Michelle Malkin correctly notes that Pres. Obama’s planned standards for tailpipe emissions from new automobiles will raise the cost of a new car by $600 to $1,300 and continue a regulatory regime that kills motorists. That is more than can be said for the Associated Press, which is trying to bury the increased upfront cost down the memory hole.
As for the increased motorist deaths, which the National Academy of Sciences once estimated at 1,300 to 2,600 in 1993 alone, even a less lethal estimate of 800 excess deaths annually is roughly the number of US troops killed annually during the peak years of the Iraq war. Indeed, the estimated cumulative death toll of 46,000 in 2001 suggests that CAFE standards inflict casualties on the magnitude of Vietnam. The lapdog media, however, does not devote time to reporting the grim milestones when people die in fuel-efficient cars.
The supposed benefits of this regulation are explained by the Washington Post:
The measures are significant steps forward for the administration’s energy agenda by cutting greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to climate change and by easing U.S. dependence on oil, most of which is imported.
However, increasing fuel-efficiency reduces the per-mile cost of operating vehicles, which increases the number of miles driven, thus reducing or eliminating any CAFE benefit. Between 1970-2001, the US made cars almost 50% more efficient, but the average number of miles a person drives doubled.
Environmentalists claim the new standards should cut carbon dioxide from tailpipes by 30 percent by 2016. Though that is unlikely, for the reason just stated, the fact remains that cars and light trucks subject to fuel economy standards make up only 1.5 percent of all global man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, Americans will be paying more for cars and continuing to die in ever-greater numbers on the road, all for less than one-half of one percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. It is almost as though hardcore greens want to save the planet by killing people, but are only accomplishing the killing part.
Finally, one of the entirely predictable “unintended consequences” of raising the price of new cars will be to keep poorer people driving their old, greenhouse gas-spewing cars. Thus, it should surprise no one that Congress is already considering a “cash for clunkers” program designed to encourage trade-ins. This proposal is a twofer: not only does it attempt to patch a glaring flaw in today’s plan, but it would help save the jobs of all those UAW workers Obama and the Democrats rely upon every other November. Pushing the poor into these new Obamamobiles will also kill more people at the margins, but dead people tend to vote Democratic, so there is no net loss for the Democrats.