It’s Never Enough

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Are new cars “dirty”?emissions lead

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.emissions graph 2

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.emissions systems pic

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?

We’ll see.

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.”sulfur pic

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?diesel fuel costs

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.

And so it will be with regard to Tier 3.where's the beef

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.

Not ever.

Throw it in the Woods?

* Regimes issue fatwas – arbitrary decrees never voted on by the populace.

PS: If you think EPautos is worth your support – and are in a position to – please do. Our donate button is here. For those not Pay Pal-inclined, you can mail us at the following:

721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079


  1. A thing I wonder, are cars in China not subject to Any of the pollution controls the cars in the unitedstate are?

    From what ‘they’ say, there is such terrible air pollution in China. It is written that they have gone to great lengths to combat air pollution there, seemingly to no avail. As the following link mentions, they’ve even gone so far as to use aircraft to dump shit out into the atmosphere to control the stuff, and now they’re switching to using drones. Is none of it from automobiles, er, very little of it?

    China successfully tests smog-fighting drones that spray chemicals to capture air pollution

    * Parafoil plane has a gliding parachute and carries smog-clearing chemicals
    * Carries three times the weight of planes and sprays within a 5km radius
    * Project is being led by China’s Meteorological Administration
    * Drone was built by state-owned firm Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC)
    * Researchers successfully tested the vehicles at an airport in central China’s Hubei province on Sunday
    * Scientists have likened the smog in Beijing to the effects of nuclear winter
    * Premier Li Keqiang recently declared ‘war on pollution’ in Chinese cities

    By Victoria Woollaston

    PUBLISHED: 08:12 EST, 10 March 2014

    It works by spraying the chemical catalyst, which reacts with the particles in the smog and freezes the pollutants.

    These pollutants then drop to the ground.

    The soft-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is said to cost 90 per cent less than fixed-wing drones currently used to clear the smog.

    For several years, China has used aeroplanes and fixed-wing drones to spray the chemicals in the air.

    […] Compared to other methods for spreading catalysts, the use of drones reduces the risks and cut costs.

    The Midwestern industrial city I live in used to have A Lot of smog. You could easily see it as you drove in from the surrounding countryside filled with corn fields. I haven’t noticed any smog hanging over the city in quite some time. Is it all due to cleaner burning cars, or was it from something else?

    • There are vehicle emissions regs in China – they’re just not as severe as the ones imposed here. Last time I checked, they were appx. what ours were in the early 90s.

      In other words, 95 percent “clean” is enough for the Chinese.

      But not for us – no matter what it costs us.

  2. Back in the 90s the ptbs found that air pollution was not declining as rapidly as it ought to by their calculation. The cars were so clean but the air was still “dirty”. Lo & behold they found the problem was that fast food joints were emitting hundreds of times more smog than the cars were.

    The epa did a lot of good work in its first few years. In the last 15 years or so it has become an agency dedicated to the so called man made warming movement. Now they are calling CO2 a pollutant, which goes into soft drinks, and is used by plants to kick start their metabolic processes.

    Also a little known fact known by all biologists. Photosynthesis is the process that converts CO2 to plant food. Photosynthesis word derives from Greek language which means “make by sunlight.” At night, when the sun goes down, the process reverses. We then have plants taking O2 from the atmosphere and converting it into CO2. Since there is more darkness than daylight for most of the year, trees and plants end up putting more CO2 into the atmosphere than O2. Also known as the Law of Unintended Consequences.

    Some food for thought. You don’t believe me, ask a biologist or botanist.

  3. The Changjiang River waves behind, drive the waves ahead.
    When the wind of change blows, some build walls, others build windmills.
    If the wind comes from an empty cave, it’s not without a reason.
    Reading ten thousand books not as useful as traveling ten thousand miles.
    Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.
    Drunkards talk to the gods.
    Wine makes words from secrets.
    Fortune does not come twice. Misfortune does not come alone.
    Father’s debt, son to give back.
    Only one who can swallow an insult is a man.
    Good medicine tastes bitter.
    Teach a man to take a fish is not equal to teach a man how to fish.
    When the tree falls, the monkeys scatter.
    Not only can water float a boat, it can sink it also.
    If one does not plow, there will be no harvest.
    If you have money you can make the devil push your grind stone.
    Careless rats chew on a cat’s tail.
    Looking for fish? Don’t climb a tree.
    I dreamed a thousand new paths I awoke and walked my old one.
    To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.
    A bride received into the home is like a horse that you have just bought; you break her in by constantly mounting her.
    Better do a kindness near home than go far to burn incense.
    All people are your relatives, therefore expect only trouble from them.
    Make happy those who are near, and those who are far will come.
    Be not disturbed at being misunderstood; be disturbed rather at not being understanding.
    Great souls have wills; feeble ones have only wishes.

  4. No need for “(sic)” there. The content was acceptable.

    “The Obama administration” is a single entity, and singular possessive would be acceptable in that case.

  5. Another result of the EPA zealots was the loss of all the (formerly) decent paying manufacturing jobs that went to China since it was cheaper to pollute the air over there than retrofit factories here to meet the new stricter “standards” . Most of the air “pollution” in California blows over the ocean from China nowadays; maybe after the Chinese poison their entire population we’ll get some of those jobs back.

    • Dear Mike,

      Corporatism here. Corporatism there.

      The ordinary schlub just can’t win for losing. Doesn’t matter if he’s in ‘Murca or China.

      The PTB at the top of the political pyramids always win. The plebes at the bottom always get ripped off.

      What can one do? Keep undermining the Myth of Authority. Never relent.

      Won’t live to see a genuinely free society?

      “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
      — Chinese Proverb

    • Yup – a great example being chrome plating. Older car (and bike) people will recall how easy – and relatively inexpensive – it was to get a part chromed back in the ’90s and before. Most medium-sized cities had a local place that did this work. Now, it’s necessary – usually – to send the part to some other state. And the cost is much higher – because there are probably half (or less) the chrome plating businesses left in business.

      EPA put them out of business.

    • Dear Tor,

      That’s weird.

      US and Australia I get. Huge territory. Cars are indispensable.

      But notice how many tiny principalities have such a high car/population ratio?

      It’s gotta be the wealth of the jet-set elites, and their conspicuous consumption.

        • Dear Charles,

          I’m just guessing, but presumably it would be hard to build MRT systems in Italy.

          All those historic buildings that must be protected?

          Again, just guessing. Maybe somebody knows?

          • There are rapid transit systems but few compared to other countries- for example London has more underground/subway/metro lines than the whole of Italy combined. However cities like Rome have more extensive tramways- in my opinion the way to go for a country like Italy and its many historic buildings. Several smaller Italian cities seem to be taking this route.

          • Several Italian cities have subways, but all of them of any size have extensive bus service that is inexpensive enough and heavily used. My most frequent experience in Italy was in Verona. The buses there had single tickets at 1Euro…you could also buy weekly or monthly tickets and that’s what I did to good effect. Same when I lived in Stockholm. The big challenge to owning a car in Italy, or in Sweden, is finding a place to park on a regular basis. I had a rented car in Stockholm, and I only used it four or five times in six months……just not feasible (though I did get over $400 in parking tickets due to ignorance).

            Mass transit in cities should be market driven. It has in the past, with no real input from city governments. That kind of thing has, in modern times, been regulated out of existence. We can’t have some filthy entrepreneur making money in a free market while providing a voluntary exchange of services for money……no upside of government control in that….

  6. Lovely. The Feds mandate cleaner tailpipe emissions. Simultaneously, the Shadow Government dumps tons of chemtrails on us daily. Makes great sense to me (sarcasm).

  7. Doesn’t the fact of scarcity of hydrocarbon resources practically guarantee that market forces will cause the evolution of more efficient engines? If so, why the need for regulation of the automobile industry?

    (Yes, I know the answer, but still, it’s worth asking from time to time).

  8. Meanwhile in China not even 1970s levels of pollution control are implemented. Not much more than peep of the serious pollution problem in China in the media. Want to clean up the environment? That’s where the bang for the buck is. Why is it not done? No political reason to.

    Just think if the US federal government required imported goods to be made in factories just as clean as domestic ones. Why is that not done? They have the power. It’s just not politically acceptable with the powers that be. Even with a bunch of customs inspectors traveling to foreign lands to inspect factories and all the abuses that go with it would still have a greater bang for the buck of government power creating a cleaner world environment.

    There is a very real movement to force americans to give up their personal private vehicles and it’s using every angle possible.

    • BrentP – A classic example of the Chinese contribution to a cleaner environment is found where they extract and process neodymium for the rare earth magnets used in electric motors for EVs and hybrids, as well as the generators in those bird choppers they call wind turbines. Rare earth production creates a fair amount of radioactive waste as well as well as other nasty byproducts. How sweet! Here’s the report, just go to page 15 for the straight skinny:

      As most of us here know, the desire of the PTB to put every prole on a bicycle or riding shank’s mare, and preferably disarmed as well, doesn’t have a thing to do with protecting the environment anymore than gun control is about reducing crime or red light cameras are about traffic safety. It’s about power and money as usual. And all the Gils and Clovers in this world trying to shout us down when we proclaim the glaring evidence to support these nasty little truths cannot change the material facts of the matter.

  9. Everything comes down to the almighty dollar. If the elites can get personally rich or the government can tax us to the hilt its all good. Do you want to know what to invest in Eric?….just look at what government officials invest in. They’re all multi-millionaires for a reason!

    • JoePA – I realize you’re probably being pragmatic, but doesn’t investing with the crooks and cons in DC amount to being an accessory to the crime at the very least? My point is that since the parasite class arrranges regulatory and legislative iniatives in such a way that they often unjustly profit from it, if you follow suite and profit from it as well you’re just as guilty as they are. Let’s say you have a natural disaster, such as a flood in New Orleans, and you see the local cops looting the local stores. You figure you should go with the flow and take what you want as well. Are you any less a thief just because “the authorities” were doing it too?

      • Yes I was being sarcastic. The main point is that the 1% is the 1% because of their ties to the government regulators and not their genius.

    • Dear Joe,

      True. But it’s all relative of course.

      You want to know where you really ought to invest, but can’t?

      The Federal Reserve System. That’s right. The FRS. It’s not a “federal agency.” The “Federal” in “Federal Reserve System” is like the “Federal” in “Federal Express.”

      The Fed is a PRIVATE (or rather corporatist) entity. Go to the FRS website. It’ll tell you that it has stockholders. No federal agency has stockholders.

      Who are the stockholders? The ones who get the legal privilege of counterfeiting currency?

      It’s a secret that even Assange and Snowden don’t know.

      Watch this video to see what I mean.

      The Biggest Scam In The History Of Mankind – Hidden Secrets of Money Ep 4 – Mike Maloney

  10. The state is dumb about many things but its method of applying gradualism to policy change is quite genius. Thus, the reason why the average Joe doesn’t see and feel the downsides of these endless state fatwas is because of the incremental nature of the change and because of the false belief that the change will only affect the other. One day there may be a momentous tactical error by the state that will lay bare their sinister methodology, but I’m not holding my breath in anticipation.

    • On the contrary, I have learned that the state is never dumb.
      Everything the state does benefits those who run it, those who influence it, and/or those who work for it in the short term or the long term. The time line usually depends on the beneficiaries.

      But you’re going to point out to me government failures. They are not failures. Someone benefited and in most cases the result was more government.

      When someone says government is dumb IMO it is a way to preserve the illusion that government does things in our interests. It does not. When the intentions become clear, things just don’t look dumb any longer.

      • Dear Brent,

        The image of “waste, fraud, and inefficiency” is one of the cleverest disguises ever invented.

        It reinforces the Myth of Authority even as it ostensibly denigrates government. The premise is that “we” have to grin and bear it because “Otherwise we’d have anarchy!”

        Ditto the “death and taxes” mantra. Few expressions grate on my ears as much as that one.

        • Bevin, my personal favorite is “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain.” It’s the glue that holds the myth of authority together.

  11. it is the law of diminishing returns. similar to peak oil theory it is basically peak performance theory.
    anyone with a brain or who isn’t spending other people’s money would decide that when this point has been hit (which it obviously has in terms of car emissions) that it is time to expend energy on other endeavors with better returns.
    it is so blatantly obvious and common sense that the only people incapable of understanding it are government drones and ivy league economists.

    • I do have to laugh at this article. Eric says the government does nothing good. Then he says the air is doggone clean since the Government made changes decades ago to get rid of air you used to be able to cut with a knife. How about the severe acid rain we used to have. Bad things like the high amount of sulfur that was in the air that causes it. How many billions of dollars are we saving with the decrease in medical costs since we are breathing cleaner air?

      • The mental pollution we endure from you is more than compensating for the decline in smog.
        Let the adults talk, child; your thoughts are like a dirty diaper…

      • Funny thing about the ‘acid rain.’ The EPA made all the coal fired plants put scrubbers on their stacks back in the 70’s. Remember when the Sierra club was predicting another ice age because of the particulates in the atmosphere? The pH of the water in lakes in PA/WV, etc (i.e., coal country) actually went up. Turns out the acid was coming out of the ground, and burning coal somehow reduced it, or at least spread it around so it was less damaging.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here