May 19, 2009

35.5 mpg

Automakers and politicians laud 35.5 mpg fuel standards deal.  Despite the popular myth that Detroit is hiding a carburetor capable of upwards of 50 mpg, despite the urban legend that oil companies purchased up an engine that runs on water, this agreement isn't worth the paper it's printed on.  We're going to cut tailpipe emissions by 30 percent in six years?  We're going to raise the miles per gallon we get on cars to 35.5 mpg in 6 years even though only certain hybrids can reach that standard now?  There is no way our car manufacturers will meet those goals and whatever car gets close is going to be expensive and/or underpowered.

In the book "Atlas Shrugged," a railroad and a steel manufacturer were able to put out a product that ran rings around everyone else... super strong rails at a cheap price allowing long, fast trains.  Then Congress, in the guise of protecting workers, mandated a 60/60 law: no train could be over 60 cars long and no train could travel over 60 miles per hour... this meant more trains, so more workers; slower trains, more worker hours.  Congress continued by dividing up the country into regions and mandated that every railroad had to run the same number of trains in each region (whether the region used the rail fully or not).  The end result of this micro management is, of course, that everyone either quit or went bankrupt because their business purpose was no longer to create a profit, but to be a good member of society.

Yes, yes.  Atlas Shrugged in fiction... but how is the above any different from our real Congress mandating mileage standards without regard to engineering or customer desires?  If Congress wants Americans to use less fuel and be less polluting, then Congress should have the courage to tax fuel until we meet whatever arbitrary standard they're after.  Then the voters will have a better understanding of whose actually in charge in America.

1 comment:

Bob G. said...

Excellent post with a great analogy.

Sounds like you truly "get it".