President Obama took time out from the drama over the debt ceiling to decree that by 2025, only fourteen years from now, the automobile fleet average mpg must be an astonishing 54.5. Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, comments:
The number was agreed to by the White House, EPA, Department of Transportation, California Air Resources Board, several major automobile manufacturers, environmentalists, etc. All the major players were represented except one – the American public – the consumer who is expected to buy the automobiles manufactured under this standard.
A quick look at the costs of automobiles on web sites, such as one by US News, gives examples of the impracticality of thinking displayed by this announcement. The vaunted Toyota Prius has an invoice price of $22,108 plus but gets only 51 mpg city and 48 mpg highway – it does not qualify under the proposed standards. Comparing apples to apples, the low cost 2012 Honda Civic has an invoice of $14,388 plus and gets 28 city and 36 highway. The hybrid version gets 44 city and 44 highway but costs 53% more with an invoice starting at $22,134. A low cost SUV, Ford Escape, gets 23 city and 28 highway with an invoice of $20,120; the hybrid version has an invoice of $29,997, or 49% more, and gets 30 city and 27 highway. Frequently, hybrids get greater mileage in the city than on the highway. The regulations are oriented for the urban public and severely punish the suburban and rural public.
What is clear is that the administration is demanding the American public bends to its will and buys electric automobiles that have yet to prove their worth at significantly higher prices than gasoline automobiles. Electric vehicles have a limited range, and those employing gasoline engines do not get the mileage that is proposed. By claiming these standards will save households money, the administration continues the mantra that by forcing the public to spend much more money for energy and transportation, the public will save money.
The President has promised that the Federal government will buy many of these new, expensive automobiles, as if Washington does not recognize there are unemployment and revenue problems.
I wrote some years ago about the human toll that EPA gas mileage regulations have taken. I can’t readily put my hands on the numbers, but tens of thousands of people have died because of those mandates, which have required lighter–and now, ironically, more expensive–vehicles. So the issue is not only an economic one.