Monday, July 18, 2011

Auto Industry Balks at Increase Mileage Standards

In case you are interested, there are negotiations going on right now that will have an impact on what kind of car you will be driving in the future and the cost of the that car.

The Obama Administration and the auto industry are currently working on vehicle and mileage standards, with the opening “bid” at over 56 mpg by 2025.

The Environmental Protection Agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Air Resources Board, which has led the nation in setting rough standards, are proposing regulations that would require new U.S. cars and trucks to attain an average as much as 56.2 miles per gallon by 2025, roughly double the current level. That would require increase in fuel efficiency of nearly 5 percent a year from 2017 to 2025. (Source: Seattle Times)

Automakers say the standard is technically achievable. But they warn it would cost billions of dollars to develop the vehicles, and they express doubt that consumers would accept the smaller, lighter – and in some case, more expensive – cars.

I really have my doubts that folks in the Obama Administration give a dang about whether people will be willing to accept these cars. I think I can say with confidence that the prevalent thinking is “so what, if these are the only cars available, what are the rabble (that would be you and me) going to do, not buy a car?” Most of these people who are making these rules don’t live in the real world. These people have never had to work real jobs, jobs where people need trucks and the ability to haul their work with them. I would guess they have forgotten what it is like to have to haul your family around from school to practices to grandma’s house. You ride around in a limo often enough and you tend to forget that people actually have to drive families from place to place.

US automakers are beginning to stand a little more firm against Obama and his crew. A couple of years ago, when the auto industry was in serious danger of faltering, Obama was able to get increased mpg concessions (35 mpg by 2016) from the “Big 3” (actually, Ford wasn’t on board since they didn’t need the bailouts) as part of the bailout deals. Now that the industry is on a little firmer footing, they are pushing back a little.

Lobbyists are in full swing. Auto companies are seeking a standard at the lower end of the range by the government, citing studies that say meeting stiffer regulation would add thousands of dollars to the cost of a new vehicle and require a significant downsizing of vehicles in all classes. They also want certainly that there will be a single national standard and that California will not be permitted to pursue a tougher standard.

Companies could receive credit for using low-polluting air-conditioner refrigerants, building cars that can run mainly on biofuels, putting solar panels to provide cooling powers and other gimmicks. (Source: Seattle Times)

Just so you are aware, that while the links provided will take you to the Seattle Times web page, the linked story actually originated at the ultra-liberal NY Times.  I point this out because there are a few turns of phrases that caught my eye. Things like “other gimmicks” and “Lobbyist in full swing” were purposely put in this story by a writer that I would be willing to bet fully supports these job killing and possibly industry killing mandates.


  1. Rob, your post reminds me of something I read or heard about with regards to taxing how many miles you drive. It was something about when you fill up at the gas station you have to enter your mileage and then you are charged a fee. Does that ring a bell? Hubby commutes 50 miles each way, so this would really be a killer to us. The gov't is really doing everything in its power to squash the middle class.

  2. Rose, when it comes to figuring out ways to take money from us, politicians have proposed MANY, MANY various schemes. Yes, there have been ideas of taxing driving distances floated from time to time at all levels of government. Sometimes those taxes would be in lieu of the tax at the pump (go as you go) and others have thought to add this tax on top of the pump tax (bending us over).

    When the proposals have targeted autos, they didn't gain much support. But when they have been aimed at truckers, they get a little more traction. The thinking is these guys use the road and carry very heavy loads which do more damage so they should pay more.

    As more electric vehicle hit the road, there is a mileage tax being considered for these drivers. A purely electric vehicle doesn't pay a pump tax obviously, but these vehicles do use the roads so there has to be a way to have them pay their fair share of road repairs and so forth.

    I don't support a mileage tax on cars. I think it would be unfair for those who decide to use a high mpg vehicle to pay the same as someone who chooses to drive a big 4x4. The larger vehicle should pay more (higher tax at the pump since they use more gas) because these heavier vehicles cause more wear and tear on the road. BTW: I am not opposed to the bigger vehicles, I have a family too and the high mileage compacts don't fit my family. I could see a milegae tax on truckers, but I only support if the pump tax was NOT included. Truckers do deliver nearly all the goods we need and double taxing them would cause our cost to rise (grocery, clothing, etc.). A mileage tax on EVs is something that should happen and it should be happening NOW. These cars use the same roads as you and I do, so they should pay a tax to use them just like we do.