Federally funded auto industry right back to lobbying against fuel efficiency

Seems to me this illustrates the essential futility of the Obama administration’s policies–inherited, like so much else, from Bush II–of bailing out abusive, mismanaged corporations without forcing real changes in their behavior. People sense this, and it helps explain why so many people who were strong for Obama two years ago sat out the recent elections. As Chomsky points out: "Since the Democrats are in power, they bear the brunt of the revulsion over our current socioeconomic and political situation."

(What explains the success of the "Democrats" in Delaware, where then now hold almost all statewide elective offices and increased their margins in the state House and Senate?)

If this auto industry example doesn’t convince, take a look at this one:

"Compensation on Wall Street is on pace to break a record high for a second consecutive year, as more than three dozen top banks and securities firms will pay $144 billion [$144,000,000,000] in salary and benefits."

"This amount is equal to the U.S. stimulus package approved by Congress in 2008."

Alan Muller

Wall Street Journal:  "Mileage Rules Prompt Backlash"


WASHINGTON–Auto makers and car dealers, emboldened by rising profits and a more business-friendly Congress, say they will fight the Obama administration’s proposal to boost average new-car fuel economy to as much as 62 miles a gallon by 2025.

The auto makers’ main trade group accused regulators in documents filed last week of understating the costs by billions of dollars and suggested the industry might go to court over the issue.

It’s a fresh sign that the "go along to get along" approach some industries took during the first two years of the Obama administration is over.

Dave McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the industry’s main trade group, said he expects the new Republican-controlled House to review "regulations and policies that they would deem harmful to the overall business environment." He noted that the auto industry is the only sector currently regulated for carbon-dioxide emissions.

Less than two years ago, the heads of the Detroit Three auto makers– General Motors, Chrysler Group and Ford Motor— pleaded before Congress for immediate government aid to prevent an industry collapse. Months later, in the middle of the government’s bailout efforts for GM and Chrysler, industry executives signed a deal with the White House and California agreeing to boost fuel-economy standards nearly 35% by 2016 in return for California’s agreement not to develop its own, separate fuel-economy rules.

But in recent months the industry has steered back toward a more http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/antiviral/ confrontational posture. Auto makers lobbied heavily against a bill to mandate new safety technologies and increased government oversight, which was proposed in response to the uproar over Toyota Motor Corp.’s sudden acceleration recalls. That legislation now appears all but dead.

The industry also came out hard against a plan by the Obama administration to assign each new car a letter grade from A to D based on its environmental performance. Mr. McCurdy derided the plan as an elementary-school exercise.

GM, which had stopped making campaign contributions as it underwent its taxpayer-funded bankruptcy restructuring, recently resumed such spending, giving thousands of dollars to lawmakers’ campaigns in the midterm election. GM has said it is exercising its right to support lawmakers who will push policies that help the industry.

The battle over long-term fuel-economy standards could be the most intense yet.

Industry officials have recoiled from a White House proposal that the average fuel-economy standards for new vehicle fleets rise by between 3% and 6% annually from 35.5 mpg in 2016.

That could put the fleet-average standard at as high as 62 mpg in 2025.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department said that the new rules could raise the price of a model-year 2025 car by between $770 and $3,500 but that consumers would buy them because they would recoup that added expense through fuel savings.

The Auto Alliance says the administration’s assumptions are based on faulty methods for predicting oil prices, the costs of electric-vehicle battery technology, consumer preferences and other factors.

The Alliance also pointed to recent U.S. sales patterns, which suggest that relatively affordable gasoline has encouraged consumers to buy pickups, sport-utility vehicles and larger cars and to walk past a new crop of high-mileage compacts from Detroit brands.

"If the economics for high fuel-economy vehicles is so overwhelming, why do so few consumers today choose to buy high fuel-economy vehicles?" the letter asks.

The alliance added that at the very least, the price of a car would increase $4,448 under the 62-mpg rule.

The National Automobile Dealers Association warned that the "economic risks associated with such speculation are simply too great," and that the proposal could lead to job losses.

The EPA said in a statement that it agreed with the auto industry on the need for a single national standard and that it welcomed input on the 62-mpg proposal.

"We welcome the comments from the Alliance and hope to hear from all stakeholders on this important issue," the statement said, adding that the rules would be finalized in September 2011.

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