“Following the direction set by President [Barack] Obama on May 21, 2010, NHTSA and EPA have issued joint Final Rules for Corporate Average Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas emissions regulations for model years 2017 and beyond, that will help address our country’s dependence on imported oil, save consumers money at the pump, and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change.” So proclaimed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a news release Tuesday.
Skipping over the poppycock that “greenhouse gases … contribute to global climate change,” let’s get to the meat of the new “direction.” Fleet fuel efficiency must average 35.5 mpg by 2016 (that’s just three model years away) and 54.5 mpg by 2025.
Under current government standards, the only way automakers can achieve these thresholds is by eliminating SUVs, vans and pickups (or downsizing them so that they are impractical) and replacing them with small-battery electric vehicles or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
This is merely a sop to the environmentalists. In fact, there at the end of the release for all to see is the sop:
The program also includes targeted incentives to encourage early adoption and introduction into the marketplace of advanced technologies to dramatically improve vehicle performance, including:
- Incentives for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cells vehicles;
- Incentives for hybrid technologies for large pickups and for other technologies that achieve high fuel economy levels on large pickups;
- Incentives for natural gas vehicles;
- Credits for technologies with potential to achieve real-world greenhouse gas reductions and fuel economy improvements that are not captured by the standards test procedures.
The new standards will drive up the average car price by $3,000 or more, according to the Federal government. The National Automobile Dealers Association warns that the additional $3,000 will drive about 7 million consumers out of the car market. The higher price tag will negate any “savings at the pump” promised in the NHTSA release.
And these new “Corporate Average Fuel Economy,” or CAFE standards are a death warrant. Studies show that as cars are made smaller and lighter, deaths and injuries in crashes increase. NHTSA data show that for every 100 pounds reduced from small cars, 322 additional deaths result. A 1999 USA Today analysis of crash data and estimates from the NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that, in the years since CAFE standards were mandated under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, about 46,000 people have died in crashes that they would have survived if they had been traveling in bigger, heavier cars. This translates into 7,700 deaths for every mile per gallon gained by the standards.
In essence, Obama just signed a death warrant for almost 208,000 people.
If the Obama Administration wanted fuel-efficient cars, it would relax emissions standards and allow importation of high-mileage diesel European cars like the Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion 1.6 TDI which currently gets 69 mpg.
But the aim is force you into cars you don’t want and that the free market would never support in order to placate Obama’s environmental constituency and pass more fiat money along to his green industry donors.