Most people who’ve read a little bit about World War II have heard of Martin Niemoller – and what he had to say about precedent becoming practice.
What happened to VW is now happening to Ford.
It is being criminally investigated over asserted “cheating” on federal emissions certification tests. But with a twist.
The verbiage makes it appear the “cheating” asserted involves the byproducts of internal combustion which can lead to air quality and health problems . . . when the dose is too high – a scientific caveat which is now universally ignored when the matter is discussed – or rather, emoted about – in our hystericized/politicized era.
These include unburned hydrocarbons (fuel vapors), oxides of nitrogen and particulates.
The latter two were the emissions alleged to be pouring forth from the tailpipes of the “cheating” VW diesels in great toxic clouds – but in fact were so minute their quantity had to be deliberately hystericized to not only almost ruin VW but to absolutely ruin diesel-powered VWs, which the company no longer sells at all.
Now we come to the latest expansion on this theme, with Ford in the crosshairs this time.
But it isn’t just Ford – or won’t be just Ford.
And it has nothing to do with “emissions” this time.
In what has to be ranked among the most stupendous – and so far successful – bait-and-switches ever performed upon the public, the regulatory apparat of the government now treats compliance with fuel economy fatwas as an “emissions” issue.
Federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) fatwas are styled “clean cars” standards – a despicable manipulation of language clearly intended to deceive the public into supporting the government’s fatwa’ing fuel economy standards, which unlike emissions standards are none of its legitimate business.
There isn’t much market support for the fuel economy fatwas; the best-selling vehicles are persistently trucks and SUVs, a clear market repudiation of the fuel economy fatwas.
The government – that is, the busybodies and control freaks who constitute “the government” – cannot stand this and have tried for decades (since the ’70s) to push people out of the vehicles they want – trucks, SUVs and larger/more powerful cars – into the small cars and hybrid/electric cars the busybodies and control freaks want to force them to drive.
Every several years, the mandatory minimum CAFE number goes up.
It was 27.5 miles-per-gallon (average, not “highway”) for many years, a number high enough to practically kill off large sedans and wagons. It now stands at just over 36 MPG – and threatens to almost double, to more than 50 MPG, if the fatwa-raising decreed by the last Decider (Obama) isn’t “rolled back” by the current Decider.
Who has been trying to do just that.
Which is why the debate isn’t being framed about the propriety – in an allegedly free country – of the feds decreeing ever-higher mandatory MPG minimums, but rather about compliance with “emissions” standards.
For example, the loathsome (because despicably dishonest) busybody organization styled Public Citizen – though “the public” never endowed it with proxy power to act as its representative, elected or otherwise – states in a release that “Ford has lobbied the Trump administration to roll back the clean car standards …”
Meaning the Obama-era 50-plus MPG fuel economy fatwa almost-doubling.
But Ford stands accused – formally, by the government – of “…taking a flawed approach to using road-load specifications to simulate how aerodynamic drag and tire friction can affect fuel economy outside testing labs.”
Note the bait-and-switch. A gas mileage issue becomes – hey, presto! – an emissions issue.
Public Citizen’s release goes on to say that keeping the fatwa at 36 MPG rather than almost doubling it would “…cost consumers billions at the gas pump and lead to 2.2 billion additional tons of carbon pollution.”
This is spectacular.
First, there’s the assumption that “consumers” – a loathsome term suggestive of hogs at the trough – are too stupid to buy the types of vehicles which meet their needs and budget and that Ford and the rest of the industry is determined to not to build the types of vehicles which meet buyers needs and budgets, because they’d rather not make money.
That, instead, Ford and the rest of the industry are forcing “gas guzzlers” on buyers who have no choice but to buy them.
There are numerous high-economy cars available for sale, including hybrids and EVs. The problem – from the standpoint of the busybodies and control freaks – is that many people do not choose them.
Because they don’t meet their needs – or their budget.
What the vile SOBs at Public Citizen (and who constitute “the government”) never mention in these eructations is the fact that “saving gas” costs money. The technology necessary to jump from 36 MPG to 50-plus does not pop into existence at the touch of the government’s fairy stick.
Hybrids like the Prius make the 50-plus CAFE cut, but they also cost several thousand dollars more than an otherwise-similar car that averages 35.
EVs cost tens of thousands more.
Direct-injected/turbocharged/ASS-equipped engines also cost money. Often, more money than whatever is putatively “saved” at the pump.
If the total cost of owning – not just fueling – vehicle X is greater than vehicle Y, then many people will choose Y rather than X. Assuming they have the choice.
Additionally, the car industry currently makes all kinds of vehicles, in response to market forces. Vehicles that run the gamut from 13 MPG Hellcats to 58 MPG hybrids like the Prius.
It is preposterous to suggest – as Public Citizen has – that Ford would ignore market forces and not build vast fleets of 50-plus MPG small cars, hybrids and infinite MPG EVs… if there were strong demand for them.
It would be like Starbucks refusing to sell coffee.
The problem isn’t that high-economy cars aren’t available. It’s that other kinds of vehicles are, too.
The busybodies and control freaks intend to eliminate choice – by forcing the 50-plus MPG fatwa down our throats – which they intend to do by greasily framing it as an “emissions” issue.
This is the new “emission” – politically necessary, because the old ones have been almost entirely eliminated. Which eliminated the justification for the regulations, which failed to get rid of IC-engined cars because the engineers succeeded in reducing their harmful emissions to nearly nil.
Thus, Ford stands accused of “emitting” lots of C02 – even though the entire atmosphere contains less than 1 percent C02 and the amount “emitted” by every IC car which ever idled amounts to a tiny fraction of that fraction.
And this C02 is vital for life.
To conflate C02 with unburned hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen and particulates – things which at high dosages can lead to smog and health problems in human beings – with a non-reactive gas that has nothing at all to do with any of those things at any dosage – and to characterize questioning or opposing this as “rolling back clean car” standards is a species of effrontery that would have left Dr. Goebbels speechless.
It isn’t just Ford they’re after, either. It is the internal combustion-powered car – no matter who makes it.
And they’re after it because they hate it. They hate the mobility and freedom it represents. “Emissions” has always been a stalking horse – the plausible window dressing that hid their hatred of the car as such.
Now the drapes have been pulled back. But most people are too busy looking at their cell phones to catch the view.
. . .
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