Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Roll Back Fuel Economy Standards? I think not.

As I write this Trump is giving a speech in Michigan saying he's going to roll back the CAFE standards to make it easier to build cars in "America." (I put America in quotes because I'm not sure Trump understands that Canada and Mexico are part of America.)

I am so disappointed in the North American auto makes - FCA, Ford and General Motors. After telling us how committed they are to building the most fuel efficient, cleanest vehicles ever they buy into Trump's turn back the clock b.s.

Since the dawn of emissions control and fuel economy standards the domestic auto makers have cried that they can't do it. And then they go out and do it. Make no mistake they have never built cleaner and more fuel efficient vehicles of their own volition. Back in the '70s and early '80s their answer to the inroads fuel efficient imports made was to build downsized clones of what they'd been building for decades. And for the most part their cars were junk. Every single advancement in fuel efficiency, lower emissions and safety has been driven by government regulations. Today "Detroit" builds some of the best cars in the world.

Right now fuel is relatively inexpensive. But for how long? If fuel prices spike again and the domestics turn their backs on fuel efficient cars will there be another collapse of our auto industry?

I drive a wide variety of cars and trucks. I just drove a Jeep that got 28 mpg on the highway. Jeep (or FCA) didn't decide all by itself to build a 4X4 capable of 28 mpg - it is because of government regulations that they worked their butts off to reach that figure.

We now have cars that put the muscle cars of the '60s and '70s to shame. Today's performance cars are quicker, faster, cleaner, and they get way better fuel economy.

I didn't listen to Trump's full speech; my blood pressure won't let me. Is he proposing different regulations for domestic vehicles? Is he going to allow them to be gas guzzlers and gross polluters while restricting imports to tighter standards? That would seem to be counter productive.

Detroit and the United States do not need to go backward to compete with the rest of the world. Going backward is a loosing game. We need to build the best. Nothing less.

Update: In all fairness I need to point out that many believe the Obama Administration's proposed CAFE fuel economy standard of 54.5 mpg is simply too high.



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