The High Cost of Low Fuel Bills

New efficiency standards for cars may cost lives

President Obama has declared that auto companies' fleets must average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, almost double the current 27.5. Standing at his side when he made the announcement were executives from the Big Three automakers.

The New York Times reported: "It is an extraordinary shift in the relationship between the companies and Washington. But a lot has happened in the last four years, notably the $80 billion federal bailout of General Motors, Chrysler and scores of their suppliers, which removed any itch for a politically charged battle from the carmakers."

Right. They're happy to agree to stupid rules, since they are now dependent on government favors. Obama said that under his new rule, "everyone wins. Consumers pay less for fuel, the economy as a whole runs more efficiently." 

Sounds impressive, but he didn't mention the costs. The Center for Automotive Research says the new standard will raise the price of cars by about $7,000. You'd need to save a lot on fuel to break even.

But that's not the worst of it. The new rules will kill people. Sam Kazman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute explained this on my Fox Business show last week. The MPG standard "has been killing people for the last 30 years," Kazman said. How can that be?

"It forces cars to be...made smaller and lighter....They are simply worse in just about every type of auto collision." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration actually backs Kazman up. It estimates that smaller cars are responsible for an additional 2,000 deaths each year.

Imagine that—a government safety agency promotes a rule that kills people. 

"Think about the minute risks that agencies like Environmental Protection Agency go into a tizzy about....If any private product had a death toll one fraction of what the miles-per-gallon rules cost, that product would have been yanked off the market years ago."

Do we at least end up using less gasoline and saving money? No, given the increased upfront cost of the car. "It is not clear that it saves people money," Kazman said. "If these technologies in fact save people money, you don't need a government law to force them down people's throats." 
Right. We're not stupid.

Bob Deans of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of America's biggest environmental groups, came on my show to say that Kazman and I are wrong. "Cars like the Chevy Cruise—42 miles per gallon—get top marks on safety. The Ford Focus, more than 40 miles per gallon—top marks in safety. We're getting safer cars, and they're not coming at the expense of fuel efficiency."

Deans added: "By increasing that gas mileage for our auto fleet, we can cut our oil consumption in this country by 4 million barrels per day by 2030. That would almost wipe out our OPEC purchases daily. It will make our country stronger."

But we use oil for lots of things. If we cut gasoline use by a third, unlikely as that would be, we'd still only reduce our fossil fuel use by 7 percent. That does not make much difference for $7,000 a car and 2,000 extra deaths each year.

"It's not necessarily a smaller car that we're talking about," Deans replied. "You look at Chevy Malibu. That is a 3,400-pound car. It's not a small car. It's getting 33-miles to the gallon. We believe Detroit can do this."

Maybe they can. Maybe they can't. If they could, I'd think they would do it to meet consumer demand. They'd do it without government forcing it on us. 

"New technologies can make cars safer," Kazman acknowledged. "The point is, if you put the technologies in a large, heavier car, that car will be safer still....None of the proponents of these standards would acknowledge (the lives lost). It's always win-win, and that is nonsense."

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  • ||

    Is the next administration going to uncompromisingly eliminate these new standards?

  • ||

    They'll probably "strengthen" them. There's panderin' to be done and time's a wastin'!

  • ||

    Seriously, though. Something this Satanically abominable -- wouldn't even a half-way decent Republican administration repeal them?

  • ||

    I hope you're not holding your breath on the prospect of a "half-way decent Republican administration", heh.

  • ||

    Looking at the historical record, I'd say "no".

  • Bill||

    They will campaign on acting decisively to eliminate this pernicious new law. Then, when they are in office, they will decrease it from 54 to 50 mpg and give them an extra 3 years to do it in and throw in some massive subsidies, tax breaks, etc. to help soften their burden.

  • goneGalt||

    ^THIS^
    I remember Ronnie. His administration merely nibbled at the edges of auto regulation.

    5MPH bumper standards became 2.5MPH standards. CAFE was trimmed and stretched out. The 55 speed limit went to 65. Passive restraint regulations were(temporarily) suspended at the cost of the states passing mandatory seatbelt laws.

    These modest adjustments were met with a surprising(unsurprising?) of howling from certain quarters.

  • ||

    Technically, establishing interstate speed limits was turned over to the states to determine the speeds for their own roads. That's why we had the Montanabahn for a while.

  • Yet another Dave||

    Don't count on it. This is one of those sorts of things that sounds good on the surface, so most voters aren't even cognizant of the dark, seedy underbelly. Therefore, to repeal it would be to appear as if the Republicans actually do hate the environment and are in the pockets of big business ... it would be political suicide.

  • Suki||

    If "strengthen them" means getting rid of them to make them stronger, I'll vote for it.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    So far they haven't even managed to get rid of the light bulb mandate.

  • ||

    And to think that people still like to argue that we have a free market. Granted, they only make that argument when they're looking for someone to blame when the government's ridiculous schemes collapse under the weight of reality.

  • ||

    You know one other thing that really struck me in the heart? The classic, huge and luxurious American norms of design will disappear, and we'll become fucking Luxembourg.

  • ||

    *design for cars

  • ||

    and we'll become fucking Luxembourg

    We've almost got the immigration policy down.

  • K||

    I visited Luxembourg last November and actually saw a Chevy Malibu parked on a side street in the old town. It was massive compare to the clown cars they all drive over there.

  • Matrix||

    a lot of european cars I've seen (sold in Europe and not the US) are hideous. they make Volvos look fantastic in comparison.

  • ||

    Don't EVER say the Volvo word!

    *nightmares of his old 850 return*

  • ­­­||

    They're boxy, but they're good.

  • Gray Ghost||

    This is amazingly true. Visiting Germany, I saw a cherry red Vette parked in the front of the hotel we were visiting. Absolutely dwarfed the A-Class I was driving, as well as every other car in the parking lot. I've can only imagine what a PITA it was to drive that down what Germans quaintly think of as main streets in the middle of those old Rhine towns.

    Then again, on the autobahn, with a clear left lane...

  • Kevin L||

    It's a very intuitive point you make that auto makers would be providing that kind of mileage if it were economically feasible. I think there is one of two scenarios happening: either Detroit knows that technology is coming to enable that kind of mileage boost and Obama wants the credit for the Feds, or they are going to find ways to pass safety tests while sacrificing in other ways (reliability, overall quality, etc). There will be a trade-off. Whether it will be economic or political remains to be seen.

  • Almanian||

    As an auto-bidness guy for 22+ years, I'll confirm the drill:

    - speed
    - cost
    - quality

    Pick two, any two!! It's true because it's funny...

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    That explains why I seem to end up with slow cars(shit starts to shake around 75 mpg) that never die.

  • Almanian||

    :)

  • Almanian||

    Crap - if my mind were quicker, I'd have said, "You got your Yugo up to SEVENTY FIVE before it started shaking??!!"

    :))

  • Sinic||

    How can someone who travels in a convoy of SUV's can say that shit with a straight face?

  • ||

    He's a politician. He can eat shit and drop dead -- I'll be fixing up my huge-ass, thirsty Mustang for decades to come and driving it proudly.

  • Almanian||

    I sold my '93 LX 5.0 for a 2011 5.0 GT Convertible....I LOVE that car. LOVE it.

    Suck my exhaust, statists. Of course, we'll soon be outrunning the cops like in "Red Barchetta", so there is that...

  • ||

    "Spotted her the minute you walked in here, didn't you, sir? Nothing makes you feel more like a man than a ThunderCougarFalcon Bird"

  • SFC B||

    You are under the silly impression that "Law enforcement" exceptions won't eventually, be written into law.

  • Shocked||

    But the feds will then require that the states (in order to keep their hwy funds) must charge you 10 times the annual registration fee to let you keep driving that old gas guzzler.

  • Faye Getz||

    Or they could just as easily mandate that your engine be retrofitted with some device that severely reduces horsepower.

  • Obama||

    Let me be clear.

    When you make your livelihood as a lying sack of shit, it's easy.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    [statist think]

    Because politicians are selected from the best parts of our society, and as such, they are great men/women and leaders who deserve to be protected. Without them, the common person would not know how to make the correct decisions about how to use their money. It is therefore a necessary trade off to allow them greater protection than the common person for the greater good of society.

    [/statist think]

  • v mpg = ^ kia||

    sinic - u nailed that gas-guzzling SUV's are a problem.

  • ||

    ""How can someone who travels in a convoy of SUV's can say that shit with a straight face?""

    What's the MPG rating on the President's limo?

  • Faye Getz||

    Better than he gets on his corporate jet.

  • Nipplemancer||

    considering all the extra weight from it being armored, i'm gonna guess it's less than 10mpg

  • Gray Ghost||

    Per this picture: http://cache.gawker.com/assets.....one_01.jpg

    About 8 MPG. With a diesel. Dear Lord.

  • ||

    I honestly hope automobile companies just ignore the rules. Just make all their cars however they would made them, as if the rules didn't exist, and see what the federal government does. Honestly. What the fuck are they going to do?

  • ||

    *would have made them

    fucking sleep, how does it work?

  • ||

    Melissa: Have you tried lying down in your bed and closing your eyes?

    Coach McGuirk: THANKS MELISSA! HEY INSOMNIACS, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO TO GO TO SLEEP IS GO TO BED.

  • Ska||

    Do people really quote Home Movies?

  • sarcasmic||

    The federal government will not allow the vehicles to be sold, just as they do not allow vehicles that get 50+ mpg to be sold because of emissions standards.
    That is how the federal government helps the economy. By not allowing people to do things.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Well, if you take the absolute value of all this meddling...its like they are creating jobs!

  • Bill||

    "saving/creating" jobs. You know, so you can't actually count them.

  • Richard Schultz||

    ""It forces cars to be...made smaller and lighter....They are simply worse in just about every type of auto collision." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration actually backs Kazman up. It estimates that smaller cars are responsible for an additional 2,000 deaths each year."

    It's either that, or billions die when global warming causes the ocean levels to rise.

  • some guy||

    Because that sea level rise is going to happen, like, over night. Global Warming Tsunami! Coming to SyFy this Fall!

  • ||

    Coming to SyFy this Fall!

    Brought to you by the Toyota Prius.

  • Almanian||

    Brought to you by the Toyota PriusNew Dodge Ram Heavy Duty Magnum 4x4 Dually Hemi Vortex Abominog with 40,000lb Fifth-Wheel!.

    FIFY (the irony, it burns)

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    An Inconvenient Truth, the docudrama!

  • phryxian houndmaster||

    Throughout human history, periods of global warming have been correlated with jumps in average lifespan and population.

    Periods of cooling however, are associated with famines, plagues, and the fall of empires.

    At some point this must break down. Obviously agriculture won't be helped when the atmosphere boils away. But why so many people assume we have currently reached a magical temperature, at which this correlation sharply reverses, bewilders me.

  • ||

    Stossel is an idiot. Smaller cars are not necessarily less safe than larger ones because they are less likely to be in accidents in the first place. They are more maneuverable, stop faster, and people are less aggressive while driving them.

  • kinnath||

    Some many unsupported claims, too little time.

  • Almanian||

    Ah, thanks - you've covered my response nicely :)

  • sarcasmic||

    People are less aggressive when driving them?
    Maybe people who realize their own mortality and know that this smaller vehicle is a death trap if they get into an accident with something big, but many stupid kids and twentysomethings drive aggressively no matter the size of the car.

  • some guy||

    And then there are people of all ages who just drive like retards all the time.

  • ||

    I had a 2200 lb. 2-seat sports car. I drove it like I stole it, from the day I bought it to the day I sold it.

    My wife got a 2800 lb. 2-seat sports car with more horsepower. Whenever I drove it, I drove it like I was a bat out of hell that stole it.

    I'm ordinarily sane. I just like to drive.

    Small, quick, maneuverable cars with 4-wheel disc brakes that could stop a car twice as big and tires wide enough for a much larger vehicle are REALLY FUN to drive fast.

    They do not do a damned thing to make you feel "vulnerable."

  • OO||

    i agree & have driven-around would-be accidents w gramps driving his big ol crown vic

  • kinnath||

    350Z go fast, stop fast, then smile at the onlookers.

  • CatoTheElder||

    If you want to see really small and really aggressive, catch a ride in a Bangkok tuk-tuk. Of course, you have to ride alone and weigh less than 140 pounds to get the kamikaze experience.

  • Joseph Lynn Turner||

    "Small, quick, maneuverable cars with 4-wheel disc brakes that could stop a car twice as big and tires wide enough for a much larger vehicle are REALLY FUN to drive fast."

    Well, then what the fuck are you complaining about, you moron?

  • ||

    What? I just finished driving from Florida to North Carolina and back, and let me tell you, small-car drivers are no less aggressive or stupid than SUV drivers. That's complete nonsense.

    At 80 mph, aggressive driving is dangerous, regardless of the type of car you're driving.

  • sarcasmic||

    I always chuckle when someone in a Smart Car cuts me off on the highway.
    Talk about death wish.

  • ||

    Yeah, what's that about? If anything, I see dumber moves by tiny car drivers.

  • ||

    Somebody in a Smartcar blew a stop sign and almost hit me while I was in a crosswalk a few months ago. I briefly yet passionately considered tipping the fucking thing over in a fit of pique.

  • Almanian||

    I will say, having been taken out by a semi whilst traversing Toledo on my (former) Kawasaki ZRX (RIP)....them big vehicles just flat out SQUASH them little vehicles.

    "Flat out squash"....lulz...Almanian made a punny....!

  • ­­­||

    Do you communicate with your computer by twitching a muscle in your cheek like Stephen Hawking now?

  • ||

    *metallic voice* And the Universe was born in a sudden instant of time.

  • Joe M||

    I've been driving an F150 for fourteen years, and I just got a Focus. So far, I feel like they balance out. You can see more of what's going on in traffic in a high-riding truck, but the zippy maneuverability of the car makes you feel like you could take bigger risks.

  • Almanian||

    I have a new Fiesta AND a new Super Duty, and I am bound and determined to get the former into the bed of the latter and take a picture at some point...

  • Brett L||

    Yeah, I always thought of Smartcars as truck lifeboats.

  • CatoTheElder||

    "people are less aggressive while driving them"

    Which explains why motorcyclists never exceed the speed limit or weave in and out of traffic.

  • Doug||

    ...people are less aggressive while driving them.

    As someone who has spent time behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler let me just say...bullshit.

  • scythe||

    I think you misunderstand "smaller cars". He's not saying SUVs vs. sedans. He's talking about large sedans vs. small sedans, or large SUVs vs. small SUVs. It's true that a sedan is safer than an SUV, but it's also true that a large sedan is safer than a small sedan.

  • mikey||

    I used to take that line. Then my wife gets t-boned by someone running a stop light - other car going maybe 45. She's in the 3/4t Suburban. Gets out, looks at the 'burban's smashed wheel cover and the other person's totaled Toyota (or whatever). Say's "have a nice day" and drives off. Hate to think would have happened if she'd been in Corolla.

  • prolefeed||

    Smaller cars are not necessarily less safe than larger ones because they are less likely to be in accidents in the first place. They are more maneuverable, stop faster, and people are less aggressive while driving them.

    Oh, bullshit. Small cars are often economy cars, which at best have the same safety features and handling of bigger cars, and oftentimes less.

    More mass is safer. I was in an accident back when I owned the Merc version of a crown vic, a big old sled of a car. Some teenager rear-ended my car in a smallish vehicle, and then the car behind hers rear ended her car. Her car was literally broken in the middle with the center of the car shoved up in the air. My car had a slightly scratched bumper.

  • ||

    Smaller cars are not necessarily less safe than larger ones because they are less likely to be in accidents in the first place.

    BS. You are entitled to your own opinion, you are not entitled to your own facts.

    They are more maneuverable, stop faster…

    Not on wet or snow covered roads. It is not uncommon for me to come up behind (in my midsized Camry) a compact or sub compact in a snow storm fishtailing all over the road.

    and people are less aggressive while driving them.

    With over a million miles under my belt I am going to call this BS. The most aggressive drivers are young males. Due to their social economic status they tend to drive the cheaper compact cars.

  • Mason||

    Higher mpg does not mean lighter (and less safe) vehicles, and here's the proof:
    http://www.fastcompany.com/mag.....ssiah.html

  • T||

    Oh, man, I so wanna see what kind of life he gets out of running a military grade turbine on biodiesel. I can see so many maintenance issues with that it boggles the mind.

  • ||

    I can see so many maintenance issues

    JOBS!

  • Krugman||

    fap fap fap fap fap fap fap

  • OO||

    the army's already testing biofuels

  • Bill||

    Oh well. If the Army is doing it then it will definitely be done intelligently (old joke, military intelligence) and efficiently. Those guys are really frugal.

  • OO||

    the military consumes the most POL so every lil improvment helps.

  • Bobarian||

    It does mean less safe vehicles...

    A gas turbine spinning at anywhere from 40 to 120K can become an extremely deadly risk in an accident. Detroit has been down this road, originally in the 50's. Volvo was re-looking at this about 10 years ago. The liabilities of a turbine breaking up and killing people a half mile away kind of damps the enthusiasm for this as a mass produced vehicle.

    Another problem; turbines are very efficient in a specific range, and horribly inefficient outside that range. Using them for pure generation service does address that problem, somewhat though.

  • ||

    Unless he is able to accomplish nuclear fusion inside his magic box, this article is horseshit. Turbines are more efficient, yea. Like 15% more efficient. Not 200% more efficient. The only way a hummer is getting 60 mpg is if it's driving 20 mph and using a 150cc dirtbike engine. Even then it's suspect.

  • Almanian||

    Duh - this is why we've been running turbines in cars since Chrysler displayed that Turbine concept car back in the 60's! They're SO much better than internal combustion!

    Oh, wait...

  • ||

    Their main problem in the 60's was at idle they use a fuckton of fuel (like 50% of full load) and they spin up slow (crap acceleration). While it is true that a turbine is probably good for a hybrid (lighter, somewhat more efficient, fewer parts, more diverse fuels) it's not near the claims this guy is making.

  • Almanian||

    Turbines are great in helicopters and aircraft carriers and 747's and stuff like that.

    Cars/trucks/bikes? Not so much...

  • Brett L||

    Batmobiles. I think they worked, although his jet was waay mistuned.

  • some guy||

    $7000 per car. At $4.00 per gallon that would buy you 1750 gallons of gas. So your break even point is around 97,000 miles. But that's only if gas stays around $4.00 per gallon. At $2.00 per gallon your break even point is around 194,000 miles. This also assumes that maintenance costs are similar between the two vehicles.

    Money in the bank!

  • sarcasmic||

    Um, wasn't this the topic of last week's show?

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    His articles are *always* the topic of last week's show.

  • ||

    There are already plenty of cars that meet that standard - the VW Polo diesel for example. They aren't allowed into the U.S. because the EPA is as fucked up as the rest of the federal government.

  • Tony||

    ...the EPA is as fucked up as the rest of the federal government.

    [Points finger like a zealot] RACIST!

  • ||

    Why not just make the mandate 3,000 MPG? Or even higher? I mean, if all it takes to defy the laws of physics is to pass a mandate, might as well legislate that cars be engineered to run on unicorn farts.

  • Joe M||

    The parallels to minimum wage laws are striking.

  • ||

    They should ban quantum mechanics and observer-based uncertainty. It's easier to regulate a deterministic universe.

  • ||

    Of course, the new standard isn't even close to "defy[ing] the laws of physics," but nice try.

  • ||

    Of course, you missed the point, but nice try.

  • CatoTheElder||

    3000 MPG ... no problem. Just make FlexFuel E85 plug-in hybrids and allow the automakers to estimate fuel economy based on 97% plug-in electric power and 3% FlexFuel powered recharging.

    If the vehicle can get 24 mpg from E85-powered recharging, that's 160 mpg of FlexFuel. If its fuel economy with gasoline-powered recharging were 30 mpg, its CAFE fuel economy is (160+30)/2=95mpg. Since only 3% of miles are assumed to be powered by onboard recharging and 97% plug-in, fuel economy is 95/0.03=3167mpg.

    Sensible people might object that that this is absurd. But it's no more absurd than the the way FlexFuel is now incorporated in CAFE calculations or the way minivans and SUVs were classified as trucks after CAFE standards were originally implemented.

    These things get defined by legislation and regulation, not by science and economics.

  • ||

    average 54.5 miles per gallon

    A new way to fund roads will have to be found as well. The current gas tax is really a road user tax and the tax roughly (we can argue about how roughly) equates to the amount road use and of wear a vehicle causes on the road. A heavy 4 mpg truck is harder on the road than a 35 mpg Honda Fit. Valid or not, some states are already blaming higher average mpg with a decline in road funds despite higher road traffic.

    Without some sort of electronic montioring, how is road use going to be taken into account (assuming it is) when assessing taxes? I am sure that I will not like the answer to this question.

    Gas tax money being used to fund trains/subways are another argument altogether.

  • some guy||

    If mpg doubles, then all they have to do is double the gas tax to break even.

    Or they could privitize the roads and let someone with actual business sense figure out how to fund things...

  • ||

    I think the statists see that as a feature not a bug. They would love to be able to track everybody 24/7. So much so that they might spend 5 minutes to come up with some ridiculous rationale like "law enforcement needs tools" blahblahblah.

  • ||

    I think the statists see that as a feature not a bug.

    My concern exactly

  • ||

    A 1984 Honda CR-X HF got 50mpg. This ain't rocket science. Too bad there's no way a 50 hp 1,700 lb car would pass current safety standards.

  • some guy||

    A guy near me still has a 1st gen CRX. I'm surprised the city hasn't done the vehicle equilavent of "condemning" the thing...

    Of course in a few years it will be a "Classic", and that's a whole different lobby altogether!

  • some guy||

    Scratch that. The thing's already a "classic".

  • ||

    Yeah, I'm surprised they still give him an inspection sticker.

  • ||

    Wait, actually that's almost preciesly what a Smart car weighs. I guess it is possible to get a 50 mpg car on the road these days. There's your automotive future right there.

  • ||

  • Matrix||

    50hp? Thing must've gone 0 to 60 in 5 minutes.

  • Libertarian2||

    Exactly! The private sector was building a 50 mpg car 27 years ago, and the GOVERNMENT destroyed it! From cars.about.com:
    In 1989 it had a 62 HP engine, manual transmission only, needed 12 secs to go 0-60, and EPA estimates were 49 MPG city/52 MPG highway. The 4-door Civic sedan for that year had a more useable 92 hp and room for four; its EPA estimates were 31 city/34 highway.

  • goneGalt||

    I had a 1984 Accord Hatchback. 2200 lbs.

    On my first run to FL I did a nice relaxed 70mph and got 40mpg. On another trip I drafted semis moving at 80 and got back 45mpg.

    I know... I know... Not the safest thing in the world. Especially at 3AM after 20 hours of driving.

    But somehow I managed to live to tell the tale. (DISCLAIMER: I am in no way suggesting anyone should be compelled to drive 2200 lb cars at 80mph. But for those of us who CHOOSE to, well, I'm just sayin')

  • ||

    A cost not mentioned regards the expense of repairing these vehicles - or rather, NOT repairing them...to make these lighter cars safer, they have to be built with extensive unibody construction - in many cases, even a lightly damaged vehicle is "totalled" by an insurance company because the cost of repair is so high...

  • ||

    My hope is that the only effective way for automakers to accomplish this goal will be to use incandescent bulbs.

  • ||

    +3.2 internetz

  • ||

    It's a dream I have.

  • Faye Getz||

    Speaking of incancecents, how many do you think the average person need to have a life time supply for the average home?

  • Faye Getz||

    Or more simply put. If I have a single buld 60w lamp, how many bulds would I need in stock to keep it going for another 30 years?

  • Faye Getz||

    bulds = bulbs

  • ­­­||

    You didn't believe your algebra teacher when he told you it wasn't useless, did you?

  • ||

    That's a good question. Personally, I'm thinking we replace the bulbs once a year in my home, on average.

    There is a solid economic case for CFLs and LEDs, but there are also still some advantages to incandescent bulbs. Frankly, the marketplace will likely jettison incandescents for most purposes on its own, so the government meddling was totally unwarranted. As usual.

    Because this is unpopular, the mandate will be repealed, anyway, almost certainly.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    You know, they could get an exception or reduction (say, 45 mpg) if they made their factory way more efficient. It means negotiating with the statists, but it's an option.

  • some guy||

    Somebody likes his irony...

    How long do you think it would take the Gov't to write up that waiver?

  • ||

    Hate the idea of fuel efficiency standards, but we do need a way to shift us away from oil since we seem bound and determined to not actually let the market work and instead go on endless military adventures in oil-producing lands.

    But...the obvious market-based approach, a significantly higher gas tax that increases each year (and thus gives stability to the car makers and to consumers), is a political non-starter. Maybe if we called it something other than a tax...

  • ||

    Government intervention on top of government intervention creates a multiplier effect on fucking things up.

    Besides, being okay with them telling us they're going to fix something they screwed up in the first place. . .well, that's like thanking an assailant for taking a pause while hitting your head repeatedly with a bat.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    "Besides, being okay with them telling us they're going to fix something they screwed up in the first place. . .well, that's like thanking an assailant for taking a pause while hitting your head repeatedly with a bat."

    Mind if I quote you?

  • ||

    Not at all.

  • Bill||

    With recent fracking of shale to get natural gas and oil sands advances, we are already on the way to depending less on mideastern and venuzeulan oil. At least according to Ron Bailey.

  • ||

    I just read a Popular Mechanics article on fracking. Seemed pretty balanced on the pros and cons of the process.

  • ||

    Obama said that under his new rule, "everyone wins. Consumers pay less for fuel, the economy as a whole runs more efficiently."

    I know I'm just being naive, but I cannot help being surprised when anybody who utters this sort of nonsense doesn't just burst into flames on the spot.

    As for highway funding, we'll get that money from the Evul BigOil Predators; once they have been declared "regulated public utilities" they won't be allowed to pass the tax along to the consumers.

  • ||

    The lighter cars will cause less highway damage too. Wins all around!

  • ||

    Small cars are great if you are a 4' tall Asian female.

  • ||

    Small cars are great if you are a 4' tall Asian female.

    4' foot tall Asian females in small cars are great fun if you're me. But for a different kind of driving.

  • ||

    Oh, so horny....Ohh, so horny...Ohh, so horny.

    Me love you long time.

    Oh, so horny....Ohh, so horny....Ohh, so horny.

    Me love you long time

  • 2LiveCrew's "date"||

    No ten dollah, no sucky sucky.

  • ||

    A 1984 Honda CR-X HF got 50mpg.

    I had one; 53mpg at 85mph. It had a lot to do with *not* having the aero drag of an outhouse on wheels (viz SmartCar). I should have hung on to it.

  • ||

    A 1984 Honda CR-X HF got 50mpg.

    Hah, that car would not be legal to sell new in USA these days. What without eleventy billion airbags and what-not.

    I remember Uncle Sugar complaining - as only the ignorant can - that a 'Model T gets same mileage as the modern car's average' or some such tripe.

    But think about it. If you could slap together a car, made mostly from wood, with no seatbelts, airbags...fuck power windows lets try no windows at all... Or starter, or A/C, or side-impact beams, and a fucking magneto for electricity....you'd have 100MPG car right there with a modern 20HP engine.

  • ||

    I have zero evidence to back this up, but here it goes anyway.

    I left the US in ’76 and did not return until ’91. After I returned to the states, I was surprised how much faster everyone seemed to drive and what a large percentage drove significantly above the speed limit. I blame the high mpg mandate because one method of getting the higher mpg numbers was to use overdrive transmissions in cars and trucks.

    My assertion is people don’t drive a certain speed, at least on motorways, because of what the speed limit sign tells them, they rely on their ears to tell them what a good speed is. For any given engine RPM an overdrive transmission provides 15-20 miles faster speed than would be otherwise be obtained in the top gear of a non-OD transmission vehicle (assumes somewhat level road). Try it yourself. I’d bet a dollar to a donut that your car runs about the same RPM at 60-65 mph in the top, non-overdrive gear as it does at 75-80 mph in OD. Not only that, the sound will be in the RPM sweet spot of not lugging, but not screaming either.

    If my observation is correct, then some of the increased fatalities may not just be caused by lighter relative vehicle rate, but high speed.

    Bottomline, in 1976 doing 80 on I-95 was going fast. In 2011, doing 80 on I-95 is keeping up with the traffic.

  • goneGalt||

    I’d bet a dollar to a donut that your car runs about the same RPM...

    HEY! That's even money these days!

    But I agree with the rest of the post.

  • Doug||

    It could have to do with the nationwide 55mph limit being bumped up to 65 in '87. It could also be because the piece-of-shit products that Detroit was pumping out in the 70s and 80s shook themselves to pieces at highway speeds.

  • ||

    I am old enough to remember what the speed limits before they were knocked
    down to 55 mph.

    I am not claiming that there are not other factors, just that I think that the speeds on average are much higher now than they used to be and I attribute one of maybe many reasons to be OD transmissions. I also attribute OD transmissions being installed as standard in nearly every new car to the car manufactures having to meet government mandated mpg rules.

    I am not even claiming it is a bad thing. Hell, I like to drive fast, with good mileage and lower noise. I am also a fan of PJ O'Rourke.

    My dad's 65 Olds with a 350cu (5700cc) was roaring at 85 mph. My 2500 cc Subaru is hardly spinning hard at 85 in D (really an OD over 3rd).

  • ­­­||

    You left the U.S. exactly one year before Smokey and the Bandit came out. That's when everybody started speeding.

  • ||

    Ha

    Funny thing, when I lived in the UK, motorway speeds were high, even though there was a 70mph posted limit. As long as one stayed under 100 mph, there was little chance of picking up a ticket. I used to drive from Glasgow to near London with the cruise control set at 98mph and was never bothered. What would pick you up a ticket quick was passing on the wrong side or staying in the passing lane when not passing.

    Things have changed since I left, the cops discovered speed camera and I believe (not really sure) that local district gets to keep the speed camera fine money, where the older speeding ticket money went to the central government.

  • ­­­||

    "staying in the passing lane when not passing"

    I believe in the death penalty for this.

  • ||

    One of my previous 'project cars' was an '81 Malibu wagon that I was building for my wife. With the stocker 305, 3-speed transmission and the 2.2x gears out back, it was slow as beans from a dead stop. But those big highway gears out back let the car have a pretty high top speed.

    Or my old '68 Firebird with the 2-speed powerfglide - I managed to go 135mph in that. I could have gone faster, but the car was going all over the road at that point. Ah, those stupid teenage years - I'm lucky to be alive.

  • Monty||

    Fatalities continue to go down almost every year.

  • ||

    My first Mini (mine were all REAL Minis, not that crappy BMW iLifestyle accessory) was an 850cc Morris version. It got absurd mileage, but even in the seventies there were people who refused to ride in it, because it was basically an oversized band-aid can with a motor and wheels.

    Side impact protection? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    GOOD LUCK.

  • ||

    I only put about $2 worth of gas a week in my MG Midget in 1987. I loved that car.

  • ||

    Was that because it had a complete electrical failure every 75 miles or so?

  • ||

    No electrical problems, oddly.

    In the 8 months I owned it: replaced the water pump, the fuel pump (twice), head gasket, the entire exhaust system, had to drop the gas tank to flush it out, and the hood came off while on a highway. Like literally came off and flew up and over me. That was fun strapping back down so I could get it home.

    It finally died when the oil pan fell off and it threw a rod before I could shut it off.

  • ||

    LOL

    Funniest is that I figure you didn't make any of that up!

    You're lucky the hood came off. I was once driving near a newish Mustang on the freeway outside LA, and the hood flipped back, bent hard against the windshield, and blocked the driver's forward vision completely, at 65+ MPH!

    In LA I would have expected other drivers to flip him off for it, but instead, the cars around the guy spontaneously formed a convoy and guided him to the shoulder while slowing down and keeping other cars from hitting him. It restored some of my faith in humanity.

  • ||

    As the 60's bikers would say..."Lucas, Prince of Darkness".

  • dunkel||

    I had a 71 MGB. It threw a rod in 1990. It was a shit ton of fun to drive. I never had mechanical or electrical issues before the catastrophic failure, which occurred in the mountains of Utah while driving from San Diego to Denver. That sucked.

  • ||

    I lost a Pontiac Grand Am - powered by a Olds-derived Quad 4 (2.4L, no balance shafts...WTF?) - that very same way.

    But I lost the crank. Whole bottom of motor detached, bearings too...raining on the road all this metal and goo. Sounded like rebar when you drop it on a street.

    And it just so happened I was close enough to home, I glided in neutral to my driveway with leftover motion.

    It left a skunk-trail down my street right to under my car. Neighbors loved me for that one.

  • ||

    MG - the car that should have a net underneath it to catch the falling parts.

  • ||

    P. Brooks,

    I had two minis when I lived in the UK, both the real deal. I hit a cow with one of them in '77. My mini died, the cow walked away.

    The estate tried to sue me for 100 quid over the cow (big money in '77). I had a lawyer write a letter back to them for 10 quid telling them to piss off. I was ok becuase it was an unfenced, one-lane road in the Argyll with no sign warning of free-range animals.

  • ||

    MG Midget

    I had one of those too, but in the US.

  • ||

    Mine was a mustard yellow 1979 like this one.

  • ||

    Mine was about the same colour. I am getting old, I can't remember what year it was - 70 or 72. Bought in 74 when I was 18, so doubt I could afford a '72, so it must of been a '70.

  • kinnath||

    I had a TR7 for a while. Fun to drive, but over all a piece of shit.

  • Faye Getz||

    I had one of those while living near State College, PA. Fun driving fast on windy mountain roads, but yeah, over all a piece of shit.

  • DK||

    I agree with Stossel's general contention that the feds should stay the fuck out of this market, but his contention that raising fuel standards will kill a bunch of people is prima facie bullshit. The primary reason for which lighter smaller vehicles have a higher fatal collision rate is that they are involved in accidents with larger heavier vehicles. Not hard to figure out here - big vehicle wins. If the entire fuel standard is raised to 54mpg, however, larger passenger vehicles will likely disappear from the roads, either because car companies won't make them (it'll fuck up their fleet average) or because people won't buy them (presumably owners of large vehicles will be penalized). So fatalities could actually drop. Point is - don't use stupid arguments about how you policy choices are empirically better according to some silly metric; just go with the individual rights path.

  • Ken||

    I hear that! Also the 7,000 extra dollars is also bullshit. I thought stossel knew about market demand pricing.

  • ||

    "Market demand pricing" is difficult to accomplish for products subject to expensive mandates.

  • DLowe||

    It's a good thing we no longer use semis to transport products.

  • goneGalt||

    The statists are working on that angle too.

    TRRAAAIIINNNZZZ!!!

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Yeah, it's also a good thing people don't actually want to own big ass pickups for various reasons (business, house out in the country, transporting scores of sluts to your harem, transporting dead sluts from harem to the dump, etc.).

  • ||

    Compost them, it's cheaper--and, when you turn the pile you get great Halloween decorations.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Or cargo vans or work trucks or fire trucks or ambulances or buses, etc. etc.

  • DK||

    Pulled from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics for 2009:

    In 2009, there were approximately 296,000 crashes involving large trucks in the U.S., which only accounted for 3.1 percent of total crashes. Fatal accidents involving large trucks made up for only 7% of all fatal crashes in the U.S. By contrast, 39.4% of those were caused by "light trucks" (vans, pickups, & SUVs).

    So it seems that semis, etc cause nowhere near the number of traffic fatalities as SUVs, etc. Probably has something to do with the fact that the semi drivers do so professionally and know the limits of their vehicles, while SUV owners are stupid and think they can drive their vehicles like Corvettes. One could easily make the argument that traffic fatalities would likely decrease in response to these new fuel standards.

    Note that I'm not happy about these fuel standards. I think the feds have no business mandating such things. All I'm saying is that this appeal to "empirical facts" is a crock of shit. It weakens the theoretical argument (from individual rights) if and when the "empirical" one is shown to be bullshit. It's the reason why arguing against environmental laws by citing some "empirical facts" about climate change is ridiculous. If you're wrong, you've lost the policy debate because you've detached your basic ethical framework. Don't do it! You can make a much more compelling case from individual rights.

  • anonymous||

    and no one ever hits walls, poles, trees, buildings, or anything bigger than another car.

  • ||

    And then you can have the government mandate more flexible trees, deer, bridge abutments, ditches, and houses, all of which win when you hit them and win more when you hit them in a smaller car. Not to mention rollovers. Stossel's not the one that can't do physics.

  • DK||

    Fuck off. The vast majority of accidents (~70%) involve two or more vehicles. And an even higher percentage for fatal accidents. Maybe you increase the fatality rate among single vehicle accidents by a small factor. Doesn't matter if the fatality rate decreases in multi-vehicle accidents (as I've argued it would above).

    And I'm pretty sure my PhD in physics indicates that I can't do physics. But I can do the math...

  • Fire Tiger||

    larger passenger vehicles will likely disappear from the roads
    People will always buy larger vehicles, too many industries depend on them, agriculture and construction to name just two. Not to mention the people who use them in their leisure time, hauling motorcycles, horse trailers, boats, motorhomes etc...

  • CatoTheElder||

    Obviously, leisure time use of motor vehicles will have to be banned.

  • ||

    hauling motorcycles, horse trailers, boats, motorhomes etc...

    We don't need these in Mahatten or Chevy Chase, why do you selfish prigs need them. Can't you just go to an art show or go eat some cake?

  • DK||

    It's pretty simple economics - raise the price of SUVs and demand falls. Thus, fewer SUVs. Take it to extreme prices (which this administration seems willing to do) and they disappear. The fact is that the federal government can kill entire industries with excise taxes and other "tools".

    Notice that I never talked about large trucks. Notice also (as in my comment above) that they

  • ||

    just a little note - I used to drive a full-frame '91 Caprice that was pretty much a bare-bones taxi edition. It weighed in at ~3900 pounds.

    A few years ago I read an article about the Shelby Mustang and the weight in the review was listed at ~3900 pounds!

    The weight of cars has gone up dramatically over the years, even with unibody construction. It's the additional safety equipment, electrical, power everything, etc etc. Squeezing more mpg, short of widespread hybrid technology, is going mean smaller cars with more stripped down interiors.

    The question is who - other than the mpg-zealots - will want to drive such vehicles. I'm 6'2" and I _hate_ small cars with a passion. It's a legroom, elbow-room issue. My current car is a low-mileage '01 Grand Marquis that still manages to get 25+mpg on the highway. I'm willing to pay extra fuel consumption for increased room (and trunk).

  • Ken||

    Ok, I like fuel efficiency, I think its great. And I also agree that the government has no right to set standards. But I think John Stossel is demagoguing the issue by saying that these will cause 2000 deaths a year. Technology can make them light and strong, and suggesting that it will increase prices, well maybe it will at first, but I thought John Stossel knew that competition decreases costs. Come on, Stossel!

  • Almanian||

    Our design engineers are alllllll laughing at you right now...

  • Almanian||

    Technology can make them light and strong

    Unicorn Engineers, get to work! Because of course, auto companies haven't been trying to "make them light and strong" for, oh, 100 years or so...

  • ||

    You are engineering the wrong thing.

    If you re-engineer all the roads to make them run downhill in every direction - problem solved.

  • ||

    Good point!

    I drove my AWD station wagon across the Sierras recently, and on the downhill side the thing got close to 50 MPG!

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Ken,

    I think John Stossel is demagoguing the issue by saying that these will cause 2000 deaths a year.


    It's the impacient requirement that will cause the 2,000 additional deaths per year. In order to achieve compliance, the designers will have to cut some corners as the technology that could make lighter and stronger cars is still quite expensive.

    Technology can make them light and strong


    Yes, manufacturers could use new technologies - but cheaply? The car makers are in the business of making and selling cars as FAST as possible and as profitable as possible, with a level of quality that allows them to maintain their market share. They can certainly make stronger and lighter cars using composites and other exotic materials, but there's a VERY GOOD REASON why only exotic car makers use them today and not the manufacturers of the more commercial vehicles: Those materials simply can't compete with steel in price and availability. Steel is still (thank God!) a very cheap and strong material to produce and transform. You can't fight the laws of economics.

  • ||

    More to the point, the "extra 2000 deaths" compares more fuel efficient cars with less fuel efficient cars using the same technology. So we are not comparing a 1978 Datsun that got 30mpg with a 2025 car of similar size that will get 60mpg. Rather, compare a smart car with a BMW 7 series. Both made with similar safety technologies... and although the Smart car is remarkably safe for what it is, it is nowhere near as safe as the 7 series. In a head on collision between a Smart car and a BMW 7, you'd want to be in the 7 series every time.

  • ||

    Technology can make them light and strong

    Look, unless you're a materials engineer with some expertise in the field, who has some understanding of how compliance with the mandate could actually be achieved in the real world, you are talking directly out of your ass, here. If there was some holy-grail material that didn't require any tradeoffs among mass, strength, and cost, auto manufacturers would already be using it.

    Humankind is incredibly creative and not infrequently produces technological and engineering achievements thought to be impossible a few short decades earlier. But confidently asserting that "techology" will solve a pretty fundamental physical problem within ten years, without being able to point to a practical path forward, is underwear-on-head retarded.

  • Almanian||

    Just getting ready to hop on the Mighty Kawasaki to head over to the other plant for a meeting. Side-impact protection? Minimal. Gas mileage...nnngggg...36-ish.

    0-100 in the blink of an eye, 186mph [electronically limited] top speed? Ninja ZX14 for 2011! Life is short, bikes are fun, fuck the EPA and NHTSA.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    I got the Toyota Corrola up to 39.9999999999 mpg once. Not sure what I did, but I usually get it to hover around 34 mpg.

  • ||

    Yes, but does it soiund like a Harley?

  • Faye Getz||

    Shitty sound in the world. It's basically a fat grandpa alert.

  • ­­­||

    Sounds like closeted homosexual to me.

  • ||

    What the EPA really wants...

  • ||

    LOOM!

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

  • Anomalous||

    And it wasn't a bullet that laid him to rest
    'Twas The Low Cost of High Fuel Bills

  • ||

    Keep in mind that this is fleet average mileage. The fact that there are econoboxes on the road that, with very careful management, can hit this target doesn't mean much.

    Those econoboxes are also going to have to get a lot more efficient to bring the fleet average up to the required level.

    I saw an article (sorry, long down the memory hole) that talked about some of the options for hitting this target. They can be summarized as either (a) very expensive or (b) rolling deathtraps.

    I'm planning to nurse and baby my current vehicles as long as possible, and then rebuild them.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    rolling deathtraps

    Man, that would be a sweet band name if it didn't remind me of the Stones.

  • kinnath||

    This will force automakers to go down the road of the newest aircraft -- carbon-fiber frames and skins. Strong, lightweight, non-corrosive, and really really fucking expensive.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    ...really really fucking expensive.

    And there will be much gnashing of teeth as their sales dwindle into boutique luxury territory.

  • Faye Getz||

    Me too, RC. My 20-year-pld F150 4x4 just improves with age. Parts are just parts after all and can easily be replaced.

  • kinnath||

    That works pretty well in Texas. But Here in Iowa, cars rust into pieces before they stop running (even with rust-proofing). My nine-year-old Exterra is still running great, but it's starting to show a few signs of rust.

  • SFC B||

    I have little doubt that, should Obama be reelected, some agency will require that vehicles in Texas be sprayed with something to cause corrosion.

    You know... for... fairness...

  • Monty||

    Body parts is still just parts.

  • ||

    If the entire fuel standard is raised to 54mpg

    Corporate AVERAGE Fuel Economy.

    Now you know.

  • ||

    The quick-and-dirty way to bump fuel mileage is to put little skinny rock-hard tires on your car.

    They definitely won't make it safer, but what the heck. It's the thought that counts.

  • ||

    The Deliverator's car has enough potential energy packed into its batteries to fire a pound of bacon into the Asteroid Belt. Unlike a bimbo box or a Burb beater, the Deliverator's car unloads that power through gaping, gleaming, polished sphincters... You want to talk contact patches? Your car's tires have tiny contact patches, talk to the asphalt in four places the size of your tongue. The Deliverator's car has big sticky tires with contact patches the size of a fat lady's thighs. The Deliverator is in touch with the road, starts like a bad day, stops on a peseta.
  • Gray Ghost||

    I too, look forward to the day where I'll be paying traffic fines in trillions of dollars.

    Add Snow Crash to the list of, "Why the fuck haven't they made a movie of that yet?"

  • kinnath||

    Bicycle wheels and 10-speed transmissions.....

  • ||

    Excellent point. With a little drafting in traffic I was able to maintain close to 35 mph between lights during my commute in downtown Birmingham using less than 1 horsepower and a 15 speed gearbox. That would have to get pretty extreme gas mileage using an internal combustion engine instead of my legs.

  • I, Kahn O'Clast||

    Very late to the thread but a couple of points:

    1) When they say "fleet" does this include cars sold in other countries? If I remember correctly this is how Daimler was able to sell Mercedes in the US with rather poor average mileage: in Europe they also produce lots and lots of small, fuel efficient Mercedes (which are fun as hell to drive). This might help GM given its fleet in China....

    2) Electric cars are able to boast ridiculous mileage numbers in gasoline terms. If a mere 5% of a company's fleet were electric the rest could probably be right about where they are today.... if not worse.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Replacing catalytic converters with straight pipes is the 21st Century's version of burning draft cards. Who's with me?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    It is not merely about a tradeoff between fuel mileage and safety - it about a trade off between fuel mileage and every other attribute that anyone might value in a car more than they absolute fuel mileage efficiency to the max.

    Consumer preferences are about a lot of trade offs. Some people value power and performace greater than they do fuel mileage.

    The consumer is the odd man out in this construct. The self appointed elites are not happy that the choices of others do not conform to what they think they should be so they are simpley trying to force their own choices on everyone else by preventing them having any alternative choices at all.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Gilbert Martin,

    The consumer is the odd man out in this construct.


    The consumer always ends up being the odd man out in all government-business compacts. That is the tragedy embedded in this comedy.

  • ||

    I think Mercedes and their ilk just pay the fines include the cost of CAFE noncompliance in the price of the vehicle.

  • kinnath||

    That's my understanding as well. The makers of luxury vehicles just pay the fine and make what the customer wants.

  • Mo||

    But that's not the worst of it. The new rules will kill people. Sam Kazman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute explained this on my Fox Business show last week. The MPG standard "has been killing people for the last 30 years," Kazman said. How can that be?

    "It forces cars to be...made smaller and lighter....They are simply worse in just about every type of auto collision."

    Actually, the average weight of cars has risen by over 900 lbs since 1987.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.c.....he-weight/

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Mo,

    Actually, the average weight of cars has risen by over 900 lbs since 1987.


    That's because of SUVs which are not technically "cars". Also, all those fancy-schmanzy gadgets that purport to leave us maimed instead of dead after a 60MPH crash add to the overall weight of a modern vehicle, regardless of size.

  • Mo||

    Are you blind, lying or being intentionally obtuse? If you look at cars of the same make an model now compared to a decade ago, let alone two, they are bigger. A Civic today is massive compare to my friend's Civic in high school (mid 90s). A modern Accord is huge compared to one in the 90s. Even SUVs and pickups are larger. Today's F150 looks like it ate the one from 1992. A 2011 Explorer is over 20% heavier than the equivalent. Sam Kazman is either a liar or fool that can't tell that cars have gotten bigger.

  • goneGalt||

    How about you are both right?

    Light trucks and SUVs represent a much larger segment of the personal vehicle market than in, say, 1979. But also, at the same time, today's Honda Civic is MUCH larger than my old '79 Accord.

    Neither fact precludes the other.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Mo,

    Are you blind, lying or being intentionally obtuse?


    You're being an ass, Mo.

    If you look at cars of the same make an model now compared to a decade ago, let alone two, they are bigger.


    Your link does not mention that, it only says "on average."

    A Civic today is massive compare to my friend's Civic in high school (mid 90s).


    Perhaps, but you did not say "comparing same brand, make and model." A 90s Civic is about the same size and weight as a Honda Fit, which is the comparable model, not today's Civic. You can't compare a '65 Mustang with a 2011 Mustang, as they are NOT the same vehicle.

    Even SUVs and pickups are larger. Today's F150 looks like it ate the one from 1992. A 2011 Explorer is over 20% heavier than the equivalent. Sam Kazman is either a liar or fool that can't tell that cars have gotten bigger.


    SOME models have become bigger, but there are still smaller vehicles that replaced the older vehicles in the market.

    in the link provided safety equipment only accounted for 125 lbs or the 900 lbs.


    Maybe, but that is not a proper comparison. How much more fuel efficient would a comparable SMALL CAR would be withOUT the bulky "safety equipment"? 125# is a lot of weight to place on a Chevy Aveo.

    Comparing same makes and models is not proper, as car design evolves according to taste and market conditions. The proper comparison should be between cars of comparable SIZE and POWER.

  • Mo||

    The proper comparison should be between cars of comparable SIZE and POWER.

    Cars today have loads more power than they did in the 70s and 80s. An 83 Mustang with a 5 liter V-8 had 175 horsepower. A 2012 Focus with a 2 liter I-4 has 160 hp and a Civic Si has a 2 liter 4 banger that has 197 horsepower.

  • Mo||

    Also, in the link provided safety equipment only accounted for 125 lbs or the 900 lbs.

  • ||

    Also, in the link provided safety equipment only accounted for 125 lbs or the 900 lbs.

    Well it's interesting what gets classified as "safety equipment". The above link doesn't say so I tracked down data. What is interesting is the author of the article says:

    But, in 2001 (the last year where I could find applicable data), safety equipment accounted for only 125 lbs.


    Well, the author didn't find "applicable data", he found NHTSA Report Number DOT HS 809 834. What is conspicuously missing is structural changes manufactures would have made to meet Federal standards. To meet the crash requirements it is not inconceivable that parts not classified as “safety equipment” would have to be beefed up.

    What is also missing is the added weight of the emission system requirements. In my view the 125 lbs is a dubious and misleading number.

  • Progressive Twit||

    More evidence that no matter what President Obama does, Republicans and libertarians will oppose it. He's not forcing companies to make unsafe cars. He's forcing the auto companies to double fuel economy, and you're complaining even though everybody benefits!

  • kinnath||

    Boring

  • ||

    You lost me at "he's forcing..."

    Therein lies the truth of the bullshit of a progressive.

    They need force to push through their ideas.

  • Fire Tiger||

    So they are taking the two types of vehicles that the US manufacturers lead in sales with, sports cars and trucks, and attempting to make them obsolete.

  • ­­­||

    Profits are fascist. And probably racist.

  • ||

    Profits are DEFINITELY racist.

  • Matrix||

    what if them there colored folks make profit?

  • anonymous||

    Then they get arrested for selling crack

  • scythe||

    54 mpg counts electric cars in the averaging. They do some fancy math and say that an electric car has 86 mpg or something silly, and then throw that into the average with their ordinary 30 mpg car. What the regulation really says is "every car manufacturer must sell electric cars". I support electric cars, but I think this law is kind of silly.

  • Bobarian||

    "every car manufacturer must sell [enough] electric cars" to average out their CAFE to reach 54. Also, I think truck and SUVs are supposed to be in the total average, vice being separate.

  • ||

    land of the free, home of the brave.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Team Stossel Liveblog Notice: Liveblogging continues for now on the debate.

  • ||

    What bullshit, so should we make 20 ton cars now, that go 15 MPH? and 5 5 MPG?

    I mean that would save lives right?

  • ||

    Perhaps people that know themselves to be shitty drivers can opt for a heavy car that gets the same mph and is just slow as shit.
    Personally I see shitty drivers putting themselves in a position of saftey while putting others at an increased risk. Perhaps it will cost lives, but they will be the lives of careless and reckless people. So why is it governments job to protect the interests of the reckless and careless individuals who dare to ignore reality?
    Government isnt an insurance company, after all.

  • kentuckywoman2||

    Are you nuts? Do you own stock in oil companies? There are many ways to reduce mpg without endangering safety. Of course, this could mean using alternative fuels other than gasoline, which makes oil companies panic. Yes, cars are getting lighter and more unsafe. Especially the imports. It seems to me fairly simple to say that mpg must be improved without making cars less safe, lighter, etc. How about being more innovative? Where's that pioneer spirit? Perhaps using hemp resin for auto bodies could be explored. It's strong and durable (like the hemp paper our U.S. Constitution's written on) and would be cheaper to manufacture - oh wait, probably illegal in the U.S., right? So many things we could do to improve our economy and lives of our citizens save for the greed and short-sightedness of the people with the power to do so.

  • ­­||

    The pioneer spirit was last seen somewhere in the Sierra Nevada in 1846 and is believed dead, possibly eaten by members of the Donner party.

  • Cheech||

    I had a truck made out of that stuff, you know, man.

    Caught fire and me and my homes won the battle of the band.

  • The Derider||

    Air pollution kills people too you fucking imbecile.

    John Stossel is a moron's moron.

  • ||

    Once you read enough of his articles here, you'll realize that Stossel's not dumb (based on how much he makes, I'd say not at all)--he's just a really lazy writer.

    Just about any of his articles you can do a search and find the same exact thing written (better) by someone else. Then he just dumbs it down and regurgitates it for the masses. [Fortunately, the Reason masses are a high-grade of mass.]

    It reminds me of a student hurriedly writing something due by the end of the day.

  • ||

    "the new standard will raise the price of cars by about $7,000. You'd need to save a lot on fuel to break even."

    Fleet cars put on thousands of miles more than the average driver. Breaking even isn't going to be an issue for fleets.

    Not saying the govt should be fucking with this, but I hate incomplete statements of fact like that.

  • ||

    this article does not take into account the number of fatalities that are suffered just by auto companies figuring in cutting corners. the companies' actuaries figure it is cheaper to have a certain number of fatalities than it is to make a superior product. The other point, not taken into account, is that as we are forced to make these types of cars they will get better and better. Thank God the mileage per gallon has to go up, otherwise we would be driving cars that would get 2 mpg

  • ||

    Abandon CAFE and tax gas more to ensure that externalities like smog, congestion , Co2, etc. are accounted for in pricing. CAFE costs lives for more than just the reasons stated in the article. Because CAFE makes driving less costly (you pay the premium up front), owners may elect to drive more. The more you drive, the greater the probability that you will be involved in a collision, not to mention more traffic congestion, etc. I am sure that if gas cost as much here as it does in Europe, you wouldn't need CAFE and the agency that regulates and enforces CAFE on auto makers.

  • قبلة الوداع||

    thank u

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