LA Times: Car Fuel Economy Standards Don’t Reduce CO2

car-flying-off-cliff[1]

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The LA Times claims that changing land use policies would make more difference to CO2, than vehicle fuel efficiency standards. But their “solution” is to reduce car use, by repealing the rights of existing residents to oppose unwanted high density urban development.

Under the national Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard, regulators assess a vehicle’s fuel economy on a sliding scale based on size. Regulators impose fines on an automaker if its mix of vehicles does not meet the size-adjusted standards on average. As a result, manufacturers have redesigned their fleets to use much more expensive, lighter engines that burn only a little less fuel.

Before the 2007 CAFE standards were implemented (from 2009 to 2012), three independent teams of economists and engineers estimated the financial impact for car owners. Unlike the Obama administration, which optimistically projected that the strict regulations and fines would save consumers more on gas than they cost to implement, the teams forecasted net per-vehicle consumer costs of $3,800 or more.

The independent analysts were right on the money. My colleague David Kreutzer and I examined actual price trends through Model Year 2015 and found that vehicle prices had risen $6,200 above the pre-2007 trend. Gas savings over the life of a new car might be $2,000, so the net cost is over $4,000.

But what about the upside? Many Americans are willing to pay for environmental benefits, and maybe $3,800 a car is not too steep for them. But even the Obama administration predicted that CAFE standards will have a negligible effect on global warming. Specifically, the administration estimated that the standards implemented through Model Year 2016 will lower the global temperature by less than two hundredths of a degree by 2100.

One smart reform: Better land use policy. Let’s take Los Angeles as an example. Despite a strong history of environmentalism and weather that is the envy of the world, the built environment in L.A. makes it unrealistic for most people to walk or bike to work.

Perversely, sprawl is encouraged by environmental review boards and neighborhood preservation campaigns. To allow denser, environmentally conscious construction, Sacramento should repeal the “private right of action” in the California Environmental Quality Act. The provision allows anonymous front groups to tie up construction projects in court, dissuading developers from investing in the first place. Los Angeles should also streamline its permitting processes and write more permissive zoning laws. None of these changes would hurt consumers; all of them would make residents less dependent on cars.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0404-furth-fuel-economy-standards-20160404-story.html

There are worse things in life than commuting by car.

I once lived in high density housing. It is great to be near everything, good shops and restaurants, all a few minutes walk from home, but this does not automatically translate to a better quality of life. High density living also means you are never far from the unpleasant side of life; not because a higher proportion of unpleasant people live in high density apartments, but simply because a lot more people, good and bad, live way too close to your front door. Where I lived, there were puddles of blood in the apartment elevator, almost every Friday night.

As for riding a bike, or walking in LA; When I visited, I walked in LA, until I noticed the creepy looking guy lurking in the shadows under a bridge in West Hollywood. After that, I caught a cab.

Advertisements

73 thoughts on “LA Times: Car Fuel Economy Standards Don’t Reduce CO2

    • Very nice. Some crazy new Mirage Stealth Fighter.

      Traffic signals burn up ALL of the petroleum that is imported into the United States. Well no not the lights themselves, specially if LED, but all the cars sitting stationary waiting to see if eventually someone will come by on a cross street.

      Traffic signals don’t have the brains of a two year old child.

      A two year old child can tell the difference between a tree; ANY tree, (‘cept maybe a Baja boojum tree) and a telephone pole (AKA the AT&T tree). But a computer program can’t.
      (I did say ANY tree).

      The same computer science grads, who can’t tell a tree from a telephone pole, program the traffic lights so that most of them are mostly red most of the time. That’s the “Who shall we allow to go ? ” algorithm.

      If they switched to the “Who must we stop ? ” algorithm, then most of the traffic lights would be mostly green most of the time.

      When these algorithms were concocted, there was no such thing as a yellow or green LED; only Red.

      G

      • Do I detect slight indignation towards California’s traffic management strategy, I think I can recall another comment elsewhere on the subject.

      • vuk,

        Don’t worry, self-driving cars and drones will take care of any problems.

        Especially since the police will be able to override the controls. Try robbing a bank with a self-driving car…

      • Try going to demo in self-driving car. Try doing anything the state does not want you to do in a self-driving car.

        About as much use as a ‘self-firing’ rifle.

        Amendment 2b: you have the right to carry arms: as long as firing pin is controlled by Google.

      • We moved from Palo Alto CA, where there were four stoplights on one road within two blocks of our house, to Panama. Our town of about 6,000 has zero stoplights, the nearest being in the city of David, about 40km away. David, the second largest city in Panama, has about six. It was a profound culture shock to find that we could hop in our car at our house and drive all the way to David without ever coming to a stop longer than a few seconds. You never realize all the things you can get done waiting at stoplights.

        The only place in David with traffic congestion is around the stoplights. Sure, crossing a four-lane road chok-a-blok with traffic takes guts for the newcomers, but everyone understands the process and there is zero road rage. And the traffic flows better than in California.

        I imagine that life with the autonomous cars will be much like this, with the cars negotiating right of way on a car-by-car basis. A clear case of back to the future.

        The real issue for sitting in traffic in LA is not the gas wasted keeping the motor running and stirring the transmission fluid at stop lights and in commute traffic, but the cost of air conditioning.

        It would be hard to conceive of a more inefficient use of energy than air conditioning a single-passenger car – a mostly metal and glass small object with a horrible surface area to volume ratio. I would bet money that for most commuters in LA (on the 405 corridor for example) the A/C uses more fuel than the transportation from here to there.

        So where are the CAFE standards that mandate an automatic pull-down curtain to isolate the (single) driver from the rest of the car interior? Are they really serious about reducing CO2, or is it all just BS? Wait, don’t answer…

      • db and Greg,

        Anyone in the US, Canada or Europe who thinks they actually have free will in the use of their cars is a clear victim of Stockholm Syndrome.

        I used to enjoy leading a half-dozen highway patrol cars on a merry chase at 160 MPH in my 427 Cobra, blasting Bach organ concertos on the stereo as much as the next guy. But those days are over.

        Today, in my home town in the US, if you come to a stop sign and release the brake pedal just before coming to a COMPLETE stop, causing your front tire to roll over said stop limit line in a period of say, five seconds, you are guilty of a “rolling stop,” likely seen at a police command center and relayed to a waiting patrol unit. You are stopped, presumptive evidence of illegal substances or weapons are seen by the officer, you are searched without warrant, your mother-in-law is tasered and your dog shot.

        With a self-driving car, the doors will simply lock and you will be transported to the detention center forthwith, your mother-in-law will not be tasered (-1) and your dog will not be shot (+2). /sarc

        The real threat is not other humans, but malevolent AI. Check out the made-for-movie book, Robopocalypse.

        Now, on to the weather…

      • marko,

        I was stopped once many years ago by 3 cops. One cop asked if he could search my car. I asked, why? Instead of answering, he shined his flashlight on my hand brake between the bucket seats, and said to the other cops, “He’s got a gun. I can see the barrel. Probable cause.”

        I said, “That’s the brake!!”

        Didn’t matter. They went through my car looking for whatever they wanted. Then I was asked for my registration, license, etc. So I got in and reached in the glove compartment — and smelled a strong whiff of alcohol.

        I was pretty angry, so I shouted: “Someone’s been drinking!”

        Those were magic words. Without saying another word, all three of them walked over to their car, got in, and drove off. I hadn’t even shown them my drivers license.

        That’s when my opinion of cops began to change. It’s gone downhill since then. They’re not all bad. But a cop will almost never snitch on another cop. It’s their culture. So the good ones just look the other way.

      • Old Victorian London might be one step ahead of the ‘google’ California. In Exhibition Road next to such buildings as V&A and Natural History museums, Imperial college and nearby Albert Hall, the same road surface is equally shared by cars and pedestrians, with rest benches in the middle of the road. It is a bit odd when you walk there first time, but after while it is lot of fun dodging the cars, btw, I have no intention of driving there but have walked it more than dozen times. No accidents so far AFAIK. There are moves to abolish the arrangement.

      • George, I’ve noticed this for decades at traffic-lights — cars sitting, looking at each other, waiting, waiting — for nothing. Where is the traffic-control engineering? Have they done anything innovative in the last half-century? The city I grew up in, at least, had simple “timed” lights where you could go thru many blocks uninhibited — those were installed prb’ly in the 1950s. Simple stop signs or roundabouts are far faster/efficient.

        I suspect all this has something to do w/nanny-state “safety” — anything to avoid a lawsuit….

      • dbstealey
        some years ago I was driving in San Francisco, got stopped by a policemen, after winding the window down, he asked is it my car. I replied ‘rented’ and went for the glove compartment to get the papers, when I heard ‘don’t move’ , looked back at the policeman, he had his gun pointing strait at me. It was an ‘unusual experience’.

      • Well it is well known that traffic light breed.

        Some incompetent driver complains they can’t get through some intersection, without hitting somebody else so they put in a four way stop sign. So the next collision will at least be from a standing start. Those four way octagons make NO traffic control decision, other than everybody dissipate all their KE, and lay some more tire rubber on the road as they commit global warming. Well in some places they will put in a traffic light which decides which out of twelve possibilities they should let happen.

        Well that backs up traffic to the previous intersection, so new round of driver incompetencies come into play.

        So pretty soon they have to install a new set of lights at that intersection, and so it goes on.

        I would pull out the traffic lights at every second set of existing lights, and then wait for three months for the drivers to get used to that, and then repeat , until, only those lights that were truly necessary were still there.

        Well you could simply replace every set of lights with a roundabout.

        But in the few bay area places that do have roundabouts, some dummies have actually added two way stop signs.

        The qualifications for city council or the like, do not include common sense as a prerequisite for filing for office.

        g

      • “””””…… blasting Bach organ concertos on the stereo as much as the next guy. …..”””””

        Well so far as I know, my Bay area local “Classical Music” radio station has NEVER EVER played any piece of Organ music on their radio station.

        Well they do play tons of Bach, and even Handel, but they never play any organ music of any kind by either of those or anybody else.

        Well they do play, sometimes twice a day, the Saint Saens symphony # 3 which they mistakenly call an Organ Symphony, which it certainly isn’t. Well if it’s an organ symphony, it is also a Piano Symphony, because it features a solo piano , so I guess that makes it a piano concerto. It never features any organ solo, so it certainly can’t be an organ concerto. There are a few organ sounds included, but nothing to write home about.

        Now Cesar Franck did write a true Organ Symphony; the very first one in fact, and Widor wrote ten of them.

        Why would a station that dotes on the baroque era NOT play any Handel or Bach organ music ?? I can’t figure it out. Well maybe 90% of the baroque music they do play ends in a vowel.

        When I hear any piece of music that ends in a vowel, and it isn’t opera, I then hum a few measures of ” Eine Kleine Nachtmusik ” . And then I try to recall ANY measure or theme from the vowel piece. To the best of my recollection, one of the Vivaldi four seasons (dunno which one) is the ONLY survivor of that filter.

        Most of that baroque vowel era output was trash when it was written ( for a bunch of half drunken toffs, who have just overeaten, and need to be put to sleep to get sober); and it is still trash today. Perfect for elevator music; but they didn’t have elevators in the baroque era.

        This morning, at precisely 3 AM, my local station actually played the Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture, by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra (pretty fine group).

        Now that piece is a fantastic filter for baroque vowel trash. Yes Mozart and Haydn do still come through; well no vowels anyhow.

        Bach is too esoteric for me. I’m too stupid to understand it (the JS that is. A lot of the extended family stuff is still trash.)

        But I at one time could actually play some fairly large chunks of some of the simpler movements of some Widor Organ symphonies,(#4 mostly) and I did once play the entire Cesar Franck Fantasy in C (Op 16 I think) from the six pieces of 1862, without making any mistakes, and quite musically too. That was on a gigantic four manual double organ in Palo Alto. Can’t play now though; one hand is messed up, and my electronic organ is on the fritz.

        Anyway, I’d rather have a 1956 BRM V-16 1.5 litre, than your 427 Cobra; much nicer sound too !

        g

      • “”””””….. The city I grew up in, at least, had simple “timed” lights where you could go thru many blocks uninhibited — …..”””””

        Beng, if you think about it is inherently impossible to have synchronized traffic lights in both directions at once (on the same road).

        If the cars in one direction are getting a travelling wave of green lights synchronized to the speed limit, the cars going in the opposite direction must keep running into a gauntlet of red lights.

        We have a couple of “expressways” with synchronized lights, that they reverse for morning and evening commute hours. but if you are driving in the anti-commute direction it is miserable. But I will grant that it is efficient for those working in the right direction from home.
        Both of those expressways have diamond (HOV) lanes, which make absolutely no sense whatever because there are traffic lights every couple of hundred meters, so everybody has to stop anyway.

        The HOV lanes make no sense whatsoever. For those two roads only (as far as I know in the whole of California) the HOV lane is on the RIGHT hand side of the road. ALL of the freeway HOV lanes are on the LEFT of the freeway (the FAST lane).

        So what ??

        Let’s say I commute back and forth everyday, on one of those ” expressways ” by myself (no car pool). I can enter the expressway from a cross street, either on the left, by making a left turn, or on the right by making a right turn.

        I can also exit, either left or right, when I get to my destination exit. And I do the reverse coming home.

        So I can enter and exit in FOUR different ways.

        LL, LR, RL, RR. going to work. Which become RR, RL, LR, LL going home.

        Read ’em and weep ! No matter what MY pattern is, every single day on a round trip, I DO have to get into the HOV lane to enter or perhaps exit precisely twice per round trip.

        LL>RR; LR>RL; RL>LR; RR>LL Two Rs per round trip for EVERY SINGLE CAR.

        So what ??

        Well the California vehicle code states quite specifically where and how it is legal to get into or get out of an HOV lane.

        Specifically, you can only enter or exit from a diamond lane, at a specially demarked (By a gap in double yellow lines) zone OR by crossing a single broken white line, ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE of the lane.

        Please sir ! those two expressways have the broken white line ON THE LEFT side.

        Nowhere in the entire California Vehicle code is anyone ever authorized to enter or exit from a diamond lane by crossing a single broken white line on the left side of the diamond lane, yet EVERY car must do that twice a day, on those two expressways.

        It can be fixed by removing “on the right hand side of the lane”.

        But they pay no attention if you tell them. You can enter or exit the HOV lane from or too the right, but there is no legal way to get out of the lane to the left, or re-enter it from the left legally.

        You get a ticket if you go through ANY intersection in the HOV lane, as a solo driver, no matter how short the distance you are in that lane. In one place on one of them it is only 100 feet from the earliest point you can enter the HOV lane from the left to the latest you can exit from that lane to the right, and if you don’t exit you will get a ticket. (I got one right there, which is why I know about all of this).

        Laws don’t have to be rational.

        G sorry for the rant.

      • In my German, I could drive from my home town to the city in 10 minutes with synchronized green wave without having to stop once. Only during rush hour traffic would get slowed down so occasionally you miss the wave. The same coming back, I still can’t quite figure out how they accomplished that! And that was since I started driving back in the mid 1970s. Now I live in the US and can’t believe how stupid the signals are running. It makes some drivers to speed to the next light, since the fear (rightly so) that it soon would turn red and they are stuck for another cycle.

    • these lenticular clouds are most fun to look at when they sit atop a mountain, like a beret, as often happens at Pikes Peak in Colorado

    • ……… Time out Diversionary Notice …….

      in today’s (Monday) morning Murky News, a very interesting Hubble Story.

      Purportedly, Hubble has found a new most distant galaxy. (by far)

      How far ?? 32.x billion light years away.

      What the hey ! Hubble also says the entire universe is only 13.8 Billion years old.

      This new distant galaxy is only 13.2 Billion years old; apparently almost old enough to have remembered the dark ages of the Universe, way back when it was all opaque.

      So it’s 13.2 Billion years old, and 32.x (sorry for the memory lapse) billion light years away.

      Yes I’m as confused as you are, but Dr. Leif will be able to ‘splain it all. It’s just that in 13.2 Billion years since this thing existed, the universe has grown a bit, so it’s bigger than you would think.

      …….. Back to work …. Anthony and Dr. Leif can head line this story when they get around to it.

      …. Resume …. EPA BS standards.

      G

      • Summoning Leif…

        Actually, Leif has explained that a number of times. Has something to do with expansion since the BB.

        But we’re still in our own 13 billion light year bubble, every one of us. Every microbe, every atom, every Klingon. We each lug around our very own, personal, subjective 13 billion light year bubble.

        My question, if Leif appears: why is the speed of light so slow?

      • Ah finally we get to realise that red-shift is not a measure of distance !

        Now we can put all that dark matter / dark energy BS fudging away and try again.

      • Ah finally we get to realise that red-shift is not a measure of distance !
        ===============
        shine a flashlight away from the earth, and the light is red shifted by earth’s gravitational field. thus red-shift can be a measure of gravity.

  1. Car Fuel Economy Standards Don’t Reduce CO2

    Silly rabbit. There is no requirement that government standards accomplish anything.

    • Well of course they accomplish something !

      They establish a base line from which the evolution of Governmental Stupidity Anomalies can be measured.

      G

    • As a result, manufacturers have redesigned their fleets to use much more expensive, lighter engines that burn only a little less fuel.

      Smaller engines with more turbocharges power…. which obviously don’t have the strength to sustain the shock. They give out after a few years and you buy another !

      More consummation, more industry, more taxes, more waste. Ecology all the way, right?

      • Greg
        I think you mean, more consumption.

        On the other hand, I’ll take consummation any day.

    • “Silly rabbit. There is no requirement that government standards accomplish anything.”

      Best case of that was the gov’s first attempt at clean air standards back during the ’70s oil crisis. They cut gas mileage in half so you were burning twice as much per mile. I guess they didn’t care where all the other products of combustion went so long as it reduced NOx. I was traveling a lot back then and you were lucky if you could find a rental car that would make it past the sidewalk and off the lot under its own power.

  2. If plants could vote, they’d vote for more CO2, not less.
    But, what do they know?
    Dadgum gov’ment, anyway.
    Always sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong, pretending they are “helping”.

  3. It can be argued that cost is a good proxy for fossil fuel use… (because fossil fuel is often the cheapest usable energy source)

    More expensive cars means car made with more fossil fuels.

  4. CO2 is not a pollutant except by the fraudulent classification of the EPA. The contribution of CO2 to the “greenhouse effect” involving radiated infrared from the Earth is far swamped out by water vapor. See my explanation here: http://fusion4freedom.us/greenhouse-gasses-anthropogenic-global-warming/ The next U.S. president and fire the shot to be heard around the world by forcing a review if the science surrounding that EPA classification and overturning it along with the Obama directives to contribute cash into the “Green Fund.”

  5. “There are worse things in life than commuting by car.” – Yea, neighbors.

    Guess it’s just the ol’ North Carolina hillbilly in me but I define “too close to your front door” as less than a quarter mile down the road on the next ridge.

  6. Under the national Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard, regulators assess a vehicle’s fuel economy on a sliding scale based on size

    Which is why Aston Martin in the UK bought into Toyota Aygo so they would have a ridiculously overdeveloped (but quite lovely) tiny car (@£30k) that would average out their fleet of rather larger cars.

  7. “Perversely, sprawl is encouraged by environmental review boards and neighborhood preservation campaigns.”

    So true.

  8. To allow denser, environmentally conscious construction, Sacramento should repeal the “private right of action” in the California Environmental Quality Act.

    So now dense, highrise living with no room for green space is “ecological”.

    eco-logical is an oxymoron.

  9. A lot of the fuel savings from lots of people driving smaller cars than they used to, are offset by those who drive pickup trucks, at least in North America. I think a lot of that is a product of “macho” self-image that needs a truck to boost it, but it does help the manufacturers to keep their fleet averages for cars in line with government regulations.

    Of course, that comment doesn’t apply to me, I need a truck for my work. No, really.

    • Farmers, ranchers, and others buy a truck and take the box off and discard it. Then they have a “flat-bed” built on the frame. Then they carry a couple thousand pounds of hay to cattle (or whatever needs carried).
      This is “macho” — translates to “hard work”, I think.

      • Usually I try not to pick in people, bad form and all that.
        But your picture is just so funny, I spilled my coffee, so you pay the price.
        Big macho pickup, Big Macho BS. with a few hay bales tossed on.
        Back where I come from, farmers use something called a “hay wagon”. It can be pulled with a very modest truck with a 6 cyl. engine, a tractor, or even a couple of horses.
        I am sure I have never seen a “big-rig” truck with a lot of chrome on a working farm.
        So much for CAFE rules. Let the people drive what they want.

  10. 510 hp Range Rover Sport Supercharged: Bulit like a tank, drives like a sports car. What’s not to like?

  11. What do the owners and Editor’s of the LA Times drive ? 64 Cricket automatics or Navigators ?

  12. Remember that drivers licenses are a permit and not a right. Octane levels could be reduced to 20 and still be offered for sale to the public. These are examples of nefarious ways of the over reach presidency. They can effectively revoke all fossil fuels cars anytime they desire it and with all the spin set up and ready to go with help from the Dept. of Justice to say it’s all legal.

  13. Where I lived, there were puddles of blood in the apartment elevator, almost every Friday night.

    Pfft… You lived in a hoity-toity luxury highrise, Eric. At least your super seemed to be conscientious about removing the bodies. Mine wasn’t that motivated ;o)

  14. It is entirely falacious that high density saves anything. The reality is that new goods have to be brought to the concentrated masses; and conversely you still have to remove the same amount of trash and garbage.

    High density only makes for congestion and lots of wasted time idling in traffic.

  15. Eric Worrall,

    ‘to oppose unwanted high density urban development.’

    But that’s exactly where the true greens wish to concentrate us:

    in
    unwanted high density urban development

    camps.
    ___________

    To exterritor us from Nature – seemingly we’re unnatural.

    Regards – Hans

  16. Eric Worrall,

    ‘to oppose unwanted high density urban development.’

    But that’s exactly where the true greens wish to concentrate us:

    in
    unwanted high density urban development

    camps.
    ___________

    To exterritoriate us from Nature – seemingly we’re unnatural.
    ___________

    State forming city building Termits are natural. Not we.

    • The biggest part of this is not completed absorbed by what I see in the comments. This is the point, “reducing human footprint on nature. Right out of article 21. It seems many have not read much on the U.N. website. More control is being given to the U.N. agenda. this scares the begibbies right out of me.

  17. I am surprised there has not been more discussion on the challenge of the 56+ mpg mandate with any vehicle that is suitable for a family and is safe and not a battery powered vehicle that has a decent range. Fortunately this is a foolish presidential edict and can be reversed by any future President.

    At the time the mandate was presented, I wondered if the Administration had a clue that due to the laws of physics, thermodynamics, and chemistry the goal cannot be achieved without a “miracle” breakthrough.
    Apparently they don’t have a grasp on reality or they believe a miracle battery will suddenly appear, or they just don’t care about the impact.

    Of course there is the problems with the suitability of the electric car and the ignoring the problems of a “fueling” distribution system. To replace the current abundance of gas stations would be a very expensive proposition especially with the time required to replace or charge a dead battery on a trip over 200 miles. The administration needs to look at reality.

  18. Well, the quoted stuff doesn’t say it doesn’t reduce CO2, it just says it doesn’t reduce global warming by much. Is the title accurate?

Comments are closed.