In 1861, eleven Southern states decided they no longer consented to be governed by Northern politicians – who had acquired de facto political control over the federal government – and thereby, over the entire country – by dint of the North’s greater numbers.
In an election, numbers matter.
But what happens when you’re not even allowed to vote for those who rule you?
California regulators have acquired de facto control over the cars you’re allowed to buy – even if you don’t live in California – by decreeing their own California-specific mileage and emissions standards. These end up having the force of national standards because the car industry – which wants to sell cars in California – can’t afford to build cars for just California and then another set of cars for the rest of the country.
So they build all their cars to meet California’s standards – which are even more corseting then federal (national) standards.
The cost of complying with them amounts to a “California Tax” levied on everyone – including those who don’t live in California.
It is literally taxation without representation – as well as legitimate justification.
And the state just raised taxes – again.
By issuing a fatwa that all new cars sold in California must average at least 50 miles-per-gallon by 2026. Several major car companies – including Ford, Honda, VW and BMW have already bent knee.
The California fatwa was issued in response to President Trump’s effort to keep the current national fuel economy fatwa – the Corporate Average Fuel Economy – at the current 30-something miles-per-gallon.
Trump’s predecessor had decreed a near-doubling of the CAFE fatwa.
It is still on deck, but Trump did recently rescind a near-tripling of the “gas guzzler” fines that would have punished any car company that didn’t “comply” with the federal 50 MPG fatwa – effectively watering down the mechanism for enforcing compliance with the fatwa.
No matter what it costs us. Maybe not in terms of the federal fines – thanks to Orange Man – but in terms of choice.
There will be fewer vehicles available nationally that don’t meet California’s MPG fatwa because it be harder for the car companies to internally justify building them when they’re not able to sell them (without repercussions) in one of the country’s biggest markets.
Especially given that the original justification for the federal CAFE regs – energy scarcity, the wells running dry and most of them controlled by foreign governments – has become a non-justification.
New wells have been found; oil has proved to be abundant – and much of that abundance has turned out to be right here, in the United States.
As Trump has pointed out, there is no longer an energy-scarcity justification to punish Americans for driving other than subcompact hybrids – which are the only vehicles (other than outlawed diesel-powered cars) capable of averaging 50 miles-per-gallon.
The new justification – hugely popular in California – is that a car which averages 50 MPG “emits” less carbon dioxide, the bete noire of “climate change” – than a car which averages around 35 MPG because it burns less fuel per mile.
But this is a disingenuous alteration of the original legislative intent of the federal CAFE regs. The acronym itself says nothing about “emissions” – of carbon dioxide or any other thing.
And both were federal regs.
Until California decided it wanted even stricter regs – which it began imposing on Californians several decades ago via something called CARB – the California Air Resources Board. This resulted – at first – in what were called “California” cars, those built to comply with the state’s more onerous regs – and cars for the rest of us, which only had to comply with the less onerous federal regs.
“California” cars cost more and sometimes weren’t available with manual transmissions – or only came with smaller engines. Etc.
But the car industry had to bear the expense – and hassle – of making (and marketing) cars tailored for what amounted to two different markets in the same country. It got worse as other states – not all, but several – adopted the “California” standards.
The car companies began building all their cars to meet California’s standards – because it was easier for them, even if it cost people who didn’t live in California (and the other states which adopted California emissions regs) more.
California has thus acquired de facto regulatory control over the entire country – and, effectively the power to tax American drivers in every state to pay for what the state of California decrees.
This taxation without representation is about to increase, despite the efforts of the Orange Man.
California’s fatwa that all cars sold in the state average 50 miles-per-gallon by 2026 will effectively mean that cars sold in every state must also average 50 miles-per-gallon, because the car companies will have to build them that way if they want to sell cars in California – which they do – and because they can’t afford to build them just for California (and the other states that have adopted California’s standards) and then another batch for everywhere else.
So we will all get California cars – and California costs.
Without having asked for them. Without having been given the chance to say yes – or no – to them.
So much for the consent of the governed.
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