Human Events Blog

Regulatory madness: Obama decrees double gas mileage for cars by 2025

As reported by the Associated Press, “The average gas mileage of new cars and trucks will have to nearly double by 2025 under regulations that were finalized Tuesday by the Obama administration.  The new rules will require the fleet of new cars and trucks to average 54.5 miles per gallon in 13 years, up from 28.6 mpg at the end of last year.”

It’s rather cheeky for an Administration that couldn’t accurately predict the results of its own trillion-dollar “stimulus” plan to be mapping out the future of the automobile industry a decade or more after Obama leaves office, and it’s all being done in the name of the weird “global warming” religion, which still obsesses about “greenhouse gases” even after the theory of man-made global warming has been conclusively debunked.  These fuel standards will kill people – radical increases in fuel economy standards always do, because the cars become lighter and less able to protect passengers during collisions.  But no price in blood or treasure is too high to pay for the official State eco-religion!

Automobile dealers have long complained about the burden Obama’s madcap increases to fuel efficiency will place upon them, because they’ll jack up the price of new cars.  The Administration optimistically estimates the price increase will be offset by $8,000 in fuel savings over the lifetime of the vehicle.  That’s the kind of thing a politician wholly ignorant of economics would say.  Don’t worry about paying thousands of dollars extra up front, folks – you’ll slowly save $8,000 over the course of the ensuing decade, so it’ll all balance out!  Why, people will just be lining up around the block to buy the new 2025 deathtraps!

The assertion that fuel savings would offset the higher price of the new vehicles is dubious at best.  It’s difficult to predict exact costs when discussing technology that doesn’t exist yet, but for the existing generation of high-fuel-efficiency hybrid cars, it’s almost impossible to offset the higher initial cost of the vehicle with fuel savings.  That doesn’t really happen until gas costs north of $6.00 per gallon, unless drivers become willing to hang on to elderly automobiles far longer than they do today.

It’s possible that these new fuel standards will eventually reduce fossil fuel consumption… by making poor and middle-class people less able to afford cars.  The Detroit Free Press notes that “to achieve the new standards automakers will need to develop new technologies and manufacturing processes that will cost the industry billions.”  Do you suppose the automakers will donate those billions to the cause, out of the goodness of their hearts?  Or will they be passing those immense costs along to consumers?  And how is Government Motors, already tottering toward another bankruptcy, going to afford the massive re-engineering necessary to double fuel efficiency in 13 years?  That question doesn’t exactly soothe fears of another taxpayer bailout for the People’s Motor Car Company.

Or perhaps one of the hidden goals of these new fuel-efficiency standards is to put a little more government muscle behind disasters like the Chevy Volt.  The Associated Press notes that automakers can meet the requirements of these regulations by “using credits for selling natural gas and electric vehicles, changing air conditioning fluid to one that pollutes less, and even for placing louvers on car grilles to improve aerodynamics.”  There are various ways to game the system, most of which boil down to producing products that consumers don’t really want, just to earn “credits” with regulators.

Is that the future we’re preparing for – incredibly expensive gas “justifying” the price of cars no one can afford to buy?  Reminder: we get to vote against that future this November.

And how are we to square this initiative to double fuel efficiency standards with President Obama’s promise, just six months ago, that we would soon have algae-based fuel farms online?  It certainly doesn’t sound like the Administration seriously believes we’ll all be driving scum-mobiles by 2025.  You don’t suppose all that algae-based fuel stuff was just nonsense dished out by an inept politician terrified by public anger over rising gas prices, do you?

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