By on September 30, 2020

Image: Evan El-Amin/Shutterstock.com

President Donald Trump has consistently defended his administration’s attempts to roll back Obama-era fuel-economy standards by complaining that building cars with better fuel economy in mind makes them less safe and more expensive.

He brought it up again during the presidential debate last night.

This is, to be quite frank, bullshit.

Now, before we get into this, let me reassure you this isn’t just some political rant because I don’t like Trump or am on the other side of the aisle. Those things are true, but this isn’t about my politics. It’s about calling out the leader of the country for continually displaying ignorance about this subject when it’s discussed, and since it’s about automotive regulations, it’s within our purview.

I’d call out Trump for this regardless of what party he’s in or what side of the aisle he’s on, and if Biden said something similar I’d be equally as harsh on him. Harsher, maybe, since he’s a car guy, and would presumably know better. Biden, for his part, didn’t say much about automotive when the climate question turned his way. Unless I missed it, his only reference to cars was a vague plan to turn the federal fleet to EVs.

I don’t know if Trump was lying or just doesn’t understand basics about cars. Even if I give him the benefit of the doubt and assume the latter, it’s frustrating. I don’t expect politicians to be experts in every field, and certainly not experts in automotive, but if you’re making an argument for rolling back fuel-economy standards, you should at least have aides brief you on cogent, coherent arguments for doing so. Not blather about how making cars more fuel-efficient makes them less safe. Or how computers meant for fuel-saving makes cars more expensive.

As you likely know if you read this site, the first assertion isn’t true and the second one is a partial truth that’s far more complex than how the president presented it during the debate.

There are good-faith, intellectually honest arguments to make in favor of rolling back fuel-economy standards. Arguments that even proponents of stricter fuel-economy regs would acknowledge as fair, even if they disagree. Trump’s rhetoric isn’t one of those arguments.

Instead, it seems as if he’s seeing things through an extremely basic logic – “big car safer than small, small car better for fuel economy, therefore, fuel-efficient cars are less safe.”

Which is, again, not true.

Modern cars may be smaller than the land barges of old, but they are much safer thanks to advances in technology. Things like unibody construction and crumple zones in terms of structural design, and things like anti-lock brakes and airbags in terms of active and passive safety. Not to mention the recent deluge of driver’s-aid tech that helps drivers avoid collisions in the first place (forward-collision warning, automatic braking, blind-spot monitoring, et cetera). Most driver-aid tech isn’t mandated by the government, but it is available to consumers as an option.

If you don’t believe me, or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, just watch a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu obliterate a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air in a crash-test video. Then think about how car safety has advanced in the time since that video was shot.

Trump is right about a few things, to be fair. A lot of Americans are driving around in older cars, and new cars have gotten expensive (in part due to government regulation, though much of that regulation is about safety, not fuel economy), and there are a lot of computers in use on modern cars. But he oversimplifies the picture.

When he says “the car has gotten so expensive because they have computers all over the place for an extra little bit of gasoline” that is a partial truth, at best. Yes, some of the job of the onboard computers is to maximize fuel economy, as well as manage pollution controls. Yes, modern cars have a lot of onboard computers.

That said – the onboard computers (I assume he’s talking about ECUs, CANBUS, and OBD-II here) exist for more than just fuel-economy reasons. They exist for reasons of performance, safety, convenience, and to assist with repair diagnostics. While the heavy use of computers in modern cars may frustrate the shade-tree mechanic, they help our vehicles perform better and avoid accidents, all while also allowing us to access certain convenience features.

And computers on cars aren’t the only reason, or the main reason, why vehicles have gotten so expensive. Nor are government regulations, regardless of whether those regulations are about fuel-economy or safety.

Aside from the cost of safety regulation, cars are expensive now in part because consumers are increasingly demanding more and more non-mandated safety and convenience features, and the automakers are charging a lot for them, and consumers are showing a willingness to pay the asking price. There’s also the fact that financing arms are originating loans that last longer than ever before, which allows Joe Paycheck to stretch into a car he probably can’t afford otherwise. That creative financing allows automakers to charge a bit more.

Of course, another reason the vehicle fleet is so old is that cars built 10-15 years ago are lasting longer than cars built decades ago.

Trump should also be told that while modern cars are smaller, they aren’t necessarily lighter. In part thanks to the addition of safety features, as well as the convenience features consumers demand. In fact, since weight is an enemy of fuel economy and performance, product planners are constantly working to balance things out.

While making a car more fuel-efficient does NOT make it less safe, making it safer can negatively impact fuel economy. Improving safety while not negatively impacting fuel economy does add cost, so that’s part of why modern cars are costly. To be fair to Trump, maybe that’s what he’s thinking of when he complains that improving fuel economy makes cars more expensive.

There’s a constant dance between making a car as lightweight as possible while also providing the safety features that are required by the government (airbags, for example), the safety features that consumers want (forward-collision warning, et cetera), and the convenience features buyers desire (heated seats, dual-zone climate control, and so on – all of which add weight).

This undercuts Trump’s argument that higher fuel-economy standards make cars less safe. Since government regulations and consumer demand require automakers to ladle safety features into vehicles of all shapes and sizes, weight is added to these vehicles. Weight that works against fuel economy. So, seemingly, added safety tech would actually hurt fuel economy.

Yet automakers, thanks in part to those computers and other modern tech, have managed to coax better fuel-economy numbers than ever while also making cars safer than before. Again, at a cost, as noted above. Automakers have shown that it’s possible to achieve higher mpg numbers without sacrificing performance or safety – but it does cost more.

So, again, that could be why Trump makes this odd assertion about fuel-economy, safety, and cost. He sees that automakers have to incur more cost to keep fuel economy high as safety features are added on, and that the cost gets passed to the consumer, so in his jumbled-up mind, he thinks that cars cost more only because of standards that require higher fuel economy. He may also be simply getting his regulations mixed up – safety regulations almost certainly drive the cost up more than fuel-economy standards.

We should also note here that pollution controls that are regulated by the government (and add cost) are separate from fuel-economy standards. It’s true the pollution controls have, at times, affected performance, and devices that control tailpipe emissions do add weight, but arguing over fleet-average MPGs is separate from discussing, say, how well catalytic converters filter out harmful particulates.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that Obama’s standards allowed manufacturers some flexibility while also accounting for the fact that real-world fuel-economy is lower than in the lab. Automakers have been able to offset the sale of cars with poor fuel economy by selling other cars that achieve good numbers. This matters because Trump doesn’t seem to understand that as things stand currently, automakers can still sell cars that don’t get great fuel economy. Automakers aren’t being required to spend money to make every vehicle fuel-efficient, but rather, to shoot for an average goal across the fleet.

When it comes to fuel economy and cost, Trump doesn’t seem see that there are other factors driving up the cost of cars. Meanwhile, he also seems to think that bigger cars are safer than smaller, more fuel-efficient cars simply because of size.

It’s an odd way to look at it, to say the least.

Moderator Adam pointed out that Trump did almost make a good point – perhaps if newer cars, which are much more fuel-efficient than vehicles from even 10 years ago, were cheaper, more people would buy them and we’d have a more fuel-efficient fleet. But Trump seemingly missed on that.

To his credit, Trump claimed to be in favor of electric cars, though last night is the first time I can recall him saying that off the top of my head. He also mentioned that he’s giving big incentives for electric cars. I don’t know if that’s true – but there is still a federal credit for EVs that predates Trump. It appears he was taking credit for an Obama initiative. In fact, the Trump administration tried to nix the credit.

Also, Trump’s attempts to rollback fuel-economy standards would likely lessen any incentive for OEMs to continue to work on shifting the market to EVs.

Trump finished by mocking California’s attempt to phase out the sale of new cars that are gas-powered by 2035. We’ve raised questions about that, too, but we’d like to think our questions are rooted in reality.

Even if Trump was correct that rolling back fuel-economy standards would make cars cheaper – again, that almost certainly would NOT be the case, due to other factors driving up the cost of vehicles – there’s this, from The Hill: “However, the cost-benefit analysis for the administration’s fuel economy standards found that consumers would ultimately pay $13 billion more in the next decade, in part due to spending more on gas because of lower fuel economy standards.”

Trump is not only ignoring that lower fuel-economy standards could mean consumers would be buying gas more often, he seems to ignore that consumers would want better mpgs to avoid getting gas more often. Even in the cheap gas, gas-guzzling car era of the not-too-distant past, most car owners would’ve preferred to get gas less often. Even when gas was $1 a gallon, fewer fill-ups still saved money.

The purpose of this post isn’t to debate whether the Obama-era standards are too strict or not. But if you’re going to claim that they are, you need a better argument than our president has been using for a while now.

It’s one thing to argue about how strict fuel-economy standards should or shouldn’t be. But to have that discussion, you need a good argument, whichever side you’re on.

Trump doesn’t.

[Image: Evan El-Amin/Shutterstock.com]

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179 Comments on “Donald Trump is Wrong About Fuel Economy and Safety...”


  • avatar
    R Henry

    I navigate here to escape electoral politics. You guys let me down.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      This is only about cars, and how if Trump wants to advocate for a rollback (which is fair!), he needs better arguments.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Here is another argument. More of these tech inside your car, more they break. You now need to make unnecessary trip to the dealer. Energy is wasted and pollution is created any time they need to make another circuit board or metal case, or plastic case. My car needed recall work to replace a “low pressure fuel pump”. ***** And this is where Trump might into something.***** So, my car could stop receiving fuel at high speed and this could cause a crash. See? efficient/safe combination. And we’ve already seen over-reliance on automation killing drivers. Yes, we had.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          “More of these tech inside your car, more they break.”

          That’s not necessarily true. Electronics can replace an awful lot of mechanical complexity.

          Take the Prius e-CVT, for instance. All of the mechanical complexity of an automatic transmission is replaced by two electric motors, a beefy differential, a battery, and some software. Those things last so long because mechanical complexity was removed from the system.

          Toyota threw technology at the problem, but they didn’t forget to simplify and add lightness.

          I agree that unnecessarily complex systems (electrical, software, electronic, or mechanical) are failures waiting to happen. But a half dozen squirt guns solenoids and a microcontroller seems a lot simpler to me than the black magic f*ckery that is a carburetor.

          How daunting it is depends on what you know, though, and I know my way around electronics.

          Cutting out the electronics is going to complexity and add heaviness in a lot of cases. And, in some cases, it will simplify and add lightness. It’s like engineering is work or something!

      • 0 avatar
        Oberkanone

        A new vehicle on average is safer than a 10 year old vehicle. New vehicle on average emits less pollution and is more fuel efficient than 10 year old vehicle.
        Rolling back emissions standards results in more affordable vehicles.

        This is the gist of Trumps position as I understand it.

        I happen to agree with the rollback. I support revoking CARB ability to set unique standards different from Federal standards. One nation, one standard.

        As the automotive landscape moves toward electrification with a goal of zero emissions, I support allowing it to happen at a more natural speed. Without tax dollars being used as incentives or subsidies to electric vehicles.
        Electric is going to happen. Overly aggressive emissions standards are not needed to force us into spending more on overly complex vehicles.

        On the subject of emissions I read that over 90 million metric tons of carbon dioxide were emitted by burning California forest this year.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “Rolling back emissions standards results in more affordable vehicles.”

          Actually, it doesn’t. If the vehicles cost less to produce, the manufacturers will pocket the money. They aren’t going to lower the cost to the buyer.

          • 0 avatar
            Yaemish

            Exactly this. His argument is one an MBA would make to increase profit margin. The difference would only be returned to the buyer when the cost of competitive vehicles (car B) is significantly reduced to undercut the price of the original (car A).

            Bottom line, executive bonuses will now be 22% instead of 20%.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I think there is enough competitive pricing pressure in the automotive industry that this wouldn’t be the case. As soon as Nissan or Stellantis or whoever blinks so will everyone else.

          • 0 avatar
            hondaaustin

            Ummm…
            You would be right… BUT…
            We’re not talking about lowering the cost of producing vehicles… we’re talking about NOT RAISING the cost of producing vehicles.

            If the desire is more profit then a costlier vehicle to produce would likely increase the pricing for the consumer. (This is the argument the President is making.)

            If the consumer pricing for vehicles is too high, that will likely slow the pace at which vehicles are replaced and keep older (less safe) vehicles on the road longer.

            Y’all are agreeing with the President, you simply don’t realize it.

        • 0 avatar
          David "Piston Slap Yo Mama" Sanborn

          Pollution & global warming aside, if you roll back emissions standards only a negligible drop in costs can be gained as the R&D on emissions has already been paid for. Additionally our automakers need to be competitive in a world market where emissions standards remain outside the purview of an orange demagogue.

          If Republicans like yourself are wildly for State’s rights to self-govern (when convenient for your agenda) then by that logic you should be fine with CARB setting their own standards.

          Re a move towards EVs at a “natural speed” and your disdain for government incentives for their purchase, some technologies need inducements for their adoption so they can then benefit from large economies of scale. Thank God there were Bush and Obama era incentives that made Tesla possible or it wouldn’t exist. This same logic applies to everything from TVA hydroelectric dams to walking on the moon to suburban solar panels. Only someone suffering from a deficit of critical thinking wouldn’t be aware of that.

          Oh also GOOD JOB on employing the red herring tactic of mentioning the carbon impact of California burning, as if that justifies rolling coal or whatever your point is. It’s not a one or the other situation: both outcomes are bad.

      • 0 avatar
        tomLU86

        No, it’s not about cars Mr. Healey. You’re basically using this forum to take a partisan shot at Trump. Most people reading TTAC come to read about cars, not YOUR (narrow-minded and biased) POLITICAL VIEWS. Most people here know Trump is full of it, and many of those realize the other side is even MORE full of it.

        From your own comments, Trump’s core argument is correct. The fact is larger cars ARE safer in a collision with a smaller car. NEWER cars are safer, in a collision, than older ones, yes.

        But when a new F-150 collides with a new Accord—well, perhaps YOU would prefer if you and your loved ones were in the Accord. That would comport with the judgement you showed in your column.

        Also, the fact is, the higher technology that has enabled us to reach the limits of the internal combustion engine does cost more. And increasingly, much of it is NOT cost-effective for many, if not most, consumers.

        Does stop-start save money at the pump? Yes. Will it save money for the consumer, when he/she has to replace the starter? Or the battery more often? No.

        Stick to cars Mr. Healey. You may have the pulpit. However, your knowledge of cars is not as good as you think, and not as good as that of many of your readers. As for your knowledge of politics…well, it would be better for you not to share your lack thereof trying to be a political columnist.

        • 0 avatar
          Tim Healey

          I literally said I’d say the same of Biden. It’s not partisan. It’s about a bad argument being made by Trump. And when it comes to modern cars, bigger is better doesn’t really matter any more. I remember a Smart ForTwo being hit hard by a Suburban years ago and the occupants were OK. Structural design has improved to the point that size is less of an issue than it used to be.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            ” I remember a Smart ForTwo being hit hard by a Suburban years ago and the occupants were OK.”

            You are going with anecdotes versus actual crash test data in a controlled environment now?
            This is as bad as someone saying they rolled over in their ’73 Monte Carlo and they were fine so who needs all these safety rules.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @ajia: Crash test data has confirmed that the smaller cars are safer because they “bounce” away from the collision rather than absorbing it.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I have provided several links showing otherwise.

            Here they are again:
            iihs.org/topics/vehicle-size-and-weight (the opening line here completely contradicts you and it was posted in January 2020)

            youtube.com/watch?v=VcD4WeuiI3s (this is a crash test of a Smart with a C-Class)

            motorauthority.com/news/1032868_small-
            cars-rated-poorly-in-new-iihs-crash-test

            consumerreports.org/cro/news/2009/04/iihs-
            crash-tests-show-car-size-matters/index.htm

            If you have anything to share to counterpoint this information or that supports “data has confirmed that the smaller cars are **safer**” related to a crash with a larger vehicle then please provide it.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            Just in case you think I was snippy in my earlier comment, I do think Biden will win the election, and I too would like to see these giant behemoths we now drive scaled back! As you say, there’s no real safety argument to be made for them. Never has been, unless you’re viewing it in terms of protecting yourself against the ridiculously plus-sized vehicles which now litter our roads, and even then it’s questionable.

            I don’t like Biden’s policies to the extent he’s articulated them for the most part but smaller cars, less energy consumption, and more subsidized rental housing to the suburbs are at least a few benefits I can see.

            But I really do hope that you, and everyone else, holds Biden to the same standards that Trump was held to. Hopefully we’re seeing a new day on that.

        • 0 avatar
          kc1980

          Amen!

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      But he said it’s not about politics, so it must not be about politics. Well, except for the politics.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      I know! For a second, and I’m not being sarcastic at all, I thought I was reading one of those New York Times articles where they want to debunk something Trump said but the endeavor gets a bit complicated so the piece gets very lengthy. And I would say that no matter what side of the aisle I was on.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        The best post debate comment I read was that people’s interpretations of the debate and who won amounts to a Rorschach test. Individuals will see what they want to see based on political affiliation.

        All indications are that undecided “centrist” and/or independents saw it as a sh!t show but were more likely to lean towards the left since Trump was Trump and Biden wasn’t the frail demented old fart portrayed by Trump.

        A few comments favoured Biden i.e. Trump telling Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by”. That has riled up “minority” groups. Biden used the Arabic phrase “Inshallah” to mock Trump over his tax returns which has shifted Arabic and/or Muslim groups in his direction.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    hopefully wont have to deal with him after jan20. the desperation was real. SAD!

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      hahaha. Trump is wrong on everything… melt snowflake, melt. Trump!! does your body good

      • 0 avatar
        Old_WRX

        slavuta,

        Repeat after me: President Harris will lead us all to the promised land. Now, don’t you feel better? I don’t. There seems to be more la-la land all the time. But, not to worry: under the new regime all malcontents will be awarded a final 9 grams by the state.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Old_WRX,

          Ma ma ma ma
          Ma Baker
          She never could cry
          Ma ma ma ma
          Ma Baker
          But she knew how to die

        • 0 avatar
          Mike Beranek

          You might want to check the news every once in a while. Harris is the VP candidate, Biden is the Presidential candidate.
          Now, if you’re talking about 2028, that’s fine.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            Mike Beranek,

            both of of them talked of “Harris administration with Joe Biden as president”

            You can’t wipe out youtube, you know…

          • 0 avatar
            Old_WRX

            “You might want to check the news every once in a while.”

            I do and that is why I am saying the real candidate for pres is Harris. Biden is suffering from some sort of degenerative neurological disorder. I suggest you compare videos of him from today and from 20 years ago. It has nothing to do with politics, but the man is definitely not competent. The humane thing would be to let him rest, but that won’t happen as long as they can squeeze a last drop out of him. If Biden is “elected” we will have the Harris administration within a few months.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “Trump is wrong on everything”

        – Can’t argue that point.

        “melt snowflake, melt”

        – Embracing global warming is slightly more positive than denying that it exists.

        “Trump!! does your body good”

        Is that what he told Stormy Daniels?

        • 0 avatar
          Old_WRX

          Lou_BC,

          Right now global warning/climate change/greenhouse gases/whatever is the least of our worries.

          Sometimes I deny. Particularly, I deny things that aren’t true.

          And, 99% of liberals are in denial as to the direction their party is going. That trumps any other denial these days.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Old_WRX – the USA is one of the few places in the world where a shift from right of centre is seen as a bad thing.
            “Progressives” in the USA only want to shift the spectrum to where most of the democratic world now sits. There is no evil in universal health care coverage, equal rights for minorities,protecting workers rights,and climate change mitigation.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “And, 99% of liberals are in denial as to the direction their party is going.”

            Sure. This definitely explains how Biden and Clinton, both centrists, both wiped the floor with Bernie, the leftist. Clearly the party’s gone radical-left. Absolutely.

            As far as wings are concerned…the Democrats have the AOC wing. Republicans have the Proud Boys and tiki-torchers. I’ll take the AOC wing any day.

  • avatar
    David Cardillo

    Tim, I commend you for flirting with the admission of your bias, and, bottom line, the article is just one man’s opinion. Is this website losing it’s edge? I’m getting auto updates more frequently from New Atlas, and it’s stuff which scoops you all…..

    Just my opinion, I guess- (Just whistle..)

  • avatar
    volvo

    E=1/2 M V². When considering collision safety mpg is pretty low on my list. For collision safety I would choose a 2019 Tahoe over a 2019 Corolla.

    Comparing a 1959 car to a 2009 car is kind of a strawman argument. And you can buy a lot of gas for the cost of a week in the ICU.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @volvo: For collision safety, I would consider a Tesla, any model, over the two you name.

      As for the ’59 vs ’09 Chevys; taking inflation into account, the two cars are not that far apart in relative price. I still love the ’59 design but in any significant collision, the older car would definitely be a loser, even against a modern sub-compact half its size.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      That was one of the weakest parts of this. The IIHS has been doing “large vs small” crash test for over 10 years showing the impact of vehicle mass in multi-car accidents when model years are equal. I’m pretty sure Consumer Reports has discussed it as well.

      These took me just a minute to find:
      iihs.org/topics/vehicle-size-and-weight
      youtube.com/watch?v=wnLrgIBa2Pg

      He pretty much does what he is accusing Trump of. Only instead of doing “big=safe” he’s going with “modern=safe”.

      • 0 avatar
        statikboy

        Ajla, the only thing your argument implies is that “big=dangerous”. Maybe not to those inside the vehicle, but to everyone around it. So, unless a person believes in the right to threaten and/or injure/kill other drivers and their passengers (and pedestrians, cyclists), there is no reason to purchase a heavier car based on “safety”.

        Tim, your article was repetitive, duplicative, reiterative, repetitious and you said the same thing several times with slightly different words. I agree with most of what you said, but succinctness is every writer’s friend. You could have written the same article in a third of the words and it would have been just as valid and more clear. I realize you may have a word count to attain.

        I hope you see this as the lightly-poking-fun constructive criticism it is, and not an insult.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “there is no reason to purchase a heavier car based on “safety”.”

          I disagree because other drivers can run into you too. Would you rather be rear-ended at 40mph by a Tundra in an S-class or a Spark?

          Keep in mind that the IIHS tests are using things like Optimas and Accords as their examples of “big” so we aren’t talking only about lifted brodozers here. Taken to extremes someone in a Versa is “dangerous” to me when I’m on my Yamaha.

          And even beyond all that, Tim’s argument isn’t based on the morality of what people buy it was that a mass vs safety (or “danger to the other car”) correlation didn’t exist any longer, which I believe data shows is not the case.

          • 0 avatar
            statikboy

            That kind of thinking lead to the cold war.

            Of course, I realize that sounds trolly, but I do believe that we all should choose smaller cars for safety or we’ll all end up driving semis until someone gets a tank. And the cycle repeats.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “but I do believe that we all should choose smaller cars for safety or we’ll all end up driving semis until someone gets a tank. ”

            Perhaps. If 97% of the personal use vehicle market was Versa-sized and weighted then the mass disadvantages of those vehicles would be lessened. You could probably play around with the commercial fleet as well. But all that is a whole different editorial.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @staticboy: “Ajla, the only thing your argument implies is that “big=dangerous”. Maybe not to those inside the vehicle, but to everyone around it.”

          — Big does equal dangerous, not only to those around it but also to its own occupants. Though not necessarily in identical ways. Full-sized pickup trucks are absolutely dangerous. More people die in single-vehicle crashes involving full-sized pickups than any other vehicle of the same model year. The reason is that even with the “nannies”, which tend to do more harm than good, those big trucks still tend to roll due to their high center of gravity. Worse, because they are lifted so far off the ground in most 4×4 configurations (especially with aftermarket parts) they become even more unstable and are very susceptible to sudden maneuvers, crosswinds, and yes, even tipping over in multi-vehicular crashes. A few years back, I recall a crash in north Georgia (the state, not the country) where some high-school kids were on their way home from school in a big, crew-cab truck and went to pass another car on the road. The driver maneuvered just a little too suddenly and the truck tipped and rolled, tumbling into a man’s yard who was mowing his grass, killing all passengers in the truck (at least four, not including the driver) and the owner of the property on his lawn mower.

          So yes, big trucks are dangerous and need to be regulated back to older size and height limitations (not least of which is having the bumpers — the real bumpers — at a certain maximum height from the road. This may reduce their off-road prowess but to be quite blunt, very few owners ever do any serious mud-bogging or rock crawling and most of those who do tend to modify their vehicles to the extent that they are no longer truly street legal.

          • 0 avatar
            Old_WRX

            Another reason big pickups are more dangerous (as far as handling goes) is the live rear axle. Those rear axles tend to bounce, and once they starts bouncing ugly stuff can happen. Just ask any trucker running bobtail.

        • 0 avatar
          Tim Healey

          No offense taken. I can be quite wordy, especially since we don’t have the strict word counts of print to adhere to :)

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      I could also, without too mcuh effort, find tiny 2019 cars that hold their own in IIHS crash testing

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Into a wall, yes. However, the IIHS’s own data and reporting shows the impact of vehicle mass in crashes.

        • 0 avatar
          Carrera

          Exactly Ajla. A lot of people don’t get the F250 vs Honda Fit issue. They keep saying Honda Fit and wall vs F250 and wall. Worse yet, in Tim’s case, 2020 Malibu vs 1959 and then when called on it, he says 2019 hold their own when it comes to crashes. Well, who said they didn’t? That wasn’t the argument.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Mass does come into play in occupant injury but arguably where the impact occurs is often a greater problem. Big vehicles tend to sit higher. That changes the impact dynamics.

            Case in point: A friend’s daughter was killed in a low speed side impact. She was the passenger in a small car but was hit by a one ton dually with an overloaded trailer. The incursion was very high which was a much greater factor in her death. If she was hit by a small car, the main impact would have been much lower around seat level as opposed to upper thorax.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Mass does come into play in occupant injury but arguably where the impact occurs is often a greater problem.”

            Possibly, but even at equal height mass differentials can pack a hurt.

            youtube.com/watch?v=VcD4WeuiI3s

            consumerreports.org/cro/news/2009/04/iihs-crash-tests-show-car-size-matters/index.htm

            For all the talk about “safety cells” and 5-star barrier tests a C-Class ripped a Smart hard enough that “serious or fatal injuries to the driver were likely”.

      • 0 avatar
        MrIcky

        Ajla is SO right on this. Many cars of all sorts of sizes do well on static tests, and static tests do provide data. The general tests into a wall basically demonstrate how you’d do against a car of exactly the same mass as your own.

        But, as people like to say say around here- there’s no escaping physics, and that’s as true for cornering to mpg to having an accident between two vehicles of significantly different mass.

        The iihs data posted up by ajla is very on point, but it sterilizes how different the 2 cars look when the vehicles mass is so different.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          There’s a lot more “big” vehicles to be fearful of than F-250s, driving a low car. Everything from UPS stepvans to buses to semis.

          I’m not the smartest, but everything bigger than my F-150, I give special attention to, and allow them all the room they need and more. I don’t care if I have the right-of-way.

          But I also know it’s the small/low cars that are most likely to put me on my roof. Even at low speeds, slight impact, all it takes is a love tap around my midsection. Landing upside down is the biggest killer of bigger vehicle occupants.

          Isn’t there a tradeoff with everything starting with motorcycles?

    • 0 avatar
      Old_WRX

      “Meanwhile, he also seems to think that bigger cars are safer than smaller, more fuel-efficient cars simply because of size.”

      Volvo,

      This, er, uh, is what Trump claims but our author says he’s wrong. Of course if we compare a big car of 50 years ago to a small car of today, the small car is safer. But, that 2019 Tahoe is sure gonna win over that 2019 Corolla.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    “I don’t know if Trump was lying or just doesn’t understand basics about cars. ”

    Either way, the result is the same. It’s like Gavin Newsom signing CA exec orders banning the sale of gas powered cars in California starting in 2035. Whether Newsom is a moron or reality denier doesn’t really matter. Rather than doing his job, he’s making nonsensical declarations from the town square/internet.

    Like a mentally troubled ranter on a street corner. That’s leadership. Just ask him… he’ll tell you.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Bullying, Bluster, Blaming, and Bullsh!t unfortunately appears to be the default modus operandi of many in political office.

      I’ve always been a fan of the language used in the Gettysburg Address. That is obviously not the case with most politicians.

    • 0 avatar
      Old_WRX

      “Whether Newsom is a moron or reality denier doesn’t really matter.”

      His executive order will accomplish what he wants it to. It will make all the greenies think he is so cuddly wonderful. Anything other than the most superficial perspective of it will, of course, reveal it as nonsense. But, from the point of view of making him get more votes it is very realistic — which I’m sure is what he really cares about.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I didn’t watch the debate so I’m not sure what Trump actually said but this is a poorly reasoned editorial.

    You admit that vehicle size/weight can contribute to safety and you admit that fuel economy regulations can cause increased consumer costs. However your main argument is that because these aren’t the *ONLY* things involved in safety and purchase price then it is improper to advocate on their behalf. Should Trump have more nuance when he brings these things up? I’d say yes, but that doesn’t mean we should throw out the baby with the bathwater and it doesn’t mean the statements are “bullsh*t”.

    I also disagree with your last two paragraphs. I think CAFE is a poorly designed law. I’m really not especially concerned about why Trump wants to do a freeze. Whether it is for well-thought out ideas (which you admitted several times do exist when it comes to CAFE) or because he think “CAFE” sounds too French. The end result goes in the direction I’d desire.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      It’s the other way around…safety features add weight.

      And again, I do say you can make fair arguments for a rollback. But Trump’s arguments are poor.

      Increasing fuel economy has little, if anything, to do with safety. And smaller, more fuel-efficient cars are safe compared to both old cars and large, modern cars (I concede I should’ve made mention of that, possibly, but I was way wordy as is).

      If Trump wants to advocate for a roll back, there are better arguments he can use. Instead, he sounds completely ignorant.

      And I’d say the same of Biden if he made the same arguments. It’s not partisan. It’s about making a decent argument, and any car enthusiast can spot the issue instantly.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “And smaller, more fuel-efficient cars are safe compared to both old cars and large, modern cars”

        In totality compared to larger modern cars? I disagree. The biggest knock on Trump’s safety argument isn’t that a Mirage is just as safe as an X7, it’s that stronger CAFE rules haven’t led to people buying smaller, lighter cars. Consumer preference is for big trucks and CUVs and credit is easy (and CAFE is poorly written) so manufacturers have almost exclusively turned to technology to meet efficiency regulations. The “Obama-Mobile” isn’t a Spark, it is an F-150 Hybrid.

        So I disagree with both of you. Keeping model years consistent, vehicle size and weight does have an impact on safety but it is still unlikely that a CAFE freeze will make the road safer.

      • 0 avatar
        Oberkanone

        Increasing fuel economy adds cost. Higher cost is barrier to purchase of newer, safer vehicles.

        There is a correlation.

        Amazon is building a new warehouse in my area. It is huge. Around 900,000 square feet if I remember correctly. Politicians really promoted the job creation and quality of the jobs created. $15 dollar an hour jobs. Yearly wage is not enough to buy a Tesla. Affordability is important.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      I saw snippets of the debate and it was a sh!tshow. One pundit described it as, “a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck”. Most felt Trump was hiding his lack of prep by bluster and bullsh!t.
      I do agree that increased fuel economy has little if any correlation to safety since safety regulations haven’t been reduced. My 2010 Supercrew is much more fuel efficient, has more power and is much heavier than my 1990 F250.

  • avatar
    KingShango

    The things is, cars aren’t really that more expensive now than they used to be.

    A base 1995 Camry started a little over $16k. Adjusted for inflation thats roughly $27k in today’s dollars yet a brand new base Camry starts at $25k. And you’re getting way more car for that price.

    • 0 avatar
      trackratmk1

      When you consider that inflation has far outpaced any real gains in consumer purchasing power over the timeframe you mention, it is much harder for someone to afford $25-30k today than $15k in 1995.

      Also the average transaction price of a new car bought today has crested $35k. In 1995 it was less than $20k.

      We are actually spending quite a bit more and over leveraging ourselves in order to do it.

      • 0 avatar
        KingShango

        I definitely agree with you but I think that kinda of misses the overall point. The sentiment among car enthusiasts is that cars are so expensive now days as if the manufacturers are somehow gouging them or the government regs made them expensive but neither is really accurate.

        Discussing 40 years of stagnant wages is a whole separate discussion and manufacturers don’t have any control over that. They can’t just make a cheaper car because we haven’t raised the minimum wage in forever.

        Same thing with buyers trading up. If someone wants to spend more on a Rav 4 over a Camry, Toyota certainly isn’t going to stop them. They’re just the beneficiary of poor financial decisions made by consumers.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Agreed. Wage stagnation is a different issue and isn’t consistent across the board.

        • 0 avatar
          trackratmk1

          Fair enough, I can agree with you that relative to time, cars really aren’t more expensive inflation adjusted. The notion that cars are more expensive today may be misguided over price itself.

          Still, why is it that despite inflation adjusted prices being steady, that it seems that new cars are less affordable today? Context is everything. The likelihood an average American could afford the same price vehicle 25 years later is much lower.

      • 0 avatar
        Old_WRX

        “When you consider that inflation has far outpaced any real gains in consumer purchasing power”

        And far outpaced the laughably low numbers the government publishes on inflation.

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    “If you don’t believe me, or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, just watch a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu obliterate a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air”

    I remember that video very well and think about how some of my older relatives used to boast about how their old jalopy death traps would smash right thru our flimsy new cars as if it was a bug on their chrome grills. No so fast grandpa!

    Sadly, given our bitter societal discourse these days, if such a video was released this year, a good portion of those viewing it could dismiss the footage as fake news.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      There were a lot of people who dismissed the video when it came out. People claimed the Impala was modified or that heavy rust caused the dramatic failure.

      If you provide evidence of something that would totally change a person’s perceptions, a good percentage of the people will deny it regardless of what you show them – at least initially.

  • avatar
    justVUEit

    Cars today are more expensive because they have a lot more features. The typical family car in 1975 may have had a low list price (relatively speaking) because it had a small base engine, no a/c, no radio, crank windows, and cheap, barely adjustable seats.

    Every car rolls off the line today with standard features that rival the Cadillacs, Buicks, and Lincoln’s of yore: power everything, multi-speaker radios, air conditioning, rear defroster, etc. Option up those cheap cars of the past to today’s standard features, adjust for inflation, and boom, you’re pretty much in the ballpark price range for a car today.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Today’s standard features are standard because they are cheaper than changing over to manual systems. Has to do with the economy of scale, where so many were buying things like power windows, radios, etc. to the point that it cost more to leave them out than it did to install them. They became ‘standard’ because far more people wanted those features than not.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    In Trumps desiccated mind it’s the late 70’s and he’s still on a jag in Studio 54 complaining to Roy Cohn and his crew about CAFE standards thinking his Fleetwood parked out front is going by the wayside and he’ll be forced into a Pinto or a Japanese car.

    Signed a New Yorker who’s had to listen to his bilge for the past 40 years.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Trump has no use for facts and never has, even his biggest fans know that – nor do they care, because nothing matters. It’s about the optics and perceptions of his base, period.
    There is no argument about this fact.

  • avatar
    MorrisGray

    So you think it is okay for everyone to be buying trucks and SUV vehicles but we need to get stricter requirements on cars?
    …. And what are we going to do with all of the batteries when we dispose of them? And how do you expect that someone can visit their kids when some of them live 300-400 miles away? Where are you going to get a fill up?? Or charge real quick? And are you going to be okay with everyone continuing to fly on planes? What is your resolve with that? You want electric tractor trailers to travel across country and deliver your foods? Is that even feasible?

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Tesla claims that those problems will all be solved next year:
      https://www.tesla.com/cybertruck

      Their existing cars aren’t half bad on those fronts, either.

      The CT is ugly AF but, if they can deliver the specs they claim, it’ll be a fine machine. Ugly like a Jeep.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Off topic, Morris. The discussion is not about BEVs and until you had no mention of BEVs.

      Incidentally, all of your anti-BEV rhetoric is irrelevant and incorrect. They’re talking points that have been pretty well shot down numerous times over the years and are less relevant today by far than they were even five years ago.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Sorry Tim, it’s not just the initial cost. Automakers are throwing stupid complexity at vehicles trying to meet the radical standard, trying to avoid the fines, etc, etc.

    Engines are getting smaller too, but they’re factory hot rodded (running hotter), ultra high tech, screaming machines to do the same job as before.

    You’re damn right consumers have to pay for it! Except we’re not just talking about current vehicles. This has a lot to do with future cars, hybrids, EVs, etc, forced or not, especially if the irrational Obama rules are left standing.

    As they ramp up and tighten up the (MPG/Emissions) screws even more, who knows where it will go? The thing with the Mustang brake parts going to plastic/nylon may be a CAFE symptom.

    When consumers are encouraged to own 1959 cars and trucks again to avoid the madness, where do you think safety goes?

    The trucking crowd is driving up the prices of mid ’90s to late ’00s diesel pickups (up to 2 or 3X bluebook) thanks to the hate of new diesel pickups, and I don’t mean just the price.

    If I had to point out the car enthusiast, it’s definitely Trump.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Agreed. Thanks to MPG and emissions requirements, cars are much more complex. As a result they’re more prone to failure. There’s a reason we all love those V8’s of yesteryear, because they can be made to run forever, as long as you’re willing to do a “little” work. Modern vehicles are moving away from that. They run well for several years, but then you need to throw them away.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        When I was a kid, 100k miles was amazing.

        Modern cares regularly make it to 250k miles.

        Modern cars are not failure-prone, unless you’re driving rare vehicles. Common consumer-grade cars are really good these days!

        Our Honda Civic has nearly 70K miles on it, and it’s practically new by my standards. No squawks, beyond cleaning the trash out of the center console. That’s amazing! And commonplace.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          What’s “modern cars”? What’s the life expectancy of a 2020? Not a Toyota, but something with the latest (under the hood) tech stuff, pushing the limits?

          Yes do get something very popular and mainstream, or no one will re-pop the long list of controls and processors.

          When cars only lasted 100K miles, it was up to you if you wanted a new one. If it wasn’t rusted to hell, a rebuilt trans was $150 and a rebuilt engine was $450. It wasn’t difficult to rebuild them in your driveway, but why?

          Adjust it for inflation all you want. There was like 5 wires going to the engine.

          But never mind the now. We don’t really know what the next few years have instore for anyone crazy enough to extend ownership past the warranty period, forget about 100K miles.

          That’s why someone has to step in and call it what it is. Regulatory insanity. If you’re not a car enthusiast, just say so.

          We won’t judge…

          • 0 avatar
            Vanillasludge

            Much, much longer than ever before. The average car on the road is now over 11 years old. All of these improvements are because things get better over time, not worse.

            Requiring car makers to innovate has improved the breed.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Isn’t that because most would rather have a 2010 than new? And instead of a 2020 with lots of stuff, gadgets, tech, etc, that won’t be fixable, or worth fixing as the vehicle’s “resale” drops like a rock?

            The 11th year is the sweet spot of aftermarket. Some are keeping their cars at that point while others are newly acquiring, but remember how new vehicle sales have been stagnate for many years?

            Well the automotive aftermarket has been exploding and growing exponentially for years now.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM: That’s because newer cars last longer than older cars. You’re referencing the AVERAGE age of cars where even antique cars are counted as long as they have a state registration where what you need to look at is the “mean” age, where exactly half the number of vehicles is higher and the other half lower. That comes out to somewhere around 8 to 9 years, not 11 years plus. https://www.bts.gov/archive/publications/national_transportation_statistics/2008/table_01_25.

            Granted, this table is old but the latest update was in 2017 so it is doubtful any newer data is currently available.

            Again, average age does not equal mean age.

            Note: I have submitted a request for more current data from the USDOT, since the existing data is a minimum of 12 years old.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Yes I know this. It could obviously be a lot of 1969 Muscle, air cooled VW/Porsche, mini trucks and others bringing the average to around 2010.

            But new cars can’t outlast the old, miles for miles, taking into consideration cars you or anyone would prefer to keep alive, like Mustangs, Wranglers, Cherokees, 4X4/diesel/pickups, Miatas, limited editions, etc, etc.

            Everything about how the new ones are built scream of disposable, built-in obsolescence, plastics engine plenums/intakes/oil pans, plastic radiators, plastic brake pedals, paper thin sheet metal, integrated HVAC/infotainment, etc, etc.

            Anything over 5 years old, a minor accident and 15 blown airbags will total it. Just a bad trans and it’s crusher food, on a boat to China.

            It’s not that you can’t make a 2020 Camry or something go on forever, but who the hell would want to???

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Lou_BC, Who said anything about going as far back as points/carbs? Why not the hand crank start??

            There’s a whole era of cars and truck from the mid ’80s to the late ’00s you might want to know about.

            Yeah maybe before it’s too late. Did I mention the automotive aftermarket (plus new/used parts replacements) has been growing by leaps and bounds, has been for years, even as (or especially as) new vehicle sales have stagnated year after year?

            Do you think there’s a good reason for that? Just maybe?

            Perhaps some blowback for all the corporate greed from new car OEMs, forced bundling of the options you want with the ones you don’t?

            All the built in obsolescence? All the plastic bits under the hood, on the engine, behind the dash, that’ll become brittle over time?

            Is it the endless lists of processors and control modules that automakers systematically stop supporting once your vehicle is out of warranty and you’re left high/dry?

            Yes it’s a bit of a Taboo subject around here and auto journo rags and sites.

            It’s the pink elephant in the room whenever discussing drooping, non impressive new vehicle sales, pre COVID-19 or otherwise.

            But they all know it.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “As a result they’re more prone to failure.”

        Seriously?

        Quite the opposite.

        You just contradicted yourself with, ” as long as you’re willing to do a “little” work”.

        I don’t miss setting points, manually playing around with the “kick down’ linkage, or playing with a choke.

        “They run well for several years, but then you need to throw them away.”

        North America is not awash with reliable “run forever” 1960’s era vehicles.

        MAGA must also stand for Make Automobiles Great Again?

        What’s more reliable, can be used as a “daily” and is faster?

        A 2020 Challenger HellCat or a 1970 Hemi Challenger?

        • 0 avatar
          Old_WRX

          “What’s more reliable, can be used as a “daily” and is faster?

          A 2020 Challenger HellCat or a 1970 Hemi Challenger?”

          A 1987 Toyota Corolla. Most goddamned reliable economical car I ever owned.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Yeah, ’80s economy cars are great. Just don’t get hit in one.

            Here’s a 2018 Corolla that will only last 10 years versus a 1998 that will run until infinity:

            youtube.com/watch?v=zkxq2pPw0Uc

            I know where I’d rather be.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          11 years is the sweet spot? I am getting rid of a 10 year old car. With a manual transmission. Only 206,000kms. The manufacturer’s maintenance schedule followed without fail.

          Never been in an accident. Krowned since new. Largely highway driven. And true highway as the 407 is rarely congested.

          Yes there is some body rash (stone chips and car door dings). I think that it requires a steering rack. And having been driven only 100kms over the past 5 months, the rear calipers seem to have seized.

          So a sweet spot? Yep, I have accepted less than $1k for it.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Then were are all these old cars? And why is the average age of cars on the road constantly increasing.

        Planned obsolescence was built into vehicles for decades.

        I have been driving since the early 70’s. Back then a 6 year old car was reaching ‘beater’ status. If not rusted out entirely.

        I remember twice annual tune-ups. Fouled plugs, Setting the timing. Changing the distributor cap and wires. Shocks and tires that lasted only a few years. Bulbs that burnt out regularly. Rattles that never stopped. Mufflers that required regular replacement. And rust.

        We talk of ‘peak auto’ being the 90’s. Well in that decade, I had (all new) 2 Caravans that ‘ate’ transmissions, an Explorer that was allegedly prone to rollovers, and a GM van whose sliding door would open while the vehicle was in motion and whose A/C condenser had to be replaced multiple times under warranty both of which were known problems. And I later learned had abysmal offset passenger side collision scores.

        Every one of the vehicles that I have owned this century have been superior to those 90’s vehicles.

        Currently my wife is driving a ‘mid-sized’ SUV with more luxury features than any 1970’s/80’s Cadillac or Lincoln, which is safer, and which is averaging over 30 mpg.

  • avatar
    GregLocock

    Unfortunately Tim Healey’s grasp of schoolboy physics is lousy. If a heavy car hits a light car head on, the light car will see higher accelerations. The reason is Newton. fail.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      GregLocock

      Let’s test your theory. Using Donald Trump as the big object. A baseball bat as the small object.
      What’s

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Actually, GregLocock, if I recall some of the testing correctly, the lighter car tends to get the better end of the ‘stick’ in a crash such as you describe. Outside of a direct head-on collision, the lighter car, due to those physics, is shoved out of the way, reducing the moment of inertia by deflecting the energy rather than taking it dead-on the way a heavier car would.

      The ONLY real negative to the lighter car in that instance is whether or not the colliding vehicle is another car or a pickup truck. A pickup truck would tend to ride over the car rather than meeting the smaller car’s structure at its strong points. Law used to be that truck bumpers had to ride at the same level off the pavement as every other car. But that law as late seems to be getting ignored as the factory 4x4s in particular ride much, much higher than that.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Vulpine – I tried to make a similar point earlier. The larger vehicle tends to sit higher therefore changing the impact dynamics. It is more akin to hitting the underside of an incline plane as opposed to a wall if one were to design a static test for it.

  • avatar
    Freddie

    No one has accused Trump of being articulate.
    I wish he would have said something like: Unrealistic fuel economy requirements will force the auto industry to build cars that consumers don’t want and maybe can’t afford. Let individual car buyers decide for themselves what their own priorities and preferences are.

    • 0 avatar
      Duaney

      Freddie’s comment is exactly what I would say. Trump was trying to say that to achieve the fantastic fuel economy that the standards would have been, those new cars would be so expensive that people wouldn’t buy them, and thus more older higher polluting cars would stay on the road. I believe too that you can’t defy the laws of physics, when a flyweight car impacts a big truck, the flyweight will be the looser. Why do so many people today buy SUV’s and trucks? They don’t want the little cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      This is my point…he had a cogent argument to make. He’s had it all along. But neither he nor his team has been able to articulate it.

      It’s one thing if he goes up on stage and has no ability to make the argument. The highly-paid people in his administration should be able to!

  • avatar
    Jack DeVaney

    Don’t care. Still voting Trump.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “Moderator Adam pointed out that Trump did almost make a good point – perhaps if newer cars, which are much more fuel-efficient than vehicles from even 10 years ago, were cheaper, more people would buy them and we’d have a more fuel-efficient fleet. But Trump seemingly missed on that.”

    Actually, this is EXACTLY what he said. At least this is what I understood and even explained to my wife this point.

    And for this one:
    The Hill: “However, the cost-benefit analysis for the administration’s fuel economy standards found that consumers would ultimately pay $13 billion more in the next decade, in part due to spending more on gas because of lower fuel economy standards.”

    OH PLEASE!!! The way people drive they rarely achieve any great economy. In the winter mothers idling their cars for 30 minutes everyday near school bus stops, which are located 100 yards from the house. They don’t care.

    All this is brainwash. My 1998 1.8L Mazda was getting 30mpg, my 2L 2011 Mazda3 is getting 30mpg and if you look at surveys – 2017 mazda3 2L is getting 30-32 mpg for most people. This is not a great achievement for 20 years and I don’t want to hear about added weight. I did not ask for heavier 19″ wheels. ’98 had “14 and ran fine.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Thank you. Give Americans greater fuel efficiency and they simply drive more. And faster. All of which cause more injury and deaths.

      If Saudi Arabia really wanted to harm us, they’d give us 25 cents a gallon gas.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Safety is the wrong argument to make. Safety at every cost leads to locking people in their houses for months over a little bit of Chinese flu, man up and live a little bit. Of course bigger is safer, of course less pleasant and more expensive new cars will nudge sales down and keep more people in something older and less safe, but at the end of the day they’re long since safe enough.

    The better argument is that nothing is worse for health than poverty and leftist know it all schemes to block people from doing the business they want to do are invariably terrible for the economy. Fracking gas is cheap as water, we aren’t having wars for oil anymore, let people buy what they want and keep the economy ticking.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Dan

      The USA has 4% of the world’s population but 20% of the world’s deaths from COVID-19. Next time you go out and about, count people up to five. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Every 5th one represents a dead American.

      If the USA adopted a similar strategy to Canada, there would have been 115,000 more people alive in the USA.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        I had to ask my Chinese-in-China colleagues to stop asking me when I was going to stop working from home.

        They’ve been back at the office for months, because their country (for all of its faults) could actually solve this.

        Our country had been trying declare victory without treating the disease. Which is why we’re going to be working from home for 9+ months, instead of 3 like they were.

        I really hate being shown up by China. But they won this one fair and square. Fortunately, business is good in my industry, so we’re all making money, despite the smack talk. I’ll get over it because we’re all getting paid — but still!

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Hmmm….

    So if you have a choice as to what vehicle you can be driving when involved in a crash is it going to be a 2020 Versa or a 2020 Q8?

    I guess you view those as the same.

  • avatar

    TLDR, sorry, I am not a reality show fan.

    Regarding debates: Joe Biden looked like angry mouse who just crawled out of basement. I am not gonna vote for Biden no matter what. America deserves better.

    Regarding issue: I would declare gas powered cars illegal tomorrow if I had a power to do that. Enough is enough. After gas powered vehicles become illegal suddenly all problems with EVs will be solved.

  • avatar
    Old_WRX

    It would help a lot if the EPA could come up with some sort of realistic mileage tests. As it is now, the car companies can get good EPA numbers from small boosted engines, but the real world mileage is often worse than bigger normally aspirated engines.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      My 2013 Accord V6, at 80mph with A/C blasting, and the 6-speed automatic, got 35mpg without breaking a sweat, sometimes a little more.

      My 2019 Accord Touring, 2.0 turbocharged four-banger with a 10-speed automatic, barely ekes out 32mpg under the same circumstances!

      Case in point!

  • avatar
    Duaney

    Another point to illustrate, is that government mandates often do more harm than good. The American cars of 1973-1974 were so bad, because the EPA mandated emissions standards that the car companies didn’t have the technology right then to achieve those standards, the result were Chevrolets that got 6-8 MPG, ran terrible, and the emissions controls had a short life. I would prefer the government could encourage results, and then let competition in the free market motivate the car companies built the vehicles that eventually would be more efficient.

    • 0 avatar
      Old_WRX

      I sure remember those days. You could shut your car off, go into a store, do some shopping, come out and you car was still clattering away like a diesel. Then there were the late 70’s cars where you had to depress the accelerator once (and ONLY once) before cranking it. If it didn’t start within about five seconds of cranking, call a tow truck.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    Trump doesn’t make his point eloquently, but he does have a point that modern government mandates for both safety and economy are frequently at odds.

    Trends in modern cars like high belt lines and thick A, B, and C pillars did not come from a designer’s pen. They are the direct result of government safety mandates. Side-impact, pedestrian impact, and roll over requirements have made cars bigger and heavier than they otherwise would have been.

    These safety mandates directly conflict with fuel economy mandates. Safety requirements generally make cars heavier and make fuel economy targets much harder to hit.

    Look around at all the 2.0L (and smaller) turbo charged engines. Those engines are the direct result of government mandates worldwide. Sane engineers would not choose high-pressure high-revving engines if durability was the goal.

    We absolutely sacrifice reliability by asking small turbo charged engines to haul around increasingly heavy cars.

    That reliability cost is directly borne by everyone who owns or uses a car.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Interesting .

    It has been shown repeatedly that the Average American car buyer will buy the biggest car they can afford, not the most economical nor the safest .

    All through the 1980’s (small time example) there were plenty of new cars that got over 30 MPG, they were smaller and plenty of Americans bought the .

    At the same time there were larger cars available that cost more and plenty of Americans bought them .

    Why not make cafe regulations so both can be built and sold and let the market place choose what they want to buy ? .

    I’ve always been a smaller car/truck buyer although I’ve enjoyed the big American land yachts too .

    If the manufacturers are allowed & encouraged to make cars the public wants to buy they should be able to produce and sell both, big and smaller .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    I am for the fuel-economy standard roll back too!

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    https://www.epa.gov/regulations-emissions-vehicles-and-engines/safer-affordable-fuel-efficient-safe-vehicles-final-rule

    quote-
    Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, welcomed the new standards. In a statement, he said the Obama-era mandate was “impossible to achieve without dramatically altering the automobile market or making the cost of vehicles out of reach for most American families. This new … rule will make cars more affordable for consumers at a time when they need it most.” -end quote

  • avatar
    jetcal

    Remember the goal was 54 MPG by 2025. The official US Government review in 2016 stated that even 45 MPG by 2025 was not obtainable.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Even Honda (with around 30 MPG fleet avg.) would fail miserably if it was 2025 now, without a reasonable rollback.

      Toyota is holding down the middle, or average-average at about 25 MPG, and FCA at 21.

      Except the CAFE 54 MPG translates to about 40 EPA MPG (window sticker). But still.

      What’s wrong with using a common sense approach? We moved here to escape England Monarchy, not become it.

      It’s corrupt, no different than racketeering anyway. They know perfectly well, automakers will simply pay the CAFE fines.

      The worst gas guzzlers have the largest gross/net profits to easily pay off the fines (and more).

      Any ICE car/sedan not achieving 40 MPG or decent/respectable profits would be a huge problem for automakers. Hence the killing of the Fusion, Impala and similar.

  • avatar
    NoID

    “Automakers aren’t being required to spend money to make every vehicle fuel-efficient, but rather, to shoot for an average goal across the fleet.”

    As someone who works in the industry, this statement is a crock. We’re ABSOLUTELY being driven to increase fuel economy on every rated vehicle, and on the non-rated vehicles we’re bending over backwards and throwing BILLIONS of dollars at saving every gram of CO2 possible.

    And yes, the consumer is paying for all of this.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    If this were a website about medical insurance and the healthcare industry I wonder if you would have called out the endless “b***s***” as you put it from Obama and all of his lies and distortions. He knew nothing about it and it comprises 1/6th of our economy. He actually got a law passed that was full of lies and destroyed an industry. Just wondering if you indignation goes beyond cars.
    Also, who ever said the doddering old demented Biden was a “car guy”?

  • avatar
    Vanillasludge

    Don’t bother, Tim. Up is down if Trump says so. He’s a religion for his fans.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Better Trump religion than left utopia

      • 0 avatar

        It is dystopia rather than utopia. What is the difference? You will see after Democrats take control of Congress and White House, and they will sooner or later.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “left utopia”

        A utopia is by definition….?
        “place or state of things in which everything is perfect”

        Dystopia

        dys·to·pi·a

        noun

        “State or society in which there is great suffering or injustice, typically one that is totalitarian or post-apocalyptic.”

        I’m guessing that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse currently roaming the USA makes it a dystopia. The problem is that the current Commander-in-chief spends most of his time feeding and watering their horses.

        • 0 avatar

          Four Horsemen are democrats. Trump has no courage to fight. America will have its own Pinochet but Trump is not one – he is too soft and army is not on his side.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Pinochet was a right wing neocon put in power with the help of the USA because the dully elected President Salvador Allende was a socialist with a Marxist leaning.
            All of Trump’s talk of a corrupt election and attacking the media along with saying he won’t accept a loss are all the tools of a dictator.
            The USA is facing disease, riots,natural disaster, and financial ruin. All cause death and hardship. He’s done little to control any of it. I’m not surprised you missed the metaphor of the 4 Horseman!

          • 0 avatar

            Pinochet saved Chile and turned it into the leading economy in South America. Marxists only bring ruin anywhere they rear their ugly head.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @Inside: Are you are advocating the armed overthrow of a legally elected government and replacing it with a right wing dictator?

            Is that not the actual definition of treason?

            And Allende committed crimes against the people of Chile, increased income inequality and used his power to enrich his friends and family.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @InsideLookingOut- You must be okay with public kidnappings, torture, and murder by death squads as long as the economy is good?

    • 0 avatar
      Old_WRX

      “He’s a religion for his fans.”

      And the left is thoroughly grounded in reality. Yeah, right. Vote the left in and total destruction. I saw a video where Harris was talking about how the destruction the left is doing isn’t going to stop. From the smile on her face it was obvious that she favors the destruction of the US. So, if you want the US destroyed, vote the Dems in and you’ll get your wish. And, here’s a hint: most of the media is feeding you lies, and most people seem to be too lazy or scared to bother finding out the truth.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Please define ‘destruction’. Would you define it as returning to the period when the USA had the highest standard of living, lowest infant/birth mortality rates, and greatest social mobility? If so those coincide with an era of high corporate taxes, and restrictions of firearms.

        Instead we have seen the decline of the USA since circa 1979. Growing income disparity, a growing number of citizens dependent on disability and other ‘socialized’ forms of income, falling further behind in life expectancy, infant mortality, and other measures of the well being of its citizens.

        And with an extremely high percentage of jailed individuals and high murder rates in comparison to other 1st world nations, and a largely fabricated fear of ‘others/external terrorism’ people in the USA no longer enjoy greater freedoms than do citizens of many other nations.

        So perhaps what the USA does need is to be brought back from the abyss and brought into tune with its previous allies politically and socially. Most of which are on the slightly left of centre spectrum. Rather than having its head of state publicly fawning over autocrats and dictators.

        • 0 avatar
          Old_WRX

          Arthur Dailey,

          If you want a clue what the socialist/communists are about watch this video.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPfWThToClo

          Both Lenin/Stalin and Mao make Hitler look like an amateur when it comes to genocide.

          Only 7:30. And, this is what will happen here…

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @Old_WRX: For some reason a great many Americans are unable to understand/discern the difference between autocrats, communists, socialists, social democrats and liberals. It is indeed puzzling to those from other nations and must indicate a very large gap in the American educational system.

            Social democracy has and does work very well in a number of nations. Including nations whose standards of living and individual freedoms are now equal to or greater than those in the USA.

            The decline of America has coincided with the rise of intransigence among the right wing/formerly conservative Americans.

            Ike who was considered main stream Republican/conservative would now be considered a ‘socialist’ by a large number of Americans. Nixon in current American terms could be considered a left leaning liberal based on his domestic policies.

            And FDR’s policies were in a number of instances ‘left’ of Bernie Sanders.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Old_WRX,

        we know who these people are. Make sure you have plenty of ammo. All my friends are sitting on thousands of ammo

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          They should try “sitting on thousands” of some real good psych meds.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @FreedMike – socialism or communism gets linked to totalitarian regimes because it suits their ideological hatred of anything on the left.
            Two can play that game: Nazi Germany was right wing. Fascist Italy also right wing. Pinochet was right wing. Putin is right wing.ISIS, the Taliban, Iran etc. are right wing.
            Ignorance is the wrong starting point when trying to win a debate.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    All this will eventually become largely moot as ICE propulsion is augmented or replaced by other forms.

    Electric may not be any cleaner, or use less ‘energy’ but in some ways it is superior. And eventually will become less expensive to build/sell and far less expensive than ICE vehicles to maintain.

    As for leaving things to ‘the market’. For over 2 decades domestic and British manufacturers often did little other than slap on some new sheet metal every few years and add some horsepower.

    The government restrictions that led to the Malaise Era may have caused a decade of frustration for enthusiasts but eventually helped led us to the major advances in engineering, drivability reliability, longevity, and engine/power output that we have benefited from since circa the mid 1990s.

    Without interventions would 3 point seatbelts, child seat harnesses, ‘head rests’, air bags, ABS, traction control, ‘centre’ brake lights and other safety related products become standard? Most likely no, as the technology for many of these existed for many years, yet remained an option or not even available until mandated by governments.

    As for emissions, how many of you are old enough to remember when the buildings in major cities were soot covered? Look at pictures up to and including the 1970’s and you will see the soot marks. Largely from auto emissions. Or look at pictures of ‘smog’ hanging over cities during the late 20th century. Something that we see little of anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “As for emissions, how many of you are old enough to remember when the buildings in major cities were soot covered?”

      Greenhouse gas emissions and smog-forming particulate emissions aren’t the same thing. I don’t believe the Trump admin has plans to freeze or roll back any “air quality” rules, but I could be wrong.

      As far as “market vs mandate” I think there needs to be a bit of both. Market forces absolutely do impact automobiles (see the proliferation of AWD and “off-road” packages) but I do agree that many “standard” safety features would have likely remained optional if not for regulations. However I don’t think regulators should be a taking a “here are the rules, figure it out” approach either.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @ajia: You may not believe it but he has already done so, around 2 years ago or so, when he rolled back ALL pollution control rules, especially those concerned with industrial emissions.

        As for vehicular emissions; CARB’s rules are specifically aimed at vehicular emissions and not fuel mileage, whereas CAFE is aimed at mileage (with emissions as a side effect.)

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “around 2 years ago or so, when he rolled back ALL pollution control rules”
          Like I said, he may have. That may be a better thing for the Democrats to hit him on versus fuel economy levels.

          I’m not an expert on the current CARB rules (and I doubt anyone commenting on here is) but my understanding is that the CARB states are opposed to the WH’s proposed CAFE freeze and are threatening to impose their own, stricter *fuel economy* standards if such a freeze passes.

          • 0 avatar
            volvo

            I realize this thread is wandering off topic and I am not an expert on CARB rules either but I do live under them and the CARB rules extend well beyond automobile emissions.

            Pretty much anything involving volatiles (small engines, paints, solvents, household cleaners, fireplaces, gas cans, home air filters, etc. you get the idea) fall under CARB rules. Some of the non CARB compliance is actually a difference in design and performance and some is because the manufacturer or seller did not want to pay for the expense of testing and registration of the product with CARB.

            When on line shopping and you see the phrase “can not ship to California” CARB rules or other California specific regulations are involved.

            In the auto repair realm when you look for a part like a catalytic converter, or any emission related part, you will see the phrase 49 state compliant. The CARB compliant model is usually about 2-2.5X the cost. I am not sure how much cleaner tailpipe emissions are on the CARB approved converter and if that justifies the additional cost.

            The concept of cost vs. diminishing returns does not need to apply when someone else is paying the bill.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Yes by the ’90s, automakers figured it all out, worked out the bugs, etc, etc.

      But what good are the new ones since that era? True there’s safety tech/gizmos those didn’t have or could ever dream of.

      Except ’90s automakers were honestly trying to perfect the science and came up with (simple/fixable) vehicles you could own for the rest of your life, or 50 years or whatever.

      Now (that all that’s behind them) it’s like automakers are (smarter and) more interested in selling you an endless subscription that you have to renew every 3 or 4 years.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    @Tim Healey,

    Suggestion: You could get 3-4 solid [separate] posts out of the topics you bring up here, which would generate some good discussion. But what we have right now on this page (the comments generated) is kind of a scattershot trainwreck.

    Suggestion: When writing a post like this, think about what you want to write, and then write it. Thinking out loud in a post is not best practice, and if the thinking exposed is muddled thinking, that is worse. (If your word count is getting too high, consider the possibility that you are in one of these loops [or that the topic is too broad – break it up into smaller pieces].)

    Suggestion: There is a way to discuss automotive topics which were brought up in a Presidential debate without making the discussion about candidate personalities or political preferences.

    [No need to respond here – just think about it.]

  • avatar
    Snooder

    And, as expected the comments continue to be a shitshow.

    Sorry Tim, you tried, and I feel your frustration when you, like I did, watched the President of the United States get up in front of the entire world and just lie and spout bullshit for 90 minutes straight. And I applaud your attempt to correct the narrative by pointing out simple truths that have already been discussed, dissected and agreed upon by anyone with a passing grasp on reality.

    But sadly we seem to be living in a world where reality is irrelevant. Some people are just gonna believe whatever fits their worldview, no matter how convoluted they have to twist themselves in knots to do it.

    Just to reiterate what should be obvious to everyone. Fuel efficiency regulations have nothing to do with safety. And it certain doesn’t result in MORE efficiency to reduce the regulations.

    That’s just a common sense truth that a 5 year old could come up with. And in a same world people would just admit it and move to a honest argument. But no, instead we end up with lies and bullshit instead of honesty.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    “I saw snippets of the debate and it was a sh!tshow. One pundit described it as, “a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck”. Most felt Trump was hiding his lack of prep by bluster and bullsh!t.”

    Lou_BC–Agree. When someone is talking over another person and shouting I tend not to take anything they say with a grain of salt. At best this debate was a disgrace and will go down in history as a moment when America was at its worst. I would trust an engineer’s assessment of the feasibility of higher fuel efficiency standards over a politician’s just as I would trust a doctor or medical expert’s advice on Covid-19 over a politician’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Jeff S – it was pathetic. From what I saw, Trump just made noise and didn’t land any effective blows. He punched himself in the face when he failed to denounce right-wing white supremacists. His base aka cult, loved his performance. Those on the left loved Biden and those in the middle are still trying to control their nausea. If anything, the “undecided” have shifted slightly to Biden.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I meant to say I take anything someone who talks over another and or shouts with a grain of salt.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    “I don’t know if Trump was lying”

    This made me spit my proverbial coffee on the proverbial keyboard.

    How do you know when Trump is lying? When he speaks.

  • avatar
    kc1980

    Left Jalopnik because of all the leftist politics and garbage that kept being shoved down my throat. Looks like I will have to to the same with Ttac. Such a disappointment…..

    And if you aren’t a run of the mill trim hater, you could hav framed your argument with more tact and less obvious Trump hate. I mean look at the headline…why I I consider you to be the least bit objective after that?

    Farewell ttac.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I have to say that both the article and Trump’s comments generate lots more heat than light. I think his point was one that, in principle, is not debatable: that, in everything, there is a point of diminishing returns and the Obama-era CAFE standards for the future exceeded that point. When speaking about safety, it’s hard to have much of a discussion about this, because the calculus involves valuing a human life or human injuries (beyond just hospital bills and lost work). However, the fuel economy calculation is more straightforward, involving “hard” numbers all around. The only problem is that the value of future fuel savings is a function of the cost of the fuel. So, the cost of fuel economy improvements may be justified for $5/gallon gas but not justified for $3/gallon gas. Current forecasts of the price of petroleum (and, thus, fuel) — for what they’re worth — predict cheap gas, so perhaps the marginal benefit of improving fuel economy from where it is today is less than the marginal cost of achieving it. The same principle applies for pollutants (not carbon dioxide, which is harmless apart from its purported contribution to “climate change”).

    As for Americans’ preference for bigger vehicles, it’s notable that even Europeans have succumbed to the allure of SUVs, albeit of the smaller variety.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      They can only dictate what for sale for so long. What if we revolt and refuse to buy ANY?

      Except it’s already happening. Every year we add millions more drivers to the pool, yet new vehicle sales have been stagnate for years.

      Not all of it is disposable junk (what’s up Kia/Hyundai?), but there’s so little to get excited about, except for a few gadgets here or there.

      Did I mention the automotive aftermarket (plus used parts) has be growing exponentially for years?

      If Ttac doesn’t start calling it like it is, I don’t know what to think. So are there any car enthusiasts left in the house??

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        “As for Americans’ preference for bigger vehicles, it’s notable that even Europeans have succumbed to the allure of SUVs, albeit of the smaller variety.”

        This used to be controlled by taxing the engine’s displacement .

        For many decades the cut off point was 1,000 C.C. and you couldn’t move a very large vehicle quickly with only that .

        I don’t follow what the Europeans do any more, I just drive what I like .

        -Nate

  • avatar
    pdl2dmtl

    I will be blunt and say this.
    Another site that becomes woke. And I don’t buy the mumbo-jumbo “I give credit to Trump”, etc.
    Somehow, everything the dems / libs touch becomes dirty.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “I give credit to Trump”.

      The reporting on Trump’s tax returns and his history of bankruptcies indicate that anyone “giving credit” to Trump has made a colossal mistake.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        The tax code is meant for business/corps to plunder and abuse. It’s so the economy/GNP excels and also stays in the country (except California).

        It violates socialism at the core, as longs the funds are put back into the business/corp, structure, expand the franchise, extend to new markets, hire more and so on.

        Yes the tax code, loopholes and losses can be manipulated to put more of your taxable income into your pocket and personal benefit.

        Your best defense is to start your own business. Hopefully it would be profitable, but it’s not a legal requirement.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @DenverMike – In Canada when one starts a business the Federal Tax laws state that one has to be able to show a reasonable expectation of making a profit within the first five years.

          I went that route for a few years with providing first aid/paramedical services at local motocross races when local promoters started running professional races. I was able to write off all of my gear that I had accumulated over a lifetime of volunteering. I did honestly believe that I could at least break even on the venture but once the pro MX failed to gather steam, it was obvious that there wouldn’t be any money in it so I closed shop.
          The last big Pro MX race I was at, the race series had their own EMT staff that traveled with the series.

          • 0 avatar
            Old_WRX

            Lou_BC,

            Sucks that your EMT business didn’t work out. I hope you didn’t lose your shirt on it.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Old_WRX – Thank you for the concern. I had accumulated all of my gear over years of volunteering so it wasn’t as if I had a huge cash outlay to get established. The write offs covered the expenses so it wasn’t a net loss. It even offset some of my purchases of gear from when i was volunteering at local events. If the business would have taken off then it would have required me purchasing my own EMT unit which would have been a huge expense.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Everyone should have a small homebased business at least. The perks, discounts and write-off are more that worth it. Never mind if it involves a preexisting hobby, addiction or other disfunction.

            My problem is vintage, very early Hot Wheels.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM: You sure you don’t play WoT? They just started up a Hot Wheels event on console.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @DM –

            Bingo! Small businesses are great for tax writeoffs.

            And if anyone can attest to the amazing tax advantages of money-losing businesses, it’s a certain resident of a big white house in Washington who just tested positive for COVID. As long as you can find banks to keep f**king over, the scam can go on forever.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @FreedMike – if we tried that same sh!t we’d be in jail.

            Life must be very simple without morals or a conscience.

            As a side note, it has been reported that his run for the Presidency was more of a PR stunt in an attempt to improve his brand. It is now believed that one of the reasons he does not want to leave the White House is to prevent criminal prosecution.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @Lou-

            I’m not sure his scam is illegal. Disclaimer: I’m not an attorney, but I know how loans and business taxes work. Here’s my take…

            Basically, what he’s doing is funneling a lot of personal expenses through businesses, which show losses as a result, and then covering the losses with loans. And then he stiffs the lenders. This is how he gets out of paying taxes on the businesses – they show losses, so no taxes are payable, and loan proceeds are non-taxable.

            Again, I’m not an attorney, but I’m pretty sure that’s all legal. The trick would be finding lenders who are dumb enough to keep handing out money to you. If you or I tried that, we’d only be able to scam small amounts of money, and then we’d be s**t out of luck for 10 years after bankruptcy. But the rules are different for guys like Trump.

            Now, if he’s overcooking his books to show to the lenders AND undercooking them to show to the IRS, that’s another story. That’s wire fraud and tax evasion. Would I believe it if that turned out to be the case? Yep. But I’ve seen no evidence of that so far.

            Unbelievably scummy? Yep. Illegal? As long as he’s being honest with the lenders and the IRS, I doubt it. But, like you said, it shows a total lack of conscience or morality.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @FreedMike – it has been reported that he undervalues assets to the Feds and overvalues to the banks. That’s fraud on both counts.

            The big question about his 400,000 in debt is who provided him with those loans? They may be legal but may set him up for extortion. i.e. You do us a favour and we’ll avoid foreclosure.

    • 0 avatar
      Old_WRX

      Time to face a little reality: Basically all high level politicians, REGARDLESS of party affiliation, are crooks in one form or the other. They didn’t get there to make our lives better. People in this country are so naive as to believe that it’s only certain pols that are crooks. Guess again.

      They get where they are mostly for self-aggrandizement, money and power.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Agree about the tax code being meant for business/corps to plunder and abuse and that will not change regardless of which political party is in power. Also agree that most of the new vehicles offered do not inspire enthusiasm making it harder to become an enthusiast and for me that includes pickups. Many new vehicles elicit the same enthusiasm as a matching set of washers and dyers. Even the limited choice of color is similar to appliances.

    As for fuel standards California will win. Better for the President to find other battles to fight.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I don’t think this is about large vehicles being safer as it is about his base preferring larger vehicles. When was the last time you saw a MAGA or Trump sticker on a Prius or a Volt? I see plenty of them (actually, they’re usually huge flags) on full-sized 4WD pickup trucks, and it makes sense for Trump to appease their owners.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      You’d be surprised how many Priuses I see with Republican-messaged bumper stickers. And I used to live in a HIGHLY Republican area of Denver, and Teslas are thick on the ground down there. What’s the issue? There must be plenty of Republicans who like saving money on gas or driving a car that goes 0-60 in 3 seconds flat, you know?

      Painting with too broad a brush usually means you end up with paint all over the damn place.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I see plenty of large 4 wheel drive pickups flying Trump flags as well. I have yet to see a Prius, Tesla, or compact Japanese car flying a Trump flag. Some of those large pickups also have the confederate flag license plate on their front bumper along with Support Coal bumper stickers on their back bumper. Maybe some of these people are afraid that the liberals will take away their big trucks along with their guns. Who knows?

  • avatar
    UserX009

    The EPA says tailpipe emissions have been reduced by more than 98-99 percent compared to the 1960s. A valid point Trump makes is one of diminishing returns. Is it worth it to force auto makers to spend billions to achieve ever-smaller incremental improvements in emissions when those billions will be passed on to consumers?

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @UserX009: The most obvious and ultimately cheapest answer is to eliminate all tailpipe emissions. That is well within today’s technology capabilities AND eliminates the Law of Diminishing Returns simultaneously. Such a process becomes a single, giant, leap in transportation pollution control and pretty much gives everyone what they want in a vehicle… with no more concern about every car being a virtual clone of each other. We can go back to having all-new bodies every couple of years, if we want to go that far.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Vulpin–Eventually zero tailpipe emissions will be in every new vehicle. Most vehicles will be EVs as ICE will be phased out but this will take some time.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @Jeff S: It could take as little as half a decade without all that much difficulty but the legacy automakers and the fossil fuel industries don’t want it to happen at all. I’d hazard a guess that it will be no less than 15 years before the last mainstream ICE automobile is built and even then there will be certain niche vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler and similar vehicles still on the assembly line.

      This will open up the industries to more critical needs and may well drive the price of these fuels downwards as they will be dedicated to aviation and government services operating where electricity is less accessible or operations take longer than… let’s say about 24 hours of steady use. Even then, the odds are that hydrogen fuel cells can more than meet the need and still won’t require the actual burning of the fuels, which would be a huge improvement overall. After all, military, commercial and even rail vehicles are large enough to carry the amount of catalytic conversion plate area to meet the need, as compared to the average POV which can’t even reach a 200-equivalent horsepower demand without the conversion and storage equipment taking up over 50% of the usable space in the body. Nearly every FCEV available today is either grossly underpowered or, as one writer put it, a Toyota Camry-sized chassis with a Toyota Corolla-sized cabin. (My suspicion is that the cabin would be more Yaris-sized if it offered more than 200hp equivalent.)

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Agree 15 years or more is a more realistic date for the last of most ICE vehicles. I doubt I will be buying a new vehicle in 15 years but then I could but by then I will be 84 years old. As I get older I am less interested in the latest technology in vehicles but more interested in safety, comfort, reliability, easy ingress and egress, and respectable fuel economy. I do have a hybrid Buick Lacrosse but with Covid-19 I don’t drive that much. I do like the fact that EVs don’t have mechanical parts like water pumps and transmissions. Less is better.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Did anyone mention that polluting less now means much less cost to react to the consequences of polluting? Probably not because humans ABSOLUTELY SUCK at long-term thinking.

    Profits have always been artificially inflated because industries were allowed to cut costs by polluting. They didn’t care about the damage they were doing.Who pays to clean up chemical dump sites, to provide water to everyone whose well water is now polluted, and to treat those with chronic health issues due to their workplace or other environmental hazard? We do. We subsidize business, allowing them to cheat us out of our money.

    So, lower standards and enjoy your freedumb now. We’ll all be paying a lot more for it later.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Good point polluting less now will mean much less spent on the consequences of polluting in the future.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “President Donald Trump has consistently defended his administration’s attempts to roll back Obama-era fuel-economy standards by complaining that building cars with better fuel economy in mind makes them less safe and more expensive.”

    While I agree fuel economy has little to no impact on safety for a gasoline ICE, it significantly impacts cost. While you do address this, I feel too much of the article focuses on how the President’s argument is incorrect on fuel economy somehow making automobiles less safe. I agree in your general logic the President has too much of a “Boomer” mentality on the “size = safety” thinking. A better argument would be to show how the former administration’s mandates were designed to make automobiles overall more expensive and allow for gov’t created market for EV to exist despite the billions wasted on those products by industry; costs which are 100% passed on to successful industry products.

    “Yet automakers, thanks in part to those computers and other modern tech, have managed to coax better fuel-economy numbers than ever while also making cars safer than before.”

    By employing technology which in addition to expensive teething issues, some of it doesn’t work as advertised. So its a double whammy, pay more for less and receive a product which could have less reliability than your pre 2010 trade.

    https://carbuzz.com/features/this-is-why-turbocharged-fuel-economy-is-a-lie

    “Trump is not only ignoring that lower fuel-economy standards could mean consumers would be buying gas more often, he seems to ignore that consumers would want better mpgs to avoid getting gas more often. Even in the cheap gas, gas-guzzling car era of the not-too-distant past, most car owners would’ve preferred to get gas less often. Even when gas was $1 a gallon, fewer fill-ups still saved money”

    This is specious reasoning at best, under current standards refueling times are *not* going to go up and barely going to go down. I can give a real life example of how this is not really happening:

    My 2002 Saturn SL2 (which is coming up for sale, 52K original miles) has a fuel tank of 12.1 gallons. On post E10 gasoline, it does about 23/35 on average but was rated 25/36 pre E10. (for contrast I hypermiled an identical 98 SL2 38mpg to VA before E10). This would give me an effective cruising range of 302 miles in its original rating. My 2018 Toyota Corolla IM is rated 28 city/36 highway (mostly highway driving of late, computer says 28.3) with a 14 gal fuel tank. In theory, this gives it a range of 392 miles, or close to a 25% increase. The IM clicks its idiot light on when it drops under 3 gal while the Saturn is closer to a gallon and a half, so assuming it is followed we’re really looking at a theoretical range of 260-275 miles to 308 (yes the general public will follow the idiot lights). I would argue if it saves me a trip at all, it would be one. Saving me refueling time would involve adding five gallon capacity into the tank, similar to my Audi 100’s 22 gal tank (it did 16 city, 352 range). Yet somehow the regular Corolla actually has a smaller tank at 13.7 gal… between size and idiot light calibration they just don’t want you having more than a 350 mile city range do they?

    “To his credit, Trump claimed to be in favor of electric cars, though last night is the first time I can recall him saying that off the top of my head.”

    I have no doubt he was told to say that, because the man is in his autumn years and I think his mind is still stuck in the 80s and 90s. The fact he did say it -to the whole world- in my view lends more credence to the idea this plandemic has something to do with Peak Oil. This is further evidence, the President’s mental formula here was likely “Mnuchin said EV good” + “I did everything including create the Earth” = “I did something good for EV” (Although they were right to try and nix it).

    “It appears he was taking credit for an Obama initiative. In fact, the Trump administration tried to nix the credit.”

    “We should also note here that pollution controls that are regulated by the government (and add cost) are separate from fuel-economy standards.”

    Which one, the Federal government or the government of the People’s Republic of Kalifornia?

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