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President Obama wants to make gas guzzling vehicles go extinct with tough new CAFE rules.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) is concerned the bill could cost American jobs.  (Source: Rick Snyder via Flickr)

The standard could also lead to more crash deaths, as automakers say such standards lead to cuts in material density and safety features to save on weight. The resulting cars are more fragile.  (Source: Car Insurance Comparison)
Plan would save on pollution, oil costs, but could increase vehicle costs, job losses, and accident deaths

The debate over the next Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard (set to run from 2017 to 2025) has just begun, and the political posturing appears to be in full effect.  From Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood to Senators and governors, everyone was expressing vocal thoughts about the "rough draft" of standards that United States President Barack Obama's (D) advisors unveiled on Monday.

I. 56 MPG = Lost Jobs?

Given that much of America is still recovering from recession, the topic of job loss is a sensitive one for many Americans, and is a powerful phrase to invoke in rhetoric.

Governor Rick Snyder (R-Michigan), whose state is home to America's three biggest automakers, was among 14 governors who wrote a cautionary letter to the heads of the DOT and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), employing this phrase to its full effect.

They write:

If fuel economy standards are increased too quickly, resulting in more expensive vehicles, many consumers can be expected to hold onto their older vehicles longer and defer buying a new car, which could put auto jobs across the country at risk.

The letter does not specify whether the proposed 56.2 mpg standard counts as increasing fuel economy "too quickly", but the timing certainly make it seem like a criticism of the plan.  Governor Snyder points to estimates that the plan will add between $2,100 USD and $2,600 USD to the cost of a vehicle, on average.  He urges the government to adopt a "sensible" standard, but stopped short at saying what such a standard would be in mpg.

The White House apparently decided to take the letter as a compliment, with spokesman Matt Lehrich writing:

We appreciate the governors' support for a national fuel economy standard that will save American families money at the pump and keep the jobs of the future here in America, and we share their commitment to preserving affordability and consumer choice.

II. Mich. Sen. Levin (D) Expresses Mixed Feelings on Bill

Sen. Carl Levin (D- Michigan) sent a separate letter to the White House demanding information on what data they used to decided on the proposed CAFE numbers.  In an interview he states, "We want to know how they arrived at that starting point. We will get that information one way or another."

The Senator admits, though, that without an agreement on the standard, the solution might be even less appealing.  If an agreement is not put in place, states like California will likely look to enact their own guidelines.  While this might please some state rights advocates, it is something automakers oppose -- they prefer a national standard.  Sen. Levin also opposes such provisions, stating, "[States] should not be given a waiver [to set their own standards]."

But without a binding national agreement, the government may have a tough time stopping states from doing so.  Technically the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a federal entity, has to approve of states' plans and grant them waivers from national standards.  A 2007 Supreme Court ruling in the case Massachusetts v. EPA, (No. 05-1120) found that it was illegal for the EPA to obstruct states from implementing their own standards by refusing to grant waivers.  The message seems unequivocal -- the EPA must grant waivers if states want them.

Sen. Levin adds that he is "very concerned" about the prospect of lost sales and jobs from the proposal.

III. Ray LaHood Wants Standard to be Finalized by July

Whether or not the final draft of the standard contains compromises, such as a lower mpg target, Secretary LaHood wants it to be delivered to the EPA and DOT by the end of July.

Secretary LaHood was critical in finalizing the current CAFE standard, which will require automakers to reach 34.1 mpg by 2016.  That standard, first set into motion by departing President George W. Bush (R) and finalized by President Obama, is estimated to cost automakers $51.5B USD over its course.

The tricky part about the standards is that while they cost on the vehicle side, they force savings at the pump.  The current standards are estimated to cut 1.8 billion barrels of oil by 2016.  With oil currently at $94.77 USD/barrel, that's a savings of $170.6B USD.  Further, by cutting fossil fuel combustion, the bill reduces emissions of toxic nitrogen and sulfur-containing gases that have been linked conclusively to chronic conditions such as asthma.

On the other hand, the bill may have raised other costs, as it is thought to have made the average vehicle less safe, contributing to automotive fatalities.

More extreme elements of the environmentalist movement have criticized both the previous and the pending CAFE provisions as being too weak.

The DOT Secretary offered cautious optimism that a compromise will be reached, commenting, "Our people are very professional at this. I think we proved that with the last CAFE standard. We got it right because we had every car company standing in the Rose Garden with the president. We want to get it right this time.""



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RE: Car Sales
By MrBlastman on 6/30/2011 2:13:53 PM , Rating: 5
What if I want to drive around in my sports car, sucking on fuel like crazy while enjoying myself?

This is America. This is the land of freedom. Not the land of dictatorship rule where we have everything shoved down our throats.

Maybe we don't want to sacrifice? Maybe we should focus on better ways to generate petroleum to feed our cars--instead of making us dependent on electric vehicles when we utterly and completely lack the electrical generating capacity to power them all! Couple that with a President who is now shy to stand up for Nuclear Power and who hates Coal power and we have a recipe for a disaster.


RE: Car Sales
By Mitch101 on 6/30/2011 2:46:44 PM , Rating: 2
I saw if you can afford the price of gas in 25 year go for it.

The Corvette managed to double and depending on year triple its horsepower in 25 years yet it gets the same if not slightly better gas mileage today. And we know Carbon Fibre is much stronger than steel and lighter. Mass production should bring down the cost.

But I dont think its unreasonable.

Mercedes-Benz C 250 CDI
http://www.emercedesbenz.com/Sep08/10_001382_World...
0-62 mph in just 7.0 seconds - 45 mpg
Posted September 10, 2008


RE: Car Sales
By michael67 on 7/1/11, Rating: 0
RE: Car Sales
By michael67 on 7/1/2011 6:28:36 AM , Rating: 2
Damn love that Edit button.

One miss click and you all get the rouge version. ^_^


RE: Car Sales
By JediJeb on 7/1/2011 5:00:25 PM , Rating: 3
But what about those of us who can only afford a car that we can get by with making a $250-350/month payment on? Every car you mention owning costs more than I make in a year working as a chemist in a small laboratory and if I even though of buying one of those right now I would have to give up my house and live in a tent.

Sure the government could mandate that tomorrow no vehicle can be sold that gets less than 70mpg or is fully electric, and all other cars must be pulled off the road, but then you would have millions of people having to quit their jobs because they couldn't get to work. That would solve our energy problems for certain, everyone driving super efficient vehicles, if they could afford them and everyone else living without cars, or electricity, or food because they would all be broke, the US energy demand would fall by 90% probably.

This is not something car companies can do overnight, they don't just have blueprints for 60mpg vehicles sitting on the shelves gathering dust. And the ones they might have in concept are not vehicles that will serve the broad base of drivers nation wide, but only those who live in big cities and have a very short commute maybe.

quote:
Don't try to explain it to people like that, they only think of them self, in what they want not why the world is in the shit now, and that new rule's are needed to fix it.


It isn't so much that people only think of themselves, but many do not have the luxury to just go out and buy the new shiny EV or Hybrid every few years. When the car companies can make highly efficient vehicles at reasonable prices, and to me reasonable is in the $16k-$25k price range, then people in mass will begin to shift to those types of vehicles.


RE: Car Sales
By michael67 on 7/2/11, Rating: 0
RE: Car Sales
By dsx724 on 6/30/2011 3:27:04 PM , Rating: 1
How about you pay for the increase in fuel costs associated with your "sucking fuel like crazy" by yourself instead of leaning on the general public to offset your costs? Basic market supply demand principle.

This is the land of freedom and in order to preserve that freedom we need order, laws, and government capable of protecting the public from profiteering and self-indulgent entities that "suck fuel like crazy".

The Arab Oil Embargo caused sky high oil prices and CAFE was introduced to prevent such a thing from happening again. I forgot that as an average American, you have the memory of a goldfish and the ignorance of George Bush.


RE: Car Sales
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/2011 3:40:17 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
How about you pay for the increase in fuel costs associated with your "sucking fuel like crazy" by yourself instead of leaning on the general public to offset your costs?


He pays more gas taxes, a "gas guzzler" tax, depending on the state he lives in he pays more in "luxury taxes". And on and on it goes.

Fuks sake man, how much more extra do you want him to pay? Don't hand me the line that he's increasing your fuel costs because of his choices, that's complete bullcrap.

Take your collectivists guilt trip and go stuff yourself.


RE: Car Sales
By kfonda on 6/30/2011 4:47:59 PM , Rating: 3
Amen!!!

I'm beginning to think we should just split the country in 2 and let everyone decide up front which half they want to live in (socialist or capitalist). After the initial decision everyone has to stay in the half they chose.


RE: Car Sales
By Breathless on 6/30/2011 8:44:59 PM , Rating: 2
I have been thinking this as well and would LOVE to see something like this. An experiment if you will.... I would be onboard and would pack my things immediately and move if I had to. Bring it on! "Left America" and "Right America" - split it right in two. Left America would have no God, no religion (other than atheism or possibly Islam since they would for some reason make an exception), no social classes (no one would make any more money than anyone else), and certainly no "corrupt corporations". They would legalize whatever drugs they wanted to and abortion would be celebrated - nay encouraged, as would homosexuality and eventually pedophilia (with the child's consent of course - whatever makes both of them 'happy'). Children would be encouraged to have premarital unprotected sex as early as they could be taught how to. Disease would be rampant. There would be no morality other than what the government dictated by its chosen officials. Criminals would have extremely short sentences universally, if they were ever jailed at all. It would only take about 2 or 3 generations for "Left America" to be bankrupt and immigrating back to "Right America" illegally and then subsequently begging for amnesty - all the while preaching the injustices of Right America.


RE: Car Sales
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/2011 9:44:54 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I have been thinking this as well and would LOVE to see something like this. An experiment if you will....


It's already been done. It's called Canada, and nobody lives there.


RE: Car Sales
By Breathless on 6/30/2011 10:15:30 PM , Rating: 1
well then it needs to happen again, unfortunately. The communist / socialist mindset is overtaking our country faster than it can be controlled. What else can be done? Voting them out doesn't work when they are now becoming the majority - those that want to decimate our constitution and principles that our founders had that made us great and kept us from self destructing...


RE: Car Sales
By FITCamaro on 7/1/11, Rating: 0
RE: Car Sales
By The Raven on 7/1/2011 10:55:41 AM , Rating: 2
Hell, I'm half-Mexican and even I left CA! ;-)

Truth is that we used to have these things called states. Now it is just all controlled by the feds like some huge company like Google buying up the little guys. It makes me want to move to NH for the Free State Project. But MO is nice and is one of the most free states in the US. So I can hang and try to make MO more free.


RE: Car Sales
By YashBudini on 7/1/2011 10:03:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's also called Commifornia.

By whom? Those in states with the lowest literacy rates?


RE: Car Sales
By MrBungle123 on 7/1/2011 10:41:21 PM , Rating: 2
Oh you mean the "stupid" states run by fiscal conservatives that are sooo dumb that they actually believe:

Income - Expenses = Amount of money we can spend?

lol. Yeah thats gotta be the most moronic thing I've ever heard!

Commifornia's Income - Expenses + $19 Billion = Our budget for the year! Totally makes more sense!


RE: Car Sales
By dsx724 on 7/1/2011 10:57:12 PM , Rating: 2
Oh you mean those same conservative states that piggy back off the federal taxes that those liberal states contribute to the federal budget?

http://www.taxfoundation.org/UserFiles/Image/Blog/...

Pay you fair share and stop leaning on California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Washington, Michigan, Connecticut, Delaware. If you actually paid your due instead of using your lobbyists/senators to rip off the "blue states".

Congratulations, your cash positive because you're stealing from someone else. Sorry to break your bubble of ignorance and artificial sense of facts.


RE: Car Sales
By YashBudini on 7/1/2011 11:51:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
lol. Yeah thats gotta be the most moronic thing I've ever heard!

Typical political extremist. You probably say that every time somebody says anything you disagree with. You think you win buy the argument by going all republican jihad on people.


RE: Car Sales
By troysavary on 7/1/2011 9:31:22 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry to burst your bubble, but Canada is more conservative than the US now.


RE: Car Sales
By Reclaimer77 on 7/1/2011 12:54:39 PM , Rating: 2
Sigh.. :( Yeah, maybe.


RE: Car Sales
By MrBlastman on 6/30/2011 3:55:03 PM , Rating: 1
Cry me a river. Your sympathetic plea towards making people who want to live free makes me want to puke.

I am the LAST person who "leans on the general public" to offset my costs. In order to drive around a sports car, the first thing you have to have is money. Well, in order to have that money, you have to have a job. In order to keep that job, you have to work hard at that. In order to collect that paycheck, you have to pay taxes--taxes which go into the system to subsidize the people who DO NOT WORK and DO NOT PAY TAXES so they can sit on their asses and complain about people who do work--and it not being fair.

Grow up.

If we work hard in America, we should be able to keep a large part of what we earn and... if we choose, spend it how we please. This is what freedom is about.

I pay for more gas if I use more and in that payment for gas is a tax that is paid into the system. You aren't subsidizing crap.

My whole point is--let the free market work. If someone figures out how to make a more fuel efficient car, have it be cost effective and desireable--along with the power infrastructure to support it (which our shortsighted Government fails to realize), people might buy it and it will set new standards. We don't need the Government breathing down our backs.


RE: Car Sales
By dsx724 on 6/30/2011 5:36:41 PM , Rating: 1
Last time I recall, you can still buy Ferraris, Lambos and Range Rovers. Whats with all the complaints about CAFE when the options are out there?

Those lazy people that do not work and do not pay taxes account for less than 10%. Be the better person and ignore minute amount that comes out of your paycheck.

On an individual scale, your usage isn't reflected but if there were a million people who think like you, the price of gas will increase by 1-2% for entire pool. Thus the extra demand you've created is causing everyone to play more whether they like it or not.

The statistics are out that shows that returns on improved fuel economy have three fold returns in gas saving. For each dollar I'm paying into the American economy for research, I'm saving $3 from going to Saudi Arabia.

The free market has failed and will continue to fail based on externalities. By driving around in your oil guzzling sports car, you are increasing the prices for the pool and polluting the air that I breathe. I would like you see you repair the damage to the road and clean up the smog created per gallon of gas using the 10 cent per gallon tax that is put into gasoline. It simply doesn't work because there's insufficient taxes to cover the cost associated with its consumption.


RE: Car Sales
By acer905 on 6/30/2011 10:52:19 PM , Rating: 4
........... You do realize that a) $0.184 per gallon of gas is the federal tax, with state tax added on to that, and then sales tax added at the end. For states like Connecticut or Minnesota, which have state taxes in the mid $0.20's, that can easily get to 4x your estimate.

http://www.gaspricewatch.com/usgastaxes.asp

http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/26079.ht...

http://www.api.org/statistics/fueltaxes/upload/GAS...

b) The breakdown of US oil suppliers does not start with any OPEC member. It starts with Canada, supplying nearly twice what Saudi Arabia does. Because Canada actually uses the vast oil that can be found in the Arctic Circle, much like Russia, which happens to be another of the worlds oil suppliers.

ftp://ftp.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_p...

http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2010/01/25/top...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum_industry_in...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/09/business/global/...

c) Based on the US gasoline usage, 378 million gallons a day, and the average gas tax of $0.495 per gallon, the government rakes in $187.11 million a day from gas sales, or $68.295 billion a year, pure "profit". ExxonMobil, the worlds largest oil refiner in the world, only managed $30.46 billion in net income for worldwide sales in 2010. Thats off of $383.221 billion in revenue. I'd say the Gov is getting their fair share.

http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExxonMobil_Corporatio...

http://biz.yahoo.com/ic/10/10537.html


RE: Car Sales
By dsx724 on 7/1/2011 2:14:25 AM , Rating: 2
a) true, i am wrong on that figure
b) oil futures are global, just because our money isn't going directly to opec member nations doesn't mean opec member nations aren't getting more money because of us. canada could be selling that oil to europe and china and thus reducing the share of their oil imported from middle eastern countries.
c) the US has 4 million miles of roads and 2 million miles of oil/ng pipeline of which a significant portion has lighting, traffic lights, guard rail and sound walls. where is the pure profit when you have to build and maintain all of this and build parking space? for every dollar you spend on gas, the government pays more than a dollar to enable you to drive.
c2) 8% profit after costs are factored in. the government is running a negative balance that must be supplimented by non-gas taxes to break even.


RE: Car Sales
By JediJeb on 7/1/2011 5:14:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Those lazy people that do not work and do not pay taxes account for less than 10%. Be the better person and ignore minute amount that comes out of your paycheck.


Maybe those that pay no taxes at all is at 10%, but the figures show that now for the first time since the Great Depression US households are receiving more money than they are paying in in taxes. I personally know several people working at minimum wage jobs who get more money in their tax returns each year than they actually paid in.


RE: Car Sales
By MrBungle123 on 7/1/2011 5:31:29 PM , Rating: 2
The bottom 50% of wage earners only pay 3% of the taxes... so yeah, the number of "tax payers" that don't pay taxes is enormous.


RE: Car Sales
By YashBudini on 7/1/2011 9:51:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The bottom 50% of wage earners only pay 3% of the taxes...

How many of them are retired people? Or will you remain perfectly satisfied with half truths?


RE: Car Sales
By MrBungle123 on 7/1/2011 10:32:52 PM , Rating: 2
Retired people are not the problem, the welfare kings and queens are the problem. Far too many people are content to work for $8-10 and hour and collect food stamps. They have children and get health insurance plans and tax payer subsidised housing through the state. This group has a negative tax burden because they do not produce enough in the way of tax revenues to make up for their drain on the system. Thats where the problem lies. The same group that votes for socialists like Obama and the rest of the blood suckers in Washington that buy votes with mine and the rest of the working public's money that pulls their weight.

Now I suppose you're going to reply with some drivel that goes on about how I'm because I would rather people work for a living and don't feel sorry for people that would rather smoke weed and drink themselves retarded than learn a skill and add something to society.


RE: Car Sales
By dsx724 on 7/1/2011 11:10:57 PM , Rating: 2
Retired people are the problem. Labor participation after 65 has fallen drastically from historical trends. The same people keep voting Republican thinking that Republicans will make them pay less taxes but little do they know that Republicans are mostly spend whores that will cut services to the elderly and rip apart sustainable money pools created to assist the elderly. These people then have to depend more on government services to get by.

Many elderly people feel that they should not have to pay for education since they no longer have children but what they don't realize is that the same people that the elderly don't want to pay taxes for will in 10 years have to pay taxes to contribute to sustaining the existing retiree services. The only logical conclusion is that democracy is being cyclically undermined by misinformation and lack of education.


RE: Car Sales
By redbone75 on 7/3/2011 3:24:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
the welfare kings and queens are the problem

You mean big oil and other large corporations that constantly look for government subsidies? And then cry foul when it is proposed to remove those subsidies when they are experiencing record profits year over year? You hear the same crap from them, also: "Innovation is being stifled, or prices will go up, or jobs will be lost." Get off that bull$#!&, man. There are actually people that are educated and don't feed into the lies that the right try to spew. Yeah, yeah, I'm going to get voted down by all the right wing morons that would rather just follow the lies their leaders spit (like Rush "The Drug Addict" Limbaugh and Newt "Tiffany's" Gingrich), but try doing a little more research before you start with boring welfare crap.


RE: Car Sales
By YashBudini on 7/1/2011 9:49:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Those lazy people that do not work and do not pay taxes account for less than 10%.

As more and more people retire his kind are really going to freak out.

quote:
Be the better person and ignore minute amount that comes out of your paycheck.

Oh man, you're certainly at the wrong web site. These guys think that a person earning $12-$14/hour can afford to save enough to fund their retirement for 20-30 years and it's totally their fault if they can't succeed, regardless of how much inflation there is on food, energy costs, medical, etc.

quote:
I'm saving $3 from going to Saudi Arabia.

Can't understand why so few people here don't put the Arabs at the top of the screw you list in this manner.


RE: Car Sales
By The0ne on 6/30/11, Rating: 0
RE: Car Sales
By MrBlastman on 6/30/2011 5:21:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why aren't you two pissing on each other?


Sorry man, I didn't know you were into that kind of thing. I think there's a usenet group for that or something...

Something like alt.binaries.goldenshowers ????

Oh and by the way... Early 1900's fuel efficiency would have died off in our free market economy during the 70's gas crisis. Free Market systems really do work.


"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs














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