EPA fuel efficiency standards are an unnecessary cost to taxpayers, automakers
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By Rebekah Rast -- Once again the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is stepping on the toes of, well, everyone who owns, manufacturers or sells a vehicle.
The EPA’s most recent announcement is all vehicles must meet an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025--a doubling of today’s average of about 27 mpg, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The ironic part of this mandate is if you asked anyone who drives they will likely confirm that they would love to see an increase of fuel economy in their vehicle. Better fuel economy means fewer trips to the gas station and more money in your pocket, who doesn’t want that?
But, alas, the free enterprise system is once again interrupted by the edict of a rogue government agency.
The problem with this EPA decree is it jumps ahead of the free market economy. Instead of letting consumer demand be the driving force behind better gas mileage in vehicles automakers will now be forced to pay an EPA-estimated $157 billion to comply with the rule. But automakers aren’t the only ones who will suffer, this mandate will likely raise the price of vehicles by an average of $3,100--not something Americans want.
Forcing increased fuel economy also means Americans can expect to see a whole host of smaller vehicles on dealer lots. The Heritage Foundation’s Diane Katz writes:
“In past years, the structure of the regulations induced automakers to dramatically downsize some vehicles to meet the standard, which increased traffic fatalities by the thousands. The new standards would require downsizing to both small and large models, which the government contends will neutralize the risk. However, the NHTSA and the EPA disagree on the extent of the risk, while outside experts say that the danger would be heightened by the extreme stringency of the proposed standards.”
So not only will today’s cheaper vehicles cease to exist come 2025, but automakers will be forced to reduce the overall size of its vehicles, jeopardizing the safety of their passengers.
This isn’t so different than very similar EPA regulations placed on America’s trucks only a few months ago, which also mandate better fuel standards by 2018. The EPA says trucks must get 20 percent more fuel efficient. Again, good for trucking companies and drivers to save on fuel, but not when it’s forced through a government mandate. This rule is expected to cost $1,050 for work trucks, $380 for vocational trucks and $6,220 for supercab tractors.
It wasn’t so long ago that taxpayers bailed out the auto industry, and if forced to comply with these new EPA rules, taxpayers may be on the hook again. Increased production costs will be passed along to consumers and if consumers don’t pay the higher costs, then automakers are left with a surplus of vehicles sitting on their lots and face a huge loss of income.
Under this administration the EPA sees fit to rule as a king. If that continues America might continue to look even more like Europe. Already following in its failed economic footsteps, our vehicles and roads might follow suit as well as Americans ditch their high-cost vehicles and ready their helmets and scooters to get where they need to go.
Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government (ALG) and NetRightDaily.com. You can follow her on twitter at @RebekahRast.