The most recent Obama proclamation in his fast track approach to expand government intervention in the lives of all Americans is announcement of national standards for fuel efficiency required for cars. Very likely many Americans will see this as a good thing; after all, who doesn’t want to have a car with good gas mileage, especially as gasoline costs continue to rise. But as good as all this may sound we shouldn’t be fooled about the real Obama motivation.
Obama’s new standard for gas mileage is another indirect approach to achieving the real goal - telling you that the government knows what's best for you; just as Obama has done in other areas. Effecting changes and increasing government control can be done indirectly and by misleading the public with the help of the Democrat Party media house organs. For example, if you want to attack obesity you don’t need to enact regulations to directly address obesity, you can just tax, and therefore make more expensive, foods that are likely to increase weight like snack foods, soda, etc. Obama can sell socialized medicine by erroneously claiming there are millions of people with no health insurance without also pointing out that no one needs to go without health care because hospitals are legally required to provide care to everyone regardless of their ability to pay. So it is with cars; if you want to dictate what kind of cars are available to the public, just keep increasing the gas mileage requirements and pretend that’s the only way to achieve energy independence while ignoring that the United States has the greatest reserves of oil that can be recovered in the world if not restricted by government regulation.
Increasing gas mileage requirements for cars sold in the United States is done by establishing rules for “Corporate Average Fuel Economy”, generally referred to as “CAFÉ” standards. CAFE ratings aren’t based on the cars a company makes, but the cars that they sell (this is another example of doing indirectly what you choose not to do directly). The advantage of this approach to government regulators is that if an automaker puts a 200 mpg car in its showroom, and no one buys it, it doesn’t do them any good in the eyes of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) so it doesn't count in the average fuel efficiency of the auto makers' fleet. Furthermore, the fuel economy numbers used to calculate it aren't the same as the ones on the widow sticker of your new car.
Take a look at the following example reported by Fox News.
“Consider a fictional company called Two Motors that builds just two models that it sells through a single dealership. One is a full-size sedan that seats five and gets 29 mpg, the other a two-seat hatchback rated at 49 mpg. On the showroom floor the cars average out at 39 mpg, and the automaker is set to be in compliance with the new rules.
Then the Catch-22 begins. Two customers come in and decide that they prefer the sedan over the hatchback and both purchase one, dropping the CAFE rating to 35.6 mpg.
The next day the dealer sells three more sedans, and its CAFE falls further to 32.3 mpg, putting it in the tough position of having to sell five of the unpopular hatchbacks to get the average back up.
If it doesn’t there is a $5.50 fine for every tenth of a mpg they come up short, multiplied by the total number of vehicles sold that year.”
Eventually the car company must decide whether it’s worth paying the penalty and sell more cars, or if it should simply stop making the larger cars available until it moves enough small cars to get the CAFE number back up. A number of automakers have chosen the former, and $775 million in fines have been paid since 1983.
How’s that for more government deception?
President Obama has announced what he called a "historic agreement," to speed-up fuel economy standards that will require all auto-makers, including Detroit's foreign competitors, to increase fleet fuel efficiency by 5 percent per year starting in 2012.
Obama said "The status quo is no longer acceptable" and warned that the American appetite for oil comes at a "tremendous price." (This is the attempt to use the idea of energy independence to support the new CAFÉ standards.)
It is not surprising that auto makers got on board with Obama because the national standard will supersede fuel standards established by separate states, a practical approach for businessmen.
Speaking for the auto industry, Ford issued a statement endorsing the Obama regulations: "We are pleased that President Obama is taking decisive and positive action as we work together toward one national standard for vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions that will be good for the environment and the economy."
And Obama added: "This rule provides the clear certainty that will allow these companies to plan for a future in which they are building the cars of the 21st century. Yes, it costs money to develop these vehicles. But even as the price to build these cars and trucks goes up, the cost of driving these vehicles will go down, as drivers save money at the pump."
However the new standards are expected to add $1,300 on average to new cars. Of course, Obama said drivers would make that back within three years due to savings on gas, and he will help that along by refusing to increase domestic oil production so oil prices will increase in the future.
The new rules will require a fleet fuel efficiency standard of 35.5 miles per gallon by model year 2016, a big jump from the 2009 model year requirement of 25 mpg. A senior administration official said the changes (when compared to current pollution and vehicle use totals) will have the effect of removing 900 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air, taking 177 million cars off the road, and shutting down 194 coal-fired power plants. An amazing accomplishment – reducing carbon dioxide emissions notwithstanding that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant (regardless what the U.S. Supreme Court said) and does not contribute to or cause climate change.
In the year, 2016, the year that new the rules will be fully implemented - the fleet fuel efficiency standard for all domestically sold passenger cars will be 39 mpg. It will be 30 mpg for all domestically sold light trucks and sport utility vehicles. The average of these two equals a passenger car and light truck fuel efficiency standard of 35.5 mpg. The current requirements are 27.5 mpg for cars and 23.1 mpg or trucks. The tighter standards will first affect the 2011 model year for cars and trucks so if you want to get in before the new CAFÉ increases cost of cars and you have fewer choices, you may want to get the car of your choice now (which of courses will increase auto sales; another desirable end result).
Naturally the new regulations will not depend on self policing; the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency will, for the first time ever, jointly monitor and enforce fuel efficiency and tailpipe emission standards.
California under the direction of an incompetent short-sighted governor, established draconian rules for cars sold in California. The new Obama rules will incorporate California's tougher standards. California approved tougher fuel efficiency standards and was expecting a ruling June 30th from the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce them. California ordered a fleet average of 35.5 mpg by 2016. The old federal standard sought that efficiency by 2020 (thus reducing the time period for implementation by four years). The new federal standards will match California's.
To comply with the new standards auto makers will have to produce and sell small cars with higher gas mileage capability but drivers will pay a price in safety. Small cars can give motorists better fuel efficiency but the insurance industry says they do not do well in collisions with larger vehicles. In crash tests released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Institute found that drivers of 2009 versions of the small cars Smart “fortwo”, Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris could face significant leg and head injuries in severe front-end crashes with larger, mid-size vehicles.
"There are good reasons people buy mini cars. They're more affordable, and they use less gas. But the safety trade-offs are clear from our new tests," said Adrian Lund, the institute's president.
The tests involved head-on crashes between the fortwo and a 2009 Mercedes C Class, the Fit and a 2009 Honda Accord and the Yaris and the 2009 Toyota Camry. The tests were conducted at 40 miles per hour (17 kilometers per liter), representing a severe crash.
In the Smart fortwo collision, the institute said the Smart, which weighs 1,808 lbs, went airborne and turned around 450 degrees after striking the Mercedes C Class, which weighs nearly twice as much. There was extensive damage to the fortwo's interior and the Smart driver could have faced extensive injuries to the head and legs. There was little damage to the front seat area of the Mercedes.
In the Fit's test, the dummy's head struck the steering wheel through the air bag and showed a high risk of leg injuries. In the vehicle-to-vehicle test, the Fit was rated poor while the Accord's structure held up well.
In the Yaris test, the institute said the mini car sustained damage to the door and front passenger area. The driver dummy showed signs of head injuries, a deep gash on the right knee and extensive forces to the neck and right leg.
Less safety for you and yours in the family car doesn’t matter to Obama and his environmentalist wacko supporters; what difference if more people are injured or die in green cars as long as you buy the kind of car the government wants you to.