By on April 11, 2022

With the United States Department of Transportation having formally announced upgraded Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards starting in 2024, the Biden administration was quick to point out that the decision would likely make automobiles even more expensive than they already are. However, the caveat to this was that it also assumed fuel prices would come down as improved efficiencies reduced North America’s hunger for fuel.

This effectively undoes fueling rollbacks instituted under the Trump administration on the grounds of reducing costs to consumers and cutting regulatory red tape for a prospective future where fuel prices are reduced without the need to spur oil production. But what does that actually mean in terms of dollars and cents? 

Initially, all we knew was that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was going ahead with its plan to raise CAFE standards to 49 miles per gallon by the 2026 model year. This would require an average increase in fleetwide efficiencies of eight percent annually for model years 2024-2025, followed by 10 percent annually for MY 2026.  But, as luck would have it, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has gotten a bit clearer in how this breaks down.

“[In] today’s model year 21 vehicles, the standard is 36 miles per gallon,” he explained. “By 2026, it will be over 48. So what that means is a 33 percent gain, [which] means if you’re filling up four times a month that would become three times a month by model year 2026, based on those averages and of course that would save a typical American household hundreds of dollars.”

That’s hundreds of dollars over the entire lifespan of the vehicle based entirely on the presumption that future fuel prices will be far lower than they are today — which the NHTSA has attributed to making the United States gradually less dependent upon foreign oil.

While energy independence is a key factor in lowering fuel costs, we’ve already tried the above strategy and it didn’t play out exactly as claimed. Fuel prices began to climb immediately after Barack Obama entered the White House, with most analysts of the time citing the oil market anticipating stringent environmental policies and the administration’s planned moratorium on certain types of drilling. The end result was that the average cost for a gallon of gas went from $1.84 in January 2009 to $3.96 by May 2011.

This is highly reminiscent of what happened to the market in response to Biden’s decision to deter fracking and cancel the Keystone XL pipeline that would have funneled Canadian crude directly to Texas refineries. Now the White House is similarly bringing back stiffer CAFE standards while promising to advance EV adoption as quickly as possible. The theory here is that prices could be lowered over time by curtailing national energy use, rather than increasing energy production, and has a few historic problems.

When the Obama administration raised corporate requirements to 52 mpg by 2025 a decade ago, practical fuel economy (based upon the vehicles people actually bought) jumped a bit initially and then averaged around 24 mpg as people opted to purchase increasingly large vehicles. The silver lining is that fuel prices actually did decline slightly in 2014 and automakers got increasingly interested in non-traditional powertrains. But it’s hard to attribute this to improvements in nationwide efficiencies when most studies show practical efficiency making the most headway during the 1980s, and then again between 2002 and 2008. If anything, CAFE regulations seem to result in automakers launching more compliance-focused vehicles that typically don’t sell all that well but have to exist to ensure they can continue selling the products people are more interested in buying.

Though one could make the argument that we didn’t get to see the entirety of the plan play out. While Donald Trump’s planned rollback was repeatedly softened in an attempt to find common ground with the opposition party and has since been nullified by the Biden administration, it still technically delayed Obama’s original timeline for increased CAFE standards. But even the administration that penned the strategy expressed concerns that 52 miles per gallon by 2025 could have been untenable.

But there’s one trait that all the above strategies share — and that’s the near-total reliance on the assumption that they’ll be successful and that the public will play along.

The government and industries of today are claiming that all-electric vehicles will automatically save consumers money when the reality is that the true cost of ownership is determined by driving habits, which car is being purchased, what car you currently own, where the electricity is being sourced from, the stability of future energy prices, and dozens of other factors. It’s a similar story with CAFE since companies can still produce gas guzzlers people if the fleetwide breakdown remains in compliance with federal regulations. But even if it doesn’t, businesses can purchase carbon credits to absolve themselves of any Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) transgressions they’ve committed — something Greenpeace has repeatedly called an outright scam, placing it in the same camp as some of the most ardent conservative voices.

Car and Driver recently claimed that regulations are further complicated by the language used in the relevant legislation. The outlet noted that the U.S. government now uses the controversial, catch-all footprint methodology instituted in 2012. But it held no love for earlier versions that somewhat arbitrarily categorized autos as passenger vehicles or light trucks:

The old rules had their own problems. The Chrysler PT Cruiser was considered a light truck, for example, despite sharing a platform with the Dodge Neon, and was thus subject to less stringent mpg standards. Because the PT Cruiser easily beat the truck mpg requirements, that gave Chrysler more breathing room to not make other vehicles in its lineup at the time as fuel efficient as they would have auto be if the PT Cruiser was considered a car.

Today, NHTSA uses the “footprint” approach, which is defined by the four points where the tires touch the ground, or wheelbase times track width. NHTSA makes clear in its document that it is operating under regulations that “[require] vehicles of differing sizes (footprints) to have different CO2 targets” and that these rules mean the average fuel-economy standards each company has to hit are based on the footprints found in the mix of vehicles it produces. By law, NHTSA has to regulate vehicles using attributes that can “be expressed in the form of a mathematical function,” and a vehicle footprint is certainly more mathematical than deciding that a gussied-up Neon is actually a truck.

But the end result is that larger vehicles will generally be held to less stringent standards and there’s no real guarantee that practical economy will have the desired net gain — especially since cars have gotten much larger over time. The NHTSA has acknowledged this directly, saying that improvements in fuel economy will “vary depending on the mix of vehicles that industry produces for sale in those model years,” in addition to what type of vehicles people ultimately buy.

Let’s refocus on those drivers. At the start of this article, we wanted to get the most precise figure possible for how much the Biden administration thinks average people will save over the course of a vehicle’s life under the revised CAFE standards under the most idyllic of circumstances. Are you ready?

According to the Department of Transportation, changes to existing regulations are anticipated to result in a price increase of $960 for the typical, brand-new, car from the 2029 model year. Meanwhile, overall fuel economy savings are estimated at around $1,280 over the course of that vehicle’s lifespan. That’s just $320 in hypothetical savings over a dozen or so years of driving the same car and you’ll have to wait for the Earth to wrap around the sun a few times before we even get there.

Transport Secretary Buttigieg framed this as a decisive victory for “every driver in America, but I would note it is a particularly big win for drivers in rural areas where residents cover more distance every day and fill up more frequently.”

[Image: Michael Vi/Shutterstock]

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105 Comments on “How Much Are Updated CAFE Standards Actually Going to Save You?...”


  • avatar
    kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh

    As long as the US continues to participate in the ”Speculative Oil market” (commodities market) It does not matter what you do.. OPEC and the GREEDY SCUMBAG US OIL BARRONS will get their pound of flesh regardless of fleet standards.

    The *ONLY* way out of the grip of OPEC + US BASED OIL BARRONS is withdraw from the commodities market or get us to 50%+ EV .. But that is *impossible* since no-one wants to spend in infrastructure..

    It is like the idiots who complain about school standards… then vote down the school budgets … /facepalm/

  • avatar
    dwford

    Aren’t the CAFE fuel economy standards different than those we see on the window stickers?

    And isn’t the footprint rule at least partly to blame for the death of all the small cars, which would have to meet prohibitive MPG numbers to comply with the standards?

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Yes. CAFE is simply the corporate fleetwide average and designed to push vehicles collectively upwards in terms of mpg. They are not directly tied to what you see stuck to the side of a car beyond the general footprint rules.

      As for the death of small cars, you could absolutely argue that the footprint scheme does encourage automakers to run with larger vehicles for the above reason. However I would say it’s just one of many factors.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The advertised numbers are significantly different from a given vehicle’s CAFE number. Both were originally based on the same Federal Test Protocol. However the numbers generated from that test did not reflect reality. So they applied a correction factor, and then another and added some additional test procedures to give a more realistic number for the sticker.

      Because the CAFE number is based on the unadjusted number and there are ways to get bonuses for the CAFE numbers, like auto stop/start, so a 50 MPG CAFE number is more like 35 on the sticker.

      What all this means is that the automakers are going to pretty much do nothing with their ICE vehicles and ramp up EV production and sales. Take the Mach E for example the future CAFE number is going to be something like 40 meanwhile the MPGe CAFE number is going to be somewhere around 115 or better. So for every Mach E they sell they can sell 15 vehicles that miss their target by 5 mpg or 5 vehicles that miss their target by 15 mpg.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    “Fuel prices began to climb immediately after Barack Obama entered the White House, with most analysts of the time citing the oil market anticipating stringent environmental policies and the administration’s planned moratorium on certain types of drilling. The end result was that the average cost for a gallon of gas went from $1.84 in January 2009 to $3.96 by May 2011.”

    Um, by “most analysts” I assume you mean “most commenters on Breitbart”? In constant 2021 dollars, fuel prices ranged between $3-4 for most of Bush’s second term, spiked to nearly $5 in early 2008, fell through the floor when the market crashed and demand plummeted, and then quickly returned to their pre-recession level when the economy recovered, before falling back to around $2 a gallon by the end of 2015. This had nothing to do with anticipated emissions regulations, which if anything were more stringent by late 2015 than they were in mid-2010, and in each case were eons more stringent than they were in, say, $4.50 a gallon-era 2007.

    Meanwhile, for what most analysts _actually thought_, I’d point to, say, https://www.igmchicago.org/surveys/gasoline-prices/ where economists unanimously pointed to market forces rather than U.S. federal economic or energy policies as the primary driver of gasoline prices.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Ah, I see we continue to live in different realities.

      While I didn’t find your shortlist list of cherry picked ivy leaguers all that compelling. I am inclined to believe that the market typically rules the day. But I’m also savvy enough to realize that market factors are influenced by government intervention, which is the general premise of this article. Markets are speculative and regulatory policies always play a meaningful role in what people believe the future will bring.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        I tend to find “cherry picked ivy leaguers” more compelling than, you know, nothing, but putting that aside: if it was due go proposed or expected government intervention, what proposed or expected government intervention drove fuel prices to pretty much their highest level ever in early 2008, then to some of their lowest levels in decades in the depths of the 2008 recession, then to rise again in the early part of the Obama administration before falling in the last half of it?

        The simple fact is that there are macro causes that are much, much, much, much more influential on fuel prices than anything that any president does; after all, gasoline prices are primarily driven by global oil prices, and no president is president of the globe. And the most effective thing we can do to control how much we pay at the pump is to control how much we need to pump in the first place.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      “This had nothing to do with anticipated emissions regulations…”

      He didn’t say it was caused by emissions regulations. He implied the oil price is related to government policy. To argue otherwise is just being blind so as to not make your team look bad.

  • avatar
    BEPLA

    What this boils down to is that in response to cars being required to be more efficient – Manufacturers eliminated them from their portfolios in favor of Trucks, and short-memory’d buyers followed suit. What the NHTSA should have done is made the requirement for mileage about usage – not the size of the vehicle. If your vehicle is to be registered under a company name for certain types of business usage – such as farm or construction or transport of people – you get more leeway when it comes to choosing your vehicle and its fuel consumption – but if you choose an EV, you get a cash bonus at registration time every year you own and operate it (mileage is noted: low/no mileage, low/no cash bonus). If you’re an office worker or a Suburban Mom/part-time Real Estate Agent or even a policeman/fireman who uses your vehicle for commuting – and it’s registered as a “personal vehicle” or a “small business vehicle” – You don’t need or deserve the same leeway. You can have any vehicle you want – but if you purposely choose a vehicle that gets worse mileage than you’re allotted for your type of use-based registration – You get to pay an annual excess fuel-consumption fine based, again, on your odometer readings when you bring it in for registration every year. What are those fines used for? To pay for the people and systems to manage the system, and to pay the tax bonuses for EV drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      @Bepla:

      And how many new bureaucrats will have to be hired to manage such a scheme? How about we just quit the social engineering and let people drive what they want?

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      … yes, the solution must always be “government controlling our purchases and use”, not “pay for fuel you use, figure it out yourself”.

      No, no, no. A thousand times, no.

      (Cars were replaced by trucks? No, by SUVs.

      Yes, the F Series trucks are the “most popular car in America”, but that’s because non-truck vehicles *don’t get aggregated* and also because domestic trucks own the rural market, for valid reasons.

      https://www.edmunds.com/most-popular-cars/

      See? Rural-ish places, trucks. Places with huge urban/suburban areas?

      Oh, look. Civics, Corollas, RAV4s, CR-Vs.

      Small, fuel-efficent sedans and compact SUVs.

      Three domestic fullsizers and the Tacoma loom large *because there’s a lot less variety and competition*.

      Four companies make those four truck lines.

      Many more companies make many more vehicles in “sedan and compact SUV and hatch/wagon” segments.

      Thus: https://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2022-us-vehicle-sales-figures-by-model/

      Toyota sold as much of (RAV4, Camry, Highlander) last month as the top two trucks COMBiNED.

      Honda did NEARLY the thing with (CR-V, Accord, HR-V, Civic).)

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      bepla, Let me know what vice you enjoy the most and I’ll lobby to increase fees and taxes on that.

      You sure you want things to work as you describe?

    • 0 avatar

      I tend to cars with a high power/ weight ratio, how much will this cost me ? You’d enjoy the French system, which taxes (high registration taxes) cars by displacement and transmission.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        I prefer torque-to-weight ratio [the figures shown are weight-to-torque — whatever, I ain’t no Einstein at arithmetic]:

        https://www.autoblog.com/2014/10/07/top-torque-weight-ratios-featured/

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    Branden administration is absolutely clueless.

    Every move they make, is against the DOMINANT issue of the day: Its inflation stupid. That will remain the issue through end of this year. Yet, Branden and Democrats defense, its Putin’s fault (ignoring gas prices were on the rise before Putin invasion. Ignoring housing prices were on the rise. Soon we have food scarcity).

    Instead of relaxing all kinds of rules, they restrict it. They ask for electrics that cost more and are really not available nor is infrastructure. They want higher fuel economy. They stop pipelines and cut our allies from helping us by providing oil. They restrict domestic oil production because they limit licenses, slow it, don’t allow fracking or offshore drilling, and bring up crazy Indian reservation rights.

    It is poor people they are hurting. My properties have gone up in value so much in Georgia, I laugh at inflation. Yes my stocks have gone down, but this is why you balance assets. If you have things (rich) you are doing fine. If you are poor, you are miserable. Branden is hurting the poor.

    Come October he and his Democrat clan will be sweeped out of power for next decade (similar to what happened to Carter when Regan and Bush destroyed democrats for a decade).

    • 0 avatar
      kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh

      Adding pipelines and fraking only make it cheaper to produce, thus make the scumbag US oil barrons richer by reducing overhead.

      We’re a member of a commodities market and hostagesubject to price swings based on scary news articles and US based price fixing through speculative buying and selling (think orange juice and ‘trading places’).

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      lol. As long as the GOP keeps pushing the false stolen election, OMG CRT (explain CRT….please…), OMG caravans coming (same as it ever was), etc, Joe and Nancy are pretty safe. 2020 was the repudiation of a man, plain and simple. The election was about civility and decency.

      I miss the old GOP. They used to represent many of my political leanings.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        All I can say is this:

        “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

        — CIA Director William Casey to President Reagan, February 1981.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @Dave M. “(explain CRT….please…),”

        I think I have it figured out, but I’m not sure. Here goes…

        I think they don’t want old Cathode Ray Terminals in schools. They also seem to be against VAXes, which are old Digital Equipment Corp computers that used CRT terminals. They do say that the VAXes have microchips, which, well, they had chips, but they weren’t exactly micro. They seem to be against other CRT computers. They say that schools are “too PC”, which I think refers to the IBM PC which was also a CRT-based computer. I hope this clears things up :^)

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        @Dave M.–I miss the old GOP as well that stood for fiscal conservatism and anti dictatorship. I don’t want a 1 party system whether it be the Trump Party (the Republican Party as we knew it is dead and might as well rename it after its followers/cult members mesiah) or the Democrats. I was raised in a Republican family and have not changed my views but the Party itself has abandoned most of us and gone to the extremists.

        • 0 avatar

          I was surprised that TFG’s bullying not only worked, but that the classic GOP fell right into line under it. I thought they’d have spit him up, but turns out he was a wonderful distraction from the oligarch’s agenda….

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff S

      All this time I thought the current President was Joseph Biden but now I have learned it is Joseph Branden. Thanks for the information. Also to learn that President Ronald Reagan was actually President Ronald Regan.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    “…So what that means is a 33 percent gain, [which] means if you’re filling up four times a month that would become three times a month by model year 2026, based on those averages and of course that would save a typical American household hundreds of dollars.”…”

    Elon Musk has nothing on Pete Buttigieg, who is obviously a genius. He managed to increase ICE auto efficiency by 33% with just a stroke of his pen.

    But I don’t think Pete is thinking big enough. Here are some other ways to “save Americans hundreds of dollars”:

    1. Outlaw residential air conditioning.
    2. Institute standards for how many calories we’re allowed to eat annually.
    3. Outlaw cosmetic dental work.
    4. Euthanize everyone reaching 80 years of age. That would save us big on Social Security taxes.
    5. Limit how many vacations families are allowed to take per year.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff S

      Sounds like you are ready for Putin. Of course you would exempt Big Business and Right Leaning Politicians from this mandate. What does cosmetic dental surgery have to do with energy consumption? Just raise the fuel taxes and let the commodities market take care of the rest. Stipulation that any increase in fuel taxes goes directly for repair and replacement of bridges and roads which we all need. The more you drive the more fuel tax you pay.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      This much I expect from Bolsheviks but what is with the hate on dentists? We do kind of need the dental profession overall, now if Comrade Buttwipe was going to equalize the proletariat I would think plastic surgery would be the one to go.

    • 0 avatar
      wolfwagen

      And this is what the current ruling class wants.
      They want to be in charge of everything you do, think, say, buy, etc. while you are subservient to them – sounds like a great country, one that imploded about 30 years ago.

      If and when they FORCE the public into electric shit boxes (and Im not talking Teslas, think Citicar) who will have the nice ICE vehicles? the ruling class and their henchmen

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    Assumes way to many things- first off as a percentage of income this is going to affect people who can’t afford a new car most. So a person most in need of this 48mpg car isn’t going to be able to afford one. The market has shifted to higher margin vehicles by everyone’s reckoning so now new cars will just have a guzzler tax built in. Even if all the parts were available, I’m not sure which company is going to race to get the 48mpg cars ready in time.

    So maybe he’s really looking at EVs and it looks like every major manufacturer will have an EV version of a desirable product by then- but if history is a guide EV adoption has been most frequent amongst those that actually don’t commute as much as average and are more able to work from home. That may change- but a seismic shift in usage in 4 years seems unlikely.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    Have fun rolling coal…$$$$$

    • 0 avatar
      pmirp1

      Enjoy 45 minute recharge times after finally finding a functioning charging place.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        that’s illusory

        “fast charge” severely impacts battery life, shortens it

        ev’s are like “shovel ready jobs”, a scam – Musk and others like Toyota have stated that ev’s will be a niche, since battery tech is not improving as projected while battery costs are climbing at an alarming rate – so much so that Tesla is putting lower capacity packs in its vehicles

        the CA Utility Comm recently found that ev’s cost more to drive than ICE vehicles in CA

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          Your reliably 100% incorrect posts are amusing.

          Tesla’s ‘niche’ EVs are outselling the niche Porsche brand 3:1 worldwide (for example), not to mention many others, and they can’t build them fast enough.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            They are still a niche product but that is interesting Tesla can apparently still outproduce VAG by 3:1.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “since battery tech is not improving as projected”

          Not true at all. Solid-state is moving along a little faster than expected. LFP has been in production. Na-ion was a surprise and is going into mass production by CATL next year. It’s density is improving a little faster than expected.

          As far as durability goes, LFP batteries can withstand 3000 full charge/discharge cycles and will retain 80% of its capacity. Full. On a 250 mile range car, that’s 750,000 miles and even then, the car would be good for 200 mile range.

  • avatar
    Urlik

    The automakers are screwed, especially Stelantis. 2024 models are basically designed at this point. Their only choice to cover it now will be to raise prices for the inevitable per vehicle fine.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Possible but I suspect PSA had/has a contingency plan… if it was still FCA only I’d be more inclined with we’re DOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMEDD.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff S

      Automobile manufacturers can do what they did in the mid 70s and lean the engines down and in addition game the system with more turbo 3s and multi geared automatic transmissions. At the same time the manufacturers will ask and get an extension on the standards otherwise a lot of jobs in the auto industry will be lost.

      • 0 avatar
        Urlik

        They can, but not in 15 months when they start producing 2024 models.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff S

          With the current production problems causing a shortage of new vehicles all the manufacturers have to do is request an extension or postponement of the 2026 standards. I doubt any politician regardless of Democrat or Republican is going to want another delay in supplying new vehicles. I see a further delay of these standards.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      We’ve already seen Stelantis moving to smaller engines. The “hellcat” everything strategy was a way to milk some baby boomer cash out of aging platforms.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Seriously “savings” are going to be at least $-500 per year every year, more likely four figures depending on marque.

    81 million kicks in the nuts and counting.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      just like “shovel ready jobs” and “if you like your plan you can keep it”

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “the most transparent administration in history”

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          “I’ll surround myself only with the best and most serious people.”
          “We’re going to have insurance for everybody.”
          “My tax plan’s going to cost me a fortune, which is actually true.”
          “Make America Great Again.”

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            “Less filling, tastes great”

            “Tesla Cybertruck”

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Tasty. When is “New Tesla” coming out?

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff S

            add and I am envious Xi Jinping he gets to be President of China for life why can’t I be President of the USA for life? I am the smartest President in history.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            For the Trump haters, you seem to not want to understand why he got elected? I don’t want him back either, but you guys need a hard rethink on this question. Move past all of the faulty assumptions you’ve made.

            For example, do you think making Kamala Harris vp was a good, strategic move or a monumental blunder? Or putting Pete B. in any position of authority outside of South Bend? Does elevating either of those people make it more or less likely to see the Donald darken our mail in ballots again?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      The problem is that most people just drive more if it costs them less.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        Hasn’t that been the case in the last few decades. Cheaper fuel more driving and less efficient vehicles higher fuel less driving and more efficient vehicles up and down like a yo yo. Better to buy what you need and will use and keep it for a while. If you need a bigger vehicle buy it and use it but if you don’t need a bigger vehicle and are concerned about fuel prices then buy a more efficient vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        285exp

        And we wouldn’t want a bunch of poors out driving around unnecessarily.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Fuel prices began to climb immediately after Barack Obama entered the White House”

    You lost my attention right there.

    Both Right and Left fall into the same simplistic trap – believing that the President affects gas prices (and a host of other issues), and that ‘my guy’ would make it better.

    When you look through that microscope, that’s all you see.

    Pick your Administration of choice over this 43-year timeline; prices go up, and they go down:
    https://www.randomuseless.info/gasprice/gasprice.html

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff S

      Most are truly ignorant of what determines the price of oil and its products such as gasoline and diesel. Even most of the politicians and those running for office either don’t know or they are lying. This is more of Posky stirring the pot and getting clicks. Agree that Government policy and regulation does effect the price of oil on the commodity market but so do wars, increased consumption, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Commodities react to any uncertainty.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      On November 2, 2020, the day before Biden was elected, Oil was $35 per barrel.

      By November 30th, 2020, the price had risen to $45 per barrel. An increase of 28%.

      And Matt is correct: The oil price was significantly higher under Obama than under Trump or GWB. And we know what it’s doing under Biden.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        Um, okay. On April 20, 2020, the price for WTI crude was -$39 a barrel. By the end of April, it had risen to $20 a barrel. That’s an increase of $59 a barrel in less than two weeks. Omigod it was Trump inflation!!!

        And, again, prices under Bush were higher than they ever got under Obama. In fact, in constant dollars, gas prices under Bush were the highest they’ve ever been.

        https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2022/03/08/gas-most-expensive-us-history/9404939002/

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        Fuel prices are higher globally so I guess that is Biden’s fault as well. If you are really that concerned about the price of gasoline and diesel then combine your trips and if you need to replace your vehicle buy a more efficient one that either uses less gasoline or diesel or none at all. You are not completely powerless you do have a choice. Oil prices will continue to go up and down and Presidents and political parties change. Inflation, recessions, shortages, hurricanes, tornadoes, wars, disease, famine, and a host of other unfortunate and unforeseen events have happened throughout history and will continue to happen. You have to adapt to circumstances and do the best to prepare for any unforeseen future events.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree and most of what is happening was coming as the result of 2020, but things have been significantly aggravated as a result of “the guy” selected.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        Maybe but just increasing oil production does not solve limited refinery capacity which is what happened on April 20, 2020 when the price of crude hit negative. Too much crude and not enough refinery capacity means that excess crude has to be stored and then if storage capacity runs out then no one wants the excess crude. Also it takes more than just turning on a spigot on a pipeline to increase oil supply. It takes time to permit a lease to drill, then the time to run seismic tests to determine what reserves could be underneath, then leasing a drilling rig which can take anywhere from 6 months to years to get because oil producers for the most part contract rigs out from a drilling company along with the crews which are called roughnecks. Oil producers like Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Chevron, and independents do not tie their capital up in drill equipment and lease the drilling rigs whether they be land or offshore from Oil Drilling companies along with the roughnecks. If there are not enough drilling rigs available then the producers have to wait and if the drilling companies need to expand their drilling rigs they have to wait for them to be built which can take a year or more to be made. Unlike cars and trucks you cannot buy a drill rig off the lot they are specially made. You think it is bad to wait months for your new vehicle how about waiting a year or more just to get a drilling rig. I worked in the oil industry for years starting in the late 70s for oil drilling companies, oil production companies, and for oil refineries so I know more than the average person who has never worked in the oil industry.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “Maybe but just increasing oil production does not solve limited refinery capacity which is what happened on April 20, 2020 when the price of crude hit negative.”

          I’m pretty sure that was Jan 2021 but yes that was hilarious, it almost made everything else in Clown World I have to tolerate seem worthwhile.

          I agree with your explanation though I won’t claim to be an industry expert or insider. I think the story of 2019 to now may be EROI and what may be happening with it is a partial explanation for the truly unprecedented events which have occurred.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff S

            “On April 20, 2020, the front-month May 2020 WTI crude contract dropped 306%, or $55.90, for the session, to settle at negative $37.63 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.” https://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-went-negative-a-year-ago-heres-what-traders-have-learned-since-11618863839

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff S

            You’re welcome. I am not defending Biden as much as giving an explanation of how the industry works.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      Actually, since oil is a commodity, whoever is president directly effects the price of that commodity or futures. That’s just how it goes. If a president asks OPEC to produce more or less oil and complies, this directly effects the price of the commodity. If a president is friendly or not to drilling, this directly effects the price of that commodity.

      Are there other factors effecting the price of the commodity? Sure. Hurricanes in the gulf for example. Overall consumption. The overall state of the economy.

      I just wish that as republicans in the white house generally drive gas prices down, that a democrat would drive EV prices down. Not so lucky I guess.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        The commodities market reacts to any uncertainty in the market. State regulatory commissions have more effect on drilling than the President. More oil friendly states such as Texas it is easier to get permits than California. Texas in the past has been more dependent on the ad valor-em tax from the production of oil which on state owned land the tax supports the universities and colleges and on private land supports the state and local governments. The higher the price of crude the more oil production until the price goes down and then it becomes less profitable and then the cycle repeats itself. Too low a price discourages production.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Observable reality has nothing to do with one’s political preference and I have repeatedly said that I am an independent. The previous administration did not escape my criticism, nor will the next one.

      It’s actually really sad to see so many people think this is all about politics, rather than my concerns that we’re reusing an old plans that didn’t seem to work before.

      Everything impacts the market, especially large things like a change in regulatory policy, mismanaged logistics, or wars that create more demand and reduced supply. The evidence is there. You don’t even need to trust me. You just have to earnestly look for yourself.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        Here’s a hot tip: if you really, genuinely find it “sad to see so many people think this is all about politics,” then stop infusing politics into so much of your writing. Yes, offhandedly tying high gas prices to the start of the Obama administration is in fact making it about politics, particularly given that gas prices were even higher immediately before the Obama administration than they ever were during it.

        Or, don’t, and write what you like – it’s your website, after all – but in that case you should probably adjust your expectations on how people will respond to the political content of your writing.

        • 0 avatar
          Matt Posky

          It’s really only a handful of people making habitual appeals to authority who have convinced themselves that criticizing government policy is somehow taboo. And my expectations of them couldn’t be much lower than they already are. Everyone else seems to be doing fine. Politics are pervasive and there will be constant overlap in regulatory articles because that’s the nature of the beast. It’s basically impossible to discuss policy without bringing up who wrote it and where it came from. I’m honestly still surprised I have to keep explaining this to adults.

          But, for background, I don’t like the way Bush played the game either. During his 2006 State of the Union Address he chided America for being “addicted to oil” and launched numerous campaigns to move forward on green energy while making symbolic gestures that he was still committed to oil production. During his tenure as president, domestic oil production actually fell. However the Biden administration isn’t mimicking Bush-era tactics, it’s reinstating Obama-era policies and that’s what this article is about.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff S

            @Matt–For me its not so much criticism of the Government but blaming everything on the current President and name calling. There are so many other things that effect the price of oil and any commodity. People need to keep in mind that when the price of something goes down and keeps going down it is less profitable and there is less incentive to produce. The oil business is risky and the amount of capital required to produce and refine oil is expensive with no guarantees of a high return. Government and Government Regulation has been there for most of our lives and uncertainty from what future regulations might be and how they will effect the cost of everything we buy. It is ok to call Biden out on policies that you disagree with but just to say “Branden” is responsible for everything that is bad is short sighted. Long after Biden is no longer President there will always be problems and if you go back 100 or more years ago you will find people complaining about similar things and blaming politicians. Doesn’t do much good to blame others for everything that goes wrong. It is better to educate yourself as to how things work and understand what you can do on a personal level. Doesn’t do much good to blame those greedy car companies that have conspired against all of us much better to understand what it takes to operate a car company and the time period it takes to get a new product from design to market and how the pricing for that new vehicle is determined. Not everything is a conspiracy. That’s not to say that there are better ways of producing energy and vehicles but understanding the process of producing something gives you a better understanding.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        “Observable reality”

        But what you see isn’t always reality, Matt. You’re falling into the trap of believing correlation is causation; it is not.

        While you claim political independence, your opinions are decidedly right-wing. I’ve been registered as I (3 years), D (4 years), R (32 years), and now L (2 years). It’s refreshing to walk away from blinding rhetoric.

        As for gasoline prices under Obama – you forgot to mention that they rose during his first term (recession), and fell during his second term (recovery), returning to the same 2008 levels.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “Observable reality has nothing to do with one’s political preference”

        “Observable reality” is an interpretation of what our senses process. One’s interpretation is based upon social conditioning/constructs, knowledge, and genetics. You can add in other factors as well.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Another right leaning Posky article. Republican (good), Democrat (bad). You know how’s it’s going to go without reading it. I’m sure everything was better under Trump, too bad the election was rigged and stollen…

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff S

      Yes and Putin is saving Ukraine from the Nazis.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      “You know how it’s going to go without reading it”

      Ah. The old “You CAN judge a book by its cover.”

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        There are a few “commenters” on this site that, when unable to add thoughtful pertinent information or opinion to the subject at hand, revert to insulting retorts and/or name calling. It seems to be rather like the less intellectual kids way back in public school taunting the more successful kids to hide their own inabilities and deficiencies. Rather amusing and predictable.

        • 0 avatar
          Matt Posky

          Sometimes it is indeed better to just laugh and move on.

          But it’s always worth keeping an eye out for moments of insight. People will occasionally surprise you.

  • avatar

    Such a long article. Isn’t it obvious that democrats will roll CAFE standards forward until ICE goes extinct and republicans will do just opposite? But it does not matter because EVs are taking over soon whether do you like it or not.

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    How much will new CAFE standards save?

    Thats an easy one – the square root of zero .

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    Won’t this just have the reverse impact of what they want? People will just go to Trucks that aren’t regulated by CAFE?.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      “Won’t this just have the reverse impact of what they want? People will just go to Trucks that aren’t regulated by CAFE?.”

      Exactly. Soccer moms will be shuttling their kids around in F350 dualies, and we’ll be commuting to the office in full-sized work vans. And won’t that be great for the environment?

      It never fails: Leftists always fail to account for changes in human behavior, and the unintended consequences of their brilliant policies. Usually the result is the exact opposite of their morally superior intentions.

      • 0 avatar
        Daniel J

        I just think that 48mpg by 2026 ain’t going to happen.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for improved efficiency. For me personally though, light vehicles that are slow are just unsafe. I’ve seen slow cars run off the road because they simply couldn’t get up to speed. Maybe we will all be driving motorcycles until EVs reduce in price and charging stations are much more available, especially in rural America.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff S

          48 mpgs will not happen without gaming the system which is basically what the auto companies have been doing with smaller turbo engines and by classifying vehicles as trucks which really aren’t trucks. The current system encourages the manufacturer of large vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff S

      Trucks in the past were not regulated as much because there were not as many but now with their popularity they have the regulators attention. Large pickups, suvs, and crossovers have replaced the full size cars of the past. Trucks are regulated but the CAFE standards are more lenient.

  • avatar

    I don’t think that the concern over gas prices is all that genuine. I regularly see large SUVs and pickup sitting at idle for 10+ minutes while the owner is shopping inside a store. The weather was neither super cold nor hot if the excuse was a cool/warm vehicle to return to after shopping. I’ve actually timed this just out of curiosity so at least some of what I observed is accurate. Factor that into the entire driving population and, well, it seems high fuel costs are not a concern for this particular portion of the population.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      +1

      People complain about $100 fillups, but never do anything about it.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Those that are easily bothered are likely already not driving gas guzzlers. Everyone should be concerned when you think about it.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff S

          Higher gas prices as any higher price on any commodity is a concern to most of us but we do have some control over how much we consume. For some of us when we replace an older vehicle we replace it with a more efficient one. Combining trips is another way to consume less fuel along with taking better care of you vehicle and proper tire pressure.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        As I always say, drive whatever you want, and don’t force me into anything, whether it’s a six-door Escalade on 40-inch wheels, or a glorified golf cart.

        Just don’t bi4ch at me when it costs $250 to get to a half tank in your GigrundoMommyMobile!

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      I’ve adjusted my driving. I drive around 90 kph on the highway (as long as I’m not interfering with traffic). I’m much softer on acceleration. I try to avoid red lights, and overall drive more smoothly. At $1.93 a litre, it saves me money. Around 7 cents per km.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Savings? My A$$. There’s billions changing hands and the greasy Feds just want a big piece of it.

    That’s in pure profits and it’s more like forced profit sharing, racketeering, etc. Why call it anything else?

  • avatar
    MitchConner

    Hopefully the Republicans will take back the House and Senate then eventually get the White House in a couple of years so this stupidity can be thrown in the trash where it belongs.

    Democrats have been throwing out worthless goals for decades. There were nitwits on Oakland, California’s city council pushing to ban cars as far back as the early 70s. Gutless Europeans are just as dumb. The environmental crazies pull something out of their backsides then whine, scream, and cry until they get their way. And look where they’re at now. Meanwhile, the really wacky ones in California point to the EU and say “well, the E-YOOOOOOOUUUUUUU-RRRRROOOOO-PPPPPPPEEEEEEEOOOOOOONNNNNNNSSSSS” are doing it” as if they should be admired.

    That’s what happens when you have career idiots with zero real world business experience cooking up policy. During his meeting with the Big 2.5’s CEOs last week — why not have the administration set out some reasonable goals then ask the CEOs to get together to (a.) present their feedback, (b.) get a unified strategy to meet the goals, or (c.) come up with alternatives? Nah. Just trot out goofballs like the grotesquely over-promoted Mayor of South Bend, Indiana (whose qualifications for Secretary of Transportation are nil) with another 50 pages of useless shredder fodder all based on fantasy and magical calculations similar to a four year old going on a rant where random thoughts are connected together with “and, and, and, and….”.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Historically, one-party rule accomplishes very little – despite the dreams of either party.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        That would explain the last about 20 years or so.

      • 0 avatar

        “”Historically, one-party rule accomplishes very little ”

        That’s not true. Take for example California: sunny, beaches, beautiful weather, scenery, surfing, beautiful girls and all that thanks to one party rule. Imagine how bleak the reality in California would be if republicans were allowed to win elections.

        • 0 avatar
          zerofoo

          All of that stuff was there when Republicans ran the place and are still there in spite of Democrat rule – not because of it.

          If California was truly paradise, the population of Austin, Texas would be half of what it is now.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “whose qualifications for Secretary of Transportation are nil”

      That may describe his qualifications for life better but his credentials are he is/was CIA and he was sent to install the de facto control grid (Aaron Russo referred to a vaguely similar concept in his final 2007 interview). Catherine Austin Fitts has recently spoken on the same subject.

    • 0 avatar
      4onthefloor

      @ Mitch,
      Exactly right. Electing someone with obvious cognitive issues was a non starter from the beginning, and surrounding one’s self with incompetence leads to what we have now. I do the exact opposite of anything this administration advocates, and it’s worked out extremely well for me..

  • avatar
    4onthefloor

    I firmly believe this push to EV’s is way too much, too early, because the charging infrastructure, and the battery technology and recycling is just not where it needs to be yet. It’s the future for sure but it’s not the right now. The current administrations push for electrification will not end well, because most people who live in cities live in high density housing, and large skyscrapers and electric vehicle ownership is not conducive to this type of living. I do predict however that Amazon will be selling a lot of 2000’ extension cords.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      All made in China, so at least some of those will burn down the building supplying the power to whatever glorified golf cart the thing is plugged into.

      Mach-E, Leaf, or Bentley electric GigrundoSpoiledLittleRichKidMommyMobile, I suppose it won’t matter!

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    The idealist in me says (again) that CAFE legislation is stupid and ineffective, ineffectual and stupid (and always was). But the realist in me says it’s the law, so, realistically:

    • At the margin [which is all that matters], this legislative (regulatory?) change will further delay the time at which I ‘upgrade’ our family’s fleet to newer vehicles.

    I wish our vehicles got better fuel economy. I wish I could replace them with lighter [but safe — and yes there are ways to do this] smaller (but more space-efficient) vehicles with adequate torque and better fuel economy. All of this is possible in theory, but none of it is going to happen.

    Instead, I have the option to choose from a used vehicle parc [oui, “parc”] of oversize (on the outside), overweight, overwrought and overcomplicated vehicles designed by brats and purchased by sheep. No, thank you.

    Therefore I shall wait a little longer and likely switch to electric (hopefully not an early compromised design). In the meantime, our ICE fleet will continue to consume more petrol than either the U.S. Government or myself would find ideal. [So good job there, legislators. And by good job I mean not a good job unless you intended to tailor your rules to GM and of course you did because you know which side your bread is buttered on don’t you.]

  • avatar

    Our system makes no sense. CAFE pushed everyone into “trucks” and Detroit saw that loophole, even to the point we get “trucks” from car makers who don’t normally do trucks. The demise of the Station Wagon/Estate is an unanticipated by product

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