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Romney says the new standards are "extreme," but Obama disagrees

This week was particularly monumental for the auto industry as the Obama administration finalized the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. The new rules have faced some criticism, but President Barack Obama isn’t backing down.
The criticism comes from Obama’s presidential election opponent Mitt Romney, who believes there is a better method of increasing fuel economy than changing CAFE standards.

"Just yesterday, my opponent called my position on fuel efficiency standards extreme," said Obama. "It doesn't seem extreme to me to want to build more fuel efficient cars. Maybe the steam engine is more his speed."

Obama further added that the new CAFE standards will allow U.S. drivers to fill up their gas tanks "half as often." But when the new rules were finalized Tuesday, Romney failed to see the benefit to driving citizens. 

"Governor Romney opposes the extreme standards that President Obama has imposed, which will limit the choices available to American families," said Andrea Saul, Romney spokeswoman. "The president tells voters that his regulations will save them thousands of dollars at the pump, but always forgets to mention that the savings will be wiped out by having to pay thousands of dollars more upfront for unproven technology that they may not even want."

The new fuel efficiency standards for 2017-2025 will cost the auto industry $157.3 billion and add an average of $2,000 extra to the sticker price of new autos.

While some are clearly unhappy with the new standards, others are seeing added benefits. Honda, for example, was delighted to see that the standards provided extra credits for those selling natural gas-powered vehicles. Tesla also jumped on the CAFE bandwagon when it learned that it could sell any credits for surpassing the standards to companies that haven't.

The CAFE standards will raise the average fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks to 54.5 mpg by model year 2025. These new standards, which were created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOTs) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), were based off of the Obama Administration's first standards raised average fuel efficiency to 35.5 mpg by 2016. It was intended for cars and light trucks during model years 2011-2016.

The 54.5 mpg CAFE standard aims to save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump, cut U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6 billion metric tons over the course of the program, and encourage the adoption of autos like electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids. 

Source: The Detroit News

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RE: Clueless
By danobrega on 8/30/2012 9:01:16 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Clueless
By Ringold on 8/31/2012 1:52:41 AM , Rating: 2
People have been publishing those charts for decades, and for decades have been revising it so the apocalypse is just a little further out from the horizon, because it never quite pans out the way the doomsayers hope.

First of all, its relatively out of date. Around the time it was published, and since, it's been pretty well established that Brazil seems to be sitting on offshore oil reserves that may rival Saudi Arabia. Thats just Brazil.

Second, consider the vast areas of the world barely explored. Greenland is massive, but only in the last year or so has it tentatively allowed some exploration. The chart seems to lowball what Canada, the Nordic countries and Russia expects to be able to tap in the polar regions as well.

Third, consider that countries like Mexico have stagnant to falling output not because of any natural problems beyond the natural problems inherent in state-owned oil enterprises. If they didnt have to pay huge sums in dividends to their owning nations that compromise their ability to invest, and if they adopted private-sector technology and best-practices, existing oil producers need not see a steady decline for quite a long time.

Fourth, that chart totally disregards the fact that we aren't discovering as much oil as we could because, at least in the US, we don't allow ourselves to get at it. Huge swaths of the Gulf, Florida shores, and Eastern and Western seaboards are all off-limits. ANWR, frozen tundra that it is, is off limits. Deep water drilling, not off limits but subject to huge amounts of red tape. Unconventional oil sources are vehemently opposed at every turn. There's no reason oil production could boom in the US, if only we decided that it was a national priority.

And where in that chart is Africa? Lumped in with 'other countries'? I'd like to know how the hell it even pretends to wager a guess at African potential oil production, since most the continent has only recently been introduced to some semblance of stability, much less been explored.

Last but not least, China. Likely another 'Other country.' Worth special mention only because they don't have our ideological desire to destroy ourselves, and thus will drill for oil anywhere and everywhere so long as there's a market for that oil. Very unwise to bet against a nation with that sort of resolve.

But really, the wasted potential from state-owned oil giants and undiscovered oil I think are the big ones. One day, Brazil seemed destined to forever be a bit player in the oil market. Now they're a future Saudi Arabia, because they had the audacity to actually hunt for the stuff, which we don't. That chart really then has little to do with reality, it's just what some people hope for as reality.

RE: Clueless
By Granseth on 8/31/2012 3:48:17 AM , Rating: 2
And still there is a finite source of oil. And the alternative sources (like deep sea, oil sand and polar sources) is way more expensive to extract than conventional sources.

I agree that those charts most of the time is wrong, but one day they will be right.

But there is one solution that no one is willing to discuss, and that is the problem is hugely related to the number of people on this planet. If we could stop the growth and then step back to about 2/3 of the current population in the world, it would be a much nicer place to live in.

RE: Clueless
By danobrega on 8/31/2012 9:24:01 AM , Rating: 2
Clearly you do not understand the problem of exponential growth.

Fine, you'll find out reserves in the USA that are equivalent to all the oil produced in all history. That will give you more... 10 years.

Further more the graph contains all the oil discovered and undiscovered, it is not probable that significant reserves will be found in the future. Event if there are, you can't sustain growth.

This is not debatable, it's simple math.

If you have the time, please look into it further.

RE: Clueless
By Ringold on 8/31/2012 5:46:39 PM , Rating: 2
I understand the problem of exponential growth, it's simply not relevant.

Oil production needs only to increase modestly to keep everything humming along nicely. Yes, China, India, Africa and the Middle East are all booming in terms of oil consumption from low bases, but the current largest consumers, North America and Europe, are on the path to fair regular annual declines. The US has even become a net exporter of refined oil products.

Further, whale oil is largely assumed these days to of been phased out due to a lack of whales. Not entirely true; they were running out, but the hunting stopped (and the lobbying resisting banning the hunting) when whaling ships could come back to port and had no buyers for their relatively expensive oil; people had a new, better, cheaper source. Oil from the ground. With whales rotting in huge piles near docks, whalers found something else to do with their lives.

Same as the "stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones" story.

In that same vein, battery technology isn't there yet but it gets closer every day, and except for a few odd subsidized examples, virtually no one uses oil to generate electricity. The more batteries advance, the more EV's and hybrids there will be, and the more rapidly Western consumption will drop.

Within 50 years, with things just going the way they are, I'd suspect most oil consumption will be for chemicals and industrial products; fertilizer, plastics, etc. If oil prices are quite a bit higher in real terms then for a lot of those industrial uses alternatives are already exist, just aren't competitive at current prices.

Speaking of prices, any existing car or truck can be converted to natural gas, which is cheap and abundant. There's a bridge solution if China bids up oil prices.

I think you're falling in to another philosophical trap laid by Malthus; forgetting technology advances, often rapidly, often unexpectedly. Liberals even accept this whole heartedly that technology has seemed to be advancing at an increasingly rapid pace the last 100 years, they just refuse to extend that to areas they have ideological blind-spots in, like energy. People like you have been crying about looming apocalypses and shortages since ancient Greece, and haven't been right yet.

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