Tuesday, May 19, 2009

If you think car makers have financial problems now ...

According to Bloomberg, our Dear Leader is reducing the time car makers will have for meeting the increased CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards, and setting the first ever carbon emissions standards for vehicles:
Automakers must meet U.S. fuel- economy standards of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016, four years sooner than previously planned, under a federal proposal being announced tomorrow, a senior administration official said.

President Barack Obama’s plan adopts nationwide a standard proposed by California, setting the first-ever U.S. limit on greenhouse-gas pollution from vehicles.

Auto companies and California have signed off on the proposal, ending their feud over the state’s proposed rules. California’s Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and General Motors Corp. Chief Executive Officer Fritz Henderson are both planning to attend Obama’s announcement.

“It launches a new beginning,” said David McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, in a statement. “The president has succeeded in bringing three regulatory bodies, 15 states, a dozen automakers and many environmental groups to the table.”

The Washington-based alliance represents 11 carmakers, including GM, Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp.

Obama’s 35.5 mpg standard for 2016 models matches the target set by California under a 2004 state law. It compares with the 27.3 mpg that the U.S. Transportation Department said last month automakers would have to meet for their 2011 models.

A law enacted by Congress in 2007 required automakers to raise fuel-economy standards by at least 40 percent, which would have forced them to meet a target of 35 mpg by 2020.

‘Biggest Step’

Obama’s action is the “biggest single step to curb global warming,” Dan Becker, director of the environmental group Safe Climate Campaign, said in an interview.
The plan would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 900 million metric tons over the life of the program, the senior administration official said. In 2016, the plan will cost automakers an additional $600 a vehicle plus the $700-a-car cost automakers would face under standards in existing law, the official said. [emphasis added] ...

Article here. Just great. In order to meet these standards, cars will need to become smaller, less powerful, and lighter, and hence less safe in collisions. Thus, more people will die or be seriously injured as a result of these policies. So while you and I are driving our balsa wood framed micro-compacts with engines that make lawnmowers look high powered, His Royal Highness will no doubt still be chauffeured around in his 9,000 pound armored limos and SUVs with the supercharged V-8s, whose gas mileage numbers are guaranteed to bring a smile to every Saudi sheik's face. But we must save the planet! Oh, and car prices just went up an extra 600 bucks. Chains We Can Believe In.

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