The average person probably thinks so, if he reads – and believes – coverage of the Obama regime’s latest fatwa regarding tailpipe emissions standards. Here’s the lead from Automotive News, one of the majors covering, well, automotive news. Or so they claim:
“In the Obama administration’s (sic) latest push to clean up the new-car fleet and deal with America’s lingering air pollution problems, the EPA today finalized stricter tailpipe emissions standards that will ramp up from 2017 to 2025.”
“The rules, known as Tier 3, would require automakers to cut the smog-forming tailpipe emissions of a new car by 70 to 80 percent, starting in model year 2018.”
Italics (and sic) added.
The unquestioned – the accepted – premise is that new cars are not “clean.” The outright lie – well, the egregious misstatement of fact – is the representation that the Obama fatwa will achieve such Herculean reductions in tailpipe emissions.
I’ll get into how much this all going to cost us shortly.
First, though, this business about not-clean new cars. Hogwash. Tailpipe emissions from new – and remotely recent vintage – automobiles are almost nonexistent already. Have been, for decades – since at least the early ’90s.
Most of the really harmful stuff – the residue of incomplete combustion – has been dealt with extremely effectively via chemical exhaust scrubbers on the back end (i.e., catalytic converters – we’ve had them since 1975) and by precise control of fuel delivery in the perfect ratio (via port and most recently, direct fuel injection) on the front end – all monitored and continuously adjusted by the car’s onboard computer brain. The exhaust stream of a new (or late model car) is composed almost entirely of inert compounds such as water vapor and carbon dioxide. You may be a Global Warmer (oops, a Climate Changer now) but neither of those two things have anything to do with air quality or smog formation. The compounds that do form smog – such as unburned hydrocarbons (HC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) – comprise less than 5 percent of a modern car’s exhaust stream.
In most cases – in the case of new cars – it’s about 3 percent.
Now for the lie.
Automotive News passes on – without caveat or comment – the Obama regime’s assertion its fatwa will ” . . .cut the smog-forming tailpipe emissions of a new car by 70 to 80 percent…”
What they mean – but never tell you – is that the Obama fatwa will cut the remaining 3-5 percent of a new car’s tailpipe emissions by those percentages. Which means, 70-80 percent of 3-5 percent (or less). Which means a very small reduction in real terms. But it sounds so much sexier to not qualify the assertion. To tell the truth about the extent of the claimed benefit. Kind of like the advertising jingle that tells you you’ll save up to 80 percent on the purchase of a new flat screen.
Of course, your mileage will vary.
Speaking of which, the cost of all this.
The Obama regime – and I use the term not maliciously but in the interests of journalistic accuracy * – asserts its “Tier 3” tailpipe emissions fatwa will only add about $75 to to the sticker price of a new car. Government’s cost projections are notoriously accurate, so that’s a number we can believe in . . . right?
But here’s another number worth knowing about: The billions in add-on costs that will be transferred onto the backs of motorists via increased motor fuels costs that will accompany the upticked costs of new cars, courtesy of the regime’s fatwa.
Quoting Automotive News again:
“Refiners will still need to spend billions of dollars on equipment upgrades to reduce the amount of sulfur in gasoline to about 10 parts per million, similar to the fuel in California, Europe, Japan and South Korea.”
Italics added, again.
Who will pay those billions? Look in the mirror. It won’t be the mean old oil companies. Just as it won’t be the car companies that eat the cost of adding expensive new gizmos to new cars in order to achieve what amount to fractional reductions in already almost nonexistent “emissions.”
For a preview of what’s coming, consider what’s already happened to the cost of diesel fuel. Remember when diesel used to cost less than gasoline? When driving a diesel-powered car meant saving money? Diesel fuel now costs considerably more (about 40 cents more per gallon) than gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles (and heavy trucks) are considerably less economical to operate than they used to be. And why?
Because of federal fatwas that ordered refiners to make diesel fuel not just low sulfur – but ultra low sulfur. Diesel was formerly inexpensive because refining costs were lower. Now, they are higher. So, you pay more at the pump – and everywhere else, too. Do you know why food has recently become almost a luxury item? It is because the trucks that bring the food to you are diesels. And the truckers are being squeezed until there’s nothing left to squeeze. They, in turn, have no choice but to squeeze you – and you feel it every time you shop for groceries or anything else that is brought from A to B by a semi truck.
Did you know there was a “run” on big rigs built before the latest fatwas regarding diesel truck emissions? The new trucks – the ones built to meet the latest fatwas – cost much more to buy and to run than the old trucks. But the higher cost of the new, ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel is inescapable.
We all pay the price.
We won’t know until we get there just exactly how much more we’ll be paying for new cars – or for the gas to put in their tanks. But there is no question that we’ll be paying. And if past is prologue, there is little doubt we’ll be paying a great deal more than the Obama regime’s gentle estimates suggest.
If these costs actually translated into meaningful decreases in harmful pollution, we might agree they’re worth bearing. But it is disingenuous to claim, as the Obama regime and nearly everyone else wagging this dog likes to do that stupendous reductions are in store. Or even that air pollution is a major problem anymore. Per the Burger King lady, where’s the smog?
LA – birthplace of smog – has been free of smog for decades. Search around, try to find some smog. The air is pretty doggone clean.
But admitting this would mean there’s not much left for the EPA – for the Obama regime – to do with regard to issuing fatwas about new cars and fuel and so on. The proverbial jig would be up. Money – and power – are at stake.
And thus, there’s no end to it.
Throw it in the Woods?
* Regimes issue fatwas – arbitrary decrees never voted on by the populace.
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