Missing from AP Story on EPA's CAFE Mileage Move-Up: 'General Motors, Chrysler Likely Hardest Hit'

April 8th, 2010 3:23 PM
US-epa-logoimageOne would think that in a story about how a four-year move-up of higher fleet gas mileage requirements being imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency would at least look at which manufacturers might be more or less affected by them based on what they currently sell, and how those sales are trending.

Well, most readers here don't think like writers at the Associated Press. Heck, in his report last Friday, the AP's Ken Thomas didn't even mention the fact that the EPA's regs represented a four-year move-up, and to a slightly higher standard -- apparently because doing so would have required him to mention the B-word (Bush) in connection with something seen as environmentally positive. Thomas also allowed "global warming" advocacy support to go unchallenged, as if the ClimateGate scandal that has wrecked the alarmists' entire case didn't exist.

Here are selected paragraphs from the AP report:

New mileage rules: Pay more for cars, less at pump

Drivers will have to pay more for cars and trucks, but they'll save at the pump under tough new federal rules aimed at boosting mileage, cutting emissions and hastening the next generation of fuel-stingy hybrids and electric cars.

The new standards, announced Thursday, call for a 35.5 miles-per-gallon average within six years, up nearly 10 mpg from now.

By setting national standards for fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes, the government hopes to squeeze out more miles per gallon whether you buy a tiny Smart fortwo micro car, a rugged Dodge Ram pickup truck or something in between.

The rules will cost consumers an estimated $434 extra per vehicle in the 2012 model year and $926 per vehicle by 2016, the government said. But the heads of the Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency said car owners would save more than $3,000 over the lives of their vehicles through better gas mileage.

... "Because of these standards, Americans will drive vehicles that save them money at the pump, cut the country's oil dependence and produce a lot less global warming pollution," said Jim Kliesch, a senior engineer in the Union of Concerned Scientists' Clean Vehicles Program.

... The changes will cost the auto industry about $52 billion, but the government says the program will provide $240 billion in savings to consumers, mostly through lower fuel consumption. The changes also could help U.S. manufacturers who produce advanced vehicles, batteries and engines, the government said.

The EPA is setting a tailpipe emissions standard of 250 grams (8.75 ounces) of carbon dioxide per mile for vehicles sold in 2016, equal to what would be emitted by vehicles meeting the mileage standard. This represents the EPA's first rules ever on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions, following a 2007 Supreme Court decision.

Each auto company will have a different fuel-efficiency target, based on its mix of vehicles. Automakers that build more small cars will have a higher target than car companies that manufacture a broad range of cars and trucks. For example, passenger cars built by General Motors Co. will need to hit a target of 32.7 mpg in 2012 and increase to 36.9 mpg by 2016. Honda Motor Co., meanwhile, will need to reach passenger car targets of 33.8 mpg in 2012 and ramp up to 38.3 mpg in 2016.

An interesting item found after digging into the numbers a bit is that the two car companies controlled by the government are so far the ones who are on balance doing the least about their gas-hungry mix of vehicles, based on this look at the top five best-selling brands in the US (data is from the Wall Street Journal's March Auto Sales report):


Governent/General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler have the three highest mixes of "light trucks" (SUVs, pickup trucks, etc.). But GM's mix is tilting a bit towards light trucks, not away from them. It would appear that Ford's light vehicles sales percentage will drop below GM's in the near future. Chrysler wouldn't even exist without light trucks, and its mix is so high that it will take years (assuming it hangs on) for its mix to come down to even Ford's or GM's current levels. I should also not that since its the smallest of the five U.S. sellers listed above, it will likely be the least able to afford whatever fixed costs are associated with EPA compliance.

If the company-defined targets identified in Thomas's report are fixed, as he implies by not qualifying the specific numbers with an "about," GM will have to reverse its product-mix trend and move from higher-profit light trucks at a time when it's still losing money even after going through a government-orchestrated bankruptcy.

As to the Bush-related news, it comes from this item carried at the New Mexico Independent:

A renewed focus on increasing fuel efficiency standards came in 2007, when President George W. Bush signed the federal Energy Independence and Security Act which required automakers to increase fuel efficiency to 35 miles per gallon fleetwide by 2020.

Of course, many sensible people believe that the government has no business dictating fleet mileages, especially since the entire global warming enterprise has been exposed as the fraud that it has always been. There seems to be no reasonable basis for the requirements, other than to give the EPA a reason to feel self-important while driving up the cost of vehicles and compromising driver safety -- another factor Ken Thomas chose to ignore.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.