Does anything bigger than a moped Get 54.5 MPG? In a small victory for freedom, the proposed new rule on automobile fuel efficiency standards, Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFÉ), of 54.5 mpg by 2025 for new vehicles will no longer be applicable.
Francis Menton of the Manhattan Contrarian struggles to understand why the American people are not capable of figuring out on their own how fuel-efficient a vehicle they should buy. This, as Mr. Menton, notes, is called “freedom.”
Obviously, a less-fuel-efficient vehicle costs more per mile to operate. People are always looking to save a buck, so then obviously wouldn’t they buy the most fuel-efficient vehicles available? It turns out that sometimes they do, but mostly they don’t. Undoubtedly, although they value fuel efficiency, they also value other things in a vehicle.
In recent years the most popular vehicles for consumers have been pickup trucks — the Ford F series and Chevy Silverado — which are relatively large and fuel-inefficient compared to sedans and compacts. Car and Driver rates the Ford F-150 at 16 mpg city, and 22 mpg highway, which is nowhere near the 54.5 mpg average that the Obama administration was trying to impose on Americans.
Maybe the people value the ability to carry large amounts of “stuff” around from place to place. Maybe they also think that larger and heavier vehicles are safer in a crash. Are these advantages worth the extra fuel cost? I’d say that’s up to the people to determine on their own.
But then panic sets in. What about Global Warming?
Don’t Americans contribute hugely to “warming the planet” by their disgusting use of gas-guzzling vehicles? Actually, that can be calculated too, and the effect is remarkably minuscule. The same climate models that are used to predict climate doom can be used in reverse to calculate how much removing some input from the system — such as American vehicle emissions — will affect world temperatures. I don’t mean by making such a calculation to suggest that I agree that these models are even slightly based in reality, but only that they are the worst that doom-mongers have been able to come up with.
Mr. Menton addresses the outrage being spewed by environmental groups:
From Joel Levin of Plug In America: The Trump Administration is tossing away states’ rights with this unprecedented proposal, telling Americans to drive dirtier vehicles that are more expensive to fuel,” said Joel Levin, Executive Director of Plug In America.
Actually, that’s completely wrong: nothing in the proposed new rule prevents Americans from buying more fuel-efficient vehicles if they want them.
From Public Citizen: This proposal puts the Trump administration on a collision course with California and the supermajority of Americans who want more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Actually, the “supermajority” of Americans is buying the Ford F-150 and the Chevy Silverado.
From the Environmental Defense Fund: This proposal will substantially increase pollution and will cost the average American family hundreds of dollars a year extra for gas.
In fact, nothing about the proposal prevents Americans who want smaller and more fuel-efficient cars from buying them. The previous Obama proposal would have forced Americans who did not want such vehicles to buy them against their will.
Read more from the Manhattan Contrarian here