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August 28, 2012

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It is very possible to achieve that figure, they will just need to sacrifice performance for fuel efficiency.

Better fuel efficiency standards are more practical than various other "green" energy boondoggles.

What's so asinine about the government mandating fuel economy standards for vehicles is that there is no evidence for marketplace failure. When gas prices remain high for long periods of time (late 70's to early 80's) buyers look for cars that are fuel efficient. This is one of the reasons why the Japanese ate the Big 3's lunch so bad during this time (the other reason was reliability). If gas prices remain high for a long time (say, $5 per gallon), people will want to buy more fuel efficient cars, and the marketplace will respond. There is no need for government regulation.

If lithium-air or lithium-sulfur batteries prove practical, this is entirely possible.

There's already an engine technology in widespread use in Europe that gives performance and economy - 54.5mpg is a reality...it's called 'diesel'.

Why Euro automakers are not allowed to sell their wares in the US is a mystery to me - it also prevents US based manufacturers from either investing in diesel tech or licensing it from others (US diesel truck tech - like the GM Duramax - is still a long way behind the Europeans).

In Europe and Japan gasoline prices are already very high. I think Japan is in $6-7 range and most of Europe is around $8 per gallon. That is because Europe and Japan import almost all their oil, so they put very high import duties on oil.

The US use to be almost entirely domestic oil production and had no import duties. That changed over time to where imports exceeded domestic oil production, but the US did not impose import duties for political reasons. With the great recession causing demand to drop and increased dilling, domestic production is slightly ahead of imports again.

Foreign oil imports are a big part of the US balance of payments problem. Since we lack the political will to impose import duties on oil, millage standards are another way of trying to bring out balance of payments back into line.

Self-driving automobiles would get rid of taxi, public transportation, and reduced needs of many parking place, number of car, ect.

One family or many family can share one self-driving car. Maybe whole city can share a fleet of self-driving cars. The cost of feul would reduce greatly.

The big conflict will come with increasingly tight safety standards. The IIHS is using a new crash test which will ultimately end up being mandated by regulations. Passing the test will make cars heavier, which will lower their fuel efficiency.

Which liberal goal will give way? Safety, or fuel efficiency?

"What's so asinine about the government mandating fuel economy standards for vehicles is that there is no evidence for marketplace failure." -Abelard Lindsey

I'd say our mid-east wars are evidence for market failure. Not that there aren't also other motivations, but I think it'd be harder to make war without our appetite for oil. And the mind boggling thing is that I see so many empty pick-ups on the road, which I can only believe to be pure status symbols. ("pick-ups" looks funny when I type it out.)

I'm a believer in peak oil as well, and while we've had a few lucky breaks, I don't see a lot fundamentally changing. I'm worried that when supply really starts to turn down, the market won't have time to react. We're talking about replacing our fleet in half the time which is a huge additional economic stress.

All things considered, I think this is one of the less dumb things the government is doing. Significantly less dumb than what the masses are doing on this front.

Just keep in mind that the 54.5 mpg headline number is calculated using the old CAFE test standards, created in 1975. The window sticker on the car has a different number calculated a different way, and is far lower.

Also, the Feds are giving automakers some gimmicks so that they don't have to exactly hit that number. For example, they get a credit for selling electric vehicles, and using low-greenhouse-gas refrigerants.

With that said, the only car sold today that can meet the 54.5 standard right now is the Toyota Prius. It is not clear that automakers have the technology to hit these numbers with a full fleet of vehicles (vans, trucks, full size cars, etc.)

I think that the automakers all signed on because the standard will be re-valuated a couple of years before implementation. So they could essentially sign on now, and look good from a public relations standpoint, and fight the standard later in the backroom.

The so-called Big Three American automakers make most of their profits on trucks and SUV's. They struggle to break even on the econoboxes. And all except the largest trucks will be covered by these CAFE rules. So this doesn't bode well for the US carmakers. Of course, by 2025, gas will probably be $50/gallon, so it really won't matter. As you say, this stuff is pure political BS. High fuel prices will drive consumers to buy more efficient vehicles much more effectively than asinine government rules. And if the car companies get hammered too hard, why, they'll just ask Uncle Sam for another cash infusion.

[HS: Gasoline won't be $50/gallon. When it reaches $10 or so in non-inflated dollars, supply and demand will cause more supply and lower demand and keep the price from going much higher than that.]

Diesels and weight reduction would go a long way to meet mid 50's MPG numbers. So would requiring a different class of license to drive heavier than 4,000lbs vehicles.

Its amusing to see the big three try their efforts at hybrids when they have small diesels in other markets.

The main reason the US does not have diesels like Europe is that diesel engines cannot meet the clean air act standards for tailpipe concentrations of particulate matter. EPA doesn't care that because of their high mileage, measured per mile traveled, particulate matter emissions may be lower than for gasoline engines. To EPA, it's all about concentration at the tail pipe. By the way, that's why some vehicles have a system whereby ambient air is pumped to the exhaust system - to dilute the concentration of (non-PM pollutants) in the emissions.

The free market doesn't account for the fact that oil money goes to evil Saudi Arabia which funds wahhabism

I think you're heavily underestimating Elon Musk. For someone who believes so strongly in HBD how can you doubt the potential of someone with his IQ? Tesla Model S is already out, so maybe you'll be convinced to change your mind by next year.

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