Regulation

Trump Regulatory Rollback: Auto Fuel Efficiency Standards

Activists howl in outrage and frustration

|

CAFEEPA
EPA

The Obama Administration imposed fuel efficiency standards on the automobile industry requiring them to increase fuel efficiency standards to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Now carmakers are reportedly asking the incoming Trump administration for a "a pathway forward" on setting final fuel efficiency standards through 2025 and calling on the next administration to "harmonize and adjust" the rules.

Predictably, any hint that regulations might be rolled back brings forth howls of protest from activists. And so it has. Public Citizen, the self-styled "people's voice in the nation's capital" issued a press release decrying the notion that corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards might be loosened:

In 2009, in the aftermath of financial losses that stemmed from poor sales of inefficient fleets and higher oil prices, American taxpayers rescued the auto industry after it nearly went out of business. Now, this same industry sent a memo to Trump's lobbyist-staffed transition team asking for permission to ease off improved fuel economy standards.

Let's not forget that the reason the auto industry had to be bailed out was because automakers built a fleet of gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles that they could no longer sell. More fuel efficient cars would have saved them and taxpayers the trouble, but now it appears that the auto industry has learned nothing from its recent mistakes.

Federal regulators raised fuel efficiency standards because they save consumers money and are an important part of our effort to combat climate change.

Back in 2009, I criticized Obama's proposed CAFE standards as an inefficient stealth tax on driving. It's inefficient because drivers pay more, car companies make less money, and state and federal governments don't get any extra revenues. If activists and politicians want Americans to drive more fuel-efficient cars, the simple and honest thing to do would be to substantially raise gasoline taxes concluded a 2002 National Academy of Sciences report. Ultimately, I argued, setting CAFE standards is just a way for cowardly politicians to avoid telling their fellow citizens that they should pay more for the privilege of driving.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

56 responses to “Trump Regulatory Rollback: Auto Fuel Efficiency Standards

  1. Let’s not forget that the reason the auto industry had to be bailed out was because automakers built a fleet of gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles that they could no longer sell. More fuel efficient cars would have saved them and taxpayers the trouble

    Riiiight. Obviously, the solution is to have the government bail these companies out, and then manage them going forward so that they don’t make these awful mistakes again. Truly, there is no other way this can work.

    1. If I’m going to be forced to be part owner in a car company against my will, I should get dividends.

      1. The mutual fund that bought the stocks for you is running at a loss. So you’re getting negative dividends.

        1. Detroit should be REQUIRED (at Government Almighty’s gunpoint) to mass-produce fuel-free, propellant-free, pollution-free anti-gravity pods by mid-2017, dammit!!! Damned GREEDY KKKorporate bahsthads!!!!

          (They’re holding out on us, only ’cause the evil oil KKKorporations bribe them so as to keep selling petro to us).

        2. Thanks for pointing that out…really appreciate it…

      2. You don’t own shit. That interest went to the UAW as payback for Obama campaign contributions.

        Oh how I hop Trump puts Obama in prison too.

      3. Your dividends are paid out in the form of clean air, racist!

        /proglodyte

    2. Obama was GM’s Product-manager-in-chief I guess.

      1. Is there anything he CAN’T do?

    3. Silly me. I thought the auto industry needed a bailout out due to the recession, the stock market crash, the loss of available financing, and the overwhelming legacy costs they faced due to the cost of pension benefits mandated by union contracts. And I also thought that the trucks and SUVs exempt from fuel efficiency standards were the auto industry’s best sellers, the only thing that was saving them from even greater financial distress.

      But now I understand that the key to economic salvation is to force the production and sale of more expensive cars. Because everyone knows that raising the price of a product leads to increased sales.

  2. “…American taxpayers rescued the auto industry…”
    Translation; We own you. You did not build that car…without us.

    I’d say the unions were rescued and the bond holders fucked.

    Yeah, Cafe standards so we can all drive lighter and less safe vehicles so Smart Car drivers do not feel threatened and physics is more fair.

    1. Headshot.

      The bailout was all about protecting union jobs. When businesses fuck up as badly as they did, they deserve to go under and be replaced with more efficient companies.

      They protect leftist unions, blame the problems caused by those unions on the companies themselves, and then have the gall to claim nationalization rights because they gave bailouts. Fuck these socialist assholes.

      1. The bailout was rewarding friends of Obama, and punishing his enemies.

        Banana Republic

        1. Time to hold congressional hearings, and appoint a special prosecutor. So many reasons to throw Obama in prison.

  3. Let’s not forget that the reason the auto industry had to be bailed out was because automakers built a fleet of gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles that they could no longer sell. More fuel efficient cars would have saved them and taxpayers the trouble.

    Bullshit. The trucks always and still do sell. The reason the auto industry had to be bailed out is because their fucking costs were out of whack.

    To hit the stupid safety regs, cars are increasingly complex and expensive. I had a Honda back in the ’80s that did more than 50 MPG. But you could never build a car like that becasue it needs to have 15 air bags, ABS, backup camera, blah blah blah.

    Fuck CAFE. Obliterate it and let the market determine what the manufacturers will make.

    It’s not fuel efficiency these freaks are after – it’s to eliminate driving.

    1. The peaks and valleys of SUV and truck sales go hand-in-hand with the price of oil/gasoline. Even the laziest car company still knows it has to scale back production of cars that aren’t selling, regardless of the reasons they aren’t selling.

      The bailout of GMAC was arguably a much bigger deal than the government purchase of GM shares. GM the manufacturer had assets to sell, contracts to restructure, dealerships to close, etc. Recovering 60 cents on the dollar isn’t pleasant but it is survivable. GMAC had shit tons of bad mortgages and bad car loans marked as Tier 1 assets when they were actually worth a few pennies on the dollar. But government just swept it under the rug and reformed it as Ally Bank and let the Fed buy the garbage at face value.

    2. “Fuck CAFE. Obliterate it and let the market determine what the manufacturers will make”

      Now, now – we can’t let consumers decide for themselves what vehicle attributes that they value most.

      They might make the wrong choices, you see. The benevolent and wise central planners must relieve folks of the burden of making those choices by deciding things for them to ensure the optimal outcome (as defined by those same said central planners of course).

    3. Let’s also eliminate progressives. I have a draft of a constitutional amendment outlawing the practice of marxism. The point of it is to never let a creature like Obama rise to high office ever again.

    4. A friend of mine just bought a brand new Honda Civic sedan. It has a back-up camera. Why in god’s name does a car as small as a Civic need a back-up camera??

      1. Why in god’s name does a car as small as a Civic need a back-up camera??

        How else are you going to see the license plate number of the vehicle that backed into you?

  4. Good. The EPA has ruined diesels. If prefer they weren’t allowed to do the same to gasoline vehicles.

  5. Please, please, PLEASE let him repeal CAFE standards.

    1. Better yet repeal the EPA altogether.

      1. I read some mewling that Trump was planning on appointing a known Climate Denier to head the EPA.
        This is going to be a glorious 4 years of pants shitting. We’re going to turn up the fossile fuel burning to 11 under Trump and there’s not a god damn thing they can do about it.

  6. “More fuel efficient cars would have saved them and taxpayers the trouble, but now it appears that the auto industry has learned nothing from its recent mistakes.”

    Ford sells more F-150’s than pretty much anything else. Thank god they do because that’s what saved them during the recession and also why they didn’t take a bailout.

    1. Ford has also just pulled themselves out of their own restructuring. They had done a lot of cutbacks when I was with them circa 2000. That helped them out immensely when the recession did hit.

    2. Ford has also just pulled themselves out of their own restructuring. They had done a lot of cutbacks when I was with them circa 2000. That helped them out immensely when the recession did hit.

      1. Damn, my first squirrel attack.

        1. Nasty little bastards, aren’t they?

  7. The standards are impossible to meet under any conditions. Currently, car makers pay a subsidy to Tesla to meet their quota, which is insane. The only way to meet them is to use pixie dust in your car. You cannot violate the laws of physics. Gasoline only has some much energy per gram.

    1. And the ethanol mandate required more cellulosic ethanol than were was even productive capacity to produce, nor the ability to scale up to. I haven’t heard in a while what became of that one.

    2. That’s another good reason to get rid of CAFE. Strip the subsidies, and we’ll be able to see if Tesla can actually make a viable electric car, or it was completely dependent on forced wealth transfers.

    3. You cannot violate the laws of physics.

      “They are just laws. We amend laws all the time.”
      [/sarc]

  8. “…Ultimately, I argued, setting CAFE standards is just a way for cowardly politicians to avoid telling their fellow citizens that they should pay more for the privilege of driving…”

    “privilege”? I did hot know driving was a “privilege”?

  9. BTW, someone please tell ‘the activists’ that they lost.

    1. Once enough is enough they will learn at the business end of a nightstick.

  10. Hmm, caf? standards in the US are low enough, already.

    1. *extremely narrow gaze* *

      * (A license feee aas paid to Switzy)

  11. Let’s not forget that the reason the auto industry had to be bailed out was because automakers built a fleet of gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles that they could no longer sell.

    Are they actually arguing that this is why the EPA had to step in? Not to help the environment but to boost GM’s sales? Seriously?

    1. Sure. It had nothing to do with the fact that their retiree health costs were so out of whack that one board member called GM ‘a health care benefits company that sold cars on the side’.

  12. “Activists howl in outrage and frustration”

    Whole new category of porn – SJW feelz

    The tears, the outrage, the sadness!

    Giggity!

  13. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    …….. http://www.jobprofit9.com

  14. I’ve made $64,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. Im using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I do,

    —————- http://YoutubeJobs.Nypost55.com

  15. Elections have consequences.

    1. Hmmmm, now where have I heard that before?

  16. Let’s not forget that In 2007 GWB singed legislation for the 54.5 MPG standard.

  17. Ronald. AGREED! Raise the gas taxes. Companies like Tesla will flourish and the auto makers who see the EV future will also benefit.

  18. Combat climate change? Come on, get real, upping the corporate MPG standard would have virtually no effect. The climate changes on its own. Ever hear of the ice ages you morons? 2025 is just 8+ years away. My car gets roughly 21 MPG and it is a modern car with all manner of EPA mandated “crap” bolted on. To get to 50+ MPG would make cars prohibitively expensive and thus sales would plummet and we, as tax payers, would be left to “bail out” the auto industry again! Do we want to become like Cuba with everyone driving around in 50 year old cars because only the wealthy can afford a new one? The US economy is based on people living in the suburbs driving to work, we are not an “urban” country, much to the chagrin of the liberal big city “i don’t own a car” types. Now, I am all for new technologies that might help raise MPG but going from ~21 to over 50 would take a miracle. Electric cars? Nobody wants a car that is more likely to strand them then get them home from work! Plus what are we going to do with all the toxic spent batteries? How about we try something rational? Get government out of the business of setting MPG standards and allow the free market to dictate what people want, can afford and will buy. The government shouldn’t be in the business of taxing fuels anyway, they already steal a large portion of our wages and then hit us again when we spend our hard earned cash!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.