The Corner

Coming Soon: The Auto-Purchase Mandate?

As threatened, the new CAFE standards have arrived, with the EPA muscling in on territory reserved by statute to the Transportation Department. As Marlo Lewis and I have noted repeatedly, this is an unconstitutional step on a road to economic devastation.

However, in the light of recent events, this quote in particular caught my eye:

Gloria Bergquist, vice president at the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said . . . “We have a hill to climb, and it’s steep, so we will need consumers to buy our fuel-efficient technologies in large numbers to meet this new national standard.”

Even with very high gas prices, Americans have been unwilling to buy fuel-efficient vehicles in the same numbers as Europeans, because they rightly regard them as less safe. When the president talks about how vehicles have not become more efficient over the past few vehicles, he is being disingenuous, because they have actually become much more efficient at providing more horsepower and more mass for the same amount of fuel. That’s what consumers want and in many cases need, but that’s also what makes this a particularly steep hill for the auto manufacturers to climb.

With the principle that the Federal Government can mandate that individuals purchase something now established with the Obamacare Act (although that too is unconstitutional, as my colleague Hans Bader explains), how long before we see an act of Congress aimed at forcing Americans to buy unsafe but fuel-efficient vehicles?

A chicken in every pot and a fuel-efficient car in every garage . . . or else!

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