choosing here, can I choose Pikachu?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Other markets are going to keep hiking standards regardless of what the US does. So the makers with comparatively less exposure to the US want to keep the US standards roughly in harmony with global standards to reduce development costs, while the makers that derive all their profits from U.S.-specific, fuel-hog products (*cough*pickups*cough*) would prefer to have lower U.S. standards, no matter what the rest of the world is doing.

    On the one hand, it’s boneheaded to have two sets of standards in a single market; a national standard would be better for everyone. On the other hand, it really ought to look more like California’s than the irresponsible one the overinflated orange gasbag wants.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Other than being stricter what makes CA’s plan a good regulation?

      It still has the footprint rules.
      It still allows a bunch of loopholes and credits of dubious merit. Even more than the current CAFE.
      It still puts all the burden of compliance on the manufacturers.
      It still uses overinflated “old” EPA numbers instead of more realistic figures.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Pretty much that it’s stricter.

        I’d be happy to scrap the whole apparatus and replace it with a large carbon tax, but Congress will never do that, so we have to work with the Rube Goldberg machines we have.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          A carbon tax is likely a nonstarter in the US.

          However, I expect actual efficiency would be increased if CAFE was changed to “36 ‘window sticker’ MPG is the new standard. No footprint rules, no credits.”

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Going back to flat CAFE would promote affordable high mileage vehicle production like it did in the past, and the fascists have moved past that phase of their plan to put the slaves back on the plantations.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          I’d be cool with something akin to a carbon tax so long as we also revamped how we fund road maintenance and construction to ensure EV drivers still pay their fair share for road use and upkeep.

          But lets not do a flat fee like they implemented in Alabama. Under such a structure my 17 year old with his 4800 dollar Leaf gets to pay the same use fee as a Model X driver. Lets instead base the fee on the vehicle purchase price and book value lest this become a regressive tax on people who can’t afford the latest and greatest EV.

          Then again, I’ve got mine so screw all of the rest of you. I mean that’s pretty much what all of this is saying. Let’s not pretend that this “large carbon tax” isn’t going to disproportionately screw those least able to bear it. I’ll go out and grab a Rivian or Electric F-150 and probably get the wife a model 3 or just pay the tax and grumble.

          But what of the dude scraping by paycheck to paycheck with that Buick Park Avenue? Or did you plan on taking some more of my money to subsidize buying that person something greener?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Regressive taxes are the best taxes when your objective is to eliminate a huge percentage of the population after making them desperate enough that you can treat their children as toys, as the left in the US and Europe are want to do.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Under a carbon tax system, how much the EV driver pays is directly proportional to how dirty the electricity is. Have coal-based electricity? Your electricity rates are going to go up to fund carbon tax payments. Have non-carbon based electricity? You get off easy, and for now (until we have many more EVs) that’s OK.

          • 0 avatar
            volvo

            We have a pretty stiff gas tax in California. It is devoted to “transportation”. Until about 20 years ago that meant road construction and upkeep. Now the definition of transportation has widened so a significant amount of the tax goes toward subsidizing bus systems, light rail, bicycle corridors, etc. Recently voters approved an increase in the tax and vehicle registration fees to help repair our failing roads. Registration on my 24 year old and 12 year old vehicles was higher now than the previous 5 years.

            So hope for any gas tax increases going to improve roads needs to be viewed somewhat skeptically.

          • 0 avatar
            87 Morgan

            Art, the 3800 in the Park Avenue was incredibly fuel efficient for its time, I believe most reported 30mpg or better on the highway in real world use. Just sayin…

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I’ve owned a ’03 LeSabre with the 3800 for almost 10 years now, and while I daily-drove it I never got anywhere near 30 mpg. Best I’ve gotten was 26 on an Interstate trip; around town it’s +/- 20.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            “Under a carbon tax system, how much the EV driver pays is directly proportional to how dirty the electricity is.”

            So I don’t have a seat on the board of Southern Corporation. I fail to see why the decisions of a private utility should impact taxes I pay. Additionally, 30 percent of the energy made in my state is exported. I have no say in weather or not I am purchasing electricity from one of the clean nuclear reactors operated by the TVA or one of the coal plants.

            Maybe all of us states with excess capacity should just shut down the dirty sources and leave the states that consume more to figure out things on their own. Now what is that “Taker State” stuff you folks are always prattling on about?

            It is crazy talk to tax people based on how clean or dirty something they have no choice about.

            And @Todd, we have our differences, but when you are right, you are right.

          • 0 avatar
            Daniel J

            Art,

            As an Alabamian, I’ll sorta disagree. There are pretty much 3 taxes we pay in maintaining the roads. The first is the sales tax on the purchase of the car, the second is the Ad valorem at tag/registration time, and the last is the gas tax, which only really about *half* goes to maintaining the roads.

            The new Ev registration tax on the other hand is a flat tax which is an unfair tax, but should not be based on the price of the car, which is also an unfair tax.

            The EV tax should be based on miles driven. Why should a Tesla owner who drives less than your nephew pay more Tax?

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            @DanielJ, I agree with you on principle, it is really just the fact that I make good money and am sick of people trying to stick it to me because of it and just want to stick it to somebody else for a change. Yes, you are absolutely correct. In fact I’d say you should simply eliminate the gas tax and go to such a system entirely for road funding. Remember, the fuel tax is meant to fund roads, not influence buying decisions…that is what CAFE is supposed to do.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          The same people that think a carbon tax is a good idea are likely to be convinced a dihydrogen monoxide tax would save twice as many lives as taxing the two elements that are most important to human life.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            By that logic, we’d all be better off moving to Venus, where “the two elements that are most important to human life” make up all but a few percent of the atmosphere.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Everyone else would be better off if you moved to Venus. Does that count for anything?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      ” it’s boneheaded to have two sets of standards in a single market”

      They’ve had two sets of standards before and it worked out just fine, unless you wanted to sell a 49-state vehicle in CA.

      My best friend had that happen when he brought his 1993 S-10 4.3L to his new job in San Diego and wanted to trade it in on a 4WD version while there. You know, all that beach, sand, and he didn’t want to get stuck in his RWD S-10 venturing near the ocean.

      No Way, Jose, said the dealer-man at Chevrolet on Morena Blvd.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      and @Dal, I just read that Ford is on board. You know, those people who’s lineup is basically trucks and Mustangs.

  • avatar
    285exp

    They should just jack the standard up to 75 mpg, if you’re going to insist on an unrealistic goal, might as well go all out.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    >>”the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, the deal would delay its targets by one year.”

    2025 is not far away. I don’t see a huge move toward hybrids and EVs. I suppose a few ICE cars can do it, but they’re not exactly vehicles I aspire to own.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “2025 is not far away. ” That’s right!

      So, depending on several things, among them whether Trump gets re-elected for four more years to Keep America Great, and whether the auto industry, the socialist green-weenie bastions AND the current administration can reach a deal to compromise on FE, the push may be on for many Americans to buy the biggest, thirstiest, most polluting rolling coal vehicles in America BEFORE 2025 arrives.

      NOW is the time to get those financial ducks lined up, if Americans haven’t already done so by now.

      This topic bears watching closely since buying an EV as a second, third, fourth, whatever, vehicle because you want to, is one thing.

      Having your choice of buying a large conventional thirsty ICE vehicle taken away and being forced to buy a sissyfied, squirrelized, overpriced, sardine-can rollerskate BEV is quite another. That would make us no better than Communist China.

      I don’t want to have to buy another supersized SUV before I’m ready, and then just have it sit, baking in the desert sun while we’re out of the country.

      But if the FE rollback doesn’t happen, those who want to buy ICE vehicles will have their timeline drastically shortened.

      And there’s no need for all this drama. The US has plenty of dino-oil for at least 200+ more years and the US does not pollute like Asia, South Asia and the Middle East.

      • 0 avatar
        Hydromatic

        “Having your choice of buying a large conventional thirsty ICE vehicle taken away and being forced to buy a sissyfied, squirrelized, overpriced, sardine-can rollerskate BEV is quite another. That would make us no better than Communist China.”

        Gotta love the Texas-sized rhetoric and hyperbole. It’s what makes America great.

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          “Gotta love the Texas-sized rhetoric and hyperbole. It’s what makes America great.”

          Compensating for something else that’s obviously undersized .

          America is and always has been great ~ only idiots think otherwise .

          -Nate

          • 0 avatar

            Thank you. We don’t need military parades or generals with too many medals. Odd that most folks who love MAGA already have white privilege but are afraid of “the OTHER”.

            I can’t wait to get back to Liberals v Conservatives, once the current madness subsides; at this point I wouldn’t mind a President I disagree with provided said person is sane.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Hydromatic, it is all about choice and finding our choices narrowed by legislation to appease some far-left anti-fossil fuel, tree-hugging, greenweenie agenda.

          Not everyone thinks that we have less than 12 years left as a species on this planet.

          At my age I doubt I have 12 years left on the planet, but by Allah, I’m gonna live it the way I want to, Monster Motors and all.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        ” being forced to buy a sissyfied, squirrelized, overpriced, sardine-can rollerskate BEV is quite another”

        Then buy a large, fast, somewhat reasonably priced BEV instead. You’ll want one as your primary vehicle because once you start driving a BEV, you won’t like your gasser. Yes, they’re expensive compared to 4 cylinder CVT econobox, but you’re getting a vehicle powered by a motor that feels more like a V8 or V12. I still think that the vast majority of BEV sales are because of the driving dynamics. Smoothness, quiet, and torque have always been an extra cost item in cars and some are willing to pay for it.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          mcs, my plans as of today are that when my wife and I quite traveling, we’ll buy a new Sequoia for her and for us to drive longer distances in, and for me I hope to be able to afford a Rivian pickup truck (you know, if it is priced within reason) to skedaddle around in locally, never exceeding the range of course.

          I’m not into 5-hour lunch-breaks waiting for my BEV to get charged up. I’ll put a Honda EU-7000 Inverter AC generator in the bed first to prevent that. At $5000 that generator is a great solution to range anxiety.

          And my wife’s OK with those plans.

          But future legislation and OEM adaptation to those FE rules will reduce our choice of engine size. Like maybe only a 4.6L V8 in the future Sequoia instead of that magnificent 5.7L Tundra mill.

          We’ve rented the Ford Expedition EL for extended trips and it had an Ecobust. There was a time when the Expedition came with a V8. But no more. It’s still a 6 until the boost kicks in.

          Given a choice I’ll go for the bigger, huskier, gnarlier V8 engine every time. I’ve been that way since my dad’s dragster days when I was 12.

          There’s just something magical about a 426 HEMI running wide-open on Nitro-Methane.

          And there’s something special about a V8 under hood of my vehicle, the sound, the grunt, the satisfaction.

          Why do people buy a Rolls?

          Because they can.

          Unless President Trump rolls back these future standards, We, The People, may have fewer engine and vehicle choices.

          And that is NOT a good thing. That’s un-American. Having fewer choices in un-American.

    • 0 avatar
      Snooder

      Well, for one thing the “54.5” CAFE number works out to more like 37 mpg.

      And for another, the entire damn point was to push automakers into investing money and R&D into hybrids. So yeah, I could easily see in 2025 most regular ass sedans/CUVs being hybrids.

      Let’s face it,if you asked most people “hey, would you pay an extra $1500 to get a hybrid version of your standard ass camry/accord that’ll get 36mpg at the pump,most of them will say yes. CAFE is designed to make that a reality by forcing the manufacturers to put money into making sure those options are available to buy. Which, really,by 2025 they damn sure should be.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Also, don’t forget that hybrids drive nicer than an equivalent regular car.

        I would have kept my F-150 if it had been a hybrid. The 4.5L V8 needed a lot of sound & fury just to keep up with traffic, and it grated on my nerves when I drove it. I much preferred to drive our Prius, with its tin-can NVH, because the engine was less noisy on my daily drives. An F-150 hybrid would have fixed everything I didn’t like about that truck.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          This is especially true when the cars get more solid than a Prius.

          I believe literally every passenger who has ever ridden in my Highlander Hybrid has commented about how quiet and smooth it is. Keep your foot out of the throttle and it feels like a magic carpet ride, honestly a successor to big-block ’70s boats that never exceeded 1500 rpm.

  • avatar
    Groovypippin

    I sell Mazdas for a living on the West coast of Canada. EV’s here are big and a lot of clients through the door ask me if we sell an EV.

    My answer is always the same. “I sell the same number of EVs as Toyota, Honda, and Subaru combined – ZERO.”

    If nothing else, I get a kick out of the look of comical confusion on people’s faces. No, most people have little to no clue about the differences between a “Gasoline-Electric Hybrid” and an “EV”.

  • avatar
    volvo

    To get where the advocates of increased fuel standards want to go which I believe is at a minimum smaller more fuel efficient vehicles.

    Perhaps a MPG + Vehicle weight sales tax and annual registration fee might work.

    No coercion of the manufacturers and let the market decide.

    Meet MPG standard and Vehicle weight under 3000 lbs = no additional fees.

    Meet MPG standard but vehicle weight 3000-3500 lbs = 10% tax and no additional annual fee.

    MPG up to 25% below standard and weight under 3000 lbs = 20% tax and additional 20% annual registration fee.

    etc. You get the idea. No exclusion for light trucks (pickups, SUV, CUV, etc)

    Top out at MPG 50% or more below standard and weight over 6000 lbs = 80% tax and additional 50% annual registration fee.

    Put the surcharge on the window sticker. And carry increased annual fees over to new owners at time of resale

    If you are legitimately using the vehicle in a business then additional fees would be a business expense but no prorated personal/business split.

    A program like this is relatively straighforward. It would move many people out of both large and fuel inefficient vehicles.

    There would certainly be controversy over where the additional taxes and fees would go and that would be fun to watch.

    On the serious side I think the proposed standard of 54.5 mpg is a pretty hard target to reach and offer mainstream safe vehicles. Of course if the goal is for manufacturers to sell more EVs with pumped up (over 100 mpg) EV equivalent MPG the perhaps that is where this number came from. Right now a 2020 Corolla hybrid (decent size and safety) is touting 52 mpg combined and curb weight 2850 lbs so numerous cars like that would be an option if the CAFE standard was at a more reasonable 35-40 mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Excellent points, all. This is only ONE reason why we see pickup trucks with heavy-breathing 4-banger squirrel engines trying to pass themselves off as bonafide V8 pickup trucks.

      What’s even more comical is the owners claiming that these faux pickup trucks are “just as good if not better” than the V8 counterparts.

      That’s delusional.

      If a buyer has to worry about the price of fuel, they ought not to buy a pickup truck.

      What I find encouraging is seeing more and more 3/4-ton pickup trucks being bought and driven by former 1/2-ton pickup truck owners.

      And seriously, there is no replacement for displacement.

      And another thought: today’s pickup trucks of all classes and GVWR are the cleanest-running they have ever been, since the beginning of time.

      Even the earliest version of the pickup truck, the biblical two-wheel ox-drawn cart, polluted more than a 2019 ICE pickup truck. To be fair, that pollution could be used as fertilizer in the field.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        “What’s even more comical is the owners claiming that these faux pickup trucks are “just as good if not better” than the V8 counterparts.”

        So I guess that whole free market where the best selling engines in the best selling trucks are turbo sixes in spite of a NA v6 , a v8, and a diesel being offerd knows nothing. Ah well.

        “If a buyer has to worry about the price of fuel, they ought not to buy a pickup truck.”

        so fleets shouldn’t buy trucks? Additionally, I can swing any Tesla built so how is that different than “if you can’t afford an EV, you shouldn’t drive”. Plus I don’t like “high density” or homes under 4000 square feet dragging down my property values and cluttering up my roads. Perhaps if you can’t afford such a home you should live in some high density area out of sight and out of mind.

        The line of trucks that features the most turbocharged options is literall the best selling vehicle on the planet. Boy, they must suck. I guess Tundra fans gotta justify that 11 mpg in 2019 though.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Art, it’s all about CHOICE. Our choices are forcibly reduced through legislation where the market should determine what sells – not the gubmint.

          I don’t have to justify anything I want to buy, own, drive. I never worried about the price of gas. I’m addicted to gasoline. Consume it by the barrel. I’ll buy it no matter the cost until I run out of money.

          People should be able to buy whatever it is they want to own/drive, even gas-guzzling V8s, V12s and V16s, if that is profitable.

          Fiatsler has the right idea. Built vehicles with Monster Motors and sell every single one of them at a YUGE profit.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            @HDC, but you can buy those trucks, just like you always have been able to. Now people like me who appreciate the attributes a turbo brings to a truck have options we didn’t have in years past. And again, based on the take rate for the turbo motors the market agrees and would likely be upset if that option went away.

            The Ecoboost 3.5 debuted in 2011 in the F150. Before that you could get a V8 or an NA 6. Now you can get a V8, an NA6, a diesel, or either of 2 turbo sixes. Choice is INCREASING.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            And people can buy all of those engines you mention, with the exception of the V16 maybe…that was largely a prewar configuration anyway. The 12 is going to set you back some coin, but really it always has.

            But now people like me don’t have to stare longingly at dog eared copies of car mags knowing that those cars we really want are restricted to Europe or Japan.

            And yes, I like FCA’s offerings, but bear in mind they are still a distant second with respect to truck sales…well behind that one company that sells all of those turbo v6 trucks. Incidentally, the one car I truly love to come out of the FCA stable? The Alfa giulia quadrifoglio. But even I have limits to the amount of time I will spend at the dealership getting warranty work done.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        You have to remember that the beer-can F-159 weighs about the same as a minivan.

        It just doesn’t need as much engine to keep up with traffic.

        That’s a very good thing, because my 2004 F-150 was terrible to drive because it required all 4.5L to keep up with my Prius in traffic.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Worth a reminder that CAFE standard numbers don’t match up with EPA testing numbers, and are substantially more optimistic. Vehicles that can achieve 40 mpg on EPA tests will be net positives under the 52.5 mpg standard. We can get there using current technology by adding a whole lot more hybrids to the mix and replacing some truck-based SUVs with car-based CUVs.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Those aren’t arbitrary numbers. They sure aren’t based on reality or science. Except there is a method.

        The fines are $55 per MPG under the standard/target (not met) per violating vehicle sold. Or you could simply say $1,100 per F-150.

        While no small amount, it’s certainly doable. And adds up quick. It’s enough to make organized crime blush.

      • 0 avatar
        Snooder

        People are seriously misinformed about what the CAFE targets actually are and what the Trump administration rollback entails.

        The CAFE target of 54mpg by 2025 doesnt actually mean every car in the fleet will have to get 54 miles per gallon. It actually means something more like 37 real world mpg average.

        Which, sure, theres a valid reason for automakers to argue that target was optimistic. And maybe we could relax it to something more reasonable.

        But that’s not what the Trump administration is trying to do. They aren’t asking to relax the target from, say 54 down to 50 or 45. They’re trying to roll back the target to the 2016 standard of 34. That we have already passed. And which works out to about 24 real world mpg.

        Which would not only mean that in 2025, the car industry would be LESS efficient than it is today, but ALSO means that we expect the average car to make 24mpg? That’s bullshit. I should not wake up on my 40th birthday with the average car making significantly less miles per gallon than the car I drove at 16.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    This is the problem I have with politics these days.

    The EPA is an EXECUTIVE BRANCH agency – the mileage standards ARE NOT LAW – they were not passed by Congress. They were arbitrarily and punitively put in place by the Obama Administration; hence, Trump has the right and the ability to override those.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      This was always the issue with the whole “I have a pen and a phone” approach. When the Executive Order is the primary means of implementing your policy it is vulnerable to the next guy with a Pen and Phone. I get it, if you are a President with a Legislative Branch controlled by the other party it is likely frustrating. Welcome to a representative democracy. The right answer is to convince voters and even members of the opposition party that your approach is solid, but modern politicians on either side have little time for the desires of voters nowadays.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    No state agency like CARB has the power to set national policy, or even “negotiate” with the federal agency that does, much less with automakers.

    Even that federal agency doesn’t have the power to set fuel economy standards – that’s incidental to the Clean Air Act’s authority – because the federal government doesn’t have that power to delegate to any agency.

    The federal government has only one power over fuel economy, the power to tax the fuel. It should do just that and use the money to rebuild roads and bridges.

    • 0 avatar
      cprescott

      Actually, the standards are part of an Executive Branch agency function – there is no law that says you have to achieve X mileage that was ever passed by Congress. The power to set those arbitrary standards is totally within the power of the Executive branch and that means Trump can do exactly what Obama did (in reverse). Like it or not, Trump can act as arbitrarily and without merit to change mileage standards just as Obama acted capriciously to raise them.

      I would contend that the Federal Government should NOT have any power over setting FEDERAL standards since that power is not directly mentioned in the Constitution. These standards are clearly a state power and if states want to impose arbitarily punitive standards, then they should be allowed to. Congress has exploited the General Welfare clause of the Constitution to steal power that is not theirs to do a whole host of things; but that does not make it legal. That just means it is one Supreme Court case away from tossing the entire Federalism out the window!

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        The states would be setting limits on automakers engaged in interstate commerce. There’s no way to keep the feds out of it. Imagine California mandating a third headlight that turns with the wheels, like the Tucker, and New York outlawing third headlights.

        That’s not clean-air-related, but the principle is the same – individual states can’t set standards for an industry whose product can literally cross state lines. There has to be a federal standard.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I don’t necessarily buy it’s the truck companies that don’t support.

    Ford is on board. You know, the “no cars” automaker.

    This is regulatory capture AGAIN (just like I swear the way most of American business operates).

    These companies have the tech. They can meet the standards. They support it because it locks out other companies from being able to compete. And then on top of that they can all raise prices and hide behind the regulations. Nice and cartel-like.

    That doesn’t even address the stupidity of the entire thing in the first place. A totally messed up market from regulation rules, and the solution is more rules and regulation.

    These rules are setup to sell trucks. A fuel efficient company like Mazda is in trouble. How does selling more trucks and throwing road blocks in front of Mazda save fuel and emissions for America?

    Get rid of all of it. Have some sort of particulate requirement and be done.

    What a farce on all sides.

  • avatar
    johnnyz

    I just want to take this opportunity to straighten out a few of you.

    Trump is the greatest president in my lifetime and I am 51 years old.

    there is no environmental crisis, there is plenty of gasoline. Cars are now cleaner than they have ever been. Carbon dioxide is not pollution plants use it and it is a balanced system.

    Battery operated vehicles cause more environmental damage than just running regular old gasoline. Mining, dangerous metals, disposal etc…

    The government should be cut by about 70%. Epa is a joke as is carb. Everything does not need to be regulated.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      Enjoy your E15 gasoline.

    • 0 avatar
      Duaney

      Well said!!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      +1 Johnny, common sense stuff. Unfortunately expecting the populace as a whole to understand basic science is too much to ask.

    • 0 avatar

      All good points but why not make ICE cars illegal in US? Why all this games with CAFE numbers?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      List of bureaucracies which were necessary in their time but have outlived their usefulness:

      CARB
      EPA
      Dept. of Education
      NATO
      UN
      OPEC

      • 0 avatar
        johnnyz

        DEA
        DOE
        FEMA
        ATF
        HUD
        ACORN

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I had thought of Dept. of Energy, but one of its purposes is to manage the nation’s nuclear weapons programs (which I deem important).

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Um…

          you all realize:

          ACORN is defunct and was a small nonprofit, not a government agency

          FEMA is the reason people are able to get any help after hurricanes and earthquakes

          HUD funds housing for most of the seriously disabled people in the country, without which funding most of them would be on the street

          we had a world without EPA and CARB, and it featured flaming rivers in Ohio and frequent smog so thick visibility was 20 feet or less in California

          OPEC is a cartel, not a governmental organization

          DOE, as stated, keeps our nuclear weapons safe

          Everybody loves to cut government because all those things happen by magic!

          • 0 avatar
            johnnyz

            ACORN was a joke, you got it!

            FEMA is a useless government agency. how in the world did we Americans survive before them? Gee it was private insurance and neighbors helping neighbors.

            HUD IS a waste of money. where in our constitution does it say that disabled people should get free housing? Or for that matter poor people (section 8- a hud pgm)? when SSI started out it had good intentions – help the blind and deaf with extra money each month. Of course, it is a moving Target and now welfare mama’s with “ADHD” kids reap that benefit.

            I would argue that without the EPA companies would compete on being green and efficient. Wasn’t it Mercedes and Volvo that introduced groundbreaking safety measures – not because of government regulations but to save lives and gain customers!

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @JonnyZ: I would thank you for all the laughs I had when reading your posting(s), as they are obviously satirical. However just in case anyone were to take them seriously, here are some rebuttals.

          “Creating jobs and a vibrant economy”
          Actually job creation is nearly 50% less than claimed (see link). The federal debt is the largest in history. And the largest holders of that debt include foreign investors.

          https://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-created-500000-fewer-jobs-since-2018-than-previously-reported-new-figures-show-2019-08-21

          “More population= more houses and cars more insurance premiums and LOSES.”
          The number of urban floods is at historical highs. That has nothing to do with more houses and cars and everything to do with catastrophic storms.

          “A warmer climate brings more prosperity”
          The area around the equator is heavily populated and will be the most seriously impacted. This will create a climatic refugee crises unparalleled in recorded history. And you think that there are refugee problems now?

          “FEMA is a useless government agency. how in the world did we Americans survive before them? Gee it was private insurance and neighbors helping neighbors.”
          What were the life expectancies and infant mortality rates like then? People living in slum like conditions that would make today’s ghettoes look like middle class housing.

          “Uncovering fake news”.
          No President has told as many proven lies and misstruths as this one. He even admitted to making up things.

          “Attacking America’s haters.”
          This President has actually encouraged America’s enemies. Giving legitimacy to the North Korean regime. Cozying up to Putin. Defending dictatorships. And engaging in public criticism of America’s allies. The world turned upside down.

          As for NATO, just how long do you believe that the nations of Eastern Europe would remain independent if NATO was disbanded? Disbanding NATO would be the biggest win for a Russian government since the Battle of Berlin.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      ..I just want to take this opportunity to straighten out a few of you…

      Trump is the greatest president in my lifetime and I am 51 years old.

      You are entitled to your opinion. How you came to that conclusion is mind-blowing, but ok.

      …there is no environmental crisis, there is plenty of gasoline. Cars are now cleaner than they have ever been. Carbon dioxide is not pollution plants use it and it is a balanced system…

      You have to be living in a vacuum to say that. Maybe that’s why your opinion above is what it is. Last year saw insurance losses over 120 Billion due to mega storms. Last year the planet saw a below average temperature year was 1976. Yes cars are cleaner, but there are far more of them now than ever before. Would other sources of pollution be better targets at this point? Perhaps. Regarding C02 as a pollutant, anything that exists in too high a concentration is a pollutant. Want proof? Go chow down on 100 MEQ of potassium and see how you do. Potassium is essential for life, yet too much will put you underground.

      ..Battery operated vehicles cause more environmental damage than just running regular old gasoline. Mining, dangerous metals, disposal etc…

      No free lunch on batteries of course. How about some real science based research to back your position. A full “well to wheel” lifecycle on both sources of energy.

      …The government should be cut by about 70%. Epa is a joke as is carb. Everything does not need to be regulated…

      History has shown that people, left to their own devices, will mostly choose themselves over anything else and to the detriment of others. Hence the need for regulation. After reading your comments perhaps we need to spend more on education.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        This is how he came to that conclusion – comments like this:

        ” “My proposal to the politically correct Automobile Companies would lower the average price of a car to consumers by more than $3000, while at the same time making the cars substantially safer,” he wrote on Wednesday. “Engines would run smoother. Very little impact on the environment! Foolish executives!””

        See? Brilliant.

      • 0 avatar
        johnnyz

        A few reasons why Trump is the greatest prez: Enforcing the border, delete 2 govt regulations for every new one, standing up to China, the EPA and Liberal insanity, uncovering fake news, attacking America haters (AOC, Ilhan Omar, Talib), creating jobs and a vibrant economy… Not perfect by any means but light years ahead of Obama, Bush’s.

        “Last year saw insurance losses over 120 Billion due to mega storms.”
        More population= more houses and cars more insurance premiums and LOSES. Please take that straw man with you when you leave.

        “Last year the planet saw a below average temperature year was 1976.” A warmer climate brings more prosperity- bring it. The planet has had much higher C02 in the past- plants flourish. There is no proof that higher C02 is harmful.

        “Anything that exists in too high a concentration is a pollutant. Want proof? Go chow down on 100 MEQ of potassium and see how you do. Potassium is essential for life, yet too much will put you underground.” Agreed. Not really relevent to C02- we have a LOOOONG way to go before we have too much C02.

        “No free lunch on batteries of course. How about some real science based research to back your position. A full “well to wheel” lifecycle on both sources of energy.” There is much contradictory info on this subject. The mining of Nickle comes to mind as does the dirty recycling techniques in foreign countries. Punt.

        Cut government about 70% “History has shown that people, left to their own devices, will mostly choose themselves over anything else and to the detriment of others. Hence the need for regulation. After reading your comments perhaps we need to spend more on education.” Au contraire, the government exempts themselves from environmental laws and is a huge polluter. https://fee.org/articles/governments-are-the-worst-violators-of-pollution-laws/

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          It’s a good thing the government is populated by gods instead of men. Otherwise, the government might act in its own interest instead of that of the people. There’s so much cognitive dissonance involved in remaining an anti-Trump Pedocrat at this point that you almost have to forgive them for being completely insane. Almost.

          Guns kill! Police are racist murderers! They should be the only ones to have guns! Trump is evil! The government should have unlimited power! CO2 is bad! We need open borders so people can come from low CO2 footprint countries to high CO2 footprint countries by the millions! Religious fundamentalists have no place in the modern world! We love islam! Believe all women! Except when it turns out that 99% of rapists are Pedocrats! Violent criminals aren’t responsible for their actions because of their parenting! Taxpayers are responsible for injustices committed by people before their ancestors emigrated to America! White man bad! Racism bad! ICE detention centers are racist! Obama critics are racist! Obama made the regulations and built the detention centers, but he’s still going to give us hope and change!

          It’s too bad psychiatry is such a farce.

          • 0 avatar
            johnnyz

            Africans founded the USA in 1619. Get your herstory straight!

            Felons are now to be referred to as “justice involved individuals”

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I’m sure there will be plenty of “prosperity” resulting from the warmer climate when most of the populations of some of the world’s poorest large countries, such as India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Vietnam, are forced to move because either wet-bulb temperatures in their countries exceed the limit for human survival or rising sea levels from melting polar and glacier ice flood the cities in which they live. Migrations of hundreds of millions always bring prosperity, right?

          • 0 avatar
            johnnyz

            The world pop could fit in Texas. Try again.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The same Texas, the eastern half of which is also expected to become uninhabitable to humans in summer without air conditioning?

            The planet might be better off if the feral hogs (which can survive in higher heat) took over, but I’m not sure that’s the outcome you mean by “prosperity.”

    • 0 avatar
      Hydromatic

      johnnyz is the reason we took lead out of paint and gasoline.

      • 0 avatar
        johnnyz

        I recall MB and Volvo testing safety equipment BEFORE it was mandated by the government, Safety sells. The UL rates electrical products w/o big bro.

        I believe that private industry would have taken lead out w/o govt intervention. Anyway were are talking about MPG and C02, not a deadly toxin Pb.

        Furthermore, government has mandated fluoride in water for years, which has now been proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be a neurotoxin, esp for boys- that have a lesser blood brain barrier than girls. No longer a conspiracy theory. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/08/19/752376080/can-maternal-fluoride-consumption-during-pregnancy-lower-childrens-intelligence

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It’s not that we shouldn’t have environmental protections, but there’s too many redundant bureaucracies, all looking to justify their very existence. Then counties and cities have their own environmental offices.

      California state has six environmental agencies, about 3X more than most states (which have two) and redundant to the US EPA, with one office actually called the “EPA” (of California). They must’ve ran out of acronyms.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    I really don’t care what virtue signaling auto executives say they want. They are free to build as many ridiculous hybrids as they can (that will sit and rot on dealer lots)

    What I don’t want are these choices forced down my throat.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      They’re not expecting a revolt/blowback. Except it’s already happening. When absent from the showroom, they think we’re holding on to that ’03 RAV4, Explorer or whatever, a little longer (for dear life). Fear of a recession, work slowdown, hours cut, but…

      ’73 Chevy Blazer Resto-mod, Baby!! Triple deuces, blueprinted V8, headers dumping into FlowMasters…

      Emissions? What are those??

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Isn’t CA the state that just wasted BILLIONS on not high speed rail?

    just say NO to the CA politicians

  • avatar
    Duaney

    There’s no shortage of oil for Americans, so the only other reason for extreme MPG standards might be emissions. The United States has reduced emissions more than any other country. Those complaining about pollution should address the real polluters, China, India, Russia, and third world countries.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Right and you’ll notice MPG and emissions are closely tied together. And you probably know CARB/CA cannot dictate MPG (no state can), only emissions.

      We know drivers with 2X the MPG will drive up to twice as much.

      But are cars/light trucks really contributing that much to smog and breathing ailments? Would quadrupling their MPG make an ounce of difference?

      I mean compared to commercial airliners and military aircraft. While personal transportation is under attack, is anyone looking up at the brown clouds these turkeys leave behind? Especially at takeoff??

      Never mind ocean liners, cargo ships, aircraft carriers, destroyers, etc, just sitting at ports idling. And what about trains?

      Other huge contributors to pollution aren’t even transportation related

      Plus the metric tons of junk coming out of jets exits at high velocity and mixes with clean air, so I’m sure it’s much worse that it appears, in relation to just the pollution visible to the eye.

      Except manufacturers of cars and light trucks are the obvious target. This stopped being about cleaner air a long time ago. Follow the organized crime wave.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @denvermike:

        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-shipping-electric/first-battery-powered-cruise-ship-sails-for-the-arctic-idUSKCN1TW27E

        https://www.capecodtimes.com/news/20190619/cape-cod-based-cape-air-announced-to-fly-all-electric-plane

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Thanks, it reminded me of this:

          “A single cruise ship can emit as much particulate matter as a million cars”

          This is just scratching the surface. I’m sure there’s similar to be found about commercial aviation.

          zmescience.com/science/news-science/cruise-ship-particle-matter-231/

          euractiv.com/section/air-pollution/news/daily-emissions-of-cruise-ships-same-as-one-million-cars/

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    Yes, because Jalopnik is a pillar of Automotive Journalism. Every article from them on the subject is anti-Trump on the matter. They never mentioned that the whole reason for the roll-back had nothing to do with Trump at first and this was started by the car companies knowing that the increased efficiency standards would cost them and customers money. But oh no, look now, the car companies are siding with California and its all Trumps fault and its all Trump wanting to make Republicans look good to the oil companies, right? Right?

  • avatar
    danio3834

    What the automakers want is goalposts that don’t move because of the tremendously long lead times and capital expenditures required in this business.

    If Trump isn’t President next year, his rollback will be rolled forward. Hedging for this, automakers will continue to roll forward with a worst case scenario.

    What needs to happen is a pragmatic 50 state approach. The current rules are neither, but the automakers will build within that framework and consumers will pay for it.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    You hit the nail on the head the auto makers prepare for the worst case scenario which is less about being opposed to Trump and more about hedging their bets and preparing for stricter regulations not only in the US but globally. Eventually it will not be feasible to make ICE vehicles but that is many many years off. Meanwhile auto manufacturers have to make vehicles that will sell and make them not too expensive to where buyers stop buying them. Battery technology is not to the point of making EVs a better choice for most consumers.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    Maybe someone can set me straight on this.

    Everything I’ve read regarding the issue is stating that these automakers are supporting CAFE/California.

    But all the quotes in said articles don’t support this claim. Most of the quotes in these articles are on the lines of supporting a cooperation between the state and the Federal government or quotes in regards to increased fuel economy standards that can be realistically met.

    I have yet to see a direct quote from these auto companies in direct support of the CAFE standards as they are now, but every article I’ve seen written in the last few months on the issue indicate otherwise, even though there aren’t direct quotes backing it up.

    Am I wrong?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The automobile companies signed a letter of intent to support the California standards no direct quote.


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