Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Obama's Fuel-Economy Plan: Deceit, and Disaster

We wrote a piece yesterday on how Obama's new and aggressive fuel-economy standards were going to hurt the average consumer; let's drill down the numbers a little bit...

Keith Hennessey has a list of "10 things you might want to know" about Obama's CAFE proposal. It's a finely researched piece; I'm going to excerpt three important facts that he proves out. First:

The Obama plan will increase costs enough to further suppress demand for new cars and trucks. This will cause significant job loss, and probably in the 150K range over 5-ish years, with a fairly wide error band.

So it could be even more. When discussing yesterday some of the effects of this plan on the average consumer, I failed to mention that decreased demand would naturally lead to job layoffs. But maybe that's what Obama wants; to get his union buddies off the government teet. Maybe.

The second piece (again, replete with graphs and charts) points out the deceit and folly in linking theses standards to any kind of an enviornmental benefit:

Imagine if the President had instead said today, This new fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions rule will slow the increase in future global temperature seven thousandths of a degree Celsius by the end of this century, and it means the sea will rise six tenths of a millimeter less than it otherwise would over the same timeframe.” It loses some of its punch, no?

Yes. And that's why it is fudged over, or lied about. And Hennessey, in noting that it was the EPA that won this battle, and not the NHTSA, prophesies doom:

This bureaucratic power shift suggests a higher priority will be placed in the future on environmental benefits, and a lower priority on economic costs and safety effects, as we see with today’s proposal.

And that addresses another point: How many Americans will be killed on the highways by Obama's ideologically-driven fuel economy standards? Plenty:

...the downsizing of the American fleet has contributed to around 2,000 extra deaths on the road at current CAFE levels, because smaller cars are generally less crashworthy. The National Academy of Sciences confirmed this finding a few years back.
Certainly, cars are becoming safer, but they would be safer still if they were allowed to be bigger and consumers given the choice between safety and fuel efficiency.

Using the methodology of this CEI study from a few years back, applied to today's fatality numbers in a back-of-the-envelope calculation, the new policy will lead to around 800 more needless deaths on the road each year.

More than are dying in Iraq or Afghanistan, to use a familiar frame of reference. Or perhaps we need to get used to chants of "More blood for less oil!"

What a travesty. Thousands will die, hundreds of thousands will lose their jobs, and many automobiles will become unaffordable, all in the service of Obama's hard-left ideology.

Alas, there is none among us to raise the alarm: Obama Fuel Economy Plan Gets Media Nod ....

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