American Elephants


It sounds like a bit of a mess, but the EPA is riding to the rescue, really really soon. by The Elephant's Child

The Obama administration giveth with one hand and snatcheth away with the other.  Obama himself has guaranteed auto warranties, so you don’t have to worry.  Greg Pollowitz noted in Planet Gore at National Review:

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has opened the door to allowing higher mixes of ethanol in gasoline, a potential boon to farmers and the struggling ethanol industry, but opposed by auto makers whose consumer warranties typically are tied to the current EPA standard.

Well, of course.  Ethanol producers have been going bankrupt left and right. If they go bankrupt, then farmers in the corn states won’t be able to sell their corn to to ethanol producers.  Then there are auto makers, in deep trouble, possibly facing bankruptcy. They must come up with satisfactory plans promptly.

Obama wants them to make smaller, more energy-efficient cars, preferably hybrids or electric cars.  Americans don’t want hybrids or electric cars.  They want SUVs to cart the kids and their friends around safely, get around in the snow, and haul stuff from Home Depot around. Congress has mandated new mpg requirements that car makers cannot meet, and besides, the car makers  are busy going bankrupt.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently reported on a series of test crashes between minicars and midsize models; and the death rate in minis is three times higher than in large cars.  We’ve been hearing a lot about the green promise of high-efficiency cars.  A 2002 National Research Council study found that CAFE standards contributed to about 2.000 deaths per year because of their restrictions on size and weight.

General Motors Volt , Obama’s car advisory group said, is not ready for prime time.  It costs around $40,000 and goes only 40 miles on a charge.  But then, the advisory group has only had 3 weeks to learn how to run a car company.  Obama wants the Volt still on the table, as it is an all electric car.

Americans are not likely to use enough gas next year to accommodate the 13 billion gallons of ethanol that Congress has mandated. Current regulations limit the ethanol content in a gallon of gas to 10%.  The industry wants that quantity lifted to 15% or even 20%.  But only a fraction of cars on the road can run with ethanol blends higher than 10%.  It can damage engines, corrode automotive pipes and impair some safety features.  It can also mess up catalytic converters.  It’s even worse in boats, snowmobiles, lawnmowers and so  on.  And to boot, there is little or no net reduction in CO2 over ordinary gasoline, if you are actually worried about CO2. The EPA has decided it can regulate CO2 as a dangerous pollutant because they are unfamiliar with photosynthesis and breathing.

U.S. oil refiners will be on the hook for liability for any problems arising from ethanol blending, because Congress refused to grant legal immunity for selling a product that complies with the mandates that it ordered. They just don’t like oil companies.

The refiners are also set to pay stiff fines for not fulfilling Congress’s mandates for second-generation cellulosic ethanol.  The makers already admit that they won’t be able to churn out enough of the stuff to meet the targets that Congress decided on two years ago.

This is all aside from the fact that ethanol production has raised the cost of food by about $47 per year, per American.  Plus, ethanol only gets produced with major subsidies from taxpayers. And there isn’t as much energy in a gallon of ethanol as there is in a gallon of gas — no matter what the source of the ethanol.  So it doesn’t go as far.

In March 2008, a report commissioned by the Coalition for Balanced Food and Fuel policy (a coalition of eight meat, dairy and egg producers) estimated that the biofuel mandates passed by Congress will cost the U.S. economy more than $100 billion from 2006 to 2009. It also acts as a regressive tax on the poor to whom Obama is mailing checks called tax cuts, as soon as he get around to it.

There’s more, but you get the idea.  Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are right on top of everything.  We’ll get it all ironed out really, really soon.  Trust us.




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