No new car for you

Thanks to Obama’s regulations

By Mark Luedtke

 

You might have noticed the price of new cars is rising. Kelley Blue Book reports, “The estimated average transaction price (ATP) for light vehicles in the United States was $34,112 in January 2016.  New-car prices have increased by $919 (up 2.8 percent) from January 2015, while declining $553 (down 1.6 percent) from last month.”

Like most other sectors of our economy, car sales are in a bubble fueled by Federal Reserve money-printing, its zero percent interest rate policy, and dangerously low-rate car loans. But beyond that, prices are rising because President Obama is quietly waging war on car buyers via regulations.

The war started in June 2009, shortly after Obama took office, when cash for clunkers went into effect. Cash for clunkers was the program that paid taxpayer money to anybody who threw away a used car. The idea supposedly was that the recipients would then buy a new, more fuel-efficient car, stimulating the slumping auto industry and reducing CO2 emissions. Leftists consider the program a great success because they killed two birds with one stone while looting the people and making rulers and their cronies richer. But cash for clunkers reduced the supply of cars for sale and, because of the law of supply and demand, drove up prices, looting car buyers a second time.

But Obama was just getting started. In 2010, the minimum mpg fleet requirement was 27.5 mpg. Obama has since kicked it up to 35.5 mpg. Independent auto reviewer Eric Peters notes, “Uncle [Sam] admits that his current fuel economy fatwas have added $1,800 (laughable; it’s much, much more) to the price tag of every new car – a sum that renders the savings achieved at the pump an irrelevance.”

But Obama saved his most damaging regulations until he was on the way out the door this year. A 2012 White House press release states, “The Obama Administration today finalized groundbreaking standards that will increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025.  When combined with previous standards set by this Administration, this move will nearly double the fuel efficiency of those vehicles compared to new vehicles currently on our roads.”

The self-serving press release never mentions what these regulations will do to the price of cars because it’s outrageous. “If it took $1,800 per car to get from 27.5 mpg to 35.5 mpg [and keep in mind, most don’t make it to 35.5 mpg],” Peters continues, “imagine what it will cost to ascend to 54.5 mpg [which not one car currently available – not even the Prius – achieves]. The current [all-new/just redesigned] 2016 Prius averages a mere 52 mpg.”

Very few cars will be able to meet the regulation, and those cars will be outrageously expensive. Only Obama and his rich cronies will be able to afford a new car.

Obama’s mandates pervert the automotive sector of the economy. “Government keeps piling on mandates – safety and emissions – which add parts or require new designs, none of which come free and often come very expensive,” Peters relates. “The VW Diesel Debacle is a case in point. We know now that the cost per car to make the ‘cheating’ diesels meet Uncle’s mandates amounts to several thousand dollar per car – an amount so high that the cars are not worth ‘fixing’ and so will be thrown away instead. And because the cost to make Uncle-compliant diesels is so high, VW has decided to make them no longer.”

As stupid as this situation is, it gets stupider. Wired reveals the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) fuel efficiency tests are broken. “Even if the car companies [meet Obama’s demands], they don’t. Or at least, no one has any way to know if they do. Because the EPA’s test to make sure automakers are hitting their CAFE [corporate average fuel economy] numbers—the sole federal, legal requirement that cars get more efficient—probably doesn’t work. At all.”

Wired continues, “Meanwhile, the EPA doesn’t know exactly how its CAFE testing correlates with actual results because it has never done a comprehensive study of real-world fuel economy. Nor does anyone else.”

But government makes you pay regardless.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at MarkLuedtke@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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