Obama Administration Poised to Establish Single National CAFE and Emissions Standards

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by mkrishnan, May 18, 2009.

  1. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #1
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/19/business/19emissions.html?hp

    If this works, it'll be boom-boom great. :) Kudos to the industry for supporting this in return for a single standard and timetable, and kudos to California for accepting the idea of a national standard. This has the potential to really spur market innovation in cars and trucks, leading to more interesting things to buy and keep the car manufacturers in business, and at the same time really helping the environment.

    Add a more aggressive, long-term plan to get low efficiency and high emissions cars off the road more quickly, and I would be a very happy camper.
     
  2. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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  3. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #3
    Im not sure about having to bail out car companies and at the same time imposing tougher regulations on them. The market is slowly moving towards more efficient cars with rising gas prices anyways.
     
  4. Ntombi macrumors 68040

    Ntombi

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    #4
    Is it better to wait another several years? Nope, do it now. They have to change their business model anyway, may as well make the cars more efficient at the same time.

    Me? I'm waiting for more cars like the Tesla. I'm drooling over the Model S.
     
  5. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #5
    It will be if we put them out of business (again) and have to support them. If the government would pick a technology and go forward with incentives the corporations would follow. I believe GM was the company that told the gov. that they could retool one time and that they just needed to pick a direction.

    I personally believe that electricity will win out because it can be derived from so many different natural sources hydro, solar, wind. If we could get battery life up with some new tech we will be good.
     
  6. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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  7. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #7
    He probably would have been blamed for the failure of the car industry if he would have, not a doubt in my mind. :D

    *not a Bush fan, just so we don't get confused here*
     
  8. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #8
    The problem, I think, with this is twofold. First, we've had means and incentive to increase the renewability of our electricity for decades and haven't done it. Even among countries that have both the environmental consciousness and the geographical positioning to make renewable energy sources, there are only a very few, and no really populous countries, that thrive on little non-renewable energy and use mostly renewable resources. I don't think it's realistic to expect the addition of the substantial burden of cars on the electrical grid to have the unforeseen result of radically changing this.

    Second, there just isn't international consensus on a single technology. Diesel is at least as promising as electric cars, if not more so, in achieving renewability. Incentivizing US makers to pursue plug-in hybrids and move further in the direction of electricity has the adverse consequence of making them less globally competitive in Europe as well as in many developing countries that need efficient, clean cars but cannot be expected to quickly implement a power grid to support them. That is, I think this idea goes against your very idea of wanting the automakers to be resistant to changes in American politics causing them to tank again. To do that, they need to develop back into globally competitive companies. They can't do that tailoring to a single technology that will be applicable, in the next 30 years, to... what, less than 15% of the population of the world?
     
  9. SactoGuy18 macrumors 68030

    SactoGuy18

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    #9
    If you're the Ford Motor Company, talk about great timing.

    Just in time for the new standards, Ford will be introducing these two models in 2010:

    2011 Ford Fiesta (five-door hatchback shown here):

    [​IMG]

    Here's a picture of the new Fiesta four-door sedan, which will arrive about a year after the hatchbacks arrive:

    [​IMG]

    2011 Ford Focus (as previewed by Ford Iosis MAX concept car):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #10
    ^ ^
    I like the two door fiesta better, they should have gotten a better name though. They reviewed it on top gear, I suggest anyone interested watch the episode.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #11
    I have to agree with ZA that the future of the automobile is with electricity. Hydrogen just isn't feasible, diesel is fraught with all the perils that petrol is and there simply aren't any other viable options.

    Spain, Portugal, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands are all heavily supporting renewable electricity schemes. I hardly think they're collectively insignificant.
     
  12. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #12
    I'm sorry, but those new Fords are fugly. Much like the current Fords.

    If there's one thing the American car companies have never been good at, well, besides fuel economy, build quality and reliability, it's design :D
     
  13. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #13
    I object to CAFE standards on the basis that they don't work. :p

    No, seriously, they don't. We have the poorest emissions rates of the developed world despite having some of the most stringent standards. The reason is we've left no reason for the average person to make more environmentally conscience choices when they buy a car (since car companies spread the cost of CAFE conforming across every model, not just those that cost the most to conform to).

    Instead we need to tax fuels that pollute more at the point of sale. The consumers will actually weigh their choices in a way that is beneficial to the environment, and they will demand cleaner cars in order to minimize their tax burden. It's worked for every other nation so I see no reason why it shouldn't work here.

    As for the future of cars, I think I'm in agreement with Zombie Acorn and Ugg in that the long term solution is electric cars. They will continue to get better and we will be able to generate more and more electricity from clean and renewable sources as time goes on. Plus any sort of engine that requires internal combustion is inherently less efficient since most of the energy is lost to heat, which really only leaves hydrogen, an option that doesn't seem to have gone very far in its development despite the fact that it's been talked about and researched for a respectable amount of time now.
     
  14. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #14
    Now we just need to find a group of politicians that want to end their careers trying to promote new fuel technology. :D

    Although I think your solution would work and is probably the best solution that involves a tax or regulation, it would be political suicide in the US in my opinion. People have already forgotten that gas was 4/gallon+ last year, if it would have stayed like that for a few years I think we could have seen some drastic changes.

    I am not in it for environmental issues though, I just do not like our dependence on oil.
     
  15. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #15
    Well, duh! When you exempt light trucks and such from the CAFE standards, is it any surprise they aren't helping much? Carmakers can then say "sure my fleet meets CAFE standards, as long as you don't count my best-selling models!"

    Although I agree a fuel consumption tax makes far more sense than a mileage tax. Wanna drive a gas hog? Knock yourself out. But it'll cost ya.
     
  16. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #16
    Indeed it would be. Those nations that have the highest petrol taxes also tend to be the ones with proportionally elected parliaments, where no one is responsible to individual constituents like our Congress is. When your constituency is national and you can still retain your seat even if your party loses votes, it becomes a lot easier to vote for the national interest.
    Why aren't you "in it" for the environment? The damage to the planet is far more real than one nation's trade imbalance.
     
  17. SactoGuy18 macrumors 68030

    SactoGuy18

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    #17
    Interesting you mention that because Ford of Europe just built its 250,000th car just under two months ago in the production run of the current Fiesta, thanks to VERY strong sales in Europe. The 100 Fiesta five-door hatchbacks running around the USA as part of the "Fiesta Movement" promotion has gotten a LOT of very positive press, and as such when the 2011 Fiesta three and five door hatchbacks arrive at US dealers probably around February 2010 they're going to be flying off dealer lots.
     
  18. djellison macrumors 68020

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    #18
    A load of crap. Ford produces superb high MPG cars for sale in Europe. The Ka, Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo are all superb cars. GM (via Opel) does the same. Chevvy, via Daewoo, also has cars that can go straight to US market (although I wouldn't want one of those :) ).

    The emission regulations in the US are nothing short of educationally subnormal - they're beyond moronic. They let 12 mpg petrol cars run free, yet, so I've been told, render 40-50-60+mpg diesels illegal. They make a 40-50 mpg Prius seem like the second coming of christ, when, in the EU - the Prius is laughed at, given that small diesels can get 50% more mileage.

    Either the US Auto industry, or its consumers, are too stupid, ignorant or lazy to change their ways. So they've got to be forced to. It's about time.
     
  19. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #19
    FE really? That is why Ford has the Fusion Hybrid that bests the Camry hybrid and any other mid-size hybrid out there with real world results of 43 MPG? Why GM's Malibu gets 33 MPG which was better then Camry with the 4 banger(2010 Camry is now equal). Why the Cobalt XFE gets 37 MPG? Why out of the trucks and SUV's, the Big 3 tend to have the most fuel efficient trucks?
     
  20. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #20
    Our young friend is hanging-tough with old-school ideas.

    It has become too expensive to support this mind-set any longer.
     
  21. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #21
    Saying CAFE doesn't work following years of refusal to properly use it is not reasonable. Of course CAFE hasn't worked -- the government has not appropriately ratcheted up economy standards over time. CAFE would continue to fail if the Administration were to ratchet up the standard to the proposed 42 MPG in 2016 and then never increase it again. CAFE would only possibly work if it were used to gradually, continually improve fleet economy.

    Producing incentives for users of vehicles where a greater impact could be felt is fine (e.g. doubling the fuel efficiency of the F150 would make a much larger impact on US fuel consumption than doubling the fuel efficiency of the Prius). Using regulatory mechanisms to keep the price of gas stable and high is fine too -- we were better off in many ways when $4 gas was making us change our habits.

    But CAFE is a separate matter, and it has to actually be properly used before one can say it doesn't work.
     
  22. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #22
    Alright, fine, forget I mentioned fuel economy :p Although I still stand by my belief that the G6 rental I was driving around for a few weeks was a freakin joke in terms of FE.

    And I still think they're fugly ;)
     
  23. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #23
    We will naturally head towards more environmental efficiency, its just going to take longer. Right now the instability of the middle east is troubling when we depend on them the way we do.

    The prices usually force change, ie when gas goes up people start looking for fuel mileage. One of my clients is a car dealer and they weren't able to keep fuel efficient cars on the lot when gas was expensive.

    The prices in europe are higher and so your companies have already been forced to become more efficient, and ford markets to that sector because its what sells over there. Over here aren't pressured by pricing to become more efficient, and until we do the market won't change unless the government steps in. I would rather see a demand driven market for efficient cars (which would be the result of taxing gas higher) than manufacturers being forced into a restriction.

    In the end though it won't be done because politicians want to keep their jobs. I don't think 42 mpg will be too hard to obtain by the time 2016 rolls around anyways though.
     
  24. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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  25. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #25
    I thought someone might bring this up, but fear not, I'm prepared! :p

    Yes, CAFE has been poorly implemented, but even if it was executed perfectly, it would be a failure.

    If every car (including pickups SUVs, etc) had to have increases in fuel efficiency over a given span of time, this cost would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher car prices. The problem is, without a corresponding increase in gasoline taxes, consumers can make the rational decision to simply forgo buying a new car until considerably later in the future. If a new car is going to be 10% more than what they bought their older car for, any given consumer is simply going to make his/her old car last as long as possible since it will save money compared to buying a new car. Hence, while newer cars will keep getting better from an efficiency stand point, the overall population of cars in use will become older and less efficient.

    CAFE standards are really only good for those things that can't be easily taxed. Fuel efficiency can be very easily taxed, as can carbon (assess the fuel's relative carbon output and then tax) and most other pollutants that come from the particular fuel being used. The only real trouble with a gasoline tax that would comprise a significant portion of the price is political will. It would incredibly unpopular and any legislator who voted in favor would face an angry electorate. This is one way in which a proportionately elected legislature has an advantage over first-past-the-post districts.

    I wasn't asking for a prediction; I wanted to know why you felt the environment is a lesser concern compared to our sources of fuel given that the environment is in grave peril and has been for quite some time.

    As an aside, most of our oil comes from the Americas; the Middle East only supplies a small portion (with Russia and West African nations making up the difference).
     

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