Tag Archives: Auto mileage regulations

If MPGs Were Really the Reason, by Eric Peters

The auto fuel ethanol mandate is about rewarding crony agribusinesses, and actually reduces the miles per gallons about which everyone professes to worry. From Eric Peters and ericpetersautos.com:

Gas mileage has been a kind of fetish object for the government lo these past 40-something years. But is it really about gas mileage? Or is gas mileage just the excuse for something else – something even more sinister than a handful of people (this is what “the government” is) contravening what buyers want, as expressed by their willingness to buy?

Let’s consider a couple of things that could have easily and inexpensively increased fuel economy; or rather and perhaps better put, made it feasible to go much farther on a gallon of fuel without adding complexity and cost:

Gasoline, for instance.

Not ten percent gasoline  . . . and 10 percent ethanol. Which reduces miles-per-gallon because 90 percent gas and ten percent ethanol contains less energy per gallon. An easy way to increase gas mileage without changing anything about the car would be to put gas – not adulterated gas – in the tank. The increase would be on average about 2-3 MPG, which is a larger increase than is achieved by engineering artifices such as replacing relatively simple fuel delivery systems like port fuel injection with high-pressure direct injection, which also adds to the price of the car – negating the smaller mileage benefit achieved.

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The Orange Car Guy, by Eric Peters

President Trump is a voice of sanity in automobile regulation. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

Some people are single issue voters; if a candidate is in line with them on guns, for instance, they’ll support that candidate even if on other topics they’re as far apart as a Chevette and a Corvette.

Some people are single issue voters; if a candidate is in line with them on guns, for instance, they’ll support that candidate even if on other topics they’re as far apart as a Chevette and a Corvette.

This brings us to Trump.

If you care about cars, he’s your guy. He may not be a Car Guy, per se – but he’s the only guy who isn’t an obvious enemy of Car Guys.

Like his predecessor, for instance.

Barack Obama – after his anointed successor  lost the election – had his regulatory apparat fatwa a near-doubling of federal mandatory minimum gas mileage requirements (CAFE) out of pure spite, to punish the filthy deplorables who didn’t elect her – and who continued to express their lack of interest in high-mileage-uber-alles cars by not buying the ones which were – and still are – available.

Like the Toyota Prius hybrid, for instance.

Great gas mileage – but not much fun. Can’t do much with it – other than get good gas mileage. Many people want more than that.

So it’s not that high-mileage vehicles like the Prius aren’t being offered because the car companies want to deny Americans high-mileage cars in favor of “gas guzzlers” – the lie behind the CAFE reg.

The truth is people just aren’t buying them much. . . because they’re not much fun and can’t do very much, besides get good gas mileage. A Prius can’t tow . . . anything. It doesn’t go off-road or get to 60 in five seconds or even eight.

Toyota sells about 1,500 Priuii per month. Ford sells about 60,000 F-150 trucks per month.

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The Offloading, by Eric Peters

Car companies are begging for regulation, why? From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

When the car industry begs to be regulated, you have to wonder about the regulations. And the motivations.

Is it a case of being crazy . . . or crazy like a fox?

The car industry – well, about a third of it so far (Ford, Honda, BMW, VW and Mercedes) wants to be forced to make cars that average close to 50 miles-per-gallon by 2025, as fatwa’d about four years ago by the federal regulatory apparat.

The current head of the federal government – President Trump – is trying to rescind the fatwa or at least dial it back to something more technically and economically feasible. In a startling turnabout, the car companies have stated that even if Trump dials back the federal fatwa, they will impose it upon themselves by embracing a mirrored fatwaissued by the state of California. Which will then become a de facto national fatwa.

It sounds crazy – self-destructive, at least.

And this self-imposed mania for saving gas? It’s like losing weight. Sounds great – but it’s not as easy as it sounds .

Or inexpensive.

Nor demanded by the market – but that’s another thing.

As Trump pointed out the other day, the cost of the technology – the physical hardware as well as physical changes to the way cars are designed – that will be necessary to get cars to average nearly 50 MPG (as specified by the fatwa) in just five years’ time will cost thousands of dollars per car. Trump says about $3,000 per car – which is very close to the mark because the only current cars that average 50 MPG and so fatwa-compliant are hybrids  – models like the Toyota Prius and Kia Niro.

These hybrids cost about $3k more than an otherwise similar non-hybrid. This is what the government wants you to spend to save gas. Or rather, it’s what Trump doesn’t want you to have to spend. But the car industry – VW, Ford, Honda, BMW and Benz, anyhow – wants you to spend.

Wants you to have to spend.

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Trump Should Scale Back Auto Mileage Regulations, by Gary Galles

The auto mileage regulations should be eliminated, not scaled back, but it’s a start. From Gary Galles at mises.org:

The Trump administration EPA and Department of Transportation have announced their intent to change the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard from what was decreed by their Obama administration predecessors. They were scheduled to reach 54.5 mpg in 2025. The new target will be 37 mpg.

The rationale being given the most attention is that reducing the CAFÉ standards would reduce automobile deaths. However, that is being panned by left-leaning critics. For instance, Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik characterized the plan as “dirtier cars are safer, so lets keep them dirty.” Two days later, former Clinton and Obama administration member David J. Hayes was featured on the oped page (8/6/18) with a criticism titled, “Gas guzzlers won’t make us safer.”

However, while these (and similar) critical articles deride the possibility that reducing fuel economy standards from the much higher levels they would have been bumped to could increase automobile deaths (Hiltzik described it as “fatuousness” and Hayes termed it “baloney”), they not only misrepresent the arguments rather than examine them, they fail to consider the actual evidence for that “fatuous baloney.”

Consider the title, “Gas guzzlers won’t make us safer.” Not only is the conclusion asserted rather than demonstrated, but what gas guzzlers (a term Hitzlik also uses) is it referring to? Cars that averaged 37 mpg would be by far the cleanest vehicle fleet in American history. And the air is far cleaner than it was, meaning that the additional benefits from each further improvement is far less than in the past, undermining the argument for sharply more stringent standards.

Further, the logic such critics dismiss out of hand is hardly new or preposterous. It goes back to a famous 1989 Harvard-Brookings study that found that CAFÉ caused a 14–27% jump in traffic deaths due to the resulting car downsizing. An update for 1996 found that 2,700–4,700 automobile deaths, of 22,000 total, were attributable to such downsizing.

The arguments made in such studies are far from preposterous, either. When the higher costs of downsizing make newer cars more expensive relative to older, less safe cars, people buy fewer new cars, and increase the risks borne by such drivers and passengers. And if far better mileage lowers the cost of driving additional miles, the law of demand implies such people will drive more, other things equal. It is a matter of how large such effects are, demanding empirical research, not just a hand-wave of dismissal.

To continue reading: Trump Should Scale Back Auto Mileage Regulations