Planet Gore

Obama’s ‘Doubled Fuel Efficiency’ Con

In the second presidential debate, President Obama touted his MPG mandates as evidence of his commitment to energy independence. “That’s why we doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars,” said Obama at the Hofstra town hall. “That means that in the middle of the next decade, any car you buy, you’re going to end up going twice as far on a gallon of gas.”

No, you won’t.

The MPG edict is, in fact, evidence of the false promise of government regulation. Never mind the “doubling” of fuel economy to 54.5 mpg by 2025, cars won’t come close to increasing fuel economy by 30 percent to 35.5 mpg (from the current, random, 27.5 mpg federal standard ) that Obama has mandated just three years from now.

That’s because, in Obama World (coming soon to a health care system near you) standards are meant to be gamed by lobbyists with deep pockets.

35.5 MPG by 2016? Ha. The average MPG of vehicles sold this September is a mere 23.2, according to industry analyst TrueCar. That’s because, even with gas approaching $4 a gallon, fuel efficiency isn’t the only reason buyers purchase cars. So, to square market realities with Obama World, the president hands out expensive loopholes to corporate lobbyists.

Take the ethanol loophole.

Few Americans fill up with ethanol because it has never made economic sense. At $3.45 a gallon today, for example, ethanol — which goes 30 percent fewer miles than does a gallon of gas — can’t compete when $3.82 gas is just 11 percent more expensive (do the math).

And yet automakers in the U.S. market continue to make — and publicize — “flex-fuel vehicles” that can run on both gas and ethanol. Why?

Because “in calculating mileage numbers to meet the federal government’s fuel economy standards, automakers are allowed to use the average of the gasoline mileage and the (ethanol) mileage for flex fuel vehicles. But the (ethanol) number is multiplied by seven to reward them for producing vehicles capable of using the alternative fuel,” explains the Detroit News.

Multiplied by seven.

That random number, bought by lobbyists, helps automakers (along with more credits gained from electric cars, and natural gas cars, and different air conditioning fluids, and “placing louvers on car grilles to improve aerodynamics,” and we’re not making any of this up) meet President Obama’s equally random 30 percent fuel economy increase by 2016. Or the “doubling” of fuel economy by 2025.

These are fictional numbers set by bureaucrats and manipulated by lobbyist dollars. They are a con. They exist only in Obama World. And in presidential debates where a president and his in-the-tank media willfully mislead the American people into voting for more and more expensive regulations that drive up the price of their cars even as they don’t deliver the benefits claimed.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

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