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CAFE Standards: Central Planners Target Your Cars

Of course, during the 2008 campaign, Mr. Obama also said:

There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy. Making sure your tires are properly inflated -- simple  thing. But we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling -- if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You'd actually save just as much!

Fast forward to June 22, 2011. According to Eric Loveday at Autoblog Green:

Bumping up federal fuel economy standards to 56 miles per gallon in 2025 would yield fuel savings that offset increased vehicle prices, according to the Center for Automotive Research. However, CAR says, jumping to 62 mpg would increase vehicle prices to such a degree that additional cash needed to buy an auto would exceed the amount of money saved at the pump over a five-year period.

CAFE standards already dictate such things as the prices of new and used vehicles and the kinds of vehicles offered for sale in America. The ultimate issue is: where is the rational balance point between technology and policy? If policy takes primacy, why not simply mandate that all vehicles sold by a given date are capable of at least 100 MPG? If technology is the driving factor, it matters not what the CAFE standard is -- if the technology isn’t sufficiently developed to obtain it.

Unfortunately, America is currently saddled with a president whose goals are not creating jobs or enabling the private sector to create wealth, but to impose an anti-business, pro-big government vision of central control, whether the people like it or not. It’s important to remember that for socialists, “the people” are an abstraction, a nameless, faceless mass that labors ceaselessly and happily, striving only to implement the policies of their elite masters. Socialists care little or nothing for the individuals who comprise “the people.”

Does Mr. Obama want to save oil for the sake of thrift or national security? Hardly. He wants energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket”; wants to bankrupt the coal industry; and has appointed Dr. Steven Chu as secretary of Energy -- a man who wants to figure out how to raise American gas prices to European levels of $10 per gallon to force Americans to drive less.

Alas, Americans have no “addiction to oil.”  An addiction is an uncontrollable compulsion that interferes with normal, rational life.  The use of petroleum products is a necessity of modern life. Without it, most Americans cannot do the business of everyday living. Gasoline is not an evil but a useful commodity. Our economy revolves around its use because it is inherently useful. It was, until the advent of Mr. Obama, relatively inexpensive -- easy to transport and store in an infrastructure designed for that purpose.

But that hardly matters to those tightening CAFE standards at any cost. Two years ago, the nation’s fuel economy standards went through the first major overhaul since 1985. New rules required the U.S. car fleet to reach the mid-thirties in miles per gallon by 2016. Now, policymakers are working on the next round of regulations for 2017 through 2025. They’re talking about much more stringent numbers -- and, automakers argue, much more expensive cars.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) intend to announce the new regulations by the end of September, and the four scenarios currently being discussed range from yearly increases in mandated fuel economy of between 3 and 6 percent. Earlier this year, the government told automakers that it is leaning towards a 5 percent increase, which would mean 56 miles per gallon by 2025. But the feds could choose to be even more aggressive; the 6 percent increase translates to a fuel economy standard of 62 mpg.