Biden Readies More Expensive, Fascist CAFÉ Mileage 'Standards'

P. Gardner Goldsmith | March 30, 2022
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Dang. If only the Philly mafia thugs who tried to push around my now-deceased uncle, prize fighter Dan Bucceroni, had utilized government “bureau-speak,” perhaps they might have seemed less frightening, just run-of-the-mill, a part of the scenery.

Instead of issuing “threats” to make business owners and customers operate the mobster way, they could have renamed their threats “standards,” used a bunch of collectivist, one-world lingo, and claimed they were “saving” their victims money, the way the U.S. government claims it does. Gosh, the mob victims might have embraced those strong-arm tactics.

As just one example, Congress in the mid-1970s leveraged the “energy crisis” into another made-up, lacking-in-constitutionality “justification” to grab more fascistic control over private market exchange. They called the imposition “CAFÉ Standards,” and since 1975, the U.S. government literally has threatened car makers and buyers to handle fuel efficiency the government way - or else.

As ScienceDirect notes:

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard regulates the average fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the United States. CAFE standards work by establishing a required fuel economy for the entire fleet of new vehicles (in miles per gallon), with separate standards established for passenger cars and light trucks. Vehicle manufacturers are required to have a sales-weighted average fuel economy that meets or exceeds these fuel economy targets, or pay a penalty that is a function of both their total sales and fuel economy shortfall.

Because, of course, you and I are too stupid to decide for ourselves the tradeoffs we want for our transportation. Things like overall cost, fuel efficiency, safety, horsepower, passenger capacity, torque, and other qualities are just too much for us troglodytes to handle, and only the “trust the science” political dictators of one-size-fits-all America can do that.

For a moment, some victims of this government thuggery might have fooled themselves to believe that they needn’t worry about the fact that the fundamental assumption of such power has not been challenged. After all, President Trump rolled CAFÉ mandates back to 1.5 percent from the looming Obama threat of annual “fleetwide” efficiency increases of 5 percent.

But the underlying assumption of the power was not questioned, and now, with Biden in office, we see this, via Reuters:

President Joe Biden’s administration on Friday plans to unveil tougher fuel economy standards for vehicles that would reverse his predecessor Donald Trump’s rollback of U.S. regulations aimed at improving gas mileage and cutting tailpipe pollution, officials said.

All to “save” us from ourselves, certainly…

The details are not complete, but the dominos are lined-up, and two major US “regulators” – the Environmental Protection Agency (Nixon-era creation EPA), and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA, under control of Transportation Secretary Pete “Supply Chain” Buttigieg) are ready to knock ‘em down.

NHTSA last August proposed hiking Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements by 8% annually for the 2024 through 2026 model years. NHTSA said those proposed rules would reduce consumer fuel costs by $140 billion for new vehicles sold by 2030 and $470 billion by 2050 and increase the estimated fleetwide average by 12 miles per gallon (mpg) for 2026, relative to 2021.


Biden’s administration asked on Monday in its federal budget proposal to Congress for $27.5 million to support the next phase of NHTSA fuel economy regulations ‘for light vehicles and maximum fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks and represents meaningful progress toward achieving the administration’s climate agenda.’

That’s stronga-rm money to pay enforcers, who will, of course, impose “fines” on companies that don’t comply in just the right way with the fascist overlords in D.C.

What's the “future” of autos that Buttigieg and Biden want to see?

They’re not going to take the peaceful route and start their own private companies – perhaps solar cars, perhaps “wind-sail” cars, perhaps Flintstone “bare-feet-through-the-floor” cars -- because that’s not how fascism works.

Fascism is the nominal – in name only – private ownership of a business that actually is controlled via government diktats.

Related: Watch Out, US: UK Preps Rationing Of Electric Vehicle Recharging, AT HOME | MRCTV

Which is precisely what we’ve had in many areas of US industry since the unwarranted introduction of the Sherman Antitrust act of the late 19th Century.

Funny, how time flies, and political power grows…

NHTSA on Sunday confirmed that it had reinstated a sharp increase in penalties for automakers whose vehicles do not meet fuel efficiency requirements for model years 2019 and beyond. The decision was a victory for Tesla that could cost other automakers like Chrysler-parent Stellantis hundreds of millions of dollars or more.

Buuuuut. Our “saviors” know they will “save” us lots of cash, and that, again, we’re too dumb to figure out what’s important for our own lives.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December finalized its stricter vehicle emissions requirements that are parallel to the NHTSA rules. The EPA said the rules will result in 3.1 billion tons of avoided CO2 emissions through 2050.

Ahh, yes. It’s all about “savings.”

But, will the regs really “save” what they claim they will?

In the past, as CAFÉ standards were introduced, and fuel efficiency rose in a manner that was not driven by market desires, this artificial change saw drivers hit the roads more than in the past, burning more fuel.

And the “standards” have forced manufacturers to make lighter, more dangerous, cars…

As Daniel Hewitt wrote in 2009 for the Mises Institute:

The primary unintended consequence of CAFE regulation has been its negative impact on occupant safety. The effect of ever-increasing fuel economy standards has been an accelerated trend towards smaller vehicles (faster than the market would have trended if left alone). Occupants of smaller, lighter vehicles are at a greater risk in multivehicle collisions, due to a greater disparity in vehicle sizes.

And Hewitt adds:

A 1999 USA Today analysis estimated that from 1975 to 1999, approximately 46,000 people died in crashes they would otherwise have survived had they been driving larger vehicles. That's 7,700 cumulative deaths for every mile per gallon gained.[3] Numerous other studies have been conducted — with varying conclusions, as some subjective analysis is necessary — but the general premise of size disparity increasing death rates remains inherently logical.

It's stunning to think that some people accept the unfounded notion that bureaucrats and politicians can act like mafioso and threaten peaceful people who just want to engage in exchanges of money for goods. Perhaps some of these Americans suffer from normalcy bias, and they don’t look into the history of these impositions.

But, also likely is the fact that some Americans WANT politicians to push around their neighbors. They WANT government to make cars more dangerous and expensive, because they think that human use of the internal combustion engine is a threat to the whole world.

It isn’t. And to literally engage in threats through government is a mighty big conceit to adopt when one’s neighbors are just trying to buy their mode of transportation.

How about we look at history, realize this isn’t sound, constitutionally, and allow for peace – meaning, we leave people alone and free?