Meanwhile, Back at the CAFE

Not too long a go, I wrote about the changes which were coming to CAFE and asked a question:

What if the new CAFE rules are meant to be unattainable? What if the rules are intended to drive the prices of personal automobiles out of reach of most consumers? What if we are going to “end our dependence on foreign oil” by telling everyone that they should simply live in the cities and walk, bike or take public transportation to get around?

Thankfully, it would seem that I am not the only one who is looking at the numbers and seeing that they do not add up:

Automakers are pushing back against an Obama administration proposal that would almost double vehicle fuel-efficiency standards, launching a new ad campaign warning of hundreds of thousands of job losses across the country.


“By the government’s own study, (the new standards) will cost so much more that it will result in a loss of about 220,000 jobs,” said Ed Tonkin, former president of the Automobile Dealers Association.

The automakers had been hoping for a compromise with the White House, but appear to be losing hope and have now launched a seven-state radio ad campaign.

No compromise with the White House. Remember, the President won–which means that the rest of us lost.

Here is the way those who are pushing the new CAFE standards think about things:

“If you look at the ‘56-by-2025’ standard, you can save about $6,000 per vehicle because of the dramatic reduction in the cost of fuel for that vehicle,” Gillis said. “If you force the market to implement certain technologies, they will figure out a way how to do it. And they’ll figure out a way how to do it efficiently and effectively.”

For all of his background with automobiles, Mr. Gillis lacks understanding of the market. Yes, if the market is forced (and that is the right word) to implement certain technologies, it will figure out how to do it. That is called playing with the hand one is dealt. But to claim that the automakers will figure out an efficient and effective way to implement any requirement that is forced upon them is foolishness. If the President signs a law tomorrow which requires that all vehicles sold in the United States in 2012 must have perfect frontal and side impact crash ratings by the NHTSA–then I can assure you that efficiency and effectiveness will go right out that broken window.

The CAFE standards which are being forced on the industry–and on the industrious citizens of this country–are not grounded in good science, good economics or even a modicum of good sense. Despite the President’s intransigence on this matter, I hold out hope that sanity will soon sit in the driver’s seat.