Obamacare for the Environment

While hiding behind highly misleading statements about increased domestic offshore exploration for oil, the Obama administration announced today that new CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards originally intended for implementation in 2020, accompanied by mandated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, will be imposed on auto manufacturers beginning in 2012 and ramping up to 2016.

 

A press release issued jointly by the EPA and DOT today says

 

Responding to one of the first major directives of the Obama Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today jointly established historic new federal rules that set the first-ever national greenhouse gas emissions standards and will significantly increase the fuel economy of all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the United States. The rules could potentially save the average buyer of a 2016 model year car $3,000 over the life of the vehicle and, nationally, will conserve about 1.8 billion barrels of oil and reduce nearly a billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the lives of the vehicles covered.

This action is one important step in fulfilling the Obama Administration’s commitment to moving towards a clean energy, climate friendly economy.

“These historic new standards set ambitious, but achievable, fuel economy requirements for the automotive industry that will also encourage new and emerging technologies,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We will be helping American motorists save money at the pump, while putting less pollution in the air.”

“This is a significant step towards cleaner air and energy efficiency, and an important example of how our economic and environmental priorities go hand-in-hand,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “By working together with industry and capitalizing on our capacity for innovation, we’ve developed a clean cars program that is a win for automakers and drivers, a win for innovators and entrepreneurs, and a win for our planet.”

 

So after 14 months in office, they’re finally getting around to responding to one of Obama’s first directives.

 

According to that press release, EPA received over 130,000 public comments, mostly favorable, by the September 2009 deadline.  Apparently the Department of the Interior could take some lessons from the EPA in analyzing public comments, as DOI has still not issued their analysis of public comments regarding offshore drilling that concluded in the same time period.

 

EPA claims that these new regulations will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 960 million metric tons over the lifetime of the vehicles regulated, and conserve about 1.8 billion barrels of oil.

 

While conserving oil is not necessarily a bad thing, the required reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, that stuff we exhale and our plants love, is again based on science that nobody (well, almost) believes any longer.  Climate change scientists and their conclusions have been grossly discredited, yet the Obama administration continues to impose regulations that are founded on it.

 

And what are other benefits?  The technology to achieve these regulations will cost about $900 per vehicle, and purportedly will result in a net savings of about $3000 in fuel costs over the life of the vehicle, if you believe government estimates.  But what they don’t say is that in order to achieve these reductions and comply with the new regulations, the vehicles that are manufactured will be tiny econo-boxes that the American public repeatedly demonstrates they do not want.

 

What is the technology?

 

NHTSA and EPA expect automobile manufacturers will meet these standards by more widespread adoption of conventional technologies that are already in commercial use, such as more efficient engines, transmissions, tires, aerodynamics, and materials, as well as improvements in air conditioning systems. Although the standards can be met with conventional technologies, EPA and NHTSA also expect that some manufacturers may choose to pursue more advanced fuel-saving technologies like hybrid vehicles, clean diesel engines, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and electric vehicles.

 

What about natural gas?  But that would be another fossil fuel.

 

Mechanical efficiency can only be maximized to a certain extent, and car companies have been stretching that envelope for years.  So, as we were advised by these same geniuses during the presidential campaign, keep your tires inflated and save the planet.

 

America still loves its big vehicles.  SUV and pickup truck sales plummeted two years ago when gasoline prices escalated wildly, and once those prices started falling, those sales returned.  So if a product that the public wants is not offered, and the product offered is not what the public wants, what should we expect to happen to car sales?  If sales again plummet, what will happen to stockholder value in American car companies?

 

These are not rhetorical questions.  You and I as tax payers are those stockholders.

 

But according to the EPA,

 

Climate change is the single greatest long-term global environmental challenge. Cars, SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks are responsible for almost 60 percent of all U.S. transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.

So let’s get rid of them!

 

Once again the Obama administration is forcing new regulations on our flailing economy and our society, and this time they are not even debating it in Congress.  They tried that with Cap & Trade, and fortunately that legislation is gasping for breath, though Lindsey Graham is desperately trying to perform CPR and revive it.

 

This is but another example of the Obama administration attempting to impose its vision and ideology of a massive government on our society and our struggling economy before the November elections.

 

Obamacare, phase 2.

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