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Posted on Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 10:23 a.m.

America will benefit from increased fuel efficiency rules

By Letters to the Editor

On Jan. 17, there will be a federal Transportation Fuel Economy Hearing in Detroit. This is an opportunity to support automobile manufacturers, the Obama Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT), environmental leaders, and other stakeholders on their hard work setting a fuel economy standard of 54.5 mpg by 2025.

The rules proposed by these key stakeholders in turn benefit American consumers, U.S. foreign policy interests, and the environment. Greater fuel efficiency will benefit American consumers at the pump, as the standards will reduce oil consumption. Owners of vehicles that meet these standards will save money on each fill up and reduced consumption will in turn benefit everyone at the pump. That savings adds up to over $6,600 in fuel costs over the life of a 2025 model year vehicle over a 2010 model year.

The proposed fuel economy rule will also reduce our dependence on foreign oil at a time when demand from emerging markets will surge, all while encouraging the manufacture of advanced vehicles and creating high-quality U.S. jobs.

State Sen. Rebekah Warren
Ann Arbor


Richard Wickboldt

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 12:43 a.m.

The air we breathe is one of the most precious things each and every one of us needs right next to water. We should be doing whatever we can to keep both as clean as possible. Yes it may cost some money. This is the price we have to pay for the lifestyle and technology we all use each and enjoy every day, which contribute to polluting our air and water. We should not fear laws and technology which will help in keeping things clean. The past 40 decades we have increased standards and put in regulations. Plenty of jobs where made. Until recently, when the greedy 1% destroyed our country we had a very good economy. All the while with improvements in the air and water we have around us. There is no reason to fear. I have had the good fortune to travel around the world and visited a majority of the known countries. Those which did not have any regulation have appalling living conditions along with air that actually stinks and water which looks putrid. Many here in the US have no realization how lucky we are!


Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

War profiteers, regime change, supply and demand , emerging nations, contribute to gas prices higher at the pump. The greatest factor contributing to price escalation is the wall street oil speculators. From a fairly stable $1.36 a gallon to over $4.00 at times. These are the folks manipulating the market. The wall street types ushered in the three to four dollar a gallon at the pumps.

Stuart Brown

Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 6:38 a.m.

The new CAFE regulations are a level playing field and will stimulate innovation that will ultimately save consumers lots of money. The use of oil creates all kinds of externalities that are not charged to the consumer in the form of a pump price but in terms of air pollution and consequent health issues.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

I am completely familiar with the small leak test and the large leak test using vacuum to detect leaks in the gas tank (more familiar than you could ever guess). Your check engine light comes on when the vacuum decay is detected by a pressure sensor. People will get it fixed. If there is a leak the amount is very small. People always point to the paleolithic period when citing justification for crazy regulations. Yes I believe that putting a catalytic converter on a car was the right thing. NO I do not believe reducing emissions from 2 parts per billion to 1 part per billion is smart if it costs $5,000. Tax gas and let the market rule. Don't let ignorant pseudo - intellectuals tell people what they have to buy. "Externalities" such as increasing the price of aa $15,000 car to $30,000 to increase MPG from 42mpg to 50mpg is a ridiculous result. Polluting the world to mine rare earth metals used in the rotor of brushless DC motors is an externality. Being held hostage by Chinese and Bolivian lithium mines (and their govt.) is an externality. Don't bring a knife to a gun fight.

Stuart Brown

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 3:53 a.m.

braggslaw, the exhaust coming out of a tailpipe is as clean as it is due to government regs passed in the late 60's/early 70's. According to you, this can't happen because markets are better at forming positive outcomes than government mandates on business. I picked air pollution since it is a classic example of an externality that markets, in your sense of the term, can't/won't respond to on their own. Your continued use of straw man arguments combined with ad hominem attacks is not helpful; fuel economy will simply not improve as rapidly as it will without the mandates. Finally, saying CO2 is benign after all the evidence of global warming is a real whopper. BTW, maybe you never heard of the 20 & 40 thousandth OBD-II leak test which is designed to detect holes in a vehicle's fuel system that result in fuel vapors leaking into the atmosphere; you keep focusing on tail-pipe emissions.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

Particulates = HC or hydrocarbons. No straw man here. If your emissions fault on your car your check engine light will go on (A CARB requirement) 99% of people will bring their car into the service bay to fix it. The smog in LA is due to 2 cycle enginers, generators usage, diesel engines, lawn equipment etc. The cars clean this air....period. Ok so let's talk about "externalities" (i.e. things you can't explain but since you don't really understand energy or cars you have to make things up).

Stuart Brown

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:20 a.m.

braggslaw, you continue to be a fountain of conventional wisdom. You're using an old debaters tactic, set up a straw man and then refute it. I did not call out auto exhaust directly but referred to "the use of oil" which includes the drilling, refining and distribution of petroleum as well. Furthermore, you assume the emission system on a vehicle is fully functional; how many junkers are on the road with burned out catalytic converters? Air quality remains a real issue in LA (granted, not as much as it would have been had the improvements in emissions control not been implemented.) You also missed the emission of hydrocarbons in your list of pollutants regulated by CARB. Finally, the concept of externalities is actually a conventional concept in modern economics and given your previous statement in support of markets being better mechanisms at ferreting out optimal outcomes, I would expect you to see this. If the true costs are not being accounted for in the price of some item, that sends wrong signals to market participants and less optimal market outcomes result (bottom line, sometimes paying more upfront for something is not only the right thing to do but the smart thing as well.)


Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 12:03 p.m.

The air coming out of the tailpipe of your car is cleaner than the air that goes in. (trust me on this) I will await the shock and outrage ...... The catalytic systems reduce NOx, CO, and Particulates. The emission will be N2, CO2, H20 etc. which are benign Of course CO2 will be released, but that happens when you burn a hydrocarbon. NOX is one of the worst emissions ast it contributes to smog and CO will kill you if you breath it. Thus we are left with CO2, which is used by plants to make food and oxygen. and of course the presumed connection to global warming. Cars clean the emissions of non-catalytic engines such as generators, two cycle engines, marine applications. Thus your assumption that car poison the air is false. You can argue greenhouse effect but the rest of the world is abandoning Kyoto (or has not signed up) with China and Indiana being the biggest emitters. Nothing the US does on carbon emissions will change the world as China and India barrel down their development cycle.


Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 4:42 a.m.

Yes, and I'm sure the auto companies would have produced cars with increased CAFE rates to-date, just out of the goodness of their hearts or because Americans wanted smaller more fuel efficient cars without government mandates? LoL. Seriously? Americans by and large had to be pushed kicking and screaming into smaller cars and still prefer bigger SUVs, minivans, big trucks, and larger cars. Manufacturers had to make those cars more efficient and develop crossovers, hybrids, and other ways to allow us to keep our larger is better ... But how do we get better mileage issues addressed. Europeans and others have made the transition to compact and sub-compact cars much faster than we have as a result of higher fuel taxes there.


Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 9:22 p.m.

Just to rile things up some, I have a curve ball to toss into this discussion. Fuel efficient vehicles are responsible for an unintended consequence that is leading to a big change that people with high mpg will be upset with. The problem is that fuel efficient cars that consume less fuel have reduced gas tax revenue at the rate of millions. So, some states are considering dropping the tax on fuel and imposing a tax on mileage. That way people who drive Volts and hybrids and such will have to pay their &quot;fair share&quot; along with those that drive guzzlers. Here is an LA Times article that points this out: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.

She is once again way off base. Talking a lot about all that money savings of a fuel economy standard of 54.5 mpg by 2025. But forgetting to mention the costs. Many people in the auto industry believe that standard is just impossible to reach and if so, it will cost the auto manufacturers millions of dollars in R &amp; D. And it balloons the price of the vehicle. Govt regulations make auto companies produce cars no one wants to buy. Small and very expensive does not help. A prior demand by Congress was 35 mpg by 2020, which companies did not think they could reach. What irks me the most is the govt's infatuation of placing the burden on the manufacturers and not the drivers. If they want to cut fuel consumption, why not raise gas tax and lower speed limits with severely high fines for speeders? That works globally. But that would be unpopular. (Same with health care. Don't bother telling people they have to get healthy, just make insurance companies pay for it). Here are a couple articles on this. Jerry Flint was the auto industry writer for Forbes. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

G. Orwell

Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

Those of you who advocate raising gas taxes to make it more expensive to drive, don't worry. Obama's new war with Iran will drive up gas prices to $5-8 per gallon. Not to mention another million or two dead men, women and children.


Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

Israel? There are no US combat troops there. What Fox News article are you referencing?

G. Orwell

Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 11:43 p.m.

All establishment politicians want a war with Iran because they are all bought and paid for. Yes, including Obama. What do you expect after he helped overthrow Lybia with peace bombs. That is why Obama pulled troops from Iraq and sent them to Israel. To prepare for a war with Iran. You are right about Ron Paul. He is the only one that won't go to war with Iran and probably will try to stop all wars we are currently involved in.


Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 9:24 p.m.

Gas taxes typically are not a percent, but a set amount per gallon. So $5/gallon will net the same tax as $3/gallon.

Anthony Clark

Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 8 p.m.

It is the Republican candidates for President (all except Ron Paul) who want war with Iran, not Obama.

G. Orwell

Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 7:07 p.m.

&quot;The proposed fuel economy rule will also reduce our dependence on foreign oil at a time when demand from emerging markets will surge,&quot; What the controlled media and politicians won't tell you is that we are purposely being made dependent on foreign oil. Numerous studies and geological surveys show that we have more oil in the US than Saudi Arabia. Google &quot;Bakken Oil Fields.&quot; Huge oil reserves are being discovered all over the world. The Peak Oil theory is a scam to drive up prices and to implement fake green policies. Another scare tactic. Also, why are we shipping most of the oil currently pumped in Alaska to Japan and other countries????


Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 6:50 p.m.

Nothing new under the sun--- We have been driving vehicles that have been getting close to 50mpg for over thirty years. Between the VW diesels and the Geo Metros 50 mpg was achieved decades ago. Face the facts ,we would not have been at war for the past eleven years if we weren't so dependent on foreign oil, so reduced oil consumption is a national security issue.


Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 6:42 p.m.

Yes lets raise us taxes on gas and tinker with the fuel prices. We're all upper middle class here Mr holmes. So what if it costs the working class a little more to scrape by. At least we can be comfortable in our knowledge that WE'LL be financially sound and secure. Hahahaha!


Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

If your goal is to reduce gasoline consumption, raise the cost and let each individual decide how to most efficiently spend his or her money, whether with a fuel efficient car or less driving. The increase in the cost of automobiles necessary to obtain the required fuel economy will also impact people with lower incomes, so the idea that CAFE standards protect lower income earners is just wrong. Look at the hard numbers now. The Chevy Volt is so expensive that cost savings for fuel over the life of the car will never pay for the added cost of the technology. Require everyone to buy a Volt, and lower income people will no longer have automobiles. Tax gasoline, and low income people can figure out how to economize and meet their own needs.


Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 6:16 p.m.

The feds could outlaw all cars except electric powered and then gasoline consumption would fall dramatically. This issue is more about government control and less about foreign oil consumption. The nanny state wants to dictate what people drive. If they realy wanted to reduce gas consumption they could eliminate taxes on all cars that get high milage. This would create an incentive to buy them. If the feds want to reduce our dependency on foreign oil we could increase domestic production.


Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 4:16 p.m.

And we would get the electricity from where? With the EPA forcing power plants to close, the price of electricity will already be on the rise and with the inability to build new transmission from where there is enough wind power, the chances that wind and solar will cover our needs are NIL.


Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 9:21 p.m.

&quot;If they really wanted to reduce gas consumption they could eliminate taxes on all cars that get high milage.&quot; Wrong! See my post below. The thinking is actually going in the opposite direction.


Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 6:07 p.m.

Rebakah Warren does not understand anything period. Her proposal is to create vehicles people do not want to buy and increase costs to the consumer that will not allow a normal person to buy a car. Since when does a $15000 premium on a vehicle justify a possibly a 10-20% increase in fuel economy. I am sure the diesel folks will want to comment, you will need money for a DPF, UREA SCR, LNOX trap etc to make the engine compliant with EPA and CARB. almost as much as a mild hybrid system. The best solution is to create a level playing field (in my opinion a gas tax) and let the consumers decide what they want to buy. Markets are better decision maker than a govt. bureacrat. CARB is a disaster. If a consumer is willing to pay more to drive a vehicle they want.... have at it. If a consumer wants to keep their house at 75 degrees and pay the difference let him.


Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 6:52 p.m.

Rebakah Warren for president!

Dog Guy

Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 5:37 p.m.

I replaced a very corroded 1950's Briggs kitchen faucet with a federally mandated low flow faucet which saves me 80% of the water. It now takes me five times as long to draw water for boiling spaghetti. I make and eat a sandwich while I'm waiting. The 52.5mpg federal magic wand will conjure similar benefits. We are going to miss those clunkers destroyed for cash.


Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

Reminds me of my Congressional toilets, also mandated by Congress. Had I known how inefficient they are, I would have swapped them in my new house with the efficient old toilets from my old house before we sold it. Save water my a**, have to flush three times now. I guess those toilets might have been a selling point. And when I turn on the kitchen lights, it's still dark in there.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 5:50 p.m.

why would you eat a sandwich if your going to have spaghetti?


Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

Yes, forcing Americans to do something they don't want to do will benefit them because someone in power said so. Where have I heard this before?


Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 3:57 p.m.

While reducing oil consumption is a laudable goal, CAFE regulations are not the way to do it. In fact, by reducing the cost per mile, CAFE tends to encourage more driving while at the same time forcing auto companies to build vehicles for which demand is limited. Additional side effects are increased urban sprawl as people chose longer commutes and a tilting of the playing field away from public transportation. A more effective approach would be, as advocated by Bob Lutz, Dan Akerson and others, to progressively increase the cost of driving by gradually ramping up the taxation on gasoline. This way, while consumers are free to choose what vehicle they want to drive, many will gravitate towards more fuel-efficient models. This demand will spur the car makers to make further improvements in gas mileage. Meanwhile, government will have more money for infrastructure investment, deficit reduction or whatever the cause du jour. We would all benefit from increased gasoline taxes.


Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 3:55 p.m.

Do these standards apply to a manufacturers total fleet? I think it will be difficult to achieve that, since only a few models can come near that now.


Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

It is sort of an average, Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) law. Here is an article that explains it: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> There are less restrictive standards for some vehicles. Like trucks.


Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 4:14 p.m.

The 54.5 mpg figure is a fleet average. However, the rules for calculating this average are extremely complicated with some classes of vehicle being excluded completely while others are counted as multiples. (I believe a hybrid counts for something like 1.5 conventional, gas-powered cars.) There are many cars sold in Europe that already exceed the 54.5mpg target, though if gas were less expensive there I doubt many people would buy them.

Mike K

Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

Of course America will benefit with better fuel standards. It is silly to suggest otherwise. If any one car company had the technology today at a reasonable price, you could be sure that they'd market it as a distinct competititve advantage. Having government mandate technological improvements is just ridiculous. Consumers want better mileage, and the car companies are working to fill this market need.


Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

&quot;If any one car company had the technology today at a reasonable price, you could be sure that they'd market it as a distinct competitive advantage.&quot; Exactly! Two things necessary: possible and profitable. A documentary came out in 2006, &quot;Who Killed the Electric Car?&quot; about a prior version of an electric vehicle GM produced. The project was killed and the documentary accuses all the usual suspects, &quot;accomplices, government, the car companies, Big Oil, even Eco-darling Hydrogen,&quot; as the villians. But the most telling statement in the whole movie was made by a guy, either a reporter or an engineer who said something like, &quot;Look if they could make a car that ran on pig **** that was profitable, they would.&quot; The car companies will only produce what will sell per public consumption which rests on affordability.


Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

The problem is the idiots in Congress mandate greater fuel economy, then on the other hand, they want to increase the amount of ethanol in the fuel to 15%, thereby DECREASING fuel economy. Look at the difference in milage between a car burning real gas and one burning E85. When I worked, the F-150 burning gas had a range of 440 miles, according to EPA tests. The E85 truck had a range of 300 miles. You tell me how that is good for the consumer. On a trip to Florida, the E85 vehicle would require 4 full tanks, while the gas truck would take slightly less the 3.