Print 8 comment(s) - last by Dan Banana.. on Apr 1 at 11:01 AM

e-mails turned over as part of house investigation

It comes as no surprise the discussions between the White House and auto industry were very explosive when it came to the new CAFE standards. The White House wants to reduce American dependence on foreign oil, reduce pollution, and save drivers at the pump. The automotive industry argued that the cost of increased economy would hurt sales and therefore cost jobs.
Automakers have now disclosed e-mails between themselves and the government to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Those e-mails show that the conversations went on for nearly 16 hours a day for most of the month of July. The e-mails were turned over because the committee is investigating whether White House officials worked around the traditional regulatory process by making deals directly with automakers. Republican Darrell Issa heads the committee, and he argues that the Obama Administration didn't consider the impact higher vehicle costs would have on consumers.
That is one of the key arguments most automakers made during conversations about the new standards, which push fuel economy all the way to 56.2 mpg between 2017 and 2025. Updating vehicles to meet the standards would cost the auto industry $157.3 million according to the Obama administration estimates. The Obama administration also estimates that consumers will save $1.7 trillion at the pump. Many in the automotive industry argued that the costs will be much higher than Washington predicts.
An e-mail from a GM employee to Mary Sipes, VP of GM North America overseeing product planning in the global portfolio, said, "I have never seen such power coupled with such incompetence. It is simply embarrassing from a taxpayer perspective. The gov't is playing we OEMs off each other. They are telling us lies (we know cause we OEMs talk amongst ourselves) to trick us into caving or giving up points of information."
An e-mail from Ford's Sue Cischke from May of 2009 said, "We need some additional concessions … so I will continue to push from our end. I am concerned that if they don't get this wrapped up this week they may decide it’s not worth it and go on to something else (something easy like healthcare)."

Source: Detroit News

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RE: We hear this propaganda a lot
By mindless1 on 3/14/2012 7:54:47 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, it wasn't "the people" who mandated things safety related, and it's doubtful any of these safety features have impacted vehicle cost as much as the new fuel economy standards proposed.

Of course they care about vehicle affordability, they're in it to sell cars. Price cars higher and what happens? People hold off purchasing a new vehicle for longer, offsetting the potential fuel and pollution savings by driving their older vehicle instead of whatever more efficient vehicle they'd buy without it having to meet the proposed standards.

Same is true RIGHT NOW. If the government would butt out of the auto industry they could make less expensive, lighter cars that sell better getting more of the old clunkers off the road, saving fuel AND money AND jobs AND pollution.

It's very simple. Let consumer choice determine what automakers build. If "the people" actually want these things then that's what they'll buy given a choice.

I for one feel that automakers do know their market better than the government does. Why were SUVs king? Because that's what people CHOSE to buy. Why are they not selling as well now? Obviously it's the price of gas but also that the average SUV owner keeps the vehicle longer than the average car owner.

You wrote SUVs are essentially trucks with very little thinking behind them. WRONG! Trucks exist to serve a utilitarian purpose and are designed towards that end. Their purpose has not changed and so the design didn't need to either.

One other reason they remained behind cars technology wise is that in the global market supply chains aren't as available so a design needed to be easier to service and use the same parts for more years.

The government keeps pushing that we need to use less fuel, but did you know the actual change in fuel consumption (including ALL uses of oil) will be a very small % ? A trivial one?

It could turn out that getting higher MPG merely means that given a particular amount of disposible income people can spend on fuel, they'd simply drive more miles.

I haven't even gotten into the issue of a more complex vehicle tending to be more expensive to service and more prone to failure, putting it in the junk yard sooner with all else being equal.

It's quite possible that absolutely nothing positive comes out of the new fuel efficiency standards.

RE: We hear this propaganda a lot
By kattanna on 3/15/2012 10:47:36 AM , Rating: 4
If "the people" actually want these things then that's what they'll buy given a choice.

But the people are "speaking". If MPG where the sole standard for buying a car, then everyone would be buying a prius or the like, yet.. they are not. why? because other vehicle types are still needed.

just this last weekend I helped out transporting tables, chairs and tents to an environmental awareness event using my durango. To no shock to me, others doing the same had large vehicles as well because they needed them to haul the things needed in/out to do the event. The sheer irony of it made me chuckle the whole day.

By Dan Banana on 4/1/2012 11:01:03 AM , Rating: 2
If the government would butt out of the auto industry they could make less expensive, lighter cars that sell better getting more of the old clunkers off the road, saving fuel AND money AND jobs AND pollution.

Don't people ever tire of this adolescent Ayn Rand fantasy that if corporations were just left alone they would meet the needs of their customers? Where is the evidence of that? It's as if the financial disaster of 2008 that was mainly due to a deregulated financial industry never happened.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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