Keep Your Old Car [Part 3] Auto Industry Resistance to Fuel Economy Standards

Posted on April 20, 2011


Cont from Part 2… a discussion on why it stinks to buy a new car as a matter of principal.

Case 4b – Fuel Economy Standards

The Auto Industry in America has doggedly resisted the notion of efficient vehicles because…

Car: for getting from A to B not stroking your ego

there is far more margin in selling Unnecessarily Large Cars than there is selling Compact Compacts

The First Oil Shocks of the 1970’s created the political will to create Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) – enacted by congress in 1975 – but ever since, there has been a litany of  lame excuses and ongoing resistance to meeting the obligations of this regulation:

1970’s – We Can’t Do It (unless you want to drive a incy wincy car) “this [legislation] will result in a Ford product line consisting either of all sub-Pinto-sized vehicles or some mix of vehicles ranging from sub-sub-compact to perhaps a Maverick.”  

1980’s – We Can’t Do It (please give us some more time, unless you want us to shut down some factories) “GM and Ford said if they couldn’t sell big cars in order to meet CAFE they would have to shut their plants and lay off people. Would GM shut a plant because instead of making $5,000 profit on a car they had to pay a CAFE fine and only make $4,500? That’s mad; that’s crazy  from a Chrysler Executive who had invested Millions of dollars meet the current CAFE targets.

1990’s – We Can’t Do It (unless you want us to shut down factories AND drive a Tincy Wincy Car that is Unsafe) “You would see large cars pretty much go away. You might see a few Taurus and Sable sizes, but not many”…  And small cars are unsafe! 

 2000’s – We Can’t Do It (all of the above + because the customer doesn’t want us to) “…CAFE is arbitrary and doesn’t make sense. You’re better off letting the competitive forces in technology address the issue of improved fuel economy.”  

Today – Lobbyist from the consulting firm C2 (and no doubt an army of others) are still hopeful  “that government regulators moderate the requirements for fuel economy increases”…

Fat Cats of the Day - C2 Lobbyists

If you want a soul destroying job, you could not do much better than to go and work for the lobbying firm C2 – these morons are still trotting out the same old crap in Washington and boasting about it [here].


Fuel Efficiency has been sitting at around 26MPG for years due to auto industry clowns and the spineless regulators who can’t see through the lobbyist Fat Cats.  The regulators fine for producing a car that breaks current CAFE regulations such that over the course of its life, the car will chew up $3,500 of gas? – a paltry $120!

I note that Obama has made some progress in fuel economy standards legislation during his tenure; the current goal is to have cars up around the 39 MPG mark by 2016, the same level European and Japanese industry has been at since 1999!

America is still way behind the 8 ball when they should be leading the way

At the time of writing this Blog, Industry and Regulators are discussing the way forward and how this 39MPG mark can be achieved – lets hope Plutocracy does not prevail.

Remember my first premise, that all this resistance is simply because there is less margin in making efficient cars?  Well, I guess it comes as no surprise that the auto industry guys are already complaining about margin levels on the new generation of EV’s that have just come to market.

Which (when it comes to GM at least) might have something to do with the fact that production rates on the Volt are pathetic (although GM did keep to their time frame for getting the Volt to market so they ought to be commended for that), but the following kind of rhetoric makes me nervous…

Troy Clark GM Fat Cat

“We can’t make money on the first Volts… But as we get a chance to change the generations of technology, we’ll lose less and less.” But… “It’s not our intention to lose money forever, [all vehicles] have to have a line in sight to be commercially viable.” GM North American Operations Manager Troy Clark.  source

GM – come on!  Are you serious? Your selling Volts for north of $40k, just pump out a few more than 15 a day and you will be rocking!

GM, there is much more at stake here than maximizing your bottom line!

Get you head out of the backside of the Oil Industry and you might just rule the world again (if that’s what you love), or are you just trying to stall?

Case 4C – who killed the electric car?

more subversion here

Along the same lines – you should see this movie if you are not already righteously infuriated at the Auto Industry.  The film concludes that (in addition to the Auto Industry), Consumers, Battery Longevity, Oil Companies, Government, Spineless California Air Resources Board Officials and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Smoke Screening Tactics all had a role to play in the scrapping of 5,000 EV1 electric vehicles in the early 90’s.

Crushed EV1s in 1993

There is a great Wikipedia entry on this topic so I am not going to go into lots of detail here.  I do want to draw your attention to the sequal  The Revenge of the Electric Car – It just came out this week – I Can’t Wait to check it ou!

Check It Out



Posted in: AntiGreed, Green