How About A Matchbox Car To Drive

smallcarBefore long the only car I will be able to drive is one of my son’s Matchbox cars. 

President Obama announced that he wants the auto makers to improve fuel efficiency standards (CAFE) to 35.5 MPG by 2016 – four years earlier than required by law.  At the front end, this sounds great.  I would love to have a car that got 35.5 MPG, but at what total cost?
The current standard is 27.5 MPG for cars and 24.5 MPG for light trucks.   Jumping from 27.5 MPG to 35.5 MPG in just over six years is a massive jump.

Obama Said:

“The projected oil savings of this program over the life of this program is 1.8 billion barrels of oil.”

My initial questions are:

  • How much will these cars be with typical increases in cost over those three years? 
  • Will the price increases eat up these potential savings?
  • Where will the Government get the additional tax money not collected through the gas tax (reduced consumption = reduced tax money)?
  • Why the accelerated push to increase the standards?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for reducing dependency on foreign oil and a cleaner environment, but it seems that these standards are really a wash in the end.  We will probably pay more for gas with added taxes and we will be forced to drive smaller cars down the road.  The Government will obviously not come into your house and take your gas guzzler, but choices will be diminished. 

There really is no other way around it.  Auto companies will have to have an average of 35.5 MPG for their whole fleet.  So…if an SUV only gets 15 MPG, another car in their company must average higher than the standard to meet the average.  Without saying it, this high standard will reduce choices for consumers in the long run.   Not to mention the safety issues for a lighter car – all those SUV’s will not immediately go away.  It is obvious that President Obama is taking advantage of the weak auto companies by accelerating the standards. 


Here is a full video of the press conference:

To be fair, these standards have been around since the mid 70’s and have been supported by many administrations, but that doesn’t make it a good idea to force auto makers to produce cars that the consumer is not interested in buying.  It is obvious that the public wants more fuel efficient cars but have been unwilling to give up comfort to achieve this end – those two ideas don’t intersect very often.

This is much ado about nothing catering to the EPA and the environmentalists.

Of course, this is just my opinion.

Rob’s Rant