Obama’s Auto Emissions Review – Where’s the beef?

Over the week Obama decided to call together a press conference to laude his auto emissions restriction regulation signing and to outline his policy and its impact on our lives and His view of our future.  The telling portions of this speech are the numbers He uses and assumptions made.  The speech is typical Obama rhetoric and what I associate with cotton candy, a whole bunch of fluff that when looked closely at dissolves into little if nothing significant.  As always Obama’s words are in black font and my interjections are in italic blue.


Thank you very much. Thank you. Please, everybody have a seat — have a seat. What an extraordinary day. The sun is out because good things are happening. Before I get started, just some preliminary introductions — I’ll probably repeat them in my formal remarks, but I want to make sure that I acknowledge some people who have been critical to this effort and critical to so many efforts at the state and federal levels.

First of all, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has just been cracking the whip and, you know, making Congress so productive over these last several days. We are grateful for her. My wonderful Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, is in the house. Lisa Jackson, the outstanding administrator of EPA. Some of the finest governors in the country are here — let me take them in order of good looks — sorry, Arnold. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California. Barbara Boxer just had to leave — the head of the Environment Committee in the Senate, who’d done just outstanding work. And Senators Feinstein, Levin and Stabenow couldn’t be here because they’re busy voting on credit card legislation that we’re going to get done before Memorial Day.  Well, we now know Obama is joining in the wagon train and circling them up to help deflect pressure from embattled Pelosi who needs to be fired by her voters sooner rather then latter, recall Pelosi California, you can do it!

And we’ve got two outstanding members of the House of Representatives, John Dingell — where’s John? Right here. The Dean of the House who’s done so much extraordinary work around these issues, Sandy Levin. Please give them a round of applause. I also want to mention Ron Gettlefinger of the UAW, our president who’s just been a great leader during some very trying times in the auto industry, and Carol Browner, who helped to make this all happen today. Please give Carol Browner a big round of applause.

Since I’m acknowledging everybody — I’m in a voluble mood today — let me go ahead and acknowledge my other members of the Cabinet who are here who are part of our energy green team and do just outstanding work on an ongoing basis. First of all, my Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis. The guy who’s just cleaning up the Department of Interior and doing an extraordinary job, Ken Salazar. Our head of HUD, Shaun Donovan. And our Commerce Secretary, Gary Locke.  This is telling, this means expansion of energy policies that will cause devastating damage to our economy and personal lives, read this month’s Road and Track for clear numbers as well as what the energy costs will have to be to shift to this green energy we are being told about.

Now, thank you all for coming to the White House today, and for coming together around what I consider to be a historic agreement to help America break its dependence on oil, reduce harmful pollution, and begin the transition to a clean energy economy.  See above.

This is an extraordinary gathering. Here we have today standing behind me, along with Ron Gettlefinger and leadership of the UAW, we have 10 of the world’s largest auto manufacturers, we have environmental advocates, as well as elected officials from all across the country.  2 of these are actually government directed companies, Government Motors and Chrysler-Fiat who are beholden to administration ‘suggestions’ and directives – stopping making their top 5 selling vehicles and producing hybrids and electrics that are their worst sellers because no one wants to buy them.

And this gathering is all the more extraordinary for what these diverse groups — despite disparate interests and previous disagreements — have worked together to achieve. For the first time in history, we have set in motion a national policy aimed at both increasing gas mileage and decreasing greenhouse gas pollution for all new trucks and cars sold in the United States of America. And I want to applaud the leadership of the folks at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation, and the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change who’ve worked around the clock on this proposal which has now been embraced by so many.  Obama strong armed the companies to agree with bail-out money (why Ford did not take the money), there was no work, Obama told everyone what the end was going to be, they had to work out how to get there so a collaborative effort it was not.  This national policy, when you look at it, looks mysteriously similar to the California emissions law, oh wait, what happened to the lawsuit California filed against the US over emissions and CAFE standards, yes it just went away thanks to this.  As always follow the money to find out what is going on in politics.  So the rest of the country will not be told what and how to drive by California.

Now, in the past, an agreement such as this would have been considered impossible. It’s no secret that these are folks who’ve occasionally been at odds for years, even decades. In fact, some of the groups here have been embroiled in lawsuits against one another. So that gives you a sense of how impressive and significant it is that these leaders from across the country are willing to set aside the past for the sake of the future.  California vs US Government for example.

For what everyone here believes, even as views differ on many important issues, is that the status quo is no longer acceptable. While the United States makes up less than 5 percent of the world’s population, we create roughly a quarter of the world’s demand for oil. And this appetite comes at a tremendous price — a price measured by our vulnerability to volatile oil markets, which send gas prices soaring and families scrambling. It’s measured by a trade deficit where as much as 20 percent of what we spend on imports is spent on oil. It’s measured in billions of dollars sent to oil-exporting nations, many that we do not choose to support, if we had a choice. It’s measured in a changing climate, as sea levels rise, and droughts spread, forest burns, and storms rageWow, guess what, not everyone believes this as they were strong armed and forced to accept the measures.  Yes, we have a sensational thirst for oil, but all of this oil we use is NOT used by cars and trucks.  Where do chemical and plastics industries, diesel locomotives, ships, aircraft, power plants, etc. use for fuel, oh yea, oil.  Most of these do not fall anywhere close to CAFE and will only decrease our usage a very small amount, that is why it is being rushed through the legislation process so fast, just ask yourself why as the oil going into the vehicles CAFE covers is only a small percentage.  You think unstable gas prices send families scrambling just you wait for CAFE kicks in.  Gas prices will go up at least 5 times!  With fuel efficient vehicles on the road what about the lost gas revenue the federal and state budgets are used to?  What about your gas turbine and oil fired power plants?  Buy anything using diesel trucks and trains for transport guess what, that service will go through the roof.  Small business owner who needs a pickup or van, you have to pay $8k more before interest and extra taxes.  Think through the entire process and supply chain and you will see it does not add up.  We do have a choice.  How much of our oil is exported from the Middle East?  Try this on for size, we produce 10% of the world’s oil and consume 24%, so our shortfall is not that drastic it equates to a 14% net.  50% of our imported oil comes from the Western Hemisphere, that is the Americas people!  Only 14% of our TOTAL oil imports, crude AND refined, come from the Persian Gulf region!  By contrast 18% comes from Canada and 11.4% come from Mexico, more then Saudi Arabia’s 11%!  21% of our crude and refined oil comes from Africa so this whole unstable market is mostly bunk!  We do have a choice, drill in America and our coasts for more oil and natural gas but the Democrats blocked this and won’t entertain it, it is much easier to charge Americans $10 a gallon to force people into cities and mass transit then drill for oil closer to America, this is political hype in hopes we Americans stay lazy and stupid of the facts, HTTP://tonto.eia.doe.gov/energy_in_brief/foreign_oil_dependence.cfm  The real purpose of this is to FORCE us into an environmental policy experiment to stop a theory which is not completely proven to be close to true yet.

And what is all the more tragic is that we’ve known about these costs in one way or another since the gas shortages of the 1970s. And yet all too little has been done. Calls for action rise and fall with the price of a barrel of oil. Worn arguments are traded across entrenched divides. Urgency fades, complacency grows, and time passes.  Bunk, bunk, bunk, BUNK!  Where did CAFE come from?  Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards were created in 1975 in response to… anyone… address Title V of the Improving Automotive Efficiency Act in response to the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74 and was to double the fuel efficiency of the time by 1985.  In 1985 our production began to fall but our usage rose as more people could afford cars and trucks sometimes multiple.  What is also curious in all this is our number of refineries has not increased, our production, refining capacity have fallen while our consumption has increased, but how much is due to cars?  Think about how many airlines and planes operated in the US in 1980 and today, trains, gas and oil power plants, and heavy trucking, this is where the increase has come from.  Here is something for your noodle.  What is the largest segment of the US population?  How many of them are going to continue to drive in their retirement?  Do you think our demand for gas, oil, and cars is going to increase during their moving from income to retirement or fall?  These measures are being sold as needed urgently now because the hidden agenda behind the results is ideological and based off of some group’s pot laden idea of a perfect world.  Follow the money people, who benefits from all this, if you think its a company you are false, go to the government and you will find the answers.

As a result, we have done little to increase the fuel efficiency of America’s cars and trucks for decades. Think about this. Consider how much has changed all around us. Think of how much faster our computers have become. Think about how much more productive our workers are. Think about how everything has been transformed by our capacity to see the world as it is, but also to imagine a world as it could be.  Um see above for details, 1975-1985 fuel efficiency doubled, 1985 to 1995 fuel efficiency almost doubled again, the reason it hasn’t since then, consumers DO NOT WANT CLOWN CARS!  Here in China there is a car called the QQ, 1 liter engine and about half the size of a VW Beatle.  This car only gets about 35 MPG but can only go 75MPH, this is our future America!

That’s what’s been missing in this debate for too long, and that’s why this announcement is so important, for it represents not only a change in policy in Washington but the harbinger of a change in the way business is done in Washington. No longer will we accept the notion that our politics are too small, our nation too divided, our people too weary of broken promises and lost opportunities to take up a historic calling. No longer will we accept anything less than a common effort, made in good faith, to solve our toughest problems.  Telling stuff here people, it means grab your ankles, here comes the spending and change train.  Now I will admit we need change in America, change in the way we measure success and envision the American dream, we also need to reset our pay to lifestyle ratio but these policies are all in the WRONG direction.  Obama is trying to derail the US economy by cutting our legs off at the knees.  These measures will be devastating to our local and overall economy as we are forced to wean from personal travel freedom to being enslaved by regulations and mass transit, look into Obama’s land rights policy to see the second wave of this measure.

And that is what this agreement seeks to achieve. Right now, the rules governing fuel economy in this country are inadequate, uncertain, and in flux. First, there is the standard for fuel economy administered by the Department of Transportation. On top of that, the Environmental Protection Agency, in response to a decision by the Supreme Court, may have to set limits on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles — establishing another standard. California has sought permission under the Clean Air Act to require that vehicles sold in California meet yet another even stricter emission rule. And 13 states and the District of Columbia have agreed to adopt California greenhouse gas reductions if the permission — called a waiver — is granted.  Bait and switch people, bait and switch!  Oh, these measures are being enacted to consolidate all the policies thereby simplifying all these convoluted and complicated rules into one clear and concise efficient one – WRONG!  If so why would it be 1/2 as long as the convoluted stimulus bill and require a speed reader, contracted by the government and paid for by taxpayers, to read in a farce that guaranteed it would not be fully reviewed.  It is odd that he mentions California without mentioning the lawsuit they filed against the government to FORCE the rest of the country to adopt their policies.

Car companies might then face three different sets of overlapping requirements, one administered by the Department of Transportation, one administered by the EPA, and still a third administered by California and 13 other states. This proposed national policy, under the leadership of two agencies — and bringing together 14 states, 10 companies, as well as auto workers and environmental groups — changes all that. The goal is to set one national standard that will rapidly increase fuel efficiency — without compromising safety — by an average of 5 percent each year between 2012 and 2016, building on the 2011 standard my administration set shortly after taking office.  Key word, rapidly, translation: driving the market place not allowing the market place to adjust and drive the companies.  Normal economics in normal markets is based off of supply and demand on the basic level.  This socialists policy will force the market to demand and supply, just the opposite.  Think about it, the market is no longer driving the car per say, the government is telling the companies what to produce and the consumers will have no choice, its a Field of Dreams market place now, build it and he will come…  Well, what happens if the consumers flatly reject the products?  Black market cars and trucks?  Welcome to socialism folks.

A series of major lawsuits will be dropped in support of this new national standard. The state of California has also agreed to support this standard — and I want to applaud California and Governor Schwarzenegger and the entire California delegation for their extraordinary leadership. They have led the way on this as they have in so many other efforts to protect our environment. In addition, because the Department of Transportation and EPA will adopt the same rule, we will avoid an inefficient and ineffective system of regulations that separately govern the fuel economy of autos and the carbon emissions they produceAhhhh, here we go finally the truth about the lawsuit is coming out.  Again bait and switch, repeat it enough times and people believe it is true.  MMMAAA MMMAAA MMMAAA!  Carbon emissions!  Can this be foreshadowing for a passage of carbon credits on cars and trucks in the not so distant future.  Not only will Obama save the planet by forcing our car companies to produce radically different cars he will be telling us how much we can use them.  Think of it as a nationally enforced leasing policy, drive too far one month and take a hit!  Big brother is looking more like a reality each passing week now. 

And at a time of historic crisis in our auto industry, when domestic auto manufacturers are making painful choices and restructuring their businesses to be viable in the future, this rule provides the clear certainty that will allow these companies to plan for a future in which they are building the cars of the 21st century.  Never waste a good crisis, Obama’s chief of staff laid out a whole slew of what was going to happen and no one really followed up on it, well here we see it again, using the excuse of the current economic climate as a hard place and tactics imposed like a rock with us consumers and our supply markets are in the middle, between a rock and a hard place.

Yes, it costs money to develop these vehicles, but even as the price to build these cars and trucks goes up, the cost of driving these vehicles will go down, as drivers save money at the pump. And this is a point I want to emphasize: If you buy a car, your investment in a more fuel-efficient vehicle as a result of this standard will pay off in just three years. In three years’ time you will have paid off the additional investment required. So this is a winning proposition for folks looking to buy a car. In fact, over the life of a vehicle, the typical driver would save about $2,800 by getting better gas mileageWho cares how much money it takes to develop the cars, the companies have had them under development for over a decade, the reason they have not been taken to market is because the business case stated the market for them did not exist and the technology was too immature to produce the quality demanded.  Now we have poured tens of billions of dollars into 2/3 of the domestic industry place, taxpayer dollars, so money is not the issue.  For a new car to be taken from concept to production takes 4 to 6 years for assembly line changes, how will GM and Chrysler achieve this assembly line shortcut?  Follow the money folks. 
Bait and switch alert, bells and whistles galore.  As the price on the cars goes up the cost of the fuel goes down?  Save money at the pump?  Are you smoking crack with the mayor Mr. President (Marian Berry that is)?  We all know as our economy improves and American demand increases the price of oil will increase.  As Americans use less gas and tax revenues fall for national road and bridge maintenance the legislature will HAVE to raise fuel taxes to recoup the lost revenue, which will in turn increase the cost of services and products dependent on gas to get to us, think any service that uses gas; police, fire, ambulance, garbage, school bus, city, state, and federal agencies who travel, military, airlines, shipping companies, mail services, farmers (hit double for gas and fertilizer made from oils), any store that has merchandise delivered in any way, etc.  See taxes will have to go up not only at the pump but property taxes for renters, retail prices for customers, and sales taxes and service fees for the service and utility companies.  Paying off a difference of higher vehicle cost has to be factored into total ownership cost, added interest payments, insurance, hazardous materials disposal when trading in as these vehicles are the least environmentally friendly cars in the world in their construction materials, and dealer maintenance as aftermarket parts and labor shops will take years to develop.  Add in the increases in fuel taxes, or special taxes for non-fuel vehicles to recoup road maintenance, road services, and other infrastructure costs that have been taken out of fuel taxes but electrics and hybrids will no or barely use. 
I want to see Obama’s typical driver statistics.  I have been reading Road and Track, Car and Driver, and other industry leading auto magazines for over 20 years now and his numbers need close scrutiny.  How many miles driven per year, ratio of highway to city miles, lifetime of car compared to what?  All these need to be broken down clearer.  Currently the typical driver drives about 10,000 miles a year, mixers city to highway at a ratio where you can average the city and highway miles, and owns a car for 3 to 5 years.  Average cars get around 32/28 now days, so 50,000 miles at 30 mpg is 1,667 gallons of fuel, roughly.  At $2.25 a gallon that is $3,751 fuel costs, a hybrid today can do 30/45 and averages 38 mpg or 1,316 gallons of fuel, at same costs this is $2,961 or a grand whopping difference of $790.  This of course is assuming fuel costs stay stagnant and people drive new cars like current cars.  What about the #1 selling cars in America, you know the big ugly trucks?  You will have to pay a premium $8k per truck, translation higher costs for landscaping, senior centers shuttles, hotel shuttles, utility companies, and those who enjoy RV, camping, boating, biking, horseback riding, oh yea and farmers.  Hybrids won’t be able to tow, haul, or work like existing vehicles.  Oh and for those who are going to go diesel to escape the madness, guess again because Obama is going to wreak the same fines on those vehicles too, but to ALL of them, not just light trucks.  I personally vote for replacing all cars with horses and selling the manure to governments for fertilizer, they are green, cheap, and fatalities will be cut dramatically so insurance will become nonexistent.  Sure we will have to revert to mud streets but think of planet when we stop using asphalt.  Its win win for everyone!

The fact is, everyone wins: Consumers pay less for fuel, which means less money going overseas and more money to save or spend here at home. The economy as a whole runs more efficiently by using less oil and producing less pollution. And companies like those here today have new incentives to create the technologies and the jobs that will provide smarter ways to power our vehicles.  Man oh man, consumers pay less for fuel, only if you don’t TAX it more and subsidies the industry by hiking up the price, lying politician.  More money will be spent on taxes at home!  Using less oil, did you know autos make up only a small percentage of our oil usage per day?  If you convert all the energy we use into barrels of oil per day the renewable energies total a whopping 2.2%, that is solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, etc combined!  97.8% is coal and good old oil,  If Obama doubled it, like Bush did in 2005 then we would still not dent the surface and electricity would skyrocket, we subsidies solar and wind $24 and $23 per megawatt hour now, compared to coal and gas at $0.44 and $0.25 respectfully.  Plug in hybrids require electricity, I bet that cost of that is going to skyrocket very very soon.  New incentives to create new cars and jobs means he will leave the companies alone, else he will keep firing CEO’s and keep government control and investors away until they bend to his will.

And that’s why, in the next five years, we’re seeking to raise fuel-economy standards to an industry average of 35.5 miles per gallon in 2016, an increase of more than eight miles per gallon per vehicle. That’s an unprecedented change, exceeding the demands of Congress and meeting the most stringent requirements sought by many of the environmental advocates represented here today.  In 7 years were going to raise the MPG only 6 MPG not counting trucks from my calculations, wow color me impressed!

As a result, we will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the vehicles sold in the next five years. Just to give you a sense of magnitude, that’s more oil than we imported last year from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Libya, and Nigeria combined. Here’s another way of looking at it: This is the projected equivalent of taking 58 million cars off the road for an entire year.  Again what are the assumptions on these 58 million cars?  I already stated that most of our oil comes from the Americas, our Venezuela oil is heavy crude suitable only for junk oil, its best efforts are to create DFM, or marine diesel which is the lowest grade due to its high sulfur content.  Seeing most of our oil comes from Canada and Mexico I am again not impressed by the number he is stating here and suspect them greatly as my industry inside experts have been saying for 2 years now how CAFE will not result in any significant reduction in our oil consumption as we use more oil in the creation of tires each year then in making gas.  Guess tires will cost $1,200 a set now.

I also want to note that the agreement we have announced today is part of a far larger effort. In fact, on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Henry Waxman is chairing a meeting of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which is working on an equally historic energy bill that will not only help our dependence on foreign oil, prevent the worst consequences of climate change, and build a clean energy economy, but will provide more than $15 billion to help build the cars and trucks of the future right here in America.  Five year plans?  Notice I left this alone until now, this is strangely sounding like the 7 year plans I hear about here in China all the time for Chinese politicians.  This sweeping energy policy will result in another Boston tunnel, a big dig that runs over budget and takes decades to implement, a big waste of time.  Sure it will help the environment according to scientists who believe in the theories of global warming, but seeing I have seen proof contradicting their theory we may need to slow down the stone age bus until we have ALL the facts.

And the recovery plan we’ve put in place, as well as the budget that builds on it, makes historic investments in a clean energy economy: doubling our capacity to generate renewable energy like wind and solar; investing in new battery technologies for plug-in hybrids; and building a smarter, stronger grid on which the homes, businesses and vehicles of the future will run.  Remember how I stated earlier that Bush doubled our 1.1% renewable energy production in 2005, well doubling that again will result in a big fat 4.4% of our current production and will require a subsidy of 53 times the cost!  You can keep those numbers!

Too often, lost in the back-and-forth of Washington politics, absent in arguments where the facts opponents use depend on the conclusions they’ve already reached, absent all that is this: Ending our dependence on oil, indeed, ending our dependence on fossil fuels, represents perhaps the most difficult challenge we have ever faced — not as a party, not as a set of separate interests, but as a people.  Here he is right, he will have to legislate our lifestyles making our current way of life too expensive to continue, for those who doubt it can happen, take a look at what we pay now for energy and his 900+ page proposal or listen to the speed reader version to see if the numbers add up, they don’t.

We have over the course of decades slowly built an economy that runs on oil. It has given us much of what we have — for good but also for ill. It has transformed the way we live and work, but it’s also wreaked havoc on our climate. It has helped create gains in prosperity unprecedented in history, but it also places our future in jeopardy.  Um, the whole planet runs off of oil, it is what defines a primary world power and a second world country, without oil you have nothing.

Ending this dependence will take time. It will take an incredible effort. It will take a historic investment in innovation. But more than anything, it will take a willingness to look past our differences, to act in good faith, to refuse to continue the failures of the past, and to take on this challenge together — for the benefit not just of this generation, but generations to come.  Higher costs, higher taxes, and keep paying because we are almost there, carrot and stick people, keep shelling out the money.

All the people who have gathered here today, all the auto executives, all our outstanding elected officials and appointees — Ron Gettlefinger, members of Congress, governors — all these folks here today have demonstrated that this kind of common effort is possible. They’ve created the template for more progress in the months and years to come. Everything is possible when we’re working together, and we’re off to a great start. So thank you everybody. I appreciate it.

By the way, I just want to mention, I think I still have my Ford parked in Chicago.  It’s a Ford hybrid, it runs great, you guys should take a look.  But there are also some outstanding hybrids — and energy-independent cars represented up here, so I didn’t want to just advertise for one.  When will we see a hybrid presidential limo, motorcade, etc.?  When will we see hybrid tanks, airplanes, moon ships, and winged chariots, sorry I was in Nancy Pelosi ville for a second.  Seriously, the numbers don’t lie here, this is a recipe for disaster and it will pass hook, line, and sinker.  I have covered a lot here and my wife is yelling at me to get off the damn computer, so I will do my part to save energy by turning off the PC and living room lights and calling it a night, face it American tomorrow is a brave new day and I hope your checkbooks are ready because here comes the tax man!

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One Response to Obama’s Auto Emissions Review – Where’s the beef?

  1. Cherry says:

    As always you are so right, Thank you for this wonderful post. I have blog it to share with my friends. Have a wonderfull day! Cherrye

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