Fuel economy Ford F-150 and CAFE regulations

Published on March 13th, 2017 | by Steve Hanley

Trump Will Travel To Ypsilanti Wednesday To Revoke CAFE Regulations

March 13th, 2017 by  

Fresh from another arduous weekend on the golf course in Florida, Donald Trump will fly to Yspsilanti, Michigan on Wednesday to officially take a presidential ax to the CAFE regulations left behind by the Obama administration on its way out of town.

Ford F-150 and CAFE regulations

What is going on is perfectly clear to everyone, even though the White House has refused to confirm the content of Trump’s remarks. The EPA could clearly see what was coming, as the major car companies all got in line to kiss up to the new president and beg him to rescue them from the big bad EPA that wanted to kill American jobs. Over the past few weeks, the companies, led by Mark Fields, the feckless CEO of Ford Motor Company, all trotted out the same tired shibboleths provided to them by shills for the Koch Brothers like the Heritage Foundation, the Heartland Institute, and Americans for Progress.

A million American workers will be unceremoniously thrown out of work if the CAFE rules are allowed to stand, they cried in unison. The price of cars will skyrocket, the chorus cried. Decent, hard working folks won’t be able to afford new cars was the constant refrain.

The companies have conveniently forgotten that they agreed to the EPA scheme back in 2009 when they all went crawling to Uncle Sam to save their sorry selves after the Wall Street bankers conspired to take down the global economy. But that was then; this is now. The car companies are rubbing their hands in glee as the fat profits roll in from selling light duty pickup trucks and SUVs to anyone who can sign their name on a piece of paper. Please, dear Donald, don’t let the gravy train end!

Trump undoubtedly will grant their wish, or try to. The EPA was very, very careful to load the record full of facts, figures, charts, and expert opinions so that any court reviewing its actions later would have no choice but to conclude that the agency’s decision to lock in the rules calling for average fleet economy of 54.5 mpg by 2025 had a reasonable basis in fact.

Rolling back an existing administrative order is a lot more difficult than halting a proposed rule. The EPA acted. It based its decision on reams of data. Despite Trump’s penchant for blather and bluster, the rule of law is going to present a huge roadblock to his desire to eviscerate the EPA. Environmental groups from The Sierra Club to 350.org are already lining up at the courthouse door, ready to give The Donald a civics lesson on how government really works.

The heads of GM, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler will be on hand to kiss Trump’s ring. Leaders of the major Japanese and German car companies will be on hand as well. All will be hanging on Trump’s every word and applauding wildly. There will be glee in the Motor ┬áCity Wednesday afternoon once Trump officially announces his intentions.

Anybody who has read The Three Little Pigs knows how this is going to turn out. While most of the auto industry will be dancing jigs, some adults — like Elon Musk — will be carefully planning how to put all of the celebrants out of business — permanently. As the old adage goes — be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Source: Business Insider

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About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • mb

    Request to MIT: Can you please research and calculate how many premature deaths we can expect by rolling back the CAFE regulations?

    • Steve Hanley

      Who cares about premature deaths when corporate profits are at stake?

  • Jim Smith

    CAFE should be ended and hopefully will. The cat is already out of the bag. EVs are here and are not going to be stopped.

    • Red Sage

      It was a long, hard fought battle over the course of nearly 40 years fraught with frustration, scientific research and political debate before the EPA was finally able to weather the storm and win the right to include pickup trucks as part of Corporate Average Fuel Economy ratings. It would sorely suck if that goes down the drain because some artficially orange guy took the Oval Office.

      But, indeed, if Detroit wants to beg for and receive government assistance to ‘protect’ their right to keep doing things the same way? Fine. Whatever.

      Because it is very likely to work out the exact same as it did when they demanded that the Japanese be FORCED to build their cars on U.S. soil.

      Detroit will get exactly what they are asking for… And the whole thing will backfire on them. Again.

      Only worse this time. Because a fully electric pickup truck from Tesla will eat their breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, supper, and repast — while achieving~ 100 MPGe. The proof of all they denied possible will be right there for all the world to see.

      • Jim Smith

        No company should receive any aid from taxpayers. See how simple that is? If someone wants to buy a vehicle which gets 5 mpg, let them. If a company only makes vehicles which get 5 mpg and no one buys them, they will go out business real fast, right? Again, no taxpayer bail outs. That is how free markets works.

  • Ed

    I am not sure this is going to be such a big loss for us environmentally, as long as the longer term requirements stay in place…..and IF we get a carbon tax to discourage truck and SUV sales. The story is that the extra half-mile per gallon in the 54.5 mpg was an Obama add as the bill was finalize….”just because.”

    Still, my own emotion is unchanged on this: Detroit needs to “get with the program…NOW!” or once again loss market share, this time to China.

    The pressure is on, and we must all remember that the very low service needs of EVs have the potential to seriously impact on the dealer networks….which are eagerly pushing to kill EVs in every way possible.


  • kevin mccune

    Will Rome burn this time , while the violin plays a syncopate ? You ever awaken from a good dream then 10 seconds later reality bites you in the a$$?

  • kevin mccune

    Just happened to think , has delivery rates become so unreasonable that half the people in the US have to own a means to haul all the stuff they buy ? Wow , look at the jobs being lost to private haulers . Make America great again , promote automobiles !

  • Epicurus

    God I wish battery prices would fall faster.

    Millions of people are going to regret their Trump votes, but I understand why they made them. They couldn’t take another 4 years of failed neoliberal domestic policies and neocon foreign policy.

    • Ed

      I am sticking with my prediction…and if it happens, the world changes!

      • Epicurus

        What’s the current price?

        • Ed

          Most agree that Tesla is in the lead, but the exact cost is not published. The most aggressive number I have seen with the current 18650 cell is $135/kWh. For giggles, notice that this widely-use chart does not go below $100!


          • Epicurus

            If I believed in a god, I would pray that your prediction is correct.

            What will be the driver of this low price–a (relatively) sudden oversupply due to several factories coming online?

          • Ed

            I should add that my background is in volume manufacturing and Continuous Improvement processes (Toyota Production System) and semiconductors, so I am a believer in the power of volume. Tesla appears to have assembled such thinkers and built the Gigafactory to attack costs. And that thinking applies back through the entire supply chain.

          • Marc P

            Only thing I hope is that the good folks at Tesla have built their gigafactory in such a way that it can rapidly adapt to making the most efficient types of batteries as the technology evolves.

          • Ed

            Let’s hope, but their approach so far has been very good. Because Tesla is committed to quick charge, the highly standardized small cell approach gives them a big advantage in consistent thermal performance across the entire pack. The move to the 2170 includes a new thermal management approach that reflects their extensive experience with the 18650. All good, me thinks.

          • Marc P

            I know the Lithium ion tech can be tweaked and they have done that, but I just hope that if and when there is a better and more efficient battery chemistry that gets developed, they will be able to adapt quickly and not get stuck with Li-on tech which, eventually, will be yesterday’s news.

          • Ed

            Yes. Only time will tell, but their first steps look excellent….and while they know that technology may change, they also know that storage is limited by the Periodic Table, so that are “looking in the right place.”

          • Epicurus

            Any prediction about the $/W for solar (pv) in Dec 18?

          • Ed

            No, I don’t have any wisdom to offer….except that the marketplace is already on a nice decline, so there is more cost savings to come.

          • Epicurus

            “my background is in volume manufacturing and Continuous Improvement processes (Toyota Production System)”

            What drives “economies of scale?” The fact that the more one buys of something (like raw materials), the lower the price?

            If the government decided to commit to electric cars, it could build a giant battery factory quickly and drive down battery prices without waiting for the free market to get to the same place, right?

          • Ed

            “Yes” on volume impact.
            “No” on Government giant battery factory; I don’t think there are ANY examples of Government out-performing private industry on cost.

          • Epicurus

            Granted, every government program in America is set up to fleece the taxpayers (e.g. Medicare prevented by law from negotiating drug prices, $10,000 toilet seats for the Air Force, etc.), but I don’t know why it has to be that way.

            The one advantage the government has is the ability to do big, expensive things.

      • mb

        Will we get our model 3 by Dec 18?

        • Ed

          No clue….but my son is hopeful on his order!

  • Antony Berretti

    As pointed out, next time the auto industry is in difficulty, let them sink…

  • partyzant

    Yeah, fuck enviroment and planet which we live on… profits of big car companies are more important!

  • darth

    Mobility as a service should make any roll back of these regs irrelevant in a few years by upending the entire auto industry model. Its gonna be fascinating to watch.

    • Steve Hanley

      Looking past the smoke and mirrors of the present to see into the middle distance may be a wise tactic.

  • Red Sage

    Excellent article! I especially enjoyed the closing paragraph. Thank you!

    All Detroit cares about is selling trucks. They feel they are safe if they can just continue to defer, delay, or dismiss the reality of their horrid fuel economy and extreme emissions coming home to roost either in the firm of fines or litigation. They don’t care about the environment. They want to just build and sell as many gas guzzling units as possible to make quarterly goals. Then cash in their bonus checks.

    When Tesla introduces a fully electric full sized pickup truck, those in Detroit will learn the error of their ways. Towing and hauling are the cornerstones of Performance for pickups. When the biggest jobs come along, it is always electricity that is employed — not pistons — to do the heavy lifting. Once people learn what can be done in a Class III, Class IV, or Class V capable Tesla, it’s gonna be over. Only the most die hard diesel runners will be able to resist. At least until they snatch the underpinnings out of their precious rig in tow-off against an electric truck. Coal runners be durned.

    • CogWheeler

      The Chicken Tax raises import taxes, on specifically trucks, higher than those for passenger cars. So, it’s harder for foreign competition and lends itself to Detroit sitting on its hands.

      I’d like to see more electric “SUV”s, as the vehicles have become fashionable, but for towing cars you need more than a range extender. If you can’t barely make it between gas stations, no way will towing with a battery be easy. I think we’ll sooner see practical sprint/track BEVs, production competition at Pike’s Peak, or driver’s ed BEVs that last ~20 mins without dropping too much power.

    • Steve Hanley

      A person could learn a lot from re-reading The Three Little Pigs! : – )

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