On the one hand… Washington style

Do you ever wonder if anyone in Washington remembers what they did yesterday?  Are you one of the many who believe that those in our nation’s capital simply jump on whatever bandwagon is expedient at the moment?  If either question has ever crossed your mind, I might be able to help you with the answers.

As you know, the administration has ordered new rules for motor vehicle fuel efficiency.  By 2016, automakers’ combined fleet of new cars and trucks must attain an average of roughly 35 miles per gallon.  The current requirement is 25.3 miles per gallon.  If my math is correct, that would be a decrease in fuel consumption of approximately 27% to drive the same number of miles.

Forgetting for the moment whether that type of technological leap is even feasible in approximately six and one half years without making the vehicles out of balsa wood, there is one other major problem with that edict.  It crashes (no pun intended) headlong into another federal edict that I remember reading about a few weeks ago, that is, the ethanol mandate.

Last month, [before the new fuel efficiency standards were announced] an ethanol trade group petitioned the EPA to allow the ethanol levels in gasoline blends to be as high as 15%, up from the current 10%. Without the increase, the group said the U.S. won’t be able to meet a congressional mandate requiring some 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel to be blended into the domestic fuel supply by 2022.

However, by increasing fuel efficiency, we will be using less fuel, and thus, less ethanol than we are today to drive the same number of miles.  And, as we are not even close to the 36 billion gallon ethanol mandate today, we will be considerably further away from that mandate in 2016, and further still in 2022.

I’m a simple person.  Whatever the plan is, is it to much to ask that Washington be consistent, or, to go back to my opening comments, to remember what they did yesterday?

Save the world … buy a car … Update: Or else!

The President has outlined his new fuel efficiency standards and emissions standards and it’s gunna cost you. $1300 more per car to start. But no worries … the Pres says you will be able to pay it off in no time.

No … you are right. None of this works if gas prices go down. Then it will take longer to pay off. But as the other post points out, unless they go up no one will buy them, in which case … the technology will cost you more … as we pointed out here. So the pay off depends on gas price rising. Good bet? Not sure. But either way … you will pay more for one of these little cars … likely more than what the President estimates.

But have no fear … according to Reuters and the AP … you will be helping to save the planet. Here are a couple headlines:

Here’s the AP, click to enlarge.


And here’s Reuters.


$1300 … seems like a small price to save the world … plus … the President says you will pay it all off in no time.

Update: I am sure you are wondering about why auto companies which have fought these higher standards because of the higher costs, would suddenly jump on board … even if there’s no consumer demand. Is it Obama’s winning personality? Perhaps it’s the President’s power of persuasion? Nope … it’s cause he owns em. Politics, Chicago style>