7 Years & Counting - Trump's Looming EV Time-Bomb

Authored by Eric Peters via EricPetersAutos.com,

In just seven years’ time – unless Trump does something before his four years are up – the average fuel efficiency of the average car will have to almost double. From 35.5 MPG (now) to 54.5 MPG by 2025. So reads the fuel economy fatwa issued by Trump’s predecessor.

No matter how much it costs, no matter what it takes.

To put this in perspective, as of 2018, there is only one car available that is capable of meeting the 2025 “goal” – as these forced-on-us things are styled: It is the Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. Nothing else comes close.

Well, except electric cars.

These average infinity – as far as gas consumption goes. Which is very helpful insofar as the averages. The federal fuel economy fatwa is formally the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard, which is an arbitrary number pulled out of a hat by federal regulatory ayatollahs, who have somehow become the arbiters of how much fuel the cars we buy ought to use.

Those cars which use more gas than the arbitrarily decreed figure are subject to punitive “gas guzzler” fines meant specifically to discourage their manufacture as well as their purchase, by making them artificially more expensive to manufacture and more expensive to buy.

In case you wondered, this is why larger vehicles and vehicles with larger engines are becoming both scarce and exotically priced. If you’re young – 30 or less – you probably will not remember but there was a time when most Americans, including working-class Americans, routinely drove large cars with large engines. Bought them brand-new. Smaller cars with smaller engines were also available, but people bought them because that’s what they wanted – not because they were forced to by government fatwas that put larger and larger-engined cars out of their reach, as today.

It is also why suburbanites routinely drive SUVs today. “SUVs” are a made-up class of vehicle that did not exist prior to the CAFE fatwa. The class was made-up by the car industry as a way to get around the fatwa – which (at the time) granted a partial exemption to what were then just trucks, which were considered work vehicles. But if you enclosed the truck’s bed and added seats – you could carry people. Voila!

The SUV.

It took Uncle a few years to catch on – and for the CAFE regs to catch up. In the interim, vast fleets of SUVs hit the streets, because people still wanted large vehicles with large engines and the truck-derived SUV’s ground clearance and available 4×4 only made the combo even more appealing. Certainly more so than the “downsized” (and down-engined) cars the car companies were being forced to build, even though the demand was elsewhere.

Uncle did catch up, of course. The fatwa was changed to envelope SUVs and other “light trucks.” They are now on the endangered species list, too.

As are mid-sized cars with mid-sized engines. It is no random thing that six cylinder engines, which were as recently as two years ago abundantly available in the mid-sized/family car class of vehicle – are becoming extremely uncommon, if not unavailable. Most of the cars which used to offer them – examples include the Mazda6 and Honda Accord – no longer do.

Deep within the EPA . . .

Just as – a generation ago – V8s were all-but-eliminated from the mid-priced/family car class.

The current fatwa – 35.5 MPG on average – is already a bar too high. None shall pass. Not without radical redesigns, already becoming obvious in the person of nine and ten speed transmissions and aluminum bodies and other such artifices of desperation. Inevitably,  diminution in power and capability and also size will have to be resorted to – to get from 35.5 to 54.5 MPG.

That, or build far fewer larger (and even medium-sized) cars. And even fewer trucks and SUVs.

Or, build lots of electric cars.

Averages, remember.

This is the practical reason behind the weirdly sudden bum’s rush by every major car manufacturer to build electric cars. As many as possible – even if they don’t sell. Even if they have to be given away at a considerable loss per car (the loss made up by tax write-offs, “carbon credits” and other subsidies).

Because each electric car – which uses no gas at all – is extremely helpful mathematically, as a regulatory dodge – even if a disaster economically and practically. The presence of one EV on the left side of the scale balances the SUV (or even the car) on the right side of the scale. The more they build of the one, the more they can sell of the other.

It is the only way.

Because there is no other way that any car – except a very small hybrid car – is ever going to average 54.5 MPG. Not without extreme lightening up, at least – which will never happen because then the car would be “unsafe” – not able to comply with all the federal bumper-impact, roof crush and other such fatwas.

Or with a diesel – which the regulatory ayatollahs have also effectively outlawed.

So without vast fleets of electric cars to balance out the scales, other-than-small (and small-engined) cars will become much harder to justify building at all, because their cost to buy will become exorbitant, such that very few people will be able to afford them.

Yet people still want the larger (and larger-engined) cars.  Notice the demand for “gas guzzlers’ has not slackened, which must frustrate the fuel efficiency fatwa-issuers. Who are determined to force fuel economy down people’s throats no matter how much they didn’t ask for it.

Here’s where Trump comes in – or could.

He is, after all, the elected representative of the people – to invoke the monk-chant of “democracy” – while the regulatory ayatollahs represent no one except themselves and perhaps a few Claybrookian Clover types who are simpatico with the idea of forcing other people to do as they think best even when it’s none of their business and they ought to just mind their own.

Trump could – and should – simply countermand the CAFE fatwa. Tear the thing up, throw the pieces up over his head, confetti style. It was not, after all, passed by Congress – the representatives of the people. It was imposed by regulatory bureaucrats.

If we truly do live in a democracy – as we are constantly told – then the will of the people ought to prevail.

This would, of course, trigger wild ululations among the ayatollahs but wouldn’t that be almost as gratifying as a really top-drawer steak dinner with all the trimmings?

Trump would probably also assure his re-election, despite everything – because the people give a damn. Not about fuel efficiency. But about being left free to buy the type of car – or SUV  – that meets their needs.

The ayatollahs be damned.

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kbohip cheka Tue, 10/17/2017 - 02:16 Permalink

No.  Weight killed that shit.  Of course if by "they" you mean government regulations then you are right.  The CRX was a relative tin can of a car weighing in at just over 1800 pounds.  It had no airbags, no ABS, no traction control, no A/C, no power windows, no power door locks, no "infotainment" system, not even a passenger side rear view mirror!  It also had a weezy 62hp engine, 13" wheels with rubber on them that looked like they were as wide as bicycle tires, two doors and two seats, and a manual transmission. The lightest "Mini" Cooper weighs in at 800 pounds more than the old CRX.  Even the tiny clown car like Smart Fortwo with a 500cc smaller engine still weighs in at 200 pounds more than the CRX yet only returns a sad 39 highway.All of the safety equipment adds to the weight, and all of the power and convenience features that buyers won't do without anymore add even more.  So basically we've gotten to the point where we are now which makes it impossible for a car maker to check all the boxes so they rely on loopholes like this article mentions.  I don't know how car makers can do focus groups and hear from the idiots how they want more power, more safety, more standard features, and more mpg's all at the same time every year.  

In reply to by cheka

Teja kbohip Tue, 10/17/2017 - 02:55 Permalink

Right, but why do you need all that weight? In most cases because other cars have it too. Armor spiral, kind of. You don't want to drive a subcompact on a road filled with SUVs and trucks.Simple solution: Commuter segregation. Reserve most roads in cities and towns for small cars. Weight limit. Much more efficient than forbidding internal combustion engines in cities.It is as obvious as not allowing elephants on sidewalks. Won't happen though because POWERFUL people want POWERFUL cars.

In reply to by kbohip

vato poco Teja Tue, 10/17/2017 - 03:42 Permalink

why do automakers pack on all that weight?because the customers *like* heavy doodads like automatic trannies, a/c, power seats, power windows, legroom, (ever try to sit in the back of a 75 honda civic? if you're not a teenager, you'll spend a week in traction trying to unwind) airbags, nav/ent systems, and most of all, engines that pump out better than 65HP.the market has spoken. fedgov thinks they can tell the market to go to hell, but they didn't plan on TrumpSO FUCK EM!!!

In reply to by Teja

2¢Wurth kbohip Tue, 10/17/2017 - 03:41 Permalink

I ordered my Honda CRX Si six months before they hit the U.S.  Absolutely the best car I have ever owned.  I put 186,000 miles on it, paid less than $1000 for maintenance (excluding tires, which were NOT as thin as bicycle tires) and the car worked flawlessly for seven years until I sold it.  As an added plus, it would do 120 miles/hr. and hug the road when equiped with racing fairings and exhaust headers.  I also found out that at the time is was the second safest car on the road, only bested by the crop of Volvo's.  My next two Honda's were garbage, and so have most of the cars since.  I own only diesel cars in Europe, they put the fun back in driving.

In reply to by kbohip

OverTheHedge Pinto Currency Tue, 10/17/2017 - 00:11 Permalink

As I see it, the benefits of electric vehicles is purely that you can make the electricity yourself, either with solar panels, a pelton wheel, or windmill or similar. Other than that, a litre of fuel is an astonishingly efficient way to get people around.Exciting new supercapacitors may fix the recharge issue (charge in 30 seconds, last 3,000 years, and contain no rare earth elements, allegedly), so it might all just come together.On the other hand, the idea that Americans should drive v8s simply because you're worth it, is slightly odd. The Europeans manage to do the same job with about half the amount of metal in their vehicles, and no one seems to be hugely deprived of the right to travel at insane speeds on the autobahn. In fact, in my limited experience, European cars seem to be able to go at least as fast, have better performance, and can go round corners, unlke their colonial equivalents.

In reply to by Pinto Currency

GreatUncle Milton Keynes Tue, 10/17/2017 - 05:51 Permalink

On an overpopulated world do you use the land for solar production, housing or food?We got a few solar panel fields here ... you do not grow anything on them but if I remember right this figure is important.You get a single 3Kw/hour per day from the sun in a square metre now work out how many Kw/hours you need to run the economy, industry, housing etc. everything and convert all vehicles over to electric. The current electricity is  fed in from power stations, take your pick coal, gas or nuclear.You ain't got enough without ripping out vast swathes of plant life and those plants are built from? Yep CO2 ... especially trees. 

In reply to by Milton Keynes

Disgruntled Goat Mon, 10/16/2017 - 23:32 Permalink

Bullshit. Loads of diesel cars in Europe get great milage.... diesel Smart 60 to 70 mpg..... others as well in the 50mpg range.... fuck electric.... all electric vehicles are meant to do is limit citizens mobility, range of travel and freedom of travel.... EVs are about control, nothing else.... otherwise we would be importing these diesel options right now...., and fuck Obama btw.... Trump can just override whatever he initiated.... Trump is tearing apart Obamas Legacy of Tyranny piece by piece...

VWAndy Mon, 10/16/2017 - 23:32 Permalink

 Those numbers are doable. That said its not the governments call. Its the ones driving and paying that should be making whatever call they want.

Retired Guy VWAndy Tue, 10/17/2017 - 00:01 Permalink

Normally I am free market. However one must consider future people. They will look back at us as greedy bastards for burning up all the liquid fuels. Who wants to shovel coal to get their car moving? That stuff is bulky and dirty. Most cars on the freeway only have one person. Why does he need a giant gas guzzler just to drive to work each day? BTW my old diesel VW Golf gets 52mpg. Too bad the government outlawed them.

In reply to by VWAndy

JustPastPeacefield Retired Guy Tue, 10/17/2017 - 00:26 Permalink

When all of today's fuels are used up, don't ya think they'll come up with something new? At least in a free market they will. I doubt that cars 100 years hence will be powered by today's technology. My great-gran-pappy used to ride around in a horse and buggy. I don't. And people down the line won't drive what we're driving today. There's no shortage of energy. Our fuel supply will change when necessity dictates. We have plenty of hydrocarbon fuel to last our lifetimes and well beyond. That's why electricity is currently made with the stuff, and will for a very long time. I don't know what fuel will power us in 200 years, but it won't be electricity generated from oil. And cars won't run on electric power generated from coal and stored in giant toxic batteries with severe, built-in limitations.Perhaps electricity will be generated from fusion plants and moved/stored in ways we can't even imagine yet. Point is - we're doing just fine if the government will get the hell out of the way. Future generations will laugh at our relative techical/scientific ignorance, and they'll do just fine as well, if they can beat back the jackasses who are always trying to restrain progress. Jackasses like Obama.If Congress didn't pass it, it's not a law. Tear it up.  

In reply to by Retired Guy

Singelguy Retired Guy Tue, 10/17/2017 - 07:07 Permalink

Free markets are always about economics. As oil becomes more scarce, it will become more expensive to get it out of the ground and prices will rise. Eventually, the price rises enough that other forms of energy will become much more attractive and oil use will rapidly decline (including diesel). That is how a free market works. Besides, if someone wants to blow their money on a gas guzzler, let him. It is HIS money. That is what freedom is all about. When it comes to pollution, I would agree that the government has an obligation to minimize that. You should not exercise your freedom at the expense of anyone else.

In reply to by Retired Guy

Mini-Me Mon, 10/16/2017 - 23:56 Permalink

If this is like any other bullshit "law" they're enforcing, they have no doubt exempted themselves from the edict.There are two sets of rules: those for the rulers and those for the ruled.

cbxer55 Tue, 10/17/2017 - 00:05 Permalink

Looks like I'll be keeping my BIG engined, supercharged V-8 pickemup truck a whole lot longer. Love driving past lame ass prius drivers, and giving that blown V-8 a good rev, blow black smoke out the side pipes on their lame car. ;-)Truck has two fuel pumps. Operates on one while cruising. But when the boost gauge indicates you're in boost, the second one kicks in. Nice and rich mixture to accompany that blower whine!  One of only two vehicles I've ever owned where I can visibly watch the fuel gauge move when I'm having fun in it! ;-0Pure gas hog that needs 93 octane! Don't drive it often though, couple thousand miles a year. Otherwise it hibernates in a garage with a cover over it. Drive my old beat up V-6 Ranger, which also sucks down the go juice. Just a tad easier though. 

Anteater Milton Keynes Tue, 10/17/2017 - 00:32 Permalink

All Trump has to do is change the law to BTUs or kWs per km,at the source, (ex- refinery, ex- power plant, so as not to makethe calculation antediluvian), not the pump or battery charger.Then EV coal- burners would be evaluated fairly with gas hogs.The current basis is comparing gefilte fish to matzoh balls.A barrel of gas leaves the refinery, how many BTUs to deliverand pump it plus the fuel value itself, versus how much poweris lost in transmission and voltage reduction getting those kWsloaded into the EV. But that would instantly blow up the charade.And Trump is an asshole. Look at his purty mouth. In fact, youcan judge just how much of an asshole he is, because he willnever level the playing field on energy. Never. Go buy a Priusbefore they do a Bitcoin price transformation.

In reply to by Milton Keynes

slipreedip Tue, 10/17/2017 - 00:57 Permalink

I like a big engine as much as the next man but this article is ass.Lower Americas dependence on oil. ok.Clean up the emissions from cars. okMake things that are more efficient and cost less to run generally. okVast, wallowing over engined cars that couldnt go around a corner are a thing of the past.(Or at least an expensive thing of the present.)Europeans and Japanese have been making cars faster and better handling than the US for years.(And with much smaller engines to boot)Having your manhood tied up in the vehicle you drive.....Go back and watch your collectors edition of GREASE again  YFM. ( copyrighjt Max Tillersen)