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Some government officials warn that pushing manufacturers to produce EVs will take away access to cheaper hybrids, diesels. Tesla Model S pictured above.  (Source: Tesla Motors)
All lawmakers in Washington aren't behind Obama's proposed CAFE standards

One of President Obama's many focuses these days seems to be ensuring that the U.S. has less dependence on foreign oil than it has today by time he leaves office. The Obama administration has been working hard with states and automakers to come to agreement on the CAFE regulations that will govern the required fleet wide fuel economy figures in the future.

The final standard that Obama is wanting forces a fleetwide average fuel economy of 54.5 mpg by 2025. That doesn't count heavy-duty trucks though; those types of vehicles have separate fuel economy standards to adhere too. This week, John D. Graham, who headed the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from 2001-2006, said that the Obama administration is overstating the benefits of the 54.5mpg fleetwide average.

Graham also criticized the plan to give automakers credits for building electric vehicles and failed to take into account the impact of generating the electricity the vehicles use. Graham also claims that Obama is overstating the long-term benefits of the increased fuel economy standards and is forecasting higher fuel prices than what the Energy Information Agency is predicting.

Graham is not alone in making claims that the CAFE standards aren't going to do what the Obama administration is claiming. Rep. Darrell Issa (R, CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, went so far as to claim that giving double credits to automakers for EVs is akin to "fudging the numbers." Issa claims that automakers might be forced into building EVs at the expense of clean diesel or hybrid vehicles.

Starting in 2017, automakers will be able to use credits on EVs for less efficient vehicles in their fleet. Rep. Mike Kelly (R, PA) went so far as to say the 54.5mpg requirement would harm consumer choice and put the future of private transportation at risk.

"We're picking and choosing what people are allowed to drive and not drive or purchase," Kelly warned.

Graham echoed that statement, adding, "[One key issue for regulators] is whether the quest for more energy savings will inadvertently hurt consumers by causing vehicle manufacturers to produce cars and trucks that do not satisfy customer preferences for vehicle size, performance and/or safety.”

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By tastyratz on 9/15/2011 1:14:07 PM , Rating: 3
This is an absolutely true statement. I only wish that electric car drivers understood the same thing. Where do people get off thinking electric cars are the magical response to clean energy? Coal powers the majority and pollutes the most. When considering the pollution per watt of coal power, and the pollution to the environment disposal of the complicated batteries... one could argue the electric car is WORSE!

In the end I understand some regulation, but screw the gov wiping my ass for me, let me decide what I want to drive with my MONEY.

RE: absolutely
By phantom505 on 9/15/11, Rating: -1
RE: absolutely
By Iaiken on 9/15/2011 2:26:10 PM , Rating: 5
your money said "United States Federal Reserve"

Funny you should mention that. The "Federal Reserve" is neither Federal, nor does it operate on more than an 8% fractional reserve. The "United States Federal Reserve" is a private corporation whose stakeholders are not subject to a freedom of information act request.

The last government issued currency in the US was the Greenback. These were bills of credit that were born unto the market without the burden of interest.

RE: absolutely
By bjacobson on 9/16/2011 8:31:12 PM , Rating: 1
all this helps, but any system fueled by greed is doomed to fail eventually.

RE: absolutely
By Targon on 9/17/2011 5:52:36 AM , Rating: 2
Just about everything is fueled by a desire for "more" than the individual currently has. All currencies start with the idea that it is better to have a standard object to trade for goods than to have individual bartering for every transaction.

So, greed is what makes people go to work every day, because they WANT to keep what they currently have, plus hopefully get more than they currently have. Being focused on currency, without the understanding about WHY currency is even useful is where problems enter the picture.

RE: absolutely
By tastyratz on 9/15/2011 3:31:37 PM , Rating: 3
My apologies, I didn't realize patriotism didn't involve questioning your government.

Point sources are easy to regulate, but with lack of current nuclear incentive and burden of deployment you don't exactly see many avenues for cost effective energy efficient green alternatives, do you? And do you think that the energy it takes at the plant is even close to the amount of energy that reaches your home or charging station?

Do you think this country was FOUNDED on the backs of those whom did not question those in power or demanded better?

I guess I do suppose the statement rings true: ignorance is bliss

RE: absolutely
By Wulf145 on 9/16/2011 6:12:14 AM , Rating: 3
"I am inviting you to move to a country of your choosing that you think will make you happy. You obviously hate this country since your interests are far superior than the interests of the country. Last I checked, your money said "United States Federal Reserve". I think you should give it back since you hate us so much. "

So this is the 'new' USA? Disagree with the policy of the President/Government and you shall be stripped of your assets and 'invited' to go into exile?

RE: absolutely
By Iaiken on 9/15/2011 2:04:41 PM , Rating: 3
Except that is only true in the US.

Canada may need to expand it's installed capacity, but it can do so via nuclear and it has almost completely removed coal from the picture in most provinces. In Ontario, Nuclear is expected to provide 50% of the power by 2025 and another 40% from hydro or other renewable sources.

However, I would agree that the EPA plan doesn't make sense for the United States when you consider the current installed capacity and energy policy. Hell, if they wanted to replace even the last of the nuclear plants built, they would have had to have broken ground on new ones back in 2008 and that just hasn't happened. They're having a hell of a time trying to switch the uranium enrichment process to one that is safer and more efficient.

Good luck.

RE: absolutely
By Omega215D on 9/15/2011 4:30:28 PM , Rating: 3
Recent nuclear incidents haven't helped much in the push for nuclear power and the protestors are out in ever growing numbers.

RE: absolutely
By Solandri on 9/15/2011 4:45:44 PM , Rating: 2
Which is a real shame since fossil fuels are thousands if not tens of thousands of times worse than nuclear. Nuclear may not be the best final solution, but it's the best solution we're technologically capable of producing within the next 20+ years.

RE: absolutely
By Solandri on 9/15/2011 4:43:04 PM , Rating: 2
Except that is only true in the US.

No, it is true for the entire world overall. The vast majority of the world's energy comes from fossil fuels.

Canada is among the handful of exceptions, primarily due to exceedingly low population density (you have a lot more natural resources per capita). Canada actually only produces about 40% more hydro power than the U.S. So if Canada had the same population as the U.S., your energy use breakdown would be very similar to the U.S. (instead of getting 3% of its energy from hydro as the U.S. does, you'd be at about 4% hydro).

The U.S. is actually slightly better than the world average, getting 83% of its energy from fossil fuels vs. 85% for the world overall.

RE: absolutely
By rikulus on 9/15/2011 2:11:46 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're right. We should be much more focused on replacing coal power with less polluting alternatives.

RE: absolutely
By invidious on 9/15/2011 3:02:11 PM , Rating: 2
Nuclear power doesn't get Obama reelected, pandering to left wing activists and auto industry lobiests does. At least thats what he hopes.

What I hope is that people vote with their brains next time instead of with their hearts.

RE: absolutely
By Scabies on 9/15/2011 4:54:30 PM , Rating: 4
"Your 2008 vote proved you weren't racist. Vote in 2012 to prove you aren't a moron."
-bumper sticker

RE: absolutely
By Black1969ta on 9/21/2011 3:41:22 AM , Rating: 2
"Your 2008 vote proved you weren't racist. Vote in 2012 to prove you aren't a moron." -bumper sticker

If you voted for Obama just because you didn't want friends and family to call you racist, then you voted for him because he's Black, which means you didn't vote for McCain because he was White! So, you are still racist!

Personally, I voted for Obama, I thought about McCain til I found out who his running mate was. I do have to wonder if Hilary would have made a better president than Obama.
Quite frankly, I am looking for a good independent candidate to run, I bet that I'm not the only one But I am fed up with both parties not representing what would benefit this country! Too worried about themselves than my children (all children) the idiocy with the debt ceiling was a prime example, yes it sucked to raise the ceiling, but drawing it out like that just made them both look like Drama Queen Divas, they are supposed to be "OUR" delegates, that means putting aside their own personal feelings. But until we force them to take notice of our feelings they will continue to trample on the things that made this country strong and powerful.

RE: absolutely
By anony on 9/15/2011 2:55:45 PM , Rating: 2
Building infrastructure for electric cars gives us the freedom to choose the source of energy to charge batteries in the future. It may be mostly coal now, but it can be a mixture of any number of clean(er) sources in the future.

RE: absolutely
By Targon on 9/17/2011 5:59:23 AM , Rating: 2
While the potential is there for improvement, the problem is that the consumer has virtually no control over the source of the electricity being used to power these vehicles, and that is the issue that many have with EV vehicles. Push EVs without pushing for cleaner power generation, and chances are you DO end up pushing for more coal power overall.

What uses more electric power in the USA, cars or homes/businesses? If the government pushes EVs, does that help clean up the power generation industry?

Now, if the CAFE standard concept were actually done in an intelligent way, instead of being the result of brain damaged morons with very little connection to the real world, more people might support the idea. Most people LIKE the idea of better fuel economy, the problem is that the government is pushing for it in the wrong way.

RE: absolutely
By Keeir on 9/15/2011 6:38:07 PM , Rating: 2
Coal powers the majority and pollutes the most. When considering the pollution per watt of coal power, and the pollution to the environment disposal of the complicated batteries... one could argue the electric car is WORSE!

And Oil is magically pumped from the ground, shipped round the world, refined and delievered into your gas tank with no pollution?

Lets be consistent about the level of examination

A. At Car
B. From Transition Source (Power Plant/Refinery)
C. From Ground

Electric Cars (Full or Serial Plug-in) are dramatically better when you fairly compare A, B, or C. If and only if you decide to limit your examination to 50+ year old Coal plants does a Toyota Prius start beating the Electric Car for real pollution, energy efficiency, and C02 emissions. You really have to cherry pick data to show a normal car is better.

US refineries consume non-insignificant amounts of Electricity and Natural Gas.

This study shows amount lost due to heating can be as high as 17% for gasoline. Note: This study did not examine the electrical costs, only the burned fuel.

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