Obama Responds to Romney's CAFE Criticism
August 30, 2012 5:30 PM
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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.
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.
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.
The Detroit News
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8/31/2012 5:46:39 PM
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.
"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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