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Trump Administration Plans To Freeze Obama-Era Fuel Standards (theverge.com) 306

The Trump administration plans to freeze Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards starting in 2021, according to a report from The Washington Post. The report says the Trump administration "would go even further by restricting a state's ability to set its own fuel standards, which would be a strike against California and its strict state-specific emissions rules," reports The Verge. From the report: The proposal has been reportedly drafted by the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, and the plan right now is to freeze standards for cars and light trucks at levels set for the year 2021 and keep them their for five years. The Obama administration's rules, which involved a partnership with California and car makers, set standards at 50 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks by 2025. Obama also, through the Clean Air Act, granted California a waiver to set its own, higher standards. That way, if automobile manufacturers wanted to maintain a presence in the lucrative California market, they'd have to abide by the new rules. The Trump administration now says a separate law overrules that arrangement, The Washington Post reports.
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Trump Administration Plans To Freeze Obama-Era Fuel Standards

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  • Big surprise.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Friday April 27, 2018 @09:21PM (#56517103)

    Ford just mostly pulled out of the North American car market, leaving the US/Canada with a bunch of tippy little trucklets and bigger trucks. I hope gas does a 2008 and shoots up to $5/gal soon -- if it won't push people to buy more reasonable cars, maybe it will at least help sales of electric cars out of their current niche.

    Also, thank God for the Japanese makers who still sell reasonably-sized, nice-to-drive actual cars in the US market.

    • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Friday April 27, 2018 @09:40PM (#56517191) Journal

      > Ford just mostly pulled out of the North American car market, leaving the US/Canada with a bunch of tippy little trucklets and bigger trucks.

      You know why? Cars have stricter fuel-efficiency standards than light trucks. That makes sense. However it creates the perverse incentive that in order to meet fuel efficiency standards, manufacturers need to make bigger, heavier, less-efficient vehicles - trucks.

      • The new standards (since 2014) require fleet-wide averages, without as much exception for "trucks." So no.
        • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Saturday April 28, 2018 @01:35AM (#56517925) Journal

          Here is the full rule (1500 pages) for 2012-2016 if you'd like to read it, but I'll summarize a bit for you.

          https://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfi... [nhtsa.gov]

          > fleet-wide averages, without as much exception for "trucks."

          There are two (or more) completely separate fleets. Cars, light trucks, medium trucks (and busses), heavy trucks, motorcycles. There is no "exception", the two groups are computed entirely separately, based on entirely different MPG standards and different average lifetime miles.

          For CAFE purposes, each company is essentially split into two companies - a truck company and a car company. (Also motorcycles and large trucks are computed entirely separate, as if they were different companies). You can read the full details in the EPA rules above.

          So first the company does its cars. The first step on calculating the car standard is to find the average size (footprint) of the company's cars. I'll directly quote the EPA rule on this rather than trying to explain it in my own words:
          --
          EPAâ(TM)s final standards, like the standards NHTSA
          promulgated in March 2009 for MY 2011, are expressed as mathematical functions depending on vehicle footprint. Footprint is one measure of vehicle size, and is
          determined by multiplying the vehicleâ(TM)s wheelbase by the vehicleâ(TM)s average track width.
          --

          After finding the footprint, you look at the table (section 3, I think) that gives the formula for your range. Inputting the average footprint, the formula tells what the average fuel economy needs to be, in GALLONS PER MILE.

          It's gallons per mile because a vehicle that gets 1MPG burns twice as much gas as one that gets 2MPG, but a vehicle that gets 99MPG is almost the same as one that gets 100MPG.

          Subtract your company's ACTUAL average GPM for cars from the standard to get the amount of credit or debit. If the company is more efficient than required, it can either save those credits for next year, or sell the credits to another car company. Similarly, if this year's sales aren't efficient enough, the company can either use credits it earned in an earlier year, or buy credits from a more efficient company. (Credit brokers are allowed, but cannot actually own the credits, only bank them).

          Once your done with the cars, you go through the same procedure, separately, for your motorcycles, then again completely separately for light trucks, etc.

          I mentioned that a company that doesn't meet its target can buy credits from a company that the target. What Mack beats their heavy truck target, while BMW needs to buy credits for their cars? Mack has truck credits to sell, BMW wants to buy car credits. The public doesn't care whether a gallon of gas is burned in a motorcycle or a bus, they only care how much as is burned, so before trading companies can apply a formula to convert light truck credits to car credits, or car credits to medium truck credits or whatever. (It's not one-for-one, different kinds of credits are "worth" different amounts). Note that it may be Volvo's truck credits offsetting Ferrari's car debit. The Corporate in CAFE doesn't matter once you start trading different kinds of credits.

          Just as GMC can convert truck credits to (fewer) car credits in order to sell them to Ferrari, GMC can also convert truck credits to car credits for Buick. GMC and Buick happen to be the same company, but GMC could just as easily trade those credits to a different company, maybe Ford or Volkswagen.

          Again, the full details are in the actual rule linked above, but the summary is that car, light truck, medium truck, and heavy truck are computed completely separate, like separate companies. There is no averaging between cars and trucks.

    • by Archfeld ( 6757 )

      Electricity and batteries are not the solution, unless there are radical developments in batteries. Hydrogen fuel cells are a far better option in the long run, but much less profitable for the current petrochemical market. We should be conserving the oil for plastics and not using it in the form or fuel.

      • Agreed about saving oil for plastics and petrochemicals. Hydrogen fuel cells look good on paper, but they have other issues -- like storing hydrogen and the fact they need expensive metals like platinum.
      • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Friday April 27, 2018 @11:05PM (#56517493) Journal

        Hydrogen is merely the last gas of the fossil fuel industry's attempt to prevent the imminent irrelevance for cars.

        Most hydrogen is produced form fossil fuels, so it isn't green.

        Developing the infrastructure for refilling hydrogen fuelled cars is going to be very expensive, while most of the infrastructure for BEVs already exists (in the form of electrical grids).

        Hydrogen fuelled cars need a small battery anyway, because regenerative braking back to hydrogen fuel isn't effective.

        The only reason hydrogen fuel cell vehicles exist is because of a mandate from the Japanese government. Even then, only one company has actually produced one in volume (and, in the USA, only sells it in part of California).

      • Re:Big surprise.... (Score:4, Informative)

        by currently_awake ( 1248758 ) on Friday April 27, 2018 @11:06PM (#56517497)
        Hydrogen has a lower power density than lithium batteries, and hydrogen comes from fosil fuels. Put power rails in the roads and your electric car only needs enough batteries to get from your driveway to the road.
        • But it's quicker to refill. Pump it into a tank or replace the tank. Also, hydrogen can be electrolyzed from water using any form of energy. Hydro power, solar, even nuclear.
          • Also, hydrogen can be electrolyzed from water using any form of energy.

            Very inefficiently, yes.

            Then there is the complexity of compressing it and recovering the heat produced by compression, etc..

      • We should be conserving the oil for plastics and not using it in the form or fuel.

        Definitely. We need to think about maintaining our strategic reserve of fake boobs. I mean, I can live without fossil fuels...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's none of your business what car I buy. Who the hell are you to decide how I spend my hard earned money? If I feel like buying a gas guzzling tank getting 5 gallons to the mile it's nothing to do with you. Mind your problems and I'll mind mine.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 )
        Fine -- as long as you're willing to pay the full cost of the US military's homicide campaigns to protect US oil interests. Time to fully fund oil wars using fuel taxes. If you buy it, you pay for it.
      • I consider myself a libertarian (lowercase "L") and your right to belch polution ends where my breathing begins.
    • Ford just mostly pulled out of the North American car market, leaving the US/Canada with a bunch of tippy little trucklets and bigger trucks. I hope gas does a 2008 and shoots up to $5/gal soon -- if it won't push people to buy more reasonable cars, maybe it will at least help sales of electric cars out of their current niche.

      Also, thank God for the Japanese makers who still sell reasonably-sized, nice-to-drive actual cars in the US market.

      I disagree about Japanese cars being nice to drive. They now design the vehicles so you can't really see your trunk when you're backing up, so you had better have a rear view camera. And the windshield is set up such that you had better be under 5'8 if you want to be able to look right and see out the windshield past the rear view mirror. Their designs these days are absolutely horrendous when it comes to usability, though their aesthetics are generally nice.

  • by _Sharp'r_ ( 649297 ) <sharper&booksunderreview,com> on Friday April 27, 2018 @09:23PM (#56517113) Homepage Journal

    When you govern by issuing waivers to the law instead of actually using compromise and diplomacy to pass laws, then at some point you have to expect a new Presidential Administration might be elected and revoke those waivers and reverse previous executive actions.

    • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Friday April 27, 2018 @09:25PM (#56517135)
      Obama tried compromise, didn't seem to work with the obstructionists in Congress. Con-gress, the opposite of pro-gress.
    • then at some point you have to expect a new Presidential Administration might be elected and revoke those waivers and reverse previous executive actions.

      There mpg standards are a regulation, not an executive order. And there actually are laws that prevent new administrations from simply changing regulations because of different political beliefs. There is a process, etc. There are also rules on acceptable reasons to change a regulation. In fact, some of the Trump Administration earlier regulation changes

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by _Sharp'r_ ( 649297 )

        Sorry, but not quite correct. The CAFE standards were first enacted by Congress in 1975 in order to save fuel, basically because oil cost so much at the time. Then they were amended in the clean air act of 1990 to also try and reduce particulate matter in the air, setting up two tiers of standards, designed to be phased in over time. At that point the President was allowed to grant States waivers to the federal standards.

        From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], "In 2009, President Obama announced a new national fuel economy and emi

        • None of what you said contradicts, and instead supports me in that:

          A) These are regulations by the EPA, not an executive order signed by Obama.

          B) Changing regulations cannot be done just because the chief executive wants to. While Congress can pass any new (constitutional) law it wants, they put limits on how new regulations can be formed (which makes a lot of sense given presidents change every 4-8 years, and Congress passes laws slower than that.)

          Instead, you argue that the regulation shouldn't have take

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday April 28, 2018 @12:35AM (#56517795)
      when Clinton (Bill) shifted the Democratic party right to win the presidency. The Republicans then moved right to protect their own identity (after all, why vote Republican when the Dems are damn near the same) and then the Dems decided to move to the new "center" and here we are with both parties far, far to the right of Eisenhower. Bernie's trying to get things moving back in the direction of FDR and the like.
  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Friday April 27, 2018 @09:30PM (#56517147)

    More like a strike against Chevron(*), which controls he reformulation of gasoline in California to prevent importation of gasoline refined in other states, and artificially raise the price.

    State specific environmental regulations should be held to he same bar as state specific laws... subject to the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution: Federal regulations override state.

    (*) From those wonderful folks who brought you MTBE

    • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Friday April 27, 2018 @09:33PM (#56517153)
      Different states have different environmental issues due to geography, water availability, climate, etc. Why not let the people of those states set stricter rules than Federal if they feel it's appropriate and necessary?
    • The Commerce Clause has been bastardized to mean almost anything, so a slight additional bastardization to lower gas prices seems like a pretty good idea.

    • I don't see anything wrong with states having higher standards than the feds. It does not nullify or override the federal requirements. Cars meeting the higher standards would automatically meet the federal standards.

      Some say that this means the automakers have to make two types of cars, but that's ludicrous, make one type that works in California and the other states that adopted the same rules, and that car will work in all the states. Or, the automakers could just decide not to sell in California, prob

  • Koch suckers (Score:2, Informative)

    They're just a bunch of Koch suckers.
  • I'll probably retrofit my car to burn wood gas. /s

    http://www.lowtechmagazine.com... [lowtechmagazine.com]

    I wonder how a car computer would deal with it?

    • Expect to disassemble your intake and heads weekly. Find a soak that takes off crusty carbon and creosote.

      Still considering, if I had a spare gutted pre-smog chassis.

      Engine would have to be carbureted. Injection car computer couldn't deal with no control of mix. Perhaps a computer controlled carb (1980 era), rewired and replumbed somehow to control wood gas with the mix solenoid. Keeping the O2 sensor working will be a challenge. I'd make those quick change and learn to clean them.

      Obviously, in CA, h

  • One does not simply reverse Obama's edicts, apparently ... he's like the King of Babylon.
  • Here's a link to the real newsstory [washingtonpost.com] as referenced by the blogpost in the summary links to.

  • We are doing our best to make you less competitive in the global market. Love, Donnie T.

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