By on January 2, 2020

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) is once again applying pressure on the Trump administration’s proposed fuel economy rollback. Similar to the complaints issued by a coalition of scientists back in March of 2018, the board expressed concerns that significant weaknesses exist in the analysis underpinning the plan that should be addressed before any rules are made final. A draft report was circulated earlier in the week, with the SAB scheduling a public meeting meeting on January 17th.

“[The] EPA always appreciates and respects the work and advice of the SAB,” the U.S. regulatory agency said in a statement. “When implemented, the [rollback] will benefit all Americans by improving the U.S. fleet’s fuel economy, reducing air pollution, and making new vehicles more affordable for all Americans.”

Unfortunately, those are the issues the SAB seems the most concerned with.

Much of the current administration’s reasoning for embracing the rollback is to reduce pressure on manufacturers and the economy. While sales hiccups in Europe and China have left many wondering about the ability of various markets to endure swift and sweeping environmental regulations, there’s little to suggest a rollback would do much (if anything) to improve air quality. The EPA hasn’t done much to refute this, either. The bulk of its focus has been on maintaining industrial jobs, affordable vehicle options, customer choice, and safety.

The administration’s latest draft of the plan seeks to cap fleet-wide fuel efficiency requirements at roughly 37 miles per gallon after 2020. Obama era rules have that number heading toward 50 mpg through 2025, though the EPA has previously called the targets arbitrary and not in line with market or technological realities. Unfortunately, the majority of SAB members feel like that distinction was made without adequate scientific reasoning.

The New York Times spoke with Peter Wilcoxen, professor of public administration at Syracuse University, to get a better understanding of the SAB’s gripes:

Mr. Wilcoxen chaired the working group that reviewed the E.P.A.’s rollback of automobile tailpipe emission standards and said the agency’s analysis had several well-known “core flaws.”

One of the primary problems, he said, is that the E.P.A., in an unusual move, used a flawed economic model that had not been reviewed either internally by federal agencies or in the academic literature. That model found what Mr. Wilcoxen described as the “really improbable” results that relaxing Obama-era gas mileage standards would lead to a significantly smaller fleet of vehicles despite the model’s prediction that the vehicles would be cheaper.

That assumption helped drive the Trump administration’s argument that its rule would lead to fewer cars on the road and therefore fewer planet-warming emissions.

“They ended up with this result that basically violated introductory economics,” Mr. Wilcoxen said.

As usual, the environmental and economic beliefs of these groups appear to be completely at odds with each other. For many, choosing a side has more to do with one’s priorities than wisdom. Do you keep the focus nailed down to environmental policy, despite the potential of that creating issues for consumers and uncertainty within the market? Or is it best to push them out of the way to make sure people continue to have access to vehicles they’ll actually buy while cutting manufacturers a regulatory break in the United States?

[Image: Siripatv/Shutterstock]

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133 Comments on “U.S. Fuel Rollback Earns Pushback from Scientific Advisory Board...”


  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Environmentalism is just a marketing campaign for misanthropy. “The bulk of its focus has been on maintaining industrial jobs, affordable vehicle options, customer choice, and safety.” Those are all good things, and anyone who opposes them is welcome to off themselves for the good of mother earth.

    • 0 avatar
      hpycamper

      Todd
      Indefensible, inappropriate comment.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        It makes him feel better about himself.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        I will happily defend my statement. I don’t think you have any idea what indefensible means, just as you don’t know what CO2 actually does.

        • 0 avatar
          hpycamper

          Todd
          Indefensible=inexcusable, which is what welcoming anyone to off themselves in an auto enthusiast forum seems to me.

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          I wonder if the original comment being indefensible is part of the reason that Todd has yet to actually bother trying defend it, despite saying he will happily do so.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            It’s part of the jerkweed code: when you’re being ridiculous, don’t apologize. Double down on it.

            (People generally act this way for two reasons: 1) they’re so insecure that admitting they made a mistake literally shakes them to their core, or 2) they’re anti-social types who think the rules don’t apply to them.)

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            I mean, if one takes off their decent human being cap and simply puts on the cap of cool, hard logic then at some point, if we are honest to God taking about the future of the planet and us already being “past the point of no return” which I have read on multiple occasions then the number of people on the planet may very well be a major issue. Typically we will get a war, famine, or something of the like to knock mankind down a peg, but we are pushing a century now of largely sustained peace and prosperity.

            I’m not a fan of telling folks to kill themselves, but the reality is we are pretty overdue for some sort of pestilence.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            That’s kind of like saying that someone who’s morbidly obese has to have a heart attack to finally have a come-to-Jesus moment and realize that lifestyle changes are in order. Not true at all. It’s easier to fix problems *before* the big crisis hits.

      • 0 avatar
        Lockstops

        Well, I certainly don’t find ToddAtlasF1’s comment to be inappropriate at all. Fake outrage is too often a cop-out from having to actually discuss subjects with argumentation. It’s basically a very childish ad-hominem attack, calling the other party ‘an uncivilised monster not fit for society’ or the like, and not argumentation.

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          Calling a comment inappropriate is “a very childish ad-hominem attack,” but telling people who disagree with you to kill themselves is not?

          Thanks, that’s an interesting perspective.

          • 0 avatar
            Lockstops

            Correct on the first, and as for the second part you’re wrong: he didn’t order anyone to kill themselves, he was making a hyperbolous point using the logic and rhetoric of the group he’s referring to.

            You’re just trying to cop out of having to discuss the matter by trying to sensor him.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I’d say calling someone out for being a jerk isn’t an ad hominem attack.

          • 0 avatar
            Lockstops

            Calling someone a jerk is exactly an ad hominem attack. Especially when the only point of calling him a jerk is that because he’s ‘a jerk’ he is not allowed to exist in the conversation. And with zero argumentation as to how exactly he is a jerk, etc. etc. etc.

            How great was that ad hominem attack for the conversation? Did it further our understanding, bring any great new perspectives? Or did it completely f**k up the conversation, as it was meant to?

        • 0 avatar
          hpycamper

          Lockstops
          There was no outrage and no name calling/labeling in my comment.
          Is welcoming anyone to off themselves here defensible, and valid argumentation?

          • 0 avatar
            Lockstops

            Please stop lying to me hpycamper. Lying is very inconsiderate.

            You are lying about what you commented, and about what he commented.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @ToddAtlasF1: +1. In today’s world, mankind is the enemy of the Earth and must be stopped. Every (non-policy-making) person is seen as a problem to be solved rather than as a solution.

      “Coexist” doesn’t apply when it comes to tree-huggers.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Maybe tree huggers are intolerant, maybe not. Then again, we have ol’ Todd here, who thinks people should off themselves because they disagree with him politically.

        Seems to me there’s plenty of intolerance to go around.

        I wish TTAC would have included an “ignore” button with the last redesign. Let this jerk go get his jollies elsewhere.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          I think you misread his comment.

          He was saying that the environmentalists are suggesting their opponents do this, not those who disagree with him.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            If that’s what he wants to say, then he can leave a comment to do so, but it’s certainly not at all what he wrote. “Those [viz., maintaining industrial jobs, affordable vehicle options, customer choice, and safety] are all good things, and anyone who opposes them is welcome to off themselves for the good of mother earth.”

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Possibly, SCE…let’s say you’re right. So…there’s some massive public sentiment among tree-huggers to encourage people to off themselves for not being environmentally woke enough?

            Yeah, not that I’ve seen. Neither have you.

            So, best case, the guy’s full of it. But we knew that. Either way, he’s not making a political point – he’s just being a jerk, which is par for the course.

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            @Freed:

            At the risk of pushing this thread even more sideways, Bernie did make some recent comments supporting population control as a means of addressing the ‘climate catastrophe’.

            It is a widely-held position that few want to talk about. At least he was honest about it.

            https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49601678

            Back on topic, I do think the Trump Administration has some good points to make on CAFE, but the battle has gotten ridiculous on both sides. It makes the going tough for the mfrs and consumers alike.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Per the article you posted (thanks for that, by the way), Sanders was saying that lower birth rates would be helpful to the environment (which is true), and towards that end, he was calling for better access to birth control. Sounds sensible as hell to me. Lower birth rates would help solve a whole range of problems in the developing world.

            He wasn’t calling on people to commit suicide en masse, and neither is anyone else.

          • 0 avatar
            Imagefont

            SCE to AUX
            So Todd needs you to explain to everyone what he REALLY meant? What other services do you provide, and are you good at paddling forward?

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          “Seems to me there’s plenty of intolerance to go around.”

          And that would be the quote of the new year.

  • avatar
    LeBaron

    If you are going to cite the New York Times, do it sooner so I can stop reading sooner.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Trouble with the big words?

      I guess this is whatever translates as virtue signalling in the monosyllabic world.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      @ LeBaron – “Coalition of scientists” was my cue to bail.

    • 0 avatar
      bkojote

      What’s wrong with the New York Times?

      • 0 avatar

        “What’s wrong with the New York Times?”

        What is wrong with NY Times? They were caught lying too many Times (no pun intended). I do not even bother to read them anymore. And in any case they block free access anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          Steve S.

          Source please.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Oh come on, they have all of their retractions conveniently up on their website. Most are just misprints and the like. Many are shoddy journalism.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Retractions are actually honest journalism. Bias is another matter, and it’s usually seen through whatever lens the reader chooses.

            Sincerely,
            FreedMike, BA in Journalism and Mass Communications, class of 1985

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            I agree Mike, but some of those retractions are from poor journalistic practices like putting all of their eggs in a single source’s basket, likely due to bias. But yes, I appreciate when they own up to mistakes, though I feel they should run the retraction on the same page as the story…no burying behind the obituaries.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            As a practical matter, in the print world, retractions are hard to do – you can’t re-publish yesterday’s paper.

            The common practice in the online age is to revise the story and add the retraction at the end of the article. This site’s done that. I’m not paying to read the Times, so I don’t know if that’s their practice, but I suspect that’s exactly what they do as well.

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            “…I feel they should run the retraction on the same page as the story…no burying behind the obituaries.”

            “Oh come on, they have all of their retractions conveniently up on their website.”

            So are they trying to hide their retractions, or do they have them conveniently up on their website?

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            They are conveniently up on the site for the OP to go look at since he was having an issue locating a source.

            They were however posted with little fanfare in comparison to when the original stories broke.

            Once the genie is out though it is hard to put it back in…all the more reason to be careful initially.

          • 0 avatar

            “Source please.”

            If you have no clue it’s time to get out from under that rock.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “That model found what Mr. Wilcoxen described as the “really improbable” results that relaxing Obama-era gas mileage standards would lead to a significantly smaller fleet of vehicles despite the model’s prediction that the vehicles would be cheaper.”

    This could be interpreted as relaxing the standards would lead to a smaller (the vehicles themselves would be smaller) and that there would be fewer (large) vehicles that emit more per vehicle.

    If interpreted this way, it makes sense since CAFE 2025 pushes truckification and squashes any profit made from small cars.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    I wonder what this “Scientific Advisory Board” said about ETHANOL

    I’m sure that would show their scientific credibility.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      It would be in their TPS report.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      Congress passed the Energy Security Act in the mid to lat 2000s (Bush second term) requiring E10. EPA technical groups have been pretty consistent in showing their dislike of this law. Most of their studies show no pollution benefits and some negative air quality impacts.

      The current administration has been moving to push more E15 use to help the farmers (see https://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/trump-expected-to-hike-ethanol-limit-in-gasoline).

  • avatar
    dont.fit.in.cars

    50 mpg. Mandated by government that my 6.5 foot frame must fit in a Prius while requiring me to sell my truck and equipment trailer and learn coding. And if I refuse…pay more transportation taxes for the privilege of earning a living.

    • 0 avatar
      bkojote

      Simple, someone with an electric truck is going to replace your business because their cost per mile will be lower. Survival of the fittest and you aren’t it.

      • 0 avatar
        dont.fit.in.cars

        Common mistake, It’s not survival of the fittest but the one who adapts to conditions.

        There is no electric truck hauling a truck camper (mobile office) while pulling a 20 foot equipment trailer with 9k pounds, 2300 miles in 3 days at the price point of an ICE truck.

        No electric truck can “adapt” to that condition nor price per mile. Mine calculates to .28-.32 per mile.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Most light truck users are not driving 2300 miles in 3 days, they’re shuttling from depot to job site around major cities. No, electrics won’t replace hotshot rigs. Yes, they will replace most trucks in construction, repair, and maintenance fleets.

          • 0 avatar
            dont.fit.in.cars

            I’m not a hot shot driver. I couldn’t keep up with regulations and insurance.

            While true most drive short distance, it’s the payload and tow electric vehicles cannot support. No company will pay 60k for half the capability of a 35K ICE truck when max deduction section 179 is 25k.

            Other than hand tools, some forklift applications and trolly pickers, electrics do not make economic sense.

            I’m all for the liberty to choose what mode of transportation we want Government mandate for an unrealistic 50 mpg in order to cull ICE vehicles from the road is determining for you what you’ll drive. That to me is unwarranted interference in peoples lives.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Um… what? Electric motors are a good deal happier under heavy load than ICEs. The very heaviest vehicles in the world, both train locomotives and mining trucks, use their ICEs only as generators to feed electric motors.

            Electric trucks will work very well for most operators. The cost issue today is a matter of battery costs, which will drop.

          • 0 avatar
            dont.fit.in.cars

            Trains move more freight on a gallon of diesel than any truck ever could. Trouble is scale vs. mission. Trains are hybrids and work well within their mission, however not cost effective for work trucks. Again a hybrid Transporter (train truck barge) would at minimum cost twice to three times as much as an ICE that’s easily serviceable. I’m not opposed to electric or hybrids but until they’re cost effective a I’ll pass.

            I am intrigued by hybrid drones. They use gas motor powering a generator that powers electric motors turning props. Advantage is 10 times the endurance of a battery powered drone. However at 35k each and a 12 pound payload limits their effectiveness.

        • 0 avatar
          Add Lightness

          There are lots of trucks in my neighbourhood capable of hauling 9000# in a 20 foot trailer 2,300 miles in 3 days.

          Not a single one gets used for that. Fashion statements, every one.

          Fuel is so cheap that the owners can get through life without doing financial math.

          • 0 avatar
            dont.fit.in.cars

            The liberty of choice. Do you know how they’re used, number of kids, how often they pull a RV trailer, fishing boat, ATV? Have you calculated butt per seat mile? My wife will roll 200 miles with another mom and four kids to Six Flags with the Expedition at 21 mpg.

            No electric can tow like an ICE without long lead times recharging. TFL tried with a Tesla (low weight tow) and abandon the attempt and switch to RAM truck to complete the timeline.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      You can always tell the non tech folks…learn to code lol. Hope you like a low hourly rate…and Calcutta.

      Learn to solve problems. The “coding” bit is literally the easiest part of the equation. Even if you are working with something like C the construct of the language is easy compared to coming up with sound logic. I make my living exploiting the work of “coders” versus problem solvers.

      Not saying that is what you were driving at BTW…I just chuckle at people that think they are going to learn Python and rake in the cash. If you are applying in my field based on your knowledge of a programming language, unless it is Assembly or old school C, nobody really cares. There is always some language that is the new hotness and the good ones will always pick it up because the language is just a tool.

      • 0 avatar
        dont.fit.in.cars

        Not smart enough to code, but learned how to present information to my programmer changing ladder logic in my equipment. Product fall limited overall speed per cycle. Once he separated fall timing from cycle we went 75 fills per minute with a 7.5 foot drop. (up from 43).

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          From that statement alone I think it is highly likely you are in fact plenty smart to learn to code. I also doubt you have any reason to need to learn lol.

          • 0 avatar
            dont.fit.in.cars

            I coded once with a Commodore 128 in Basic. The result was Pixelated unicorn flashing with alternating back screen colors.
            Cool but went back to the erector set.

            The key to finding a programmer is get one with mechanical experience and pay them well. My guy programs, builds my control boxes and doesn’t charge for code improvements. Sure I pay more, but when cellular link collapses and need him, he shows up.

      • 0 avatar
        Daniel J

        Art,

        I was doing embedded C/C++ for years and after getting laid off took a job doing C#. As you say, the language is just a tool. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert after 3 years but I am reasonably proficient, even more than many in my group who’ve been doing it for years.

        The problem is that private companies “think” coding is just typing and they can hire anyone to do it.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    I think 50 MPG is too much, and makes the perfect the enemy of the good. Where we are now is good, and should be maintained or even rolled back enough to make sedans, coupes, and wagons viable again.

    • 0 avatar
      ColoradoFX4

      Remember, 50 MPG CAFE equates to mid-30s MPG on a window sticker.

      “The 34.1 mpg CAFE target for 2016 is actually equal to only 26 mpg on a window sticker. The talked-about 2025 CAFE standard — usually described as 54.5 mpg — amounts to a figure of 36 mpg Combined on a window sticker.”

      https://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/faq-new-corporate-average-fuel-economy-standards.html

    • 0 avatar
      Mike Killion

      Actually the current/previous restrictions were more car focused and the next ones are truck/SUV focused. So enforcing them will help cars.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The ability to compromise is what separates us from the animals (and Europe).

    • 0 avatar
      bkojote

      That and most Europeans haven’t evolved to have a second chin.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Europeans are just as fat, except when they are, they shy away from attention and cameras more, and definitely aren’t as proud of it nor embrace it like US “Plus Size”. But they’re just as fat.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Average US male weight (2018): 198 lbs.

          Average Dutch male weight (the heaviest average in Europe, 2018): 185 lbs. They are also about two inches taller than we are on average.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Well yeah, descendants of Vikings. The fat, short ones were much more likely die young. And when they went on raids, they were more likely to “date” or eventually marry the tallest and fittest women.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            “Average US male weight (2018): 198 lbs.”

            YES!!! And to think my High School Teachers once called me below average.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You may be confusing the Dutch and the Danes. The Dutch are mostly of Germanic origin. Their height came later, and is widely seen as being a symptom of their being some of the healthiest people in the world.

            Americans, not so much, 200+ lb. self included. (I’m a lot fitter than I was a year ago as a result of more biking, but that hasn’t translated to much lost weight.)

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            I lived in the Netherlands in 1984. The women had cankles, something US women had yet to discover. I didn’t spend much time checking out the men, but they were no taller than I was at 14. Europeans are being replaced at an exponential rate. Let’s see their stats when their public school classes are “100% diversity” like ours. I felt like Gulliver last time I traveled to Mexico.

            Speaking of Europe, you folks should check out Grandmagate. Many of you could use a slap in the face with the reality of what environmental fascists are really up to.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        “That and most Europeans haven’t evolved to have a second chin.”

        Or put a man on the moon

  • avatar
    bkojote

    Hear me out on this –

    Shouldn’t most of us be excited about fewer cars on the road and less gas consumed? Now I get it, TTAC’s best and brightest consists of American Joe’s whose 6’5″ frame needs to be accommodated in their F150 whose REAL SIZE bed can haul the replacement 5.4L engine it needs every 30,000 miles and tow their trailer full of bullsh!t to the JOB site instead of sitting in hipster coffee shops reading the LIEberal NYT, but….

    How many Sequoias or Explorers do you wanna sit in traffic with every day or compete with for the planet’s oil supply? Let them have their hybrids and fancy ass trains for a drive they don’t care about. Us real Joe’s who USE our vehicles (to compensate for 5″ not being considered “above average”).

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff S

      If the Government wants to encourage cleaner and more efficient vehicle how about a program to take older less clean less efficient vehicles off the road. Maybe a Cash for Clunkers or credits for industry by buying up older vehicles and scrapping them. Doesn’t really help the cause of clean air when there are lots of old hoopties on the road belching smoke and getting much less mpgs. Also extend the time giving manufacturers more time to develop more efficient vehicles. If we are going all electric then we need time to build an infrastructure to support EVs and more time for manufacturers to increase capacity to build EVs and make them more affordable.

      • 0 avatar
        bkojote

        The “old hoopties” should be solved by emissions compliance. Tax dollars are better spent on public transportation (so those who can’t afford to maintain a car have their earning potential tied to a belching PT Cruiser) and building up EV infrastructure.

        Having less draw on gasoline will be beneficial to us all during that 2 month period between when an oil-rich country cuts us off and when we bomb them.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff Weimer

          No.

        • 0 avatar
          dont.fit.in.cars

          Hope your aware the Middle East is no longer in play. We have enough oil to ignore those oil rich counties.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Serious question though…how much tax dollars should go to public transportation? Very few mass transit systems are anywhere near break even. Most outside of the major cities lose multiple dollars per rider.

          Much of that is mismanagement and not actually servicing areas people want to go, but much of it is also simply how Americans outside of places like NYC and/or Chicago live.

          The way I see it, for it to work you have to subsidize the crap out of it or overhaul how most Americans not in one of the big 2 Cities live and get those in the suburbs and outlying areas to live and work closer to the city.

          I am not sure either one of those is a realistic approach in the US and would argue that standardizing and building out an EV Charging infrastructure and incentivizing the hybridization of those big trucks people love would have a much larger impact than mass transit unless your aim is to fundamentally change how Americans live and if that is in fact your aim it is a fight you won’t win currently.

          • 0 avatar
            bkojote

            So mass transit systems don’t need to break even- this gets brought up a lot by a lot of nefarious actors (cough a certain lobby) but by design it’s a subsidization of economic growth- just like our highways, and nobody has the expectation that highways pay for themselves. In fact, *the* costliest transportation boondoggles in the US have come not from rail but from highway construction. (Bonus – they were from ‘public/private joint ventures – a great case study on private industry effing this up more than gov’t does.)

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            I agree that they don’t need to break even, but many are absolute money pits so I am curious as to what people feel is an appropriate amount to subsidize systems that most taxpayers outside of large cities just don’t use. I am willing to pay for a decent public transportation system, but I’m not willing to write them a blank check.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I think the mistake many public transit systems make is reliance on rail, when the same basic goal could be met with Greyhound-style buses and dedicated transit lanes. I take transit to work every day, and the trip involves both bus and rail. The bus is clean, efficient and on time; rail is kind of a mess (largely because they can’t find enough people to drive the trains).

            I’d take the commuter bus all the way to work if I could.

            Mass transit isn’t mean’t to make money or break even, just as roads aren’t. The difference is that more people use roads versus mass transit, so the former is where the tax money goes. Ironically, more transit would make freeway commutes FAR nicer where I live – no matter how many roads we build, it’s not enough, and you could probably put a Disneyland on Mars for what it’d take to build out a truly effective highway system here.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Anything over 5 or 6 inches is just for showing off to other guys. Women don’t care or need it. It’s no different the a huge lift kit and big tires on a truck. But if she has a big oversized “garage” that needs filling, I don’t know..

      Except midsize to fullsize vehicles is what most would drive, anywhere in the world, if they could, all things equal. Pickups used more for hauling butts and air, yeah that’s a North American exclusive (except for OZ), but it happens less than you’d like to think. Just combining all pickups, performing work or not (or not always), they’re a small minority of what’s on the road at any point and time. They just get your attention (and your goat) more than anything else.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        “Except midsize to fullsize vehicles is what most would drive, anywhere in the world, if they could, all things equal.”

        Not sure people in Naples, Barcelona, or Tokyo would choose to drive a fullsize vehicle given that parking spots are mostly designed for minicompact cars due to narrow streets and those narrow streets are an integral part of why those places are so appealing.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Well I did say “…all things equal.”

          Yeah some of the ancient streets of the old world weren’t intended for cars (of any size), or even chariots with double horses or oxen .

          I’m sure the US pioneered double-horse teams that back then would’ve never fit between the castle walls of the old world.

          We had wide open spaces, comparatively, even the streets of 1700’s Colonial villages, that people complain about today.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          “Not sure people in Naples, Barcelona, or Tokyo would choose to drive a fullsize vehicle…”

          I am not sure Naples is a great example here. I was there 4 years and parking spaces were a suggestion at best, just like lane markers, stoplights and stop signs, and even roads as I was passed on several occasions on the sidewalk. It really is anarchy on the road there.

          Incidentally my first car there was a free 1970 Olds Cutlass. Yes, it was miserable but usable so long as you kept it out of downtown. It chewed through your monthly tax free gas ration in about a week though and then was 100 or so 1998 dollars to fill up so your point does stand.

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      I’ll make the case a truck is far better for the economy than a sedan. Trucks support purchasing travel trailers, motorcycles, ATV’s, anything one can buy at big box store,

      BTW my 08 Expedition with a 5.4 is rolling 130k without replacement and my 2015 2500 HD gasser (less polluting than diesel) is at 220k miles. And we have plenty of oil to last us 300 years.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      No.

  • avatar
    don1967

    If the EPA was fighting chunky rivers or brown air, then people might agree that some push-back is needed against the Trump administration. But the issue here is an invisible one, a heavily-promoted “climate emergency” for which millions of people are naturally skeptical.

    Like it or not, the EPA does NOT have a mandate to rule over our lives. It’s time for these “coalitions of scientists” to get back to the sciency stuff, and leave the politicking to politicians.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The residents of Sydney and its suburbs might disagree with you, given that they are indeed, right at this very moment, fighting literal bright red air. The scientists with their sciency stuff stubbornly attribute the unusual magnitude of this year’s fires to climate change.

      • 0 avatar
        dont.fit.in.cars

        They’re fighting bright red air for the same reason 90 folks died in Paradise,CA. Environmentalist conditioned state governments to end responsible tree harvesting while it determined dead tress have rights to decay naturally creating more fuel for fires. Combined this with small towns with limited escape routes and you get dead people.

        Grass Valley CA will be the next town to erupt in flames.

        • 0 avatar
          bkojote

          No, it was caused by the changing weather patterns that have lead to a record drought in the state. “Responsible tree harvesting” is a red herring argument and a total distraction that’s been peddled by exclusively non-scientific bullsh!t artists

          Stay in your lane, which is trying to convince us your Expedition is a model of reliability.

          • 0 avatar
            dont.fit.in.cars

            My chuckle for the day. It’s not record drought, but state governments creating laws preventing harvesting, allowing beetles to infect forest and State making no provision paying for dead tree removal, which tree harvesters did while harvesting.

            Allow fuel to build and barely controllable fires will result, creating more death and habitat destruction than tree harvesting or forest management.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            The truth on this is likely somewhere in the middle. I don’t know about Australia, but I do know that forest mismanagement is a contributing factor to the fire issues in California. I am also sure it isn’t the only factor, but to just discount it is equally idiotic.

      • 0 avatar
        TS020

        @dal20402 What’s the correlation between bushfires and climate change? Have a look at Black Friday 1939 (13th January, 71 fatalities), or Ash Wednesday 1983 (16th February, 75 fatalities).

        Bushfires have been a part of Australian life since way before European settlement.

      • 0 avatar
        ydnas7

        https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/germinating-native-seeds/9432212

        Australian native plants are pryophytic to varying degrees.

        Some of our plants have a binary choice, fire or extinction.

        When we aussies permit less burnoff, the fire must become bigger and badder.

        You are welcome to grow aussie plants in your own country, just expect to get the aussie bush fire experience.

    • 0 avatar
      bkojote

      The millions of people who are “naturally skeptical” believe Jesus road dinosaurs and any sort of responsibility to look after the planet interferes with their freedom to do the same.

      The EPA does have rule over your life just like any goddamn functional society that doesn’t want toxic chemicals in their water or garbage thrown everywhere. And c’mon, if you’re gonna be skeptical about a side in this debate, how about the “BUT WHAT ABOUT YOUR FREEDOM AND/OR ECONOMY” horsesh!t.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Weimer

        @bkotkje – That’s a horse-pucky characterization of people who disagree with you. Play nice or go away.

        • 0 avatar
          bkojote

          Scientific community is at a near unanimous consensus and has been for quite some time, just like evolution, and the fact the earth is not flat, yet here we are in 2020.

          This isn’t a “both sides debate” dude, save the pearl clutching.

          • 0 avatar
            mpalczew

            I’m on the side of limiting carbon emissions, it seems as if we are putting an unprecedented amount of extra co2 in the air and this may suddenly upset the earth’s balance.

            I could be wrong, but somewhere I heard the stat that automotive emissions are only 11% of co2 emissions. It seems like we’re barking up the wrong tree.

            Furthermore US is reducing it’s carbon emissions every year, yes even under Trump, while China contributes ever greater amounts, although per capita they haven’t caught up.

            >> Scientific community is at a near unanimous consensus and has been for quite some time,

            That’s not good enough because the scientific community has been wrong before. It’s hard to tell if the field is a citation ring, or actual science being done.

            Typically one just has to look at the prediction record to know if a field is bullshit(e.g. macro-economics). However, the field’s(climate science) prediction record is terrible. e.g. Al Gore’s citing of the claims.

            They have very little credibility and that’s sad. We should be limiting these gasses, however, we should also weigh the economic costs of doing that vs say malaria prevention, tb treatment and easy access to birth control in some of the worlds worst places.

            Then when there is cold spell, the people that are all about climate science, say “weather is not climate”, when there is a hot spell, “see this is global warming”.

            Frankly, both sides of this debate look terrible.

            Event above “No, it was caused by the changing weather patterns that have lead to a record drought in the state. ”

            The record drought was over by then(over in 2017, fire was in 2018)
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011–2017_California_drought
            and .
            https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2018/11/09/weather-climate-behind-blazing-inferno-that-wrecked-paradise/

            The climate change argument about the cause of the fire is longer dry seasons caused by warming which is man made.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff Weimer

            Apparently this is a strawman-burning argument for you. Your “side” isn’t the only side.

      • 0 avatar
        dont.fit.in.cars

        Jesus and dinosaurs? I’m not skeptical about anything. No matter how hard one tries, physics and chemistry doesn’t change.
        Electrics never factors, energy transfer cost, life cycle usage, maintenance or depreciation (ask a solar company what the Annual depreciation is on a 14 kilowatt system…the silence is deafening). ICE is Well known and measurable.

        The EPA 50 mpg mandate is unnecessary bloated bureaucracy that’s outlived it’s usefulness. Cars are cleaner because lead was removed in fuel, catalytic converters, fuel injection, electronic ignition, VVT and reliable computers for engine management. Other than lead removal, the EPA didn’t invent the remaining listed improvements. They through out a number and relied on Manufactures to reach the number.

        We are at peak ICE – at the most cost effective price point. The only way to hit 50 mpg is lower Average weight of a vehicle from average 3600 pounds to 2000 pounds while maintains current safety standards. The only way to reduce weight is develop new materials that equal current throughput methods and lower speed limits. None which are on the horizon nor acceptable to drivers.

        Yes EPA does rule over our lives and at one time necessary. Natural gas electric plants have reduce CO2 faster than wind and solar combined, without killing birds / bats and reliable 24/7. Why have a government bureaucracy mandate a mpg number that’s not realistic? More likely it’s trying to make itself relevant because technology is doing its job.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          Nah. Per Edmunds, 50 MPG CAFE is 36 MPG window sticker. We could reach that average easily: just offer hybrid versions of all the things. Hybridized vehicles drive nicer and cost less in the long run. Certainly a better idea than the current fashions for GDI engines and small-displacement engines with big turbos, both of which turn out to be much nastier polluters than the big lazy fours they replaced.

      • 0 avatar
        dont.fit.in.cars

        Jesus and dinosaurs? I’m not skeptical about anything. No matter how hard one tries, physics and chemistry doesn’t change.
        Electrics never factors, energy transfer cost, life cycle usage, maintenance or depreciation (ask a solar company what the Annual depreciation is on a 14 kilowatt system…the silence is deafening). ICE is Well known and measurable.

        The EPA 50 mpg mandate is unnecessary bloated bureaucracy that’s outlived it’s usefulness. Cars are cleaner because lead was removed in fuel, catalytic converters, fuel injection, electronic ignition, VVT and reliable computers for engine management. Other than lead removal, the EPA didn’t invent the remaining listed improvements. They through out a number and relied on Manufactures to reach the number.

        We are at peak ICE – at the most cost effective price point. The only way to hit 50 mpg is lower Average weight of a vehicle from average 3600 pounds to 2000 pounds while maintains current safety standards. The only way to reduce weight is develop new materials that equal current throughput methods and lower speed limits. None which are on the horizon nor acceptable to drivers.

        Yes EPA does rule over our lives and at one time necessary. Natural gas electric plants have reduce CO2 faster than wind and solar combined, without killing birds / bats and reliable 24/7. Why have a government bureaucracy mandate a mpg number that’s not realistic? More likely it’s trying to make itself relevant because technology is doing its job.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    There are still plenty of old hoopies on the road in various states of decay and most of these hoopties are not trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      This. I wonder if simply subsidizing a new Versa for all of the 3800 powered Buicks running around that have had the Check Engine lights glowing since W’s first term would have the greatest impact.

      • 0 avatar
        bkojote

        Emissions testing for tag renewal.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          I would be cool with that (though most places I have lived already do it). I would add a safety inspection (though NY mechanics that did these tended to look at it as a means to print money).

          The problem is that you are really screwing the poor. They are the only ones who have their lives altered when the state tells them they can no longer operate their vehicle. It is a real possibility that you simply add them to the welfare rolls. So why not do something to modernize the hooptie fleet?

          I know, I know….mass transit. See my above post.

          • 0 avatar
            dont.fit.in.cars

            Mass transit is a boondoggle. Witness CA spending billions for high speed rail from Bakerfield to Merced. It passed legislation when Gov Brown wrote a check for 400 million to a Republican district.

            Unless there’s a secret government underground data center with nukes, for the life of me cannot figure out what warrants high speed rail in Central Valley AG region.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Ah, so because this one piece of mass transit is a boondoggle, all mass transit is a boondoggle. By this estimable logic, since the F-35 is a boondoggle, we shouldn’t be funding fighter planes anymore. Come to think of it, I can think of about a dozen other military projects that turned out to be boondoggles. Let’s defund the military…right?

          • 0 avatar
            dont.fit.in.cars

            A bit of history. 1980 Jack Anderson wrote the FA18 was a boondoggle, no range, time over target and maintenance per flight hour was high. Truth was a 200 hour in type pilot would shoot down a 3000 hour F-4 jock flying the upper right hand of his flight envelop. We swapped engines in 20 minutes instead of the hours it to on the Phantom. Jack has passed away and the Hornet platform is the backbone of Naval Aviation.

            F35 isn’t a boondoggle, as with all weapons programs mission creep slows production. It’s platform replaces F16 and Harrier and Israelis have flown into Iran without detection. Combine that with sat data link and a pilot controls a formable weapon.

            Mass transit is a huge money suck. Drive to a large parking lot, board train or bus transit with multiple stops, then walk or bike to final destination, then Uber to lunch and repeat heading home.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Ah, so…because the F-18 was originally tagged a boondoggle but proved itself, the F35 can’t possibly be a boondoggle, and there haven’t been any other boondoggle defense programs.

            Got it.

            (Scratches head)

            No, mass transit isn’t a boondoggle, even if certain projects are, and even if you don’t like it or don’t use it. If Thanos snapped all the mass transit buses and trains out of existence tomorrow, every city in this country would grind to an immediate, screeching halt. But you knew that, right?

            You’re way off base. Sorry.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            Mike, the way mass transit has been handled in California for the last 20 years has been a boondoggle. I can’t speak to other places, but the profound foolishness out here can’t be overstated.

            HSR was sold to taxpayers as a $40 billion project. It’s now over $100 billion, nowhere near the initial scope and hasn’t taken into account many of the expenses that will balloon the cost by at minimum billions more.

            Mass transit, like many government programs, is laden with waste and favors being delivered to insiders. The people designed to benefit the most from these programs are being robbed blind along with what’s left of the working class in the state.

            It’s telling that all of the effort on public transportation projects are on the side of build more and not on the side of judicious use of tax dollars.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I’m amazed at the number of people I imagine are atheists but happily subscribe to the religion of environmentalism and it’s sub-cult known as climate change. I believe in the separation of church and state; keep your climate religion to yourself, and keep your hands off my car.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve S.

      Anything that demands proof is not a religion.

    • 0 avatar
      bkojote

      Science and religion are exactly alike except one is based on science.

      But just because you don’t know how it works doesn’t mean it Isnt true.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Maybe, but if you are going to tax me at the levels people are discussing to fight this then pardon me for doing my due diligence on it.

        • 0 avatar
          multicam

          Proof… of something that is supposedly going to take place… sometime in the future? A goalpost that keeps getting further away? Something about the nature of that “proof” feels different to me than the proof that exists of, say, a round earth or dinosaurs.

          The entire climate change science scene of the past few decades makes me think of very thought-provoking lessons from a philosophy of science course I took a decade ago. Lessons involving ad-hoc explanations for observed phenomena, and the requirement for a scientific theory to be falsifiable for it to have value. The characteristics of pseudosciences. The danger of group-think, and how science stagnates when scientific inquiry is discouraged. Etc, etc.

          Oh but I forgot- people who question global warming -I mean climate change- are mouth-breathing bible thumpers who are morally equivalent to holocaust deniers and must be in the pocket of big oil. My bad.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            It’s not happening in the future, it’s happening now and will continue in the future. In fact, it’s happening now at the high end of the rates that were predicted back in the ’80s and ’90s.

            https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aafd4e

            https://science.sciencemag.org/content/363/6423/128

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “Proof… of something that is supposedly going to take place… sometime in the future?”

            Interesting take. Let’s relate it to another inexact science – medicine.

            Let’s say you’re 45, weigh 320 pounds, smoke, eat McDonald’s every day, and don’t exercise. A scientist – your doctor – shares his scientific theory that it’s time to shape up or you’re going to croak when you’re 60. You ask him to guarantee that statement, which he can’t. People *do* live like that and die in a car wreck when they’re 85, which you point out to him. Since he can’t prove his scientific theory to your satisfaction, you keep on living exactly the way you do. Freedom ‘n whiskey!

            Makes perfect sense…right?

            Maybe what the climate scientists say is 100% accurate, maybe it’s not. But it’s pretty obvious that our current energy production methods aren’t going to work for all that much longer, and climate change is just one reason why.

            Why not get in front of the problem, develop new energy tech that doesn’t pollute as much, and move forward?

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            And not only that, develop a market, a position as a leader in the technology, a critical mass within a business sector and your country’s position as a technology leader in that field – ?

            We could have done that with all the renewables – but now we’re buying windmills, photovoltaics, batteries…and the licensing technology…from other companies in other countries.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            …which tells me that the renewables industry isn’t spending as much on lobbying as the fossil fuel industries are.

            If blacksmiths had a lobby 120 years ago like the energy companies do today, we’d probably still be arguing about how many horses should be let on public streets.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    I’m an Inadvertent Environmentalist: I like to wrench on our ‘older’ cars and keep them running well. The energy that goes into building a new vehicle beggars belief, electric car or otherwise. Tools are cheap; parts are cheap; and the labour is both free and fun.

    2007 CTS-V with 237,000 Kms
    2010 F-150 with 138,000 Kms
    2013 Equinox with 137,000 Kms

    None have been to a repair shop and all run perfectly. It may take a few Saturdays here and there but it’s easy and fun AND good for the environment, I’m told.

    Beck’s beer is getting expensive, though…

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      And the pleasure of solving a problem on your own.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Absolutely, like solving the problem of how to radically increase energy production – which needs to be done – without polluting ourselves into oblivion. And I’m not just talking about climate change – there are plenty of other types of pollution that are directly tied to the energy sources we use now.

        So…we either solve the problem by developing new energy types, or we just ride the barrel over the falls and see where that gets us. Right?

        • 0 avatar
          multicam

          Mike, responding to your comment above, since we reached the “reply” limit apparently.

          It’s not exactly an equivalent comparison though- the fat guy who smokes, drinks and eats McDonalds every day- the doctor is basing his prediction on tens of thousands of cases that have come before and played out poorly for other people. We don’t have an equivalent body of data of previous earths going through what our planet is going through now, just computer models. I get your point though.

          And as far as answering this comment, yeah, let’s use more nuclear power. In this case I’d love to follow France’s example. Why don’t we build nuclear power plants anymore?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I’d say nuclear power is an appealing “stopgap” option because it’s “clean”, and the technology certainly exists. But it’s not being used here because of the fear of accidents. Given what happened at Chernobyl and Fukushima, that’s not an irrational fear.

            Plus, there’s the question of what to do with all the waste, and what to do when the plants themselves aren’t being used anymore.

            My biggest problem with “standard” nuclear is that fusion, which is FAR superior from an efficiency, waste and safety standpoint, is quite close to becoming a reality. Spending billions on nuclear now for plants that may only operate for a few decades seems like a bad bet. Personally, I’d rather dump every dollar we’d spend on fission power into fusion. Call it the New Manhattan Project.

            Once fusion becomes a reality, it’s probably something close to Game Over for every other kind of electric generation.

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            I really wish we would just hire the French to build our nuke plants — and train our operators. AFAIK they build relatively small, standardized, modular plants that operate relatively safely, reliably, and predictably. US nuke plants careen wildly over schedule and budget and their track record in operation inspires less confidence.

        • 0 avatar
          dont.fit.in.cars

          Or stay the course. I’m not against alternative energy. I swapped my 20 watt solar panel battery maintainer to a 185 watt 9 amp panel while keeping my 10 amp solar controller. Overnight my two group 27 lead acid batteries became a cost effective way to power my truck camper 12v LED lighting, powering gas heater 140 watt inverter for the TV and computer. Limitation was winter driving and cloudy days but switched to a tilt mount allowing 8.2 amps on a clear day. I still travel with a generator just in case I need it.

          Truth is to radically increase energy production we should build more natural gas power plants. Footprint is smaller and CO2 reduction is faster than solar or wind power. Every windmill is a depreciation asset repeatedly sold to corporations as a write off, not to create cost effective energy.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            1) Staying the course isn’t going to work. We’d be OK; the world wouldn’t. Look at what’s happening in India and China – the developing world is going to use LOTS more fossil fuels than we do for the simple reason that they have billions more people than we do. The pollution and depletion issues we have experienced will just be multiplied manyfold all over the world. Eventually, even if global warming is proven to be incorrect, all of this *will* impact us, so it’s time to move forward, not stay where we are.

            2) Windmills get depreciated like any other piece of equipment a company buys. You don’t think electric companies depreciate all the equipment in a coal-fired plant?

            3) Whether you agree with the reasons for its’ development or not, alt energy is coming. Do you want us or China making the money on it?

            4) Follow the money on the “global warming is a myth” argument – you’ll find it’s all from fossil fuel companies, who (surprise, surprise!) have the most to lose from a switchover. I get where they’re coming from, but wouldn’t it be smarter for them to be the ones that actually develop the new technologies, versus stonewalling them? Lord knows they have the money. Personally, I wouldn’t be bothered one bit if it were Exxon that came up with the first commercial fusion reactor.

          • 0 avatar
            dont.fit.in.cars

            Staying the course building natural gas is far more economical than any other electric generation. China and India do not have air quality standards of the US and rely on cheap coal. Those countries and Europe do not have mineral rights on private land whereas the US does and why we’re so successful. Keep in mind during the Olympics in China, they shut down manufacturing for two weeks just to make 50% less smog.

            Fusion is a scientific wet dream at taxpayer expense. Lawrence Livermoore brags about fusion but fails to mention it requires a entire power plant powering its lasers for a 100 millisecond shot onto material no larger than a pin head to produce zero energy to a functioning grid.

            In 73, I watched my father beg for fuel citing needed to operate his step side international work van. Since that day, despite population growth, the world has more energy now than the 70’s and our government had nothing to do with increasing it. In fact it goes out of its way to stifle innovation and champion wind and solar despite the world spending 700 billion to produce less than one half percent of world energy supply.

            Withdrawal government subsidies and both wind and solar markets will collapse. Don’t worry though, indoctrinated CA state legislature passed a law requiring all new homes to install solar adding 20k to home cost when adding $500 more insulation would accomplish the same energy savings.

  • avatar
    285exp

    Good morning kids, the word of the day is:

    Facetious

    1)joking or jesting, often inappropriately
    2)meant to be humorous, not serious

    Let’s not get our panties in a wad.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Trouble with most mass transit is that it does not go to a lot of places the poor work at. For many poor they have to own a car just to get to their jobs there are no viable mass transit options. Better to have a program to buy the old hoopties and give them money to add to buying a newer cleaner vehicle. The Government could give auto manufactures credit towards a program of buying old hoopties and having them destroyed. The Government does not have to pay for buying these old hoopties just give the manufacturer’s a credit instead of fining them or making them buy credits from Tesla.

  • avatar
    TS020

    There is one method to reduce emissions that’s quick, simple and extremely cost-effective that will never be implemented: Stop migration of people from low co2/per person countries to higher co2/pp countries.

    Not saying it’s acceptable to deny the chance of a better life to someone simply because of where they were born, but if you’re serious about fighting climate change then you’re going to have to make some hard decisions (and if you pick the climate over migration then be sure to tell your friends from Senegal, Liberia, Vietnam, etc why they shouldn’t be in your country).

    Welcome to life, where hard choices are the norm and you can’t have it all.

  • avatar
    DIYer

    Just drive less – use less gas! Easiest way to cut back.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I have done just that, total mileage that I drive in a year is about 3k to 4k and that is combined for all my vehicles. I take the park and ride once a week to the office and the rest of the time I work from home and I combine all my trips. Unfortunately those of us that drive less are the minority.

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