Proving again my maxim that change is inevitable, but positive change is not:
Putt, putt, putt: Sticking its noise yet again where it doesn’t belong, this is what the Obama (mis)Administration did Tuesday, as reported by Bloomberg.com and passed on by Automotive News:
President Barack Obama released a final version of a rule forcing automakers to more than double average fuel economy by 2025 that includes changes benefiting Honda Motor Co. and other makers of alternative-fuel vehicles. …
The Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the proposed rule for model years 2017 to 2025 in November after reaching an agreement with automakers on the outline in July 2011. Auto executives from companies including General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC and Hyundai Motor Co. stood with Obama at the Washington Convention Center to tout the agreement, which was the basis for the final rule.
The proposed rule granted incentives to plug-in electric and plug-in electric-hybrid vehicles, with the final rule adding natural-gas-powered cars to that list. Honda sells vehicles powered by natural gas.
Obama blithely claims that ”By the middle of the next decade, our cars will get nearly 55 miles per gallon, almost double what they get today. It’ll strengthen our nation’s energy security, it’s good for middle class families and it will help create an economy built to last.”
This is another Obama Administration lie. There will be no cars or light trucks built by 2025, because it is impossible to make a vehicle that is usable for an actual family to get 54.5 mpg in regular use. (As if Obama would know that, given that he has been chauffeured around with our tax dollars since the dumb voters to our south sent him to the U.S. Senate.)
No one asked car buyers or car owners if they wanted cars for which every repair bill has four digits in it. No one asked car buyers or car owners if they wanted cars that shut themselves off while in traffic, or shut off cylinders depending on when the car thinks it should. No one asked car buyers or car owners if they wanted cars that all they can do for them is fill them with gas or diesel.
The 54.5-mpg standard will pretty much destroy most of the recreational industry, including camping, boating, snowmobiling, ATV-riding (no vehicles will be able to pull a trailer carrying anything), hunting, fishing (unless you hunt and fish on your own land), and tourism that requires driving. Agriculture will be devastated because pickup trucks will be eliminated within a decade.
The savings the Obama administration claims from the impossible-to reach MPG standard are either (1) made up or (2) a ruse for the administration’s plan to substantially increase motor fuel taxes so that Americans pay upward of $10 per gallon for gas. (For one thing, the more fuel-efficient cars are, the less their owners buy gas and diesel, which means the less the federal and state governments get in gas and diesel taxes.)
But the 54.5-mpg standard is something else, says Michelle Malkin:
Yes, the same cast of fable-tellers who falsely accused Mitt Romney of murdering a steelworker’s cancer-stricken wife is now directly imposing a draconian environmental regulation that will cost untold American lives. …
Beyond the media-lapdog echo chamber, the economic and public-safety objections to these sweeping rules are deeply grounded and well founded.
For years, free-market analysts and government statisticians have warned of the deadly effect of increasing CAFE standards. Sam Kazman at the Competitive Enterprise Institute explained a decade ago: “The evidence on this issue comes from no less a body than the National Academy of Sciences, which issued a report last August finding that CAFE contributes to between 1,300 and 2,600 traffic deaths per year. Given that this program has been in effect for more than two decades, its cumulative toll is staggering.”
H. Sterling Burnett of the National Center for Policy Analysis adds that NHTSA data indicate that “322 additional deaths per year occur as a direct result of reducing just 100 pounds from already downsized small cars, with half of the deaths attributed to small car collisions with light trucks/sport utility vehicles.” USA Today further calculated that the “size and weight reductions of passenger vehicles undertaken to meet current CAFE standards had resulted in more than 46,000 deaths.”
These lethal regulations should be wrapped in yellow police CAUTION tape. The tradeoffs are stark and simple: CAFE fuel standards clamp down on the production of larger, more crashworthy cars. Analysts from Harvard to the Brookings Institution to the federal government itself have arrived at the same conclusion: CAFE kills. Welcome to the bloody intersection between the Obama jobs death toll and the Obama green death toll.
Obama’s a progressive? I fail to see what’s so progressive about making cars something only rich people can afford to buy or use, as was the case during the beginning of the Progressive Era.
Related to that is this from Eric Peters:
V-8s are on the way out — again. …
V-8s (and mass-market large cars) made a comeback in the ’90s and through to the present day as technology — especially fuel injection and overdrive transmissions — made it possible to make the 22.5 MPG CAFE cut. Or at least, come close enough so that any “gas guzzler” fines were economically manageable. Even something as stunningly, obstreperously powerful as a 2012 Cadillac CTS-V — packing a 6.2 liter, 556 hp V-8 — can manage 19 MPG on the highway, thanks to the efficiency improvements of the past 20-something years.
But no technology in existence today — or on the horizon — will get the CTS-V or anything else with a V-8 under its hood close to the new CAFE mandatory minimum of 35.5 MPG, which goes into effect come 2016. That means — in all likelihood — that V-8 powered cars are about to go away again, this time probably for good. …
Even sixes are in peril. BMW has shunted the formerly standard inline six in both the 3 and 5 Series, in favor of a new (twin-turbocharged) four.
It’s a clear trend — and the fact that we can see it developing on the luxury-performance end of the automotive spectrum is the proverbial canary in the coal mine as regards more modestly priced, large-engined cars such as the Chrysler 300 and — probably — much-anticipated but likely to be very short-lived models like the 2014 Chevy SS sedan. …
That includes trucks, incidentally.
The new CAFE standard — 35.5 MPG, average — doesn’t apply just to passenger cars, as the original 22.5 MPG CAFE standard did. Everything short of commercial vehicles is now lumped together in the same category. There is no more “light truck loophole” — the loophole that made it possible, back in the ’90s, for the car companies to do an end-run around CAFE for passenger cars by putting big engines into bigger vehicles that could be categorized aslight trucks – and which they called SUVs. …
From our perspective, as consumers, it’s not such a good deal. We pay more up front — and while that will be somewhat mitigated by reduced fuel consumption, those savings may — and probably will be — swept away by down-the-road maintenance and repair costs. Smaller, higher-stressed engines tend not to last as long as larger, less stressed engines. A force-fed (turbocharged or supercharged) engine is not likely to be a trouble-free 150,000 mile engine. Maybe these new-generation turbo’d and supercharged engines are built tougher — and will last longer. Or at least, as long as a similarly powerful, but less stressed, V-8. We’ll see. If they don’t, look out. Replacing a turbo on a late model car is typically a $2,000-plus job. Many of these CAFE-engineered new cars have two of them. …
This time, V-8s will become the exclusive playthings of the very affluent only — people who can afford to spend $70k-plus for a low-volume (and so, CAFE irrelevant) car. Jaguar, for example, will probably continue to offer a V-8 in the ultra-performance (and ultra-expensive) XF-R version of the XF luxury-sport sedan. Mercedes will still offer V-8s in the E and S Class… for those few who can handle the freight. …
Of course, Obama — and the next Dear Leader — will still get to drive around in cars powered by big V-8s that get far less than 35.5 MPG…with the gas bill paid by taxpayers.
And that’s just the way they want it.
Peters’ post is somewhat superfluous, because within 15 years you will not be able to buy a new car. The 54.5-mpg standard places GM, Ford and Chrysler in the position of brewers and distillers during Prohibition. (Which makes every cent of the GM and Chrysler bailouts wasted money.)
And if the upcoming death of automobiles isn’t bad enough, there’s another damnable trend, according to the American Spectator:
This morning, fat kids across America ran wind sprints until they vomited, drove sleds like beasts until muscle collapse, and alternated between jogging in place and hitting the deck so frequently that it jarred even the insides of onlookers. And they do it all again this afternoon.
This isn’t a federal anti-obesity initiative. It’s football.
Two-a-days are good for you. Video-game addiction, blasting ear buds to “11,” and treating Skittles as one of the four food groups are not. Madly, it’s the fitness-inducing pastime of teenage boys that public health crusaders inveigh against as though an end-around were as dangerous as a pack of Marlboro Reds. They’re not called health nuts for nothing. …
“Football’s in trouble for two reasons,” George Will explained in the wake of Seau’s suicide on ABC’s This Week. “First of all, the human body is not built for the violence that is inherent in football at the highest level. Second, people are going to watch football differently from now on, because they’re going to feel a little bit like the spectators in the Coliseum in Rome, watching people sacrificed for their entertainment, with a kind of violence that is unseemly — third suicide in 15 months.”
It may surprise the bow-tied baseball buff to learn that total suicides among Major League Baseball players greatly outnumber suicides among National Football League athletes. Should a numbskull baseball-hater have made a connection between Hideki Irabu’s recent self-inflicted death and, say, his 98 mph fastball, surely George Will would recognize the logical fallacy at work.
And certainly Will isn’t writing any columns about the dangers of baseball in the wake Wednesday’s $14.5 million settlement between defendants including Little League and a young pitcher left brain damaged after being struck in the heart by a batted ball. Like most intelligent people, the columnist recognizes that partaking in beneficial activities — travel, work, exercise, sex, eating — involves risk.
Why should football alone be judged by its risks but not its rewards? …
The pigskin is as out of place in risk-averse America as it was at books-intense University of Chicago. In a nation where children socialize with other children in adult-surveilled play dates, where walking to school shows bad parenting, and where lawyers jump in on schoolyard fights, kids crashing into other kids at full speed seems so 20th century.
The anachronistic nature of football that makes it so off-putting to our overprotected culture is also what makes the game, and its players, so incredibly popular. We don’t admire the ordinary. Football has never appeared as extraordinary as it does right now.