Finally! Some fuel economy common sense

But Greens go apoplectic over rule change that would have no climate or other benefits

Guest opinion by Paul Driessen

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards were devised back in 1975, amid anxiety over the OPEC oil embargo and supposedly imminent depletion of the world’s oil supplies.

But recall, barely 15 years after Edwin Drake drilled the first successful oil well in 1859, a Pennsylvania geologist was saying the United States would run out of oil by 1878. In 1908, the US Geological Survey said we’d exhaust our domestic oil reserves by 1927; in 1939, it moved petroleum doomsday to 1952.

Somehow, steadily improving technology and geological acumen kept finding more oil. Then the horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) revolution postponed the demise of oil and natural gas production for at least another century. The fuels that brought wealth, health, longevity, and modern industrialization, transportation, communication and civilization to billions will continue doing so.

However, the powerful forces arrayed against fossil fuels, internal combustion engines and automobiles have kept pushing for tighter CAFÉ rules. In 2012 – claiming that CO2 and other vehicle greenhouse gas emissions required a near-total shift to electric cars to prevent manmade climate cataclysms – the Obama Environmental Protection Agency decreed 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) rules by 2025.

But climate chaos is a product of computer models, a phony scientific “consensus” and hysterical headlines – not Real World evidence. (See here, hereand here to launch some down-to-earth thinking.)

Electric cars represent under 1.5% of new vehicles sold in the USA, a minuscule fraction of the total US vehicle fleet, and a vanishingly small, barely detectable portion of vehicles in use worldwide. Their short range, long recharging times and dauntingly high prices deter most drivers, despite taxpayer subsidies that can reach $10,000 per car sold to rich buyers. And their batteries have significant human health, human rights and environmental problems, as detailed here, here and elsewhere.

Moreover, the rest of the world is rapidly industrializing, building coal and gas-fired power plants to bring electricity to billions who still don’t enjoy its blessings, and putting more cars and trucks on their roads. So even if carbon dioxide has replaced the powerful natural forces that have driven climate and extreme weather fluctuations throughout Earth and human history, US mileage rules would make no difference.

It is therefore hugely refreshing to see that the EPA and Department of Transportation have proposed to freeze fuel economy standards at the existing 2020 target of 37 mpg. The proposal would also create a single national mileage and emission standards – and eliminate the arguably illegal Clean Air Act waiver that the Obama EPA gave California in 2013, letting it set its own tougher automobile emission standards.

To encourage discussion, negotiation and compromise, the EPA/DOT proposal also presents seven alternatives to the 37 mpg freeze: allowing standards to ratchet upward between 0.5% and 3.0% annually through 2026. Public comments will be accepted until the end of September.

Consumer groups and would-be new car buyers welcomed the move. Reactions from certain other quarters were predictably negative. Democratic California Governor Jerry Brown labeled it “an assault on the health” of all Americans – a “reckless scheme” that will force motorists to “pay more at the pump, get worse gas mileage and breathe dirtier air.” He promised his state will “fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible.” Others claimed it would “roll back” efforts to “protect the climate.”

Major automotive manufacturers would prefer to have mpg standards climb steadily upward. They want to promote their “green” credentials, while selling more cars and light trucks … and avoiding vitriolic backlash from the likes of Gov. Brown and the Sierra Club. They’d like to see a negotiated deal.

As to “dirty air,” there is virtually no connection between mileage and vehicle emissions, which have already plummeted by nearly 98% from what came out of tailpipes in 1970. That’s why radical greens call carbon dioxide “carbon pollution” – to make it sound like soot, instead of the miracle molecule that we exhale, and plants use as a basic building block to make life on earth possible. The more CO2 in the air, the better and faster forest, grassland and crop plants grow, using less water in the process.

And where do greens think electric vehicles get their electricity? Wind turbines and solar panels? Fat chance. Try coal and gas-fired power plants – or nuclear and hydroelectric plants that they also detest.

Climate benefits are equally illusory. Even if there were a connection between CO2 and global warming (or the newer always accurate nomme de guerre “climate change”), the EPA and DOT estimate that the difference between the Trump 37 mpg standard and Obama 54.5 mpg rule would be a completely undetectable 0.0003 degrees Celsius (0.0005 F) by 2100. That’s a microscopic 0.00004 degrees per year!

How can Gov. Moonbeam claim that freezing mpg will harm human health? By ignoring another reality.

As mileage standards tightened, car makers had to downsize vehicles, use less steel, and employ more aluminum and plastic. Even with expensive vehicle modifications like side air bags, these smaller vehicles have less “armor” to protect occupants, and less space between them and any car, truck, bus, tree or other obstacle they might collide with. So they are less safe, and less affordable for poor families.

Insurance industry and other studies show that bigger, heavier vehicles are safer. Drivers and passengers in 54.5 mpg vehicles are more likely to die in a crash – and far more likely to be maimed, disfigured, disabled or paralyzed – than if the fuel economy standards had been relaxed or frozen decades ago.

Freezing standards now at 37 mpg would save car and light truck buyers tens of billions of dollars over the next decade – and save families hundreds of billions in burial, hospital, disability and related costs.

But tougher standards would save drivers billions in gasoline costs, Gov. Brown and his comrades claim. What chutzpah! These are the same folks who demand mandates for ethanol, which costs more and gets a third fewer miles per gallon than gasoline. They’re the same ones whose great champion once said, “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”

That champion would be Paul Ehrlich, who remains deeply concerned about “population bombs” … and the human population levels that smaller, lighter, less safe cars are as good a way as any to reduce.

Then there’s the basic matter of “choice.” Not just for pregnant women; consumer choice. Not everyone is an urbanite, with one kid, comfortably squatting down almost to pavement level to squeeze into an econobox “smart car,” happily hauling one or two non-plastic grocery bags a week from Whole Foods.

The rest of us – including those in the 85% of US counties who did not vote for Hillary Clinton – want affordable options, sizes and features that meet our individual needs. We’re tired of having urban and government intellectuals, pressure groups and ruling elites dictating our vehicle choice, steadily reducing our access to full-size sedans, mini or full-size SUVs, light trucks, panel trucks or whatever vehicles best meet our diverse family, boating, camping, farming, ranching, small business or other needs.

54.5 mpg definitely limits choice. And econoboxes are inherently unsafe slamming into an urban wall or tree at even 20 or 25 mph; at virtually any speed “mating” with an oncoming bus or truck; and almost anywhere on a rural highway, with traffic moving at 55-70 mph, and along which many of us have seen these minuscule cars blown right over onto their sides by high winds or passing semi-trucks.

A EQ Smart ForTwo, Fiat 500 or other “micro urban” car may be the perfect “adventure” for some. But not for me, and not for most of the folks I know and love.

From my perch, the best solution would be for EPA and DOT to roll these restrictive, dangerous, even deadly CAFÉ rules back a few notches. At least freeze them where they are – or, as a last-ditch compromise, restrict future hikes to 0.1% annually. If it matters to you, weigh in here by September 30.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of books and articles on energy, climate change and economic development.

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August 8, 2018 11:16 pm

I’ll let you know when I tire of all this winning. Hint: Don’t hold your breath waiting.

Reply to  brians356
August 8, 2018 11:57 pm

You mean a “winning” argument by Paul Driessen ?

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Jeff
August 9, 2018 6:25 am

I think he means Trump winning.

August 8, 2018 11:19 pm

Guvnor Brown is learning that the sword of regulative power cuts both ways.

August 9, 2018 12:27 am

Dear Paul

Do NOT come to Britain, where all there is is ‘econoboxes’.

Whilst I agree that legislating for economy is nuts…here we just have a vicious fuel duty instead – high mileage cars are not so fragile as you make out.

And it seems that even WITH tin tanks, more Amercans die in their cars pro rata, than in the UK or Europe.

Reply to  Leo Smith
August 9, 2018 12:55 am

You have to be careful with statistics. I’d like to know the rate per capita per mile. Might be illuminating.
Size of car is no guarantor of safety. Take a look at this crash test.
Sure, it’s only one example, but you get the idea. Small modern cars can be quite safe, but I’d still prefer a decent sized modern Volvo over a wee car.

Reply to  sonofametman
August 9, 2018 2:02 am

I have been rather a motorsport fan since the 1970s. After watching a man thrown out of a vintage race car with no seat belts die in front of me, and watched a head on collision with a concrete wall at 100mph, in a more modern vehicle, I know that weight is not what makes cars safe.

It’s design of crash proof structures, crumple zones, and the willingness to be strapped inside them.

Luc Ozade
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 9, 2018 3:04 am

I think, am sure, that you also have to take into account the severity of the collision – the speed of impact. There won’t be much left of either vehicle if they collide with both vehicles travelling at 100 mph.

But in a slower impact – say between a Rolls Royce and a Mini – I know which vehicle I would sooner be in.

Reply to  Leo Smith
August 9, 2018 7:13 am

The bigger the car, the bigger the crumple zone.
Yes, a well built small car can be safer than a poorly built large car.
So what?
Comparing cars of equivalent quality, bigger is always safer.

Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2018 7:04 pm

between two vehicles in a head on collision, give me the bigger car. When the collision is between a non moveable object and a car, give the well designed lighter car.

Tom O
Reply to  MarkW
August 10, 2018 8:24 am

I think you are giving more credit to the size of the car than you should. The actual true safety measure of a vehicle isn’t its ability to absorb an accident, it is ability to avoid it. Most accidents are avoidable – assuming the nut behind the wheel isn’t too loose. Smaller, more maneuverable cars, then are safer than big tubs that take up too much space to change directions.

HOWEVER, I would prefer that in a “free society” you have the right to buy your pig boat, and I have the right to buy a smaller, maneuverable, and economical car. When I first moved to Arizona, Honda made cars that got 55 mpg. When the first Prius was pushed by Toyota with its “whopping big” 45 mpg, they made a Yaris that got 42, and Honda made a car that got 75 or 80, although it wasn’t a 4 door, and was not a hybrid – the hybrid version got better city mileage, the gas only got better highway mileage.

Hell, when I was in high school, I drove a Crosley station wagon that got over 40 mpg, so there is no real excuse for the shitty mileage we have now in these totally computerized cars – except, of course, with these totally computerized cars insurance companies get lots of information, as do the authorities, and they basically have the option of stopping you dead in your tracks with an EMP blast – along with anyone in the vicinity.

And back to the original thought – be my guest and take your chances in your pig boat should you have an accident because you failed to avoid it. I’ll keep driving my smaller car knowing that as long as I am paying attention, I’ll most likely find a way to avoid the accident – or at least lessen the impact.

Jack Roth
Reply to  Tom O
August 19, 2018 3:35 pm

I completely disagree with everything you have said. How am I supposed to avoid being rear-ended? I have been the victim of being rear-ended 3 times, resulting in two hospitalizations, and one where my car was rear-ended while stopped at a red light by someone texting at 35mph and who hit my car and dragged it forward 10 yards (even with my foot on the brake the entire time) and smashing it into the car in front of me, turning my car into a sandwich. The only thing that saved my life was that for some reason I had stopped 10 yards away from the car in front of me, or i would have been turned into wet pulp. The air bags in my then 3-year-old top of the line Focus did NOT deploy, any of them, apparently because I was dragged and wasn’t moving underneath power. Both the car that hit me and the one I was smashed into were SUVs, neither was damaged enough to keep them from being driven away. My car however was so destroyed that when my wife saw it (this happened outside her work where I was going to pick her up) she fainted. It took the fire department over an hour to free me from the wreck. I had a broken hip, a broken back, a destroyed knee, a ruptured spleen and other assorted issues, including a lifetime of horrible pain. I will NEVER again get into a small car, for any reason. When I went to buy a replacement car and looked at the Focus I had a full panic attack. I now drive a Suburban and a Ram. Keep telling yourself you can avoid accidents in your death clown-mobile, I know better.

Peter Plail
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 9, 2018 7:43 am

Big might be fine for occupants, but the impact of larger vehicles on pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists is likely far more damaging for them.

Reply to  Peter Plail
August 9, 2018 9:11 am

Whether big car or small car, it’s going to be fatal for them.

Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2018 10:02 am

There is an aphorism along this thought from the aircraft industry:
“A Piper Cub is considered the safest airplane because it can just barely kill you.”

“in for a penny…in for a pound”

dan no longer in CA
Reply to  rocketscientist
August 9, 2018 2:36 pm

A Piper Cub can land at a slow enough speed that you can frequently walk away from it. It’s the V^2 term that makes most airliner crashes non-survivable. Of course the airliner is far less likely to crash at all.

Reply to  rocketscientist
August 10, 2018 9:16 am

A Piper Cub can glide fairly well if engine fails. A commercial jet, not so well.

Bryan A
Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2018 10:09 am

Pedestrians and cyclists seldom win an argument with any motorized vehicle. Even a Motorcyclist can lose an argument without any other vehicle involved….
More protection is better for survivability

Reply to  Bryan A
August 9, 2018 10:46 am

Bicyclists have been known to take out pedestrians.

Reply to  Leo Smith
August 9, 2018 1:26 pm

Yes, but those features are not weightless.

Reply to  Leo Smith
August 10, 2018 8:52 am

It has been several decades since I drove through much of New Jersey.

When, I was younger, New Jersey was the place to go for corn, tomatoes and milk. It was also the state that had the beach.

Residents of other states were often surprised that New Jersey often install circles for intersections. Circles avoid obstructing traffic if drivers proceed through with common sense, caution, respect and dignity.

All too often residents of other states froze or panicked when encountering a New Jersey circle, and seriously obstructed traffic as they were unable to assimilate and properly follow ‘Yield’ and ‘Merge’ New Jersey signage.

One particular traffic circle deep in rural New Jersey and along our route to the beaches, was well known for serious crashes as speeders tried to coexist at high speeds. I am not sure, but it’s possibly, the circle at the intersection of Rte. 206 and Rte. 70.

Unofficially, New Jersey started leaving vehicle remains of the more serious crashes at various locations where drivers approaching that circle could see the results of improperly yielding and merging in a circle.

As the years passed, we saw and were astonished at New Jersey’s crash art. Appalling, came later when we passed by what was left of a truly serious crash. That car’s remains stretched to roughly three times the original length of the car. No part of that wreckage intimated survival of the passengers.

Over the years, that was the worst wreckage NJ installed along that road.

I for one, loved New Jersey’s circles as efficient effective methods for traffic to sort itself out without red lights or stop signs. I also paid attention to those wrecks and never tried to coexist in the same space and time with another vehicle.

Yes, crumple zones and protective construction do save people in cars.
Smaller cars, lighter cars have less of both. Leaving safety to seat belts and airbags which are very effective at the lower speeds.

For several decades Cadillac, Mercedes and other high end automobiles proudly tracked how safe their vehicles were

While waiting for my car, a Triumph Herald, to get inspected one fine day in 1971, another driver in to get his full sized Mercury inspected told me, “those little cars suffer badly in accidents with full size cars.”.
To which, I responded, “You’ve got to catch me first”.

The best vehicle safety comes from paying attention to everything on the road and fastidiously avoiding accident situations.

Reply to  ATheoK
August 11, 2018 6:57 pm

As I tell my own children, I’m sure your driving is just fine. It’s all the other damn fools on the road that worry me.

Reply to  sonofametman
August 9, 2018 2:32 am

Because of the work I do, I’ve met quite a number of people who have suffered debilitating brain injuries. In many cases their injuries were due to a collision between their small car and a large vehicle like a pick-up truck. In almost every crash, their car was badly damaged while the truck and the driver suffered little. In a vehicle collision, size matters.

Many of the patients say they will never drive a small car again, and will switch to trucks. When it comes to avoiding future head injuries, they can’t afford to drive a small car.

Reply to  Klem
August 9, 2018 6:30 am

Physics says that in a collision of 2 objects momentum is conserved. If the mass of the 2 objects is unequal then the less massive object will experience a greater rate of deceleration than the more massive. As the difference in mass becomes greater the difference in the rate of deceleration will be greater. Greater deceleration results in more injury. These victims will have made a wise choice in their switch to heavier vehicles if they are in a crash especially if the second vehicle is less massive. I am content in my full size pickup and Lincoln sedan.

Don Perry
Reply to  Vince
August 9, 2018 9:21 am

Conservation of momentum:

Reply to  Vince
August 9, 2018 10:06 am

Actually its conservation of energy. If the collision is elastic and no energy dissipated then momentum will be conserved, otherwise there are always energy losses (deformation, heat creation, friction…).

Reply to  rocketscientist
August 9, 2018 10:34 am

Yes, you are correct about conservation of energy as collisions are not completely elastic. But there is a limit to the amount of energy that can be dissipated with a small mass object.

Bryan A
Reply to  Vince
August 9, 2018 10:12 am

Lincolns are great

Reply to  Bryan A
August 10, 2018 9:24 am

Thanks Bryan A, great song. Back when songs could be funny.

honest liberty
Reply to  Klem
August 9, 2018 7:14 am

I was hit head on, while parked waiting to turn at a light, by some jack wagon in a stolen 2003 Honda Odyssey minivan travelling at approximately 56 mph when he struck me. Poor woman he stole it from was from a poor part of town who left it running unattended but she was not held liable at all, which is absolute horsehockey far as I’m concerned.

The idiot stole it 4 hours before, gallivanted all around town, was running all sorts of red lights and went into northbound traffic to go through this major intersection of Park and Broadway, but couldn’t quite make it back northbound when he struck me. I didn’t even see it coming until I heard the screeching tires.
The van was demolished. The kid was lucky to be alive.

I was driving my first full sized pickup, a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 4 door Laramie edition, with the Hemi engine. I loved that truck, and I worked really hard to finally get a full sized truck. Needless to say I was beyond livid when I jumped out of the truck. Only relatively severe injury was a broken foot because my foot was on the brake (which since I’m 35 and don’t heal like I did 15 years ago, is already a lifetime injury- I can’t drive 25 miles without my right heel reeling in soreness and medium pain. BUT… I walked away from that accident relatively unscathed. It was not worth the settlement after all the medical costs and lawyer fees.

The lesson I learned that day was twofold:
1. I’ll never own anything less than a full size pickup again, or an older lifted jeep wrangler
2. I’ll never buy another motorcycle as long as I live near a major city like Denver, ESPECIALLY Denver. These people out here are maniacs.
I wish I could figure out how to upload photos on here because the photo is something else.

Paul Benkovitz
Reply to  honest liberty
August 13, 2018 10:08 am is an easy way to share photos.

Ill Tempered Klavier
Reply to  Klem
August 9, 2018 10:57 pm

I saw the results when someone tried to drive an MG under a loaded logger. The bottom of the windshield on that super low slung sporter was just about level with the bottom of the bumper on the mack log truck. I’m told the truck driver spent the next two days in the hospital in Forks sedated. Hardly damaged the truck at all.

Reply to  sonofametman
August 9, 2018 2:32 am

Thanks, quite an enlightening video.

Reply to  sonofametman
August 9, 2018 2:40 am

” more Amercans die in their cars pro rata,”

stats, lies , etc. US is big and they traditionally drive more than Europeans. Per capita is not the only variable which needs to be controlled for.

Reply to  Greg
August 9, 2018 10:45 am


Americans drive about twice the distance per person than Europeans. Taking that in account, the death rate still is much higher than of most European countries, except France, which has equal rates, not at least by their remarkable “driving style”…

The problem of driving larger “safer” cars is that it hardly makes a difference if you go head on a similar or bigger car in weight. Thus all driving DU steel tanks at 70 mph is as deadly as mini’s at the same speed. All what counts is the speed at the moment of impact and the “brake” distance from 70 mph to zero from deforming the front and the length of the safety belt/air bag.

Indeed a smaller car is less safe when colliding with a bigger one, but that is also the case for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists,… And that is also the case when a bigger one is colliding with a truck or hits a big tree, a bridge,…

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 10, 2018 12:01 pm

Driving style in France? What about Italy, where maximum speed is merely a suggestion?

Reply to  sonofametman
August 11, 2018 7:02 pm

In the video, that’s comparing apples to leftover coffee grounds. The narrative says the Volvo was designed and built before there WAS a crash test standard. So get another ton-and-a-half tank and crash it into a dainty little econobox designed and built at the same time. (The crash was great fun to watch, however.)

Reply to  Leo Smith
August 9, 2018 2:27 am

Just helped a friend chose a panel van ( in Europe ) All makes have reduced panel thickness so far, in order to meet fuel consumption of “pollution” limits, that you can easily bend it with the end of your finger.

This means that all commercial users end up lining the vehicle with plywood panels or else the bodywork would be a mess of outward dents as soon as you started using it.

The weight gain and mileage economy goes straight out of the window, the vehicle is now heavier than it would have been with decent bodywork. But the manufacturer can conform to latest Euro6 pollution standards, on paper at least.

Add two thousand to the price you pay to get the inside decked out before you start using it.

Steve O
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 9, 2018 5:11 am

I drive 30,000 miles a year. On my daily commute, traffic regularly hits 145kph. Nothing scares me more than driving on the wrong side of the road in Ireland, between hedgerows, whipping around blind turns with traffic stacking up behind me. But I suspect that my chance of death on my morning commute would be substantially higher if I had to drive an econobox instead of a large, luxury sedan.

Reply to  Leo Smith
August 9, 2018 7:12 am

Numbers don’t lie, but liars can use numbers.
Studies have shown over and over again, that smaller cars are more dangerous. Whine all you want, but physics stays the same.
As to your chart, Americans drive much more often, at higher speeds and for longer distances.

Just comparing per-capita numbers is a fools errand performed by those who’s only intention is to deceive.

Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2018 8:32 am

And most collisions happen at speeds below 50mph. So while yes, a 100mph impact will total just about anything, it’s largely irrelevant. Size and weight matter in the vast majority of automobile accidents.

Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2018 10:53 am


As said above (and did have the statistics somewhere), Americans drive about twice the distance per person per year than Europeans. Taking that into account, there are far less deadly accidents in Europe, with the exception of France, which is equal. Most countries in Europe allow the same or higher speed (110-130 kph – 70-80 mph) as in the US and in Germany even unlimited on several highways (and they do use that!).

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 9, 2018 12:32 pm

Just looking at the stated speed on the various roads is not of much use.
1) How good are people at following the stated speed limits?
2) How many people drive on the fastest roads vs the slower roads?
3) How good are the drivers?
4) How safe are the roads themselves?

Joe Civis
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 9, 2018 2:21 pm

Do they give illegal aliens driver’s licenses?

just curious… where is live in insane California.. not sure the total numbers but anecdotally hear fairly regularly of illegal aliens involved in wrong way and drunk driving car crashes with fatalities.

dan no longer in CA
Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2018 2:49 pm

A factor that I have never seen in the statistics is the fact that econoboxes are bought by people who can afford econoboxes. People buying their first car drive them. Teenagers buy them. Factor in the driver’s lower experience base, and factor in teen suicides. I personally know of two teens who commited suicide by car within the past year while driving an econobox.

Reply to  Leo Smith
August 9, 2018 4:08 pm

The difference in the fatality rate between countries or regions is meaningless with respect to discussion of small vs. large car/truck comparison…..

The above link provides good stats for USA.

Look at the death rate differences between small cars and SUV’s. For example “mini” death rate is for multiple-vehicle crashes is FOUR times greater than that for large SUVs. SUV’s also show a 50% lower death rate than “mini’s” for single car crashes.

If you can find stats for any other country or region that are not similar to those in the link, you get a pat on the back.

Reply to  Leo Smith
August 9, 2018 11:29 pm

That one baffles me….

With wiki using the WHO automobile death rates per 100,000 vehicles, the Europe average death rate is 47% higher that the US.

Do we believe CNN or WHO? More “fake news”?

Reply to  Leo Smith
August 12, 2018 10:32 am

And it seems that even WITH tin tanks, more Amercans die in their cars pro rata, than in the UK or Europe.

You live in a tiny country where people don’t need to drive much:

comment image

richard verney
August 9, 2018 12:31 am

Only on a few grids worldwide (such as Norway which is mainly hydro, Switzerland ditto, France which is mainly nuclear) do electric cars reduce CO2 emissions.

On most grids, electric cars either achieve no saving in CO2 emissions, or even result in an increase in CO2 emissions.

This is one of the fallacies behind the use and roll out of electric vehicles.

I am rather sceptical of the argument

studies show that bigger, heavier vehicles are safer. Drivers and passengers in 54.5 mpg vehicles are more likely to die in a crash – and far more likely to be maimed, disfigured, disabled or paralyzed…

since Europe has a lot of such vehicles, and I suspect that crash results in Europe do not support that line of argument. I suspect that some of the European countries have the least fatalities/serious casualties. This may be because Eurpoean crash/safety requirements are more stringent than the US.

According to Wikipedia car fatalities per country:

The light yellow is less than 5 per 100,000 and includes Japan, the home of the light/small vehicle.

Reply to  richard verney
August 9, 2018 2:05 am

This is not actually quite correct.

The gains in terms of regenerative braking and the overall higher efficiencies of combined cycle gas power stations do give a slight edge to the electric vehicle when used in combination.

Coal powered electric cars are of course not nearly as good…

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  richard verney
August 9, 2018 2:33 am

That does not take into account:

In the vast US, highways mostly are 3 – 6 lane –

while in mountainous Europe the highways are mostly led through river valleys which too have to offer space for railway tracks and residential areas –

so in Europe the highways usually run only 2 lanes.

In addition: Due to european toll legislations, a lot of heavy traffic is passing through rural areas: through the villages –

– which increases the frequency of accidents as well as the severity of traffic accidents.

Reply to  richard verney
August 9, 2018 7:17 am

Europeans drive less and at lower speeds than do Americans.

richard verney
Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2018 10:07 am

That is odd since the speed limit on European Roads is generally higher at 70 mph, 80 mph, 95 mph and even derestricted, eg 200mph if you have the right car in places like Germany and the Isle of Man.

European’s probably drive less since the cost of fuel is a lot higher. When I was a student, many many years ago, I use to drive around 25,000 to 30,000 miles per year, now I probably drive only around 6,000.

Reply to  richard verney
August 9, 2018 10:49 am

I believe those are kph not mph.

Are there any straight aways long enough to get to 200mph on the Isle of Man?

Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2018 11:40 am


Indeed the Isle of Man has no speed limit, but there are no roads on that isle that do allow to speed up unlimited. In fact the average speed on unlimited roads is the same or lower than on roads with speed limits:

In Germany there are no speed limits on large parts of their highways and many BMW/Mercedes/… owners just use that to their own limits. Despite that: the death toll is much lower than in France (speed limit 80 mph. 70 mph with rain) or the US. Just a matter of driving discipline in Germany…

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 9, 2018 12:33 pm

If the difference is in the drivers, then the claim that the smaller cars that Europeans drive are just as safe as bigger cars is not supported.

Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2018 2:58 pm


There are so many factors affecting road safety – the attitude of drivers being one of them.

I think it was Graham Hill – the British Formula 1 champion back in the 1960’s – who said that the greatest contribution to a reduction in road traffic accidents would be brought about by mandating that every steering wheel be fitted with a two foot steel spike at the centre. Obviously, in such a scenario there would be no need for any other traffic laws – including speed limits, driving proficiency tests, etc. We have been moving in exactly the opposite direction, of course, but who is to say whether his proposed scheme might not have been more effective – even if in an era of people looking to someone (i.e. Government) to protect them from themselves it would have been politically impossible.

I used to own a BMW M3 when I was in my early forties (15 or so years ago), and would periodically drive at up to 130 mph on two lane country roads in the UK (where I live). I confined my law-breaking to such roads because the chances of being caught are small to nil if you know the area (the police, like all bureaucratic entities, are creatures of habit). If you consider the technical capabilities of my M3, exceeding the speed limit of 70 mph by 60 mph was probably considerably safer than driving at 70 mph in cars that were available when that limit was first introduced back in 1967. Obviously, driver reflexes haven’t improved, but I’d say that maxing out at 130 mph at 40ish is pretty-damn safe because at that age you are physiologically still in great shape, and are in optimal condition so far as judgement is concerned.

Would I have driven at 130 mph if there was a spike at the centre of my steering wheel? Absolutely, because I was certain I was driving safely! Indeed, I bet my life on it.

Jack Roth
Reply to  Diotima1960
August 20, 2018 1:49 pm

This has to be one of dumbest posts ever

Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2018 11:01 am

Europeans drive about half the distance per person per year as Americans. Even taking that into account, death toll is less than in the US for most countries except France…

Reply to  richard verney
August 10, 2018 12:22 pm

The promotion of electric cars in France, esp. in Paris, isn’t to reduce CO2 emission (much), it’s to reduce fine particulates, NOx, ozone.

August 9, 2018 12:39 am

Has anyone ever calculated how much extra electricity generation would be required if all vehicles were electric. I don’t recall ever seeing this figure.

Ian Magness
Reply to  gingerbeer
August 9, 2018 1:17 am

Paul Homewood of notalotofpeopleknowthat has done this and shown the data for the UK. I don’t recall the figures but the key point is that the UK doesn’t produce anything like enough electricity to handle the demand. Renewables could not possibly fill the gap. Only nuclear could but we’d need 20 + new such power stations regularly coming on stream over the next 20 years – which might be a slight problem as it takes the vacillating UK government 20+ years to agree to the building and commissioning of a single one.
So, the bottom line is that we simply don’t have anything remotely interesting like enough power for the country as a whole to move over to these vehicles, and I doubt we ever will. Needless to say, you won’t hear that from the BBC or our green, virtue-signalling politicians.

Reply to  Ian Magness
August 9, 2018 2:11 am

I think we will. I am not sure that electric cars are the way if the future, but I think there is a limit to how far we can push fossil fuel before the price is simply not competitive with nuclear. At that point I suspect it will be amazing how fast politicians will react to implement the (estimated) 100 nuclear power stations the UK would need to run it COMPLETELY without fossil fuel at all.

honest liberty
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 9, 2018 7:27 am

with the descent into total surveillance of the population, push for A.I., forced multiculturalism from violent misogynists pretending their system is religious and not military in nature, and the march towards global population reduction, I don’t expect the populations of the world (at least from what I’m witnessing in America)
to ever do anything but let the slow, calculated plan unfold, resulting in exactly what these global power brokers are hoping for.
This isn’t about providing realistic methods to keep humanity going, this is about the destruction of humanity so the very few dark occultists controlling things behind the scenes through the likes of the CFR, Club of Rome, Trilateral commission, IPCC, Bilderberg, NGO’s, etc… achieve their plan to make the Georgia Guidestones reality.

If that sounds like tin foil to you, then you clearly haven’t spent the time digesting the copious amounts of material on the subject. Additionally, you haven’t researched history and the words of powerful men and women who made claims about what they intended, that have now manifested, in rapid succession since 9.11.

So let’s not mince words. There is only one direction this plan is headed, and that is energy austerity for the sake of population reduction, leaving only essential humans “worthy” of privileged existence to do what the robots can’t. Those with the extreme concentration of wealth and power will give them just enough to survive and maybe believe they are free, but there will be no adjustment towards reasonable energy policy. This incredible pushback and temporary sanity under Trump is but a tiny blip, a short term obstacle to the endgame. All of the other facets, which are far more insidious and intertwined than most of you recognize, are marching right along as planned.

Reply to  gingerbeer
August 9, 2018 2:08 am

Yes, about a tripling of the UK grid was my estimate. That included space heating as well.

You need to look at your own country’s overall fuel consumption and allocate efficiencies to the sectors. E.g. transport about 40% efficient 90% if electric, space heating 95% efficient 100% if electric (or greater with heat pumps) and so on.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 9, 2018 2:29 am

Leo, how can you say that electric heating (which is what I figure you to mean by the term ‘space heating’) will be 100% efficient? Leaving aside the generation losses, what about the transmission line losses delivering the power to the home and its heater?

Duck Muckey
Reply to  Harry Passfield
August 9, 2018 5:17 am

CoEfficient of Performance greater than 1. i.e. 1 KWH of electricity put into a compressor may pump ~2 to 4 kilowatt hours of heat from one place to another. It does not generate the heat/cold, it just relocates it. That is why reverse cycle air conditioners usually make so much more sense for heating than using purely resistive type heaters. The compressor pumps heat in from outdoor air and cools the outdoor air at the same time. An extremely cold outdoors naturally limits how effective this method is.

Reply to  gingerbeer
August 9, 2018 6:07 am

If all cars were of the Nisan Lief size, about 110 GW new generating capacity would be required. (This number excludes buses, trucks, delivery vehicles, etc.). For details see:

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  jake
August 9, 2018 6:33 am

“Nisan Lief”

Wow, fail.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 10, 2018 12:08 pm

I guess you know which vehicle ‘jake’ meant.
So ‘jake’ communicated.



Jim Giordano
Reply to  Auto
August 19, 2018 12:15 pm

Yes, but Jeff also communicated too, and hopefully everyone will heed the message to slow down and think while typing, to produce comments that are easily understandable.

Dudley Horscroft
August 9, 2018 12:42 am

I regret to disagree with Paul Driessen, but lighter does not necessarily mean less safe. Here in Australia new cars are regularly crash tested, and I do not think (I am prepared to see evidence if such exists) that a heavier car is really safer. If it were so, then we should all be driving around in tanks. I suppose it is not surprising that American autos are colloquially known as “Yank Tanks”.

There is a parallel in railroad and light rail passenger vehicles. US regulations require compression testing and similar to prove that the car body does not distort in a crash. This means a very heavy strong structure. But it also results in all passengers suddenly being subjected to a massive deceleration when cars collide, and often seats are uprooted and become missiles – as do the unfortunate passengers. European (including British) practice is to require proper crumple zones which can distort and reduce the deceleration, keeping passengers safer. This permits both heavy and light rail passenger cars to be lighter and safer than US passenger cars. Lighter also means less steel, and likely less of other materials, making them cheaper. With cheaper vehicles it is more likely that a project will get off the ground, and trains, light rail vehicles, streetcars – even buses – are safer for their passengers than are automobiles, thus improving overall safety..

Massive deceleration? Yes, for the passenger (not being strapped in) will keep on moving at the vehicles 30 or 40 or 50 mph when the train carriage has come to rest. They become flying missiles if they are ejected from their seats. If not ejected, the extra mass added to the mass of the seats rips the seats from their mountings, adding to the carnage. Why do you suppose that passengers in autos in Australia are required to be securely strapped in with seat belts? So as to keep them in place within the safe volume, while the rest of the car crumples.

Bengt Abelsson
Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
August 9, 2018 1:25 am

The compression test of rail cars war mandated by US mail in the beginning of railroading, to protect the mail. The value, as I remember, is 800.000 pounds without permanent deformation.
So, the rail vehicle will always win over any normal car. In a collision with a similar one, any person inside looses.

Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
August 9, 2018 2:21 am

The key to all crash design is keeping body accelerations below lethal levels – and 200g on parts of the body is lethal 50g or less is very survivable.

This is a matter of absorbing or redirecting kinetic energy in a controlled way – crumple zones are one time shock absorbers (dampers) that get hot as they distort, absorbing energy. So are crushable carbon fibre zones in F1 racing cars. The key to impact survival is a really good integral passenger/driver zone surrounded by crushable bits that are in practice several feet wide or long.

This is usually relatively easy in fore and aft crashes but is still very hard in terms of T-bone side on crashes. There the tendency is to assume the vehicle has room to slide sideways, and protect the passengers both in terms of side impact bards and lateral head restraints…broken necks are all too common…and let the tyres absorb the speed of impact.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 9, 2018 6:36 am

“The key to impact survival is a really good integral passenger/driver zone surrounded by crushable bits that are in practice several feet wide or long.”

For some of these tiny cars, the crumple zones would have to be larger than the car.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
August 9, 2018 6:35 am

“I regret to disagree with Paul Driessen, but lighter does not necessarily mean less safe. Here in Australia new cars are regularly crash tested, and I do not think (I am prepared to see evidence if such exists) that a heavier car is really safer. If it were so, then we should all be driving around in tanks. I suppose it is not surprising that American autos are colloquially known as “Yank Tanks”.”

Yeah, but without them you wouldn’t have Mad Max! And that would indeed be a travesty.

Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
August 9, 2018 7:20 am

Bigger cars mean bigger crumple zones.

Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2018 11:10 am


Not necessarely: a 60 tons armored tank has no crumple zone and all brake distance that the driver has is the length of the safety belt if it hits a similar tank head on or a solid rock or… Only trees wouldn’t be a problem…

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 9, 2018 12:35 pm

Really? You want to bring armored combat vehicles into the discussion?
Why don’t you just announce up front you have no intention of debating seriously?

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 9, 2018 12:46 pm


The price of diesel and kerosene would go through the roof if everybody drove armored vehicles. Also of steel, composites and tire rubber. And roads would need even more maintenance. That goes triple if some people drove tracked vehicles.

That said, I’m happy to own an a fully restored C15TA armo(u)red 4×4 truck.

Reply to  Theo
August 10, 2018 12:33 pm

I thought we were discussing track tanks. No road needed!

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 10, 2018 12:30 pm

What happens with the canon?

Jack Roth
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 20, 2018 1:53 pm

Armored vehicles, wow. That’s the second dumbest post of the thread. Top dumbest is still the upthread one about feeling safe driving 130mph because he’s in his 40s. Some doozies on this thread

Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
August 9, 2018 1:39 pm

Dudley – I can’t speak to Australian crash testing but in the U.S. a five-star crash rating for a small car is not directly comparable to a five-star crash rating.

18. How does NHTSA categorize vehicles?
NHTSA categorizes vehicles by class and “curb” weight. Curb weight is the weight of a vehicle with standard equipment including the maximum capacity of fuel, oil, coolant, and air conditioning. Passenger cars are further subdivided.

Passenger cars mini (PC/Mi) (1,500–1,999 lbs.)
Passenger cars light (PC/L) (2,000–2,499 lbs.)
Passenger cars compact (PC/C) (2,500–2,999 lbs.)
Passenger cars medium (PC/Me) (3,000–3,499 lbs.)
Passenger cars heavy (PC/H) (3,500 lbs. and over )
Sport utility vehicles (SUV)
Pickup trucks (PU) Vans (VAN)

19. Can I compare vehicles from different classes?
Side crash rating results can be compared across all classes because all vehicles are hit with the same force by the same moving barrier or pole.

Rollover ratings can also be compared across all classes. Frontal crash rating results can only be compared to other vehicles in the same class and whose weight is plus or minus 250 pounds of the vehicle being rated. This is because a frontal crash rating into a fixed barrier represents a crash between two vehicles of the same weight.

Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
August 9, 2018 3:33 pm


I cannot find fault with your argumentation. But ultimately, as you say, the claims that you discuss in your post must be decided by test and evidence. I think this attitude is admirable. Furthermore, I’m game for your proposal. If you’d like to meet me in my tank in your light weight Aussie car we could resolve the question scientifically. Although I am certain you are a fool, I’m certain you are not such a big fool as to believe what you say 🙂

Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
August 9, 2018 4:31 pm

The above link provides good stats for USA.

Look at the death rate differences between small cars and SUV’s. For example “mini” death rate is for multiple-vehicle crashes is FOUR times greater than that for large SUVs. SUV’s also show a 50% lower death rate than “mini’s” for single car crashes.

And no, heavier is not always safer. But even if it were we would not be driving around in tanks because of the cost, convenience, aesthetics, personal preferences, etc. … there is always trade-offs. If safety were the overriding consideration with respect to travel then yes, a tank would be the preferred mode of travel (but, maybe second to walking).

Phil Rae
August 9, 2018 12:47 am

I always enjoy your contributions, Paul. Well-reasoned argument and analysis that would educate & inform the vast majority of people who have no idea about all this stuff – I wish you could reach a much wider audience.

Luc Ozade
Reply to  Phil Rae
August 9, 2018 2:24 am

Ditto what Phil Rae said plus, in my opinion, one of the best writers to appear on this hallowed website.

old construction worker
August 9, 2018 1:06 am

affordable options, sizes and features that meet our individual needs. Progressive Socialist hate “individual needs”. Growing up I remember studying by a 100watt bulb. Not only did it give me light but also warmth. During the winter I would set up my equipment in a room and illuminate the area with 2 – 500 Watt helium spot lights. The heat from the light was just enough to keep the area from freezing . Now the spot lights a are LED so I had to buy a kerosene heater. The fuel can reach as high as $6.00 gallon. So much to being “green”.

Reply to  old construction worker
August 9, 2018 2:43 am


We lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six o’clock in the morning, clean the bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down mill for fourteen hours a day week in-week out. When we got home, our Dad would thrash us to sleep with his belt!

– the four Yorkshiremen Monty Python

Reply to  old construction worker
August 10, 2018 10:13 am

Quite right, construction worker. Incandescents are 100% efficient if one is heating that space. I’m heating my house (to various degrees) prb’ly 7 months of the year.

dan no longer in CA
Reply to  beng135
August 12, 2018 6:32 pm

Depending on how you do the calculations, heating while lighting with an incandescent bulb can be more than 100% efficient. It allows you to keep the room cooler while you feel warmer because of the infrared from the bulb warming you without heating the room.

Paul Deacon
August 9, 2018 1:20 am

Minor correction Paul: it is “nom de guerre”, not “nomme de guerre”. “Nom de guerre” means “name of/for war” in French. The “m” in “nom” is not pronounced, the “o” being nasalised.

All the best from NZ.

Adam Gallon
August 9, 2018 1:27 am

Yanks only need such large cars as you’re monstrously obese. As for smaller cars killing their occupants, try not driving when pissed, wear a seatbelt & try steering & braking, so you don’t crash into the scenery or other vehicles. You also manage to kill as many of each other by shooting other people or yourselves, as die in car crashes.

Reply to  Adam Gallon
August 9, 2018 2:22 am

Well It’s all Darwin in action innit?

Reply to  Adam Gallon
August 9, 2018 4:09 am

Sorry Adam but Americans have always driven enormous cars. They drove huge cars starting in the 1920’s and cars reached huge sizes in the 1940’s and 50’s, but Americans weren’t obese back then.

Today they still drive enormous cars, but today they are called SUVs, minivans and pick-up trucks. The people might be larger today, but their cars really aren’t.

Americans love their big vehicles no matter how obese or skinny they are, It’s the American way.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Klem
August 9, 2018 6:41 am

Funny. When I was stationed in Germany in the early 80’s, my platoon Sgt brought his Cadillac El Dorado, the tank of tanks, over from the states. Driving it on some of those tiny village roads was….interesting.

Reply to  Klem
August 9, 2018 3:32 pm

I’ve seen some of the most petite teenage girls driving the biggest, bulkiest trucks. The wonders of power steering.

Reply to  Adam Gallon
August 9, 2018 7:23 am

Jealousy leads to rage.
So it’s understandable why Adam rails against Americans.

Reply to  Adam Gallon
August 9, 2018 7:44 am


If it makes you feel better about yourself to believe something as silly as all Americans are “monstrously obese”, then by all means, please continue to do so. We do hope your fragile ego will eventually become strong enough on its own merit to move past the juvenile need to create relative self worth through demeaning others.

In the meantime, we should note that “yanks” don’t NEED larger cars. We WANT larger cars. At least, a statistically significant number of us do. I want a motorcycle, so I’m kind of going in the other direction on this one, but the point remains…

As for your encouragement to drive better, we offer our thanks for this brilliant suggestion. I’m not sure why it hasn’t occurred to us before, but now that we know what to do, I believe we can expect fatal car crashes to stop.

Finally, with regards to your off topic comment on gun deaths, this is a tragic reality of certain parts of American life, and deserves serious consideration…this will not be resolved here, though. (Since, again, it’s off topic and a conversation about it will be shut down by the mods).


Pat Frank
Reply to  ripshin
August 9, 2018 9:49 am

FBI statistics show that Americans of European descent have about the same homicide rate as Western Europe did before it opened itself to migrant influx.

Reply to  Pat Frank
August 9, 2018 10:51 am

A handful of large cities also skew the statistics for the whole US.

Reply to  Pat Frank
August 9, 2018 3:57 pm

i have it on royal authority that guns don’t kill people- sporks kill people!

Reply to  ripshin
August 9, 2018 3:39 pm

Gun ownership prevents far more violent deaths than it enables.

Reply to  ripshin
August 10, 2018 12:39 pm

“statistically significant number” is not a thing

Reply to  simple-touriste
August 10, 2018 1:00 pm

Thank you for adding to the conversation with your cogent, compelling, and consequential comment.


Matt Schilling
Reply to  Adam Gallon
August 9, 2018 7:46 am

In years without the Olympics, foreigners love to call Americans “obese”, or lazy, or decadent, etc. Then the Olympics comes round – and we dominate in the medal counts. We also somehow managed to rescue the world from tyrants twice last century, put a man on the moon, and stare down the Soviet Union to win the Cold War.
But don’t let me interrupt you, you were saying?

Reply to  Matt Schilling
August 10, 2018 12:41 pm

Yet we see your school groups in France, half of them is badly overweight.

And it’s starting to be evident that French people are going the same way.

Also, who wrecked the world economy and caused chaos in China? The same guy who “won” WWII and gave away half Europe to Soviets.

Bob Cherba
Reply to  Adam Gallon
August 9, 2018 9:28 am

I drive a 1996 Chevy Tahoe. In 1996 I was skinny, but wanted to tow a travel trailer. Twenty-two years later I’ve crossed into the obese category. At the age of 81, I can comfortably enter and exit our Tahoe, which is not true for rental sedans I’ve occasionally used.

I’ve owned and driven a ’59 Renault Dauphine, a ’63 VW ‘Beetle’, a ’71 American Motors compact and several “full-size” American cars. On family trips, no comparison. Also, my wife loves it because she can see much more of the road in front of us.

As for Americans being “monstrously obese,” I watched every day of the Tour de France and the people lining the roads looked pretty much like the Americans I see every day. Just as fat.

We’ve used our Tahoe as a tow vehicle and a work vehicle. Nowadays we only drive about 2,000 miles a year around Tucson, Arizona, and we expect to drive our large vehicle until we die.

Reply to  Bob Cherba
August 9, 2018 4:43 pm

I bought mine in 1996 as well.

Here’s hoping that mine, like yours, will last another 20 years.

Reply to  Adam Gallon
August 9, 2018 3:55 pm

oh, yeah! you know what else? they own homes with garages.
know what else? the tears of envious mediocrity raises all ships.

Reply to  Adam Gallon
August 10, 2018 12:38 pm

Most French people are not “monstrously obese”, we wear seat-belts (except for taxi drivers who fear being attacked, and have the exclusive right to not wear one) yet the death toll is only very slowly decreasing.

Jack Roth
Reply to  Adam Gallon
August 20, 2018 1:58 pm

I was wrong, this is now the dumbest post of the thread. Hey Adam, what happens when people run into you? How much you want to bet your skinny arrogant bum still gets squished to a pulp in your dumb clown-mobile?

August 9, 2018 1:49 am

“Insurance industry and other studies show that bigger, heavier vehicles are safer. Drivers and passengers in 54.5 mpg vehicles are more likely to die in a crash – and far more likely to be maimed, disfigured, disabled or paralyzed”

This is very misleading because heavier cars are more likely to kill and injure other road users.

“The researchers then set out to calculate the value of the “external risk” caused by our heftier vehicles. First, they considered a scenario in which a driver chose between a car with the 1989 model-year average weight of 3,000 pounds or the 2005 weight of 3,600 pounds. The heavier car increased the expectation of fatalities by 0.00027 per car—27 deaths per 100,000 such vehicles. “Summing across all drivers,” they write, “this translates into a total external cost of $35 billion per year,”

US traffic death rates by country

United States 10.6
Australia 5.4
United Kingdom 2.9

Matthew Thompson
Reply to  Jeff
August 9, 2018 5:06 am

As mentioned by someone else above, it’s not a very interesting statistic to use per capita death rates. Consider this to form a little better, but still not complete, statistic:

So US driver travel twice as many vehicle miles as UK per year. The opportunity for a fatal collision should increase with increasing miles driven. This is still not a very good comparison. The number of people per vehicle, the miles driven at higher speeds, and the alcoholism rate would also be very important considerations, to name just a few.

I’m not claiming to know the answer, but if you throw down the first statistic you find under a sensational headline, you deserve to have your chops busted online (metaphorically). These kinds of meaningless statistics are precisely what is wrong with climate science reporting.

richard verney
Reply to  Matthew Thompson
August 9, 2018 5:39 am

If you read the wiki link (and we all know wiki may not be 100% correct), it lists each country by per billion vehicle kilometers, ie., it takes account of actual mileage driven in each country.

the UK is 3.6 deaths per billion kilometers, and the US has nearly double the fatalities at 7.1 deaths per billion kilometers.

My quick glance of the stats suggests that Sweden at 3.5 deaths per billion kilometers has the best record.

A country like Norway with fewer inhabitants does not clock up enough mileage, but it is likely that Norwegian roads are safer than Sweden, and find that surprising since I lived in Norway in the 1980s and 1990s and I thought that Norwegian drivers were crazy relying upon the fact that the roads are deserted so that it is unlikely you will have a crash when going around a corner on the wrong side of the road!

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  richard verney
August 9, 2018 6:47 am

Part of the reason, in my humble opinion, for higher US deaths, is the lack of discipline of the drivers. I drove in Germany for a few years in the Army, and if you didn’t follow the rules on the Autobahn, you would die.

In the US, you’re SUPPOSED to keep right except to pass on multi-lane roads, especially freeways, but people rarely do. Which makes others pass on the far right, and lanes in between.

I wonder how much cell phone use has affected the numbers. Washington State, where I live, has a supposedly strict law against even holding your phone while driving. Yet I see probably 20-40% of people still using their phones, about the same as before the law went in place. This goes back to the discipline thing. Americans don’t like to be told what they can and can’t do.

Another Paul
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 9, 2018 10:14 am

“In the US, you’re SUPPOSED to keep right except to pass on multi-lane roads”

Seems the only people in the right lanes these days are the ones that are driving below posted because they’re texting, and easily viewed from my 4 door diesel Yank Tank.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Another Paul
August 9, 2018 6:27 pm

Another, I see people messing with their phones in all lanes.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 9, 2018 3:55 pm

Liberty or Death is kinda our thing.

Solomon Green
Reply to  richard verney
August 9, 2018 7:28 am

There are, of course, other factors such as number (and type) of vehicles per billion kms. Quality and quantity of emergency services (and area covered). Not to mention, as pointed out by Matthew Thompson above “[t]he number of people per vehicle, the miles driven at higher speeds, and the alcoholism rate would also be very important considerations, to name just a few”.

Smart Rock
Reply to  richard verney
August 9, 2018 9:48 am

Canada, where I live, has 6.2 deaths per billion kms, close to the US at 7.1 per billion kms. A few observations about causes of road accidents and deaths in North America, as opposed to the UK, where I also drive quite a bit.:

Wildlife: An adult moose can shear the whole top off a small passenger car, including the heads of the occupants. Moose are essentially invisible at night. Collisions with moose are the no. 1 cause of road deaths in Newfoundland (where moose are not native, but were introduced in the early 20th century, but they forgot to introduce wolves to keep them under control) A deer won’t take the top off a car but can, if you’re unlucky and hit one dead-on, come through the windscreen and demolish the occupants equally well. I have seen both. Bears are lower to the ground and tend not to cause injury or death if you hit one. Bison are another thing entirely; hitting one apparently has the same effect as driving into a rock face, but they are only there in northern Alberta. The plains buffalo were eliminated long ago, otherwise they would have caused a lot of road deaths. Drifting towards the shoulder seemed like a good idea, to be sure of not crossing the centre line.

Weather (or should I say climate). Ice and snow are involved in a lot of road accidents for obvious reasons. Salt applied to roads to melt snow, plays hell with painted centre lines and edge lines, and here at least, lines have to be repainted every year. Last night I was on a 2-lane stretch of (what we laughingly call) the Trans Canada Highway where the lines haven’t been painted yet this year. When dazzled by LED headlights on oncoming traffic, I was totally unable to see the road markings at all, and veered on to the shoulder twice – could have been a lot worse.

Cats-eyes (lack thereof). Once you’re used to cats-eyes, which are ubiquitous on UK roads, colour-coded for centre lines, land dividers on multi-land roads, edge lines and even on/off ramps, you miss them. Driving on wet or snowy roads at night becomes a much more hazardous undertaking. I have seen a few roads in the southern US with cats-eyes, but they are essentially absent from Canada and most of the USA (AFAIK).

Roundabouts (lack thereof). Roundabouts essentially slow traffic down at intersections to the point where collisions are rare, and if they do occur, they tend not to be fatal. There are very few in North America, and some of those that I’ve seen are not well designed, plus users often don’t know the rules anyway. There’s a couple of really good roundabouts on the Val-d’Or bypass, so there is hope they might proliferate.

Long distances, tired and distracted drivers. Self explanatory for big countries.

Reply to  Smart Rock
August 9, 2018 10:57 am

I live in a town of about 50,000. We have about 15 round abouts and the city is building a couple of more.
Personally I love them. With careful speed management, I rarely have to stop when driving around town.

Loren Wilson
Reply to  Smart Rock
August 9, 2018 5:43 pm

Reflectors can be set into the pavement so the next snowplow doesn’t remove them all. This is fairly common in several states in the US, along with rumble strips to alert you to the fact you are drifting onto the shoulder. While these help, most accidents are still caused by the driver doing something either illegal or dumb. To use another comparison (and at the risk of getting modded), the murder rate in the US by people who can legally own a firearm is just as good as most of the world. Most gun murders in the US of A are committed by people who can’t legally own a weapon. Look at Chicago for confirmation.

Reply to  Matthew Thompson
August 9, 2018 6:52 am

Matthew, there are certainly many factors behind those statistics,
but the research saying heavier vehicles caused more deaths seemed reasonable.
If half of all drivers drove 10 ton trucks don’t you think the overall death rate would rise ?

Matthew Thompson
Reply to  Jeff
August 9, 2018 2:48 pm

Yes Jeff, of course. You are 100% correct that vehicle mass is a factor. And if half the drivers drove 40 ton trucks at 90 mph while drunk and sexting it would even be worse. So yes, you’re totally correct. BUT people who think that it is ridiculous that someone should be able to own an SUV will seize the vehicle weight component of the statistic, then suggest that it is THE factor that determines highway canage. Women and children will be the most at risk. If getting rid of SUVs could save just ONE CHILD, wouldn’t it be worth it? … etc. People that engage in this kind of misinformation have every right (in USA so far) to do so, and I will defend their right to misinform. I also have the right to say they should have their chops busted online (metaphorically).

Reply to  Matthew Thompson
August 9, 2018 7:24 am

Another biggie is road construction.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Matthew Thompson
August 12, 2018 7:31 am

I looked at your link’s data sources, and I wonder if they are sound. They indicated that the average American drives 13,000 km per year, while data from USDOT says about 13,000 miles per year. I don’t think they are being manipulative, they were very forthcoming as to the sources of all their numbers. I just don’t think they are right.

In my personal case, I put about 20,000 miles per year on my car, mostly commuting to work. But the vast majority of those miles are single-occupant. My wife drives about 8-10,000 miles per year, but almost always with my two sons, so very high occupancy miles. On an adjusted risk basis, a crash in her car is likely to be more deadly than on in mine. One thing for sure, no econo-boxes. A Rav4 and an Acadia.

Rich Davis
August 9, 2018 2:29 am

Nom not nomme

Julian Flood
August 9, 2018 2:30 am

Buy a Jaguar XE. The Management won’t let me so I’ll watch with envy. 60 mpg.

Reply to  Julian Flood
August 9, 2018 4:58 am

Diesel cars don’t sell well in the US. With fuel costing around $3/gallon and gasoline cars getting much better mileage than they used to, buying a diesel car is not attractive (except to truck owners). For most people the better fuel mileage and lower fuel costs of diesels doesn’t amount to much, so paying the premium price for a diesel engine and its maintenance doesn’t make much economic sense.

In Europe diesel fuel costs around half that of gasoline, so the wealthy folks drive gasoline cars and the working stiffs get diesels. Nice.

richard verney
Reply to  Klem
August 9, 2018 5:46 am

Diesel fuel in the UK is more expensive than petrol. Latest price is £129.30 per litre for unleaded petrol, and £132.10 per litre for diesel.

In most of Europe, diesel is about 3 to 7% cheaper than petrol. The saving is not on the price but rather the better consumption of a diesel car.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  richard verney
August 9, 2018 6:52 am

Ho-lee crap! I can fill up my Ford F-250 pickup for less than that, three times! I had no idea it was that bad. Is it that way all over Europe? It certainly wasn’t that extreme when I was stationed in Germany in the early 80s.

Steven Fraser
Reply to  richard verney
August 9, 2018 8:55 am

Richard: Did you even read it? Its pence, not pounds/litre.

richard verney
Reply to  Steven Fraser
August 9, 2018 10:11 am

Sorry, my mistake!

Another Paul
Reply to  Steven Fraser
August 9, 2018 10:20 am

“Did you even read it? Its pence, not pounds/litre”

I read it. Don’t see where it mentions pence, but it appears in my browser as the symbol for Pounds Sterling.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Steven Fraser
August 9, 2018 6:28 pm

I went by Richard’s post, even though I went to the link, I didn’t see the fine print. It is Pence. So that’s not so surprising.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Klem
August 12, 2018 7:35 am


I don’t know what part of the US you live in, but in NJ where all fuel prices are about the lowest you’ll find in this country, diesel is about $0.50/gal more expensive than gasoline.

Rich Davis
August 9, 2018 3:04 am

A modest proposal: freeze fuel efficiency standards and gradually ramp up safety standards instead.

I would have to agree with those who argue that heavier vehicles are deadlier for those hit by them. It is the transfer of momentum to the little car that kills the other guy. Rather than enforce socialistic uniformity with everyone crammed into econoboxes, make the econoboxes safer to crash.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Rich Davis
August 9, 2018 6:53 am

Giant, hamster balls for everyone!

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 9, 2018 4:05 pm

soiboi rights!

Reply to  Rich Davis
August 10, 2018 1:07 pm

So being hit by a coal train is more deadly than being hit by a truck?

Robert Berrie
August 9, 2018 5:32 am

So if everyone goes to electric transportation, where is the gov’t getting their $35 billion in fuel tax revenue?

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Robert Berrie
August 9, 2018 6:53 am

That’s when they tax you per mile driven, like they’re starting to do in Washington State. Of course, they won’t get rid of the gas tax either.

Tom Halla
August 9, 2018 5:47 am

I don’t know where Mr Driessen lives and drives, but rural roads in this part of Texas average about 75 to 85 speeds in light traffic. A Smart car would be about as stable as a skateboard.

Reply to  Tom Halla
August 9, 2018 8:20 am

Speaking of Texas on the coast we have a divided four lane 75mph (NOT LIMITED ACCESS) nicknamed “The Highway of Death” shortly after it was opened. Recently a returning ambulance at night killed two in a smaller pickup who ran a stop sign. I was just on one of your narrow Texas roads with 75mph limit not as wide as the one I learned to drive on which was 60mph day, 55 at night.

Too much hurry–too much tailgating, often by big pickups. I go with the physics.

Also check out the ethanol report, held up for four years.

August 9, 2018 5:53 am

Peak oil would have happened already in a world composed of state-run oil companies. Think Pemex and PDVSA. It is risk and reward that defines the resource status.

Spalding Craft
August 9, 2018 6:10 am

Generally I agree with Driessen’s thesis though I quibble with some of the “facts” cited. A much more practical method to regulate gas mileage is to allow gas prices, which inevitably will keep going up, to determine that. Not like Euros, who impose taxes at nosebleed levels to supposedly achieve a number of social goals.

Gas prices in the U.S. are at the level where they will have some effect on car purchases, and this is as it should be. True, this will allow the wealthy to buy big cars, but they can do that in Europe also. We can’t, and shouldn’t, punish our overachievers by regulating the type of car they can get.

The United States (Trump tariffs, unfortunately, might change this) is the wild west of auto markets – a place where Asians can run American manufacturers out of the sedan business. They’ve done it by making a better product.

Price and quality still dominate our markets and we should never change that.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Spalding Craft
August 9, 2018 6:55 am

” a place where Asians can run American manufacturers out of the sedan business. ”

Don’t think I’ve seen any Russian cars for sale in the US.

Spalding Craft
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 9, 2018 8:31 am

What about Japanese and Korean cars. See any of those?

John Endicott
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 9, 2018 8:32 am

But you have seen Japanese and Korean cars (to name just two Asian car producers) for sale in the US.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 9, 2018 6:30 pm

Yes, but Asia covers just about all races. The quote didn’t say Asian car companies, it said Asians. Too broad.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 12, 2018 7:39 am

Wow, and I thought I was the king of pedantry. I yield my crown, sir.

kent beuchert
August 9, 2018 6:16 am

Electric cars will prevail in the not-distant future NOT because they have any intrinsic valiue with respect to emissions , but simply because they are a vastly superior technology to gas powered cars. All of the superiority lies in the drivetrain. Except for the driverain, electric cars are virtually identical to gas powered vehicles. Look at the automaker’s plans : GM will have two electric cars this year after the Buick Enspire debuts and is developing 20 new models for the next several years, and will phase out all gas powered vehicles when battery prices drop further. GM claimed they will see sub $100 per kWhr batteries shortly. It is a truism that battery prices below $100
means that electric cars become cost competitive with gas powered cars. A typical sedan with 90KWhr battery can expect a driving range of over 300 miles and these days the worldwide standard charging protocol that is used by all automakers except Tesla and Nissan, CCS boasts a max of 350KW, and the Porsche Taycan electric has already demonstrated its ability to recharge to 80% in less than 15 minutes, twice as fast as Tesla Superchargers can manage. BMW will offer every one of its models in an all electric format and there will be 120 electric car models appearing in showrooms over the next few years. Volvo will make no gas powered vehicles after 2019.
So, in my mind,any rules concerning gas powered cars after 2025 are irrelevant – there simply won’t be any of them still being manufactured by then.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  kent beuchert
August 9, 2018 7:28 am

What a load of bull.

Reply to  kent beuchert
August 9, 2018 7:29 am

I’ve been hearing that same claim for over 50 years.
When somebody invents a magic battery, electrics might take over.
Until then, they will remain a niche market product and a toy for rich people.

Rich Davis
Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2018 8:12 am

Haven’t you heard about the new battery with semi-permeable membranes recovered from the outer layer of unicorn horns? It enables the use of intermittent power from the jelly-bean fields.

Reply to  Rich Davis
August 9, 2018 1:11 pm

Haven’t you heard of what happens to a plastic car or one with very thin metal skin in a crash? The insurance companies have.

Rich Davis
Reply to  kent beuchert
August 9, 2018 8:07 am

Even if the technology/production process improves to the extent that the batteries cost $9000 as you say ($100/KWh x 90 KWh), supply and demand will get in the way of your scenario. Cobalt, lithium, grid carrying capacity, generating capacity, production ramp-up rates would all combine to make it highly unlikely that even 10% of the automotive market could transition in a mere 7 years.

John Endicott
Reply to  kent beuchert
August 9, 2018 8:27 am

“Electric cars will prevail in the not-distant future NOT because they have any intrinsic valiue with respect to emissions , but simply because they are a vastly superior technology to gas powered cars”

History says otherwise. Electric cars actually pre-date the gasoline powered cars by a number of decades. Do I really need to point out which product ended up dominating the marketplace? The same reasons gas beat out electric (time, cost and range) are the same reasons why electric remain a niche product currently and will do so for the foreseeable future regardless of pie in the sky assumptions about revolutionary new batteries that have yet to actually become reality despite being “just a few years away” for decades.

The one area where I think electrics actually have a shot at lasting is in the Hybrid category (you know those cars that use both electric and gasoline).

Reply to  kent beuchert
August 9, 2018 8:34 am

With the current state of technology, I would not trust any electric car to get me home from the wilds of Scotland to Edinburgh on a winter’s night. I could be looking at a 200+ mile journey, and can do out and back in my old diesel estate car at that distance, without needing to refuel. Waste heat from the engine keeps us toasty and I don’t have to fear ‘running out’ . If I do fail to fill up before leaving, it’ll only take me 5 minutes to sort it on the way. I don’t like to imagine the angry electric car chaos at the charging points as everyone has to wait 30 –odd minutes for the guy in front to finish charging, desperately trying to stay warm whilst the battery charge drops below usable. No thanks.
Also, Electric cars need private driveways or garages at home, workplace charging, and no ‘outback’ driving, to be viable. I can’t guarantee to be able to park anywhere near my house, and the destinations for journeys are often out in the wilds. Electric cars are simply not workable.

Reply to  kent beuchert
August 9, 2018 9:15 am

Electric automobiles are a non-starter until, and only until, I can recharge it in less than 5 minutes and be ready to drive for 300+ miles like you can with a gasoline/diesel vehicle. That 5 minutes includes paying for the fuel.

Reply to  Wade
August 9, 2018 1:12 pm

You might as well go straight to motorcycles now if safety does not matter.

Reply to  kent beuchert
August 9, 2018 9:19 am

Batteries cost way more than engines, and have to be replaced a lot more frequently.

Reply to  kent beuchert
August 10, 2018 12:33 pm

I think the Volvo position was that they would offer every model with an electric [battery or hybrid] alternative by 2020.
Many – or most – of their cars in 2020 will still be petrol or diesel powered, and of course they would expect there to be more as time passes


1 million electrified vehicles sold by 2025

Volvo Cars has committed to putting one million electrified cars on the road by 2025. This milestone will be achieved by offering new fully electric vehicles and a broader plug-in hybrid offer.

Over the past five years, Volvo Cars has developed two new base platforms and a range of efficient four-cylinder only engines, all designed from the outset with electrification at the forefront. As Volvo Cars rolls this technology out across its full range of products, we will offer at least two hybrid versions of every model and will release our first all-electric car by 2019. This has already started with the T8 petrol plug-in hybrid versions of the XC90, S90 and V90 and the imminent arrival of the XC60 later this year.”
from: –
Downloaded at about 1930z/ 10th august 2018.


Jack Roth
Reply to  kent beuchert
August 22, 2018 5:04 pm

This is utterly ridiculous. Do you actually think about what’s you’re going to say before you say it? First of all none of this is true. You actually think auto manufacturers would give up making IC vehicles because…? Too many people clamoring for electric? Can’t sell the IC vehicles? Ah, I dont think so.
I interact with a lot of people in my daily life, and So far I have never met one single person who actually has even considered an electric vehicle, let alone is wishing for one. Secondly, let us take the ridiculous assumptions that what you claim, to be actually true in terms of batteries and charging. Have you thought about where the heck all this electricity is going to come from? I can’t charge a 100kwh battery in one hour at my house. Maybe you live at the nuclear power plant and so can just plug it in, but the rest of the population can’t.
And, coming back to earth, honestly you won’t ever convince me to buy an electric vehicle. I actually use my vehicles for transportation and leasure. Neither need is met by any electric vehicle currently delivered or planned. Give it up already, none of what you outlined is happening. I can see fuel cell-powered vehicles happening one day, electric vehicles will always only be a niche market.

August 9, 2018 6:46 am

Greens masquerade as environmental elites when all they want is control over everything they can, whether it makes any sense or not. Clever commies–they’re obviously red on the inside while feigning green on the outside; I believe “watermelon” is the common term.

Jim F
August 9, 2018 7:09 am

The pro-choice party really isn’t pro-choice. I’m shocked…..

August 9, 2018 7:09 am

Don’t freeze it. Eliminate it entirely.
That would allow real consumer choice.

John Endicott
Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2018 8:18 am

While I agree with eliminating it entirely, politically that’s unlikely to fly (on both sides of the aisle). As it is, three will be a lot of pushback on freezing – but it’s a fight with a much better chance of being won.

Reply to  John Endicott
August 9, 2018 12:37 pm

Don’t harsh the mellow

August 9, 2018 7:33 am

I would not put much faith in crash test data, I don’t see too many efforts at mult-impact crashes. I was “pitted” by a semi-truck in my car, he hit me again as I spun in front of him, and smacked into the wall at a pretty surprising clip. We started at 65 mph. Had the wall not been there, I would have crossed into oncoming traffic (also at 65mph), with most of my crumple zones already damaged. This car was a Ford Fusion (sedan), I would neer want to be in something like a Smart car, or Fiesta-type small hatchback under those circumstances.

Bruce Cobb
August 9, 2018 7:34 am

It’s simple. The government has no business telling us what kind of vehicles we can buy. It is an outrage, and is unconstitutional. If people want high-mileage vehicles or electric skateboards, they’ll buy them. Let the free market decide.

August 9, 2018 7:51 am

You can’t expect rational thought from those whose religion is environmentalism. Every drop of oil burned is a sin against the environment. Eventually (they believe) we will bring down the wrath of their god Gaia upon us and we will all burn in a hell on Earth. Until we all can see their beliefs for what they are and give them all due consideration (none), there’s little chance to have public energy and environmental policy based in real science.

August 9, 2018 8:19 am

Maybe we need to implement standards for miles per charge on electric vehicles too.

Peter Melia
August 9, 2018 8:20 am

Why do the “We’ll Run Outta Oil In…” boys seem to prefer to extrapolate in 19 year tranches, or thereabouts?

Bob Burban
Reply to  Peter Melia
August 9, 2018 1:07 pm

A company only needs to see so much in the way of reserves to ensure its long-term survival … hence the 19-year tranche. Proving up 50 years of reserves is a sure-fire way of shortening corporate lifespan via hostile takeover.

Old Engineer
Reply to  Peter Melia
August 9, 2018 4:07 pm

Bob Burban is right. And it’s been going on for years. Back in 1960, when I was in college, I ran into a geology major in his first year of grad school. When I asked why he was not working for a oil company instead of going to grad school he told the following story.

When he was a senior in high school, the oil companies were hiring every one who had a BS in geology at great salaries. So off he went to college to get his geology degree and get in on a good thing. Fast forward 4 years – he is getting his BS in geology. The only problem is, the companies had found their 19 years of oil, and laid off most of their geologists. Now there was a glut of geologists and the starting salaries were pitiful. His solution? Get his Phd and teach the next wave of students when the oil companies were again hiring.

So yes, we always have only 20 years of reserves.

Michael Jankowski
August 9, 2018 9:49 am

54.5 mpg by 2025 was a pipe dream. That is Prius-level. Sure, EVs will help balance things a little, but come on…

August 9, 2018 11:26 am

I just wish we could get rid of C.A.R.B. Talk about idiotic…

August 9, 2018 12:09 pm

The US Constitution did not empower President Washington and the first Congress to tell farmers how many horses they could own, or much hay to raise, or how much their beasts could splatter the streets. The US Constitution did not empower the federal government to tell the first locomotive manufacturers how many miles they needed to wring out of a ton of coal. And the way I read the US Constitution, it does not give today’s federal government the power to tell Ford, GM, or Chrysler how many miles per gallon their cars need to achieve, this is another federal overreach that needs to end. Unless it’s our national security on the line, which in the Age of Fracking, it’s definitely not, let the free market decide, not the elected or unelected politicians and bureaucrats in D.C.

August 9, 2018 12:25 pm

The art is not in surviving accidents, it is in avoiding them.

My key to survival while riding bicycle/motorcycle is to pretend I’m invisible, for I know the idiot that pulls out in front of me isn’t going to have seen me.

Reply to  Gamecock
August 9, 2018 1:23 pm

Back in May, my haste to get to work led me to neglect that maxim. The chap in the SUV didn’t check his mirror before turning, and I ended up on the road, missing some elbow flesh and with a busted rib.
I’m just about fully recovered, and due to the fact that the driver was a gent, fully compensated for my expenses.
Worst vehicles as regards drivers “driving without due care and attention” (yes that IS an offence in the UK)? — Toyota Pious.
Did I spell that wrong?

Reply to  sonofametman
August 9, 2018 5:07 pm

I have noticed as well … of course not all of them, but a good portion.

Two hands on the wheel, staring straight ahead, hardly ever checking mirrors, no eye contact with other drivers/riders, all combined with very short signal distances.

(The only worse category is government licensed sedans, in left lane, in the morning, traveling I-5 north at Ankeny Hill …)

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Gamecock
August 12, 2018 1:27 pm

Of course, all motorcyclists are perfect angels on the roads.


John Minich
August 9, 2018 5:36 pm

I whole-heartedly agree that 50+ mpg cars, when we consider “bone-head” physics, would qualify as death traps. I have seen the results of a horse backing into the side of a pickup bed with little force, big dent. With current cars, I can, at 70 years old flex the sheet metal with my little finger. I need a car that can tow a trailer that can carry about 1,000 lbs.. Will that smart for 2 car handle two 50 lb. sacks of feed, plus a 50 lb. salt block and a 50 lb. mineral block and leave me room to drive? I have a friend who calls the smart for 2 car a “smart for 1” car. Does anyone think that for those 50 mpg mini-cars, we can borrow the book title on the early corvairs, “Unsafe At Any Speed”?

Martin Cornell
August 9, 2018 6:08 pm

There is no doubt that Obama’s high CAFÉ standards would be all pain with no gain. But Mr. Driessen’s argument that lighter light-duty vehicles would make them unsafe is dubious at best.

All things being equal, greater mass wins in a collision. But all thing have not been equal since the early 1990’s. Government mandates on survivability have resulted in very safe cars and light-duty pickups and SUVs, regardless of mass. We now have collapsible steering columns, side-intrusion beams, required three-point seat belts, structural A, B, and C pillars, energy-absorbing head impact interior surfaces (HIC standards) energy absorbing bumpers, run-flat tires, and plethora of electronic warning and control devices that are rapidly becoming ubiquitous (blind spot warning, lane drift warning, vehicle detection with automatic breaking, etc.). Perhaps the most effective safety improvement has been the universal adoption of the cage concept with the passenger compartment designed to ride over the engine during a frontal collision, and the vehicle front and rear ends designed to be crush zones to absorb impact energy.
For Driessen’s argument to be valid, we would see an increase of death normalized to vehicle miles traveled vs. CAFE increases. In fact the number has declined from 40,153 deaths in 1996 (1.75 per 100 million VMT) to 37,461 deaths in 2016 (1.18 per 100 million VMT). In other blogs, Mr. Driessen relies on the Insurance institute for North America, which promotes the heavy-vehicle-wins concept, citing a comparison of very large cars vs. minicars in terms of deaths per million registered vehicles (a metric less meaningful than VMT). But they also show that the differential of death trend vs. vehicle shadow (a proxy for weight) is significantly decreasing as older vehicles leave the fleet. And there is every reason to expect this trend to continue, as much because of consumer desire for safety as because of government regulations. New car buyers vote with more dollars for safer vehicles. While increasing cost, these features will be passed down to the less affluent who tend to buy used cars.
So I conclude that Mr Driessens’s alarmist posturing CAFE as a safety issue is without merit. (and disturbingly it is a misdirection similar to such posturing by global warming alarmists.)
What does have merit is critique of CAFE on emission grounds, for modern internal combustion engine technology, with catalytic converters and precise electronic control of firing are bringing harmful tailpipe emissions toward de minimis levels, with remaining emissions being desirable water and plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide.

Edward A. Katz
August 9, 2018 6:13 pm

Unless a driver spends most of his time on uncongested highways and keeps his speed at around 60-65 mph on days when temperatures are moderate and winds light, he’s not going to get 37 mph with any consistency. Just let him get caught in stop&go traffic on a regular basis, and his fuel economy will really plummet.

Reply to  Edward A. Katz
August 12, 2018 2:25 pm

” Just let him get caught in stop&go traffic on a regular basis, and his fuel economy will really plummet.”


Sorry, spaces were off and caps were on …

August 9, 2018 8:30 pm

“They’d like to see a negotiated deal.”

Isn’t what Big Businesses do almost all the time? Settle on a crappy deal and then settle on an inane deal.

August 10, 2018 12:46 am

“It is therefore hugely refreshing to see that the EPA and Department of Transportation have proposed to freeze fuel economy standards at the existing 2020 target of 37 mpg”


My 2.2 ton Vauxhall Insignia (Commodore) diesel gets 53 mpg and my fathers lighter Peugeot station wagon, also diesel, gets 80 mpg.

(but, oh wow, the electrics can do 45!!)

But, of course, the current propaganda is anti-diesel… ignoring that the “AddBlue” engines have almost unmeasurable NO/NO2 emissions. Diesel is far cleaner than petrol engines and you get a shitload more out of your tank full.

We are all led by brainwashing and propaganda… it’s the trend, the raison d’être of the 2010’s and on.

dan no longer in CA
Reply to  Casey
August 12, 2018 6:54 pm

Is that Imperial gallons or US gallons?

August 10, 2018 1:23 am

Paul Driessen should work to prohibit bikes and motorbikes and Cars under two tons weight. They are too dangerous for humans who ride them.

And possibly remove any pedestrians from the cities. Because of the two ton plus size cars.

August 10, 2018 4:44 am

well get a Tesla then they are pretty heavy…

August 10, 2018 9:33 pm

Mr Driessen needs to do a little research on vehicle secondary safety and what actually protects you once a collision is inevitable. He appears to be stuck somewhere in the 1970/80s

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  yarpos
August 12, 2018 7:48 am

Well, you certainly advanced the discussion by bringing a wealth of data to the table – NOT!

August 11, 2018 12:51 pm

CAFE regulations are good example of the unintended consequences of government regulations. MPG targets are based on the vehicles size ( wheelbase and track ), the reasoning being that obviously bigger vehicles like trucks would have a harder time meeting the same requirements as a smaller car would, so they were given some leeway. This has led to situation where small cars that MUST get good mileage are set aside for much bigger vehicles like trucks and SUV’s that arent held to the same stringent standards. It also let some cars such as the old PT Cruiser be classified as a light truck instead of a car, so that it could meet CAFE.

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