Obama’s auto-industry regulations are taking us full-steam into the future — to a world without affordable cars.
Now Obama’s decided to ban cars outright.
Not in so many words, perhaps, but his just-announced proposal that new cars be required by law to average 56.2 miles per gallon by 2025 will effectively do just that.
Not one car sold in the United States currently averages 56 MPG — not even on the highway. Not even hybrids like the Toyota Prius, the best of the lot — which maxes out at 51 on the highway and 48 in city driving. The maximum highway mileage achieved by a current non-hybrid car (the 2012 Honda Civic HF) is 41 MPG. Its average mileage is 33 MPG.
To achieve an average of 56 MPG, one or more of the following would be necessary:
* Massive reduction in vehicle weight
It is easier - more efficient - to move a lighter car than a heavier car. A 2,000 lb. car will use less gas, all else being equal, than a 2,800 lb. car because a smaller, more fuel-efficient engine can do equivalent work in terms of accelerating the vehicle and maintaining speed.
The problem is the engineering/economic conflict between weight and safety.
For decades, the federal government has been passing one safety-minded mandate after another, each of which has had the effect of making newer cars heavier than their equivalents of the past. A current-year subcompact like the 2012 Fiat 500 weighs 2,363 lbs. — a porker in comparison to an equivalent subcompact from the '70s such as an original model VW Super Beetle, which weighed about 1,900 lbs. That 400-plus pound weight difference is the main reason why, despite the Fiat’s 40-year advantage in technology — including computer-controlled fuel injection and overdrive transmissions — its gas mileage (30 city, 38 highway , 33 average) is only slightly better than the Beetle’s high 20s, low 30s.
Of course, the old Super Beetle was less “safe” — that is, less crashworthy (if you crashed it). The government decided that gas mileage mattered less than how well a car performs in an accident. But now it wants cars to do both — comply with all current and soon-to-promulgated “safety” standards while also doubling or even tripling their gas mileage.
Which brings up the next problem:
* Lowering weight while maintaining crashworthiness will not be cheap or easy
There are ultra-lightweight race cars that are extremely crashworthy. You can hit a wall in one at 150 MPH and walk away with nothing more than a few bruises. Of course they also cost hundreds of thousands (sometimes millions) of dollars each. High-strength, lightweight materials such as carbon fiber and titanium cost a lot more than steel or aluminum, the materials used to make ordinary passenger cars.
The Obama Car could be made of carbon fiber and average 56 MPG while also being very safe in a crash (though few people will ever have to worry about crashing one because no one except maybe tax-feeding millionaires like Obama himself will be able to buy one).
* Nix size
Of course, you could always just eliminate all cars larger than, say, the SmartForTwo car (which incidentally only gets 41 highway and seats — you guessed it — only two people). Maybe with a diesel engine such a car could manage to get close to 56 MPGs, average. There are micro-compacts in other markets, such as Europe, that approach 70 MPG on the highway. But anything larger than a micro-compact is going to be hugely problematic. A current year mid-sized family sedan like the Toyota Camry averages 26 MPG. That’s with the four cylinder engine. Toyota would need to more than double the average MPGs of the Camry (and drop the optional V-6 from the roster) to qualify as an Obama Car, while also somehow retaining the ability to carry 4-5 passengers.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
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The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
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