Regulation

Trump Regulatory Rollback: Auto Fuel Efficiency Standards

Activists howl in outrage and frustration

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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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. “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?

    3. Except now, thanks to the EPA, they’re making most F-150’s out of thin aluminium with little turbo engines.

      1. I imagine there’s a certain type of pickup driver who values fuel mileage over maximizing use of the pickup truck as a pickup truck. But those things just don’t cut it if you need to use it.

        1. I’m in that crowd. I have a ’13 F-150 with the Ecoboost V6 and I’m very happy with it. It was a good upgrade for me over my ’05 Explorer Sport Trac.

          This is not to say that I don’t think there should be other options for people who want a heavier duty truck, but Ford still makes the F-250s and 350s, and they (sadly) don’t make the Ranger anymore.

          Oh, and manual transmissions are still handy, dammit!!

  6. 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]

      1. This is government; we tell you what the physics should be and you better make it happen, or else. We’ve got guns.

  7. “…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”?

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

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

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

    1. *extremely narrow gaze* *

      * (A license feee aas paid to Switzy)

  10. 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’.

  11. “Activists howl in outrage and frustration”

    Whole new category of porn – SJW feelz

    The tears, the outrage, the sadness!

    Giggity!

  12. Hey, we can set fuel economy stands at whatever we want and just watch the government magic kick in. Just like we can set minimum wage at whatever we want with no consequences. If you think physics and economics are subject to any “laws” you just need a new reality, and a more woke way of knowing. There’s probably some kind of feminist physics where energy yield per gallon of gasoline combusted isn’t subject to the patriarchy’s “laws.”

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  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.

    1. And poor people who need to drive to get to work and can barely afford a crappy old car now will get even poorer. Why do you hate poor working people?

  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!

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