The Clovers are aghast that Trump is threatening to do the unimaginable – and stop threatening the car companies with federal fuel economy fatwas (and add-on fatwas forbidding or restricting how much plant food – carbon dioxide – cars may emit).
He appears to be entertaining the horrible idea that the people who buy cars ought to be free to decide for themselves how much fuel economy matters to them – since they will be the ones paying for both the car and the gas. And – oh my god! – that this is really none of the business of the “concerned” scientists and other professional busybodies who regard their opinions and preferences as holy writ enforceable at gunpoint.
“We’re going to work on the CAFE standards so you can make cars in America again,” said Trump. He should have added the qualifier – affordable cars in America again.
Leaving aside the moral issue – who are these people to tell anyone whether their next car should get 10 MPG or 40 MPG? – the issue never addressed by the media, including the automotive media, is how much will all this cost us?
Obama’s mullahs uluated about the many billions (allegedly) which would be “saved” by force-marching every automaker to build cars that average 54.5 MPG. It is the sort of “savings” one realizes by emptying your bank account to buy something you don’t need that’s 5 percent off.
Only worse, because you’re not given the option to keep your money in the bank.
A week or so ago, executives from the major automakers came to the White House to explain to Donald – who probably already grokked it – that to get a single car to average 54.5 MPG requires more than merely ululating that it will be so. A new Prius hybrid almost manages it – and the hybrid Prius costs several thousand dollars more than an otherwise similar but not 54.5 MPG non-hybrid car.
And to get every car made to average 54.5 MPG – which is what Obama’s EPA ululated in the last weeks of his regime – won’t magically just happen, either – even if the entire regulatory Mecca ululates in unison for a week straight.
In the first place, it requires technology – and new designs. These generally involve work and resources, which cost money. New components don’t generally rain from Allah’s merciful bounty, upon ululation.
The executives pointed this out to Trump – who almost certainly grokked it beforehand, since he appears to be a man who probably knows where the dipstick is under the hood of a car and also what it’s for.
It is doubtful Obama knew – or did.
The current CAFE fatwa is 35.5 MPG and to achieve this without going hybrid across the board has required some very elaborate – some very expensive – technology. Two specific examples: Direct injection and transmissions with eight, nine and lately ten forward speeds.
These are coming online (the new Ford F-150 pick-up, reviewed here, has a ten-speed automatic and probably two-thirds of all new vehicles are already direct-injected) because of the existing CAFE fatwa.
But they offer no particular advantage to the buyer, in terms of how the car drives or performs. Indeed, cars with these too-many-speeds automatics often have strange driving characteristics. I can vouch for this; I test drive and review new cars each week.
For instance, the sensation that the car is surging forward (it is) when the transmission skips up three or four gears on a downhill because the computer is desperate to get the transmission into the top overdrive gear as quickly as possible in order to cut engine revs to the minimum in order to squeeze out a teensy uptick in MPGs, for the sake of CAFE.
Direct injection, meanwhile, has supplanted port fuel injection (PFI) with a two-stage system that operates at extreme pressure (3,000 psi vs. 35 or so psi) and which has created a carbon deposit problem inside the engine. In engines fed fuel via PFI or TBI or even a carburetor, the fuel washes over the backsides of the valves as it enters the combustion chamber – and because gas is a solvent, that action keeps the valves from crudding up. But in a DI system, the fuel is sprayed through a hole inside the combustion chamber and there is no solvent effect.
And so, crud forms.
To fix this problem the automakers are adding a separate, additional port-fuel circuit to keep the valves clean. So now you car will have two fuel injection systems – and multiple fuel pumps rather than just one.
It is not free.
What would it take to get all cars to average 54.5 MPG?
Keep in mind that not a single non-hybrid/non-electric new car comes close to that. Obama’s fatwa was in a way an ululation demanding that most if not all cars be hybrids or electric cars – because that is probably the only way to get to a “fleet average” (CAFE terminology) of 54.5 MPG absent the discovery of miracle technologies such as Roswell Crash-style ultra-light metal that is also ultra strong (so that other fatwas regarding “safety” can also be complied with).
This brings us back to the moral issue: Why is how much or little fuel our cars use anyone else’s business, since we pay for the car and the fuel? If gas “costs too much,” we can buy a different car that uses less.
And there is another issue, very obvious, but – like the cost of the fatwas – never asked or discussed:
If the market is so “concerned” about fuel economy – as the various scientists, “public citizens” and other such self-appointed voxxers of the populi claim, why not allow the market to apply the pressure?
Can’t have that. Pressure must come from above.
It doesn’t matter that there are already cars available that were designed to deliver much higher-than-average mileage – the Prius, for instance – which people are free to pay for if that is their priority. What the various “concerned” and the mullahs within the EPA and federal apparat are really concerned about is that people can choose not to buy such. That they are free to buy something else.
For the ululators, everyone must buy the same thing – the thing the uluators insist they buy. Or else.
Always, collectivism and coercion.
Never free choice, liberty – the market.
It’s worth recalling that the literal translation of laissez-faire is… leave us alone.
Good on Donald.