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Obama Administration Announces its Consumer Manipulating, Job Killing, Fuel Economy Mandate


Recently, the Obama administration unveiled its plan to implement a policy that the Institute for Energy Research (IER) reports would “require that new cars and light trucks get an average of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.” This fuel economy mandate imposed upon automakers is an irrational policy because as IER reports:

This policy will have zero impact on carbon emissions or climate change—its purported goal.

In essence, the Obama administration believes that they are more qualified than the consumers themselves, to determine the sort of car that the American consumer needs. In addition to the recently enacted health care bill, this fuel economy initiative is also an example of the federal government seeking to manipulate consumer choice. This continuing trend of market intrusive policies makes me wonder: at what point exactly, does the U.S. federal government believe that its jurisdictional involvement in the private sector ends? Concerning this constantly expanding, and overbearing regulatory presence on behalf of the federal government, IER states:

The Obama Administration thinks it can do a better job choosing cars for families than the families themselves. The cars the Administration chose are significantly more expensive than those currently on the market. And although the Administration is allegedly making these choices to protect us from the threat of global warming, EPA itself has admitted that its new rule will have no meaningful impact on global temperature or sea level. And even worse, this is only the beginning. EPA is going to regulate the economy in any way it can until Congress steps in and protects the American people from EPA’s bureaucratic power grab.

Regarding the inevitable cost increases per vehicle under Obama’s fuel economy initiative, IER reports:

In a best-case scenario, the Obama Administration says that its regulation will increase the price of a car by $1,100 per vehicle. Other estimates are much higher—a study by Global Insight found that this kind of regulation would increase power-train costs by $1,000 for small cars and $5,000 for larger vehicles.

Regarding the job losses that would ensue, IER reports:

During the Bush Administration, the National Highway Transportation Administration estimated that imposing a mandate similar to Obama’s would destroy 50,000 jobs in the automotive industry. The reason is simple—if cars are more expensive, people will hold on to the cars they already have longer. That means, overall, car companies will sell fewer new cars.

Given the economic burden that would fall on the shoulders of future automobile consumers, and given the fact that this regulatory scheme would, once again, contract our economic freedoms as American consumers, this fuel economy initiative is slated to be nothing more than a power grab by the federal government. It is important that we recognize this poorly justified energy measure for what it is, and to therefore continue pushing for the Murkowski Resolution. The Murkowski Resolution would prevent the EPA from being allowed to regulate not just transportation fuel standards, but also carbon emission standards from many stationary sources, including hospitals, manufacturing plants, and coal-fired power plants, to name a few. The Murkowski Resolution, in other words, is a legislative measure that would safeguard American consumers from more expansive and expensive government action.