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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I felt like Trump was talking about me, during the debate, when he said his deregulation would save car owners money and make cars more reliable. Many of us paid to have our Honda's pollution control computer, VCM, deactivated. I can't even tell that my 13 Ody has lower MPG ? 1 MPG maybe? The system was damaging our odyssey’s ( accords too) This law passed under the Biden Obama administration that vehicles would have been required to get 54.5 miles per gallon by the year 2025. As a result, our USA cars cost more and require thousands more in repairs. Trump is right, Honda is rated far lower, than it was, due to pollution control repairs of failed engines, motor mounts and other parts. Our cars would have cost less and lasted much longer if Biden Obama MPG law never passed. This cost honda owners a fortune, and I'm sure other brands put the same computers in ( other consumers hurt). Trump's rollback will make cars cost less and last longer, …some of us lived it.
 

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First of all, I am neither Democrat nor Republican, although I am mostly "conservative". Libertarian-leaning Neoliberal is what best describes me, I guess. I have supported both Democratic and Republican politicians in the past. But, we don't normally talk politics on this forum.

The 54.5 mpg mandate is absolutely stupid. Sounds great to environmentalists, but the question always remains, "how?"

I am all for reducing emissions. Climate change is absolutely a problem. But, we need smart ways to incentivize less pollution, which largely revolves around reduced consumption. For example, the current CAFE standards dictate the size-efficiency ratio of cars that is permitted without penalty, since obviously, you couldn't expect a Ridgeline to achieve the same fuel economy as a Civic. This partly incentivizes automakers to make larger vehicles (i.e. small/midsize SUVs) that are actually LESS efficient than small sedans and hatchbacks, because larger cars are held to a different standard. Automakers that sold more cars with larger "footprints" (larger vehicles in general) were then allowed to meet a lower CAFE standard and have lower average MPG. So, automakers are making bigger cars! Hence, part of the reason why Ford is cutting out its entire sedan lineup.

Automakers then get penalized for every MPG they exceed over what is allowed. This incentivizes the problem which you describe - automakers to install all sorts of "new" and "efficient" technologies to add 0.25mpg. Consumers then pay through the roof in maintenance costs with things like direct injection, auto start/stop, cylinder deactivation, lower weight oils that may or may not protect the engine as well, turbochargers (looking at you, Accord/CR-V that I will never buy), CVT transmissions, etc. Economics states that something ought to be done if the marginal benefit outweighs the marginal costs. Consumers like me will WANT a fuel-saving technology if it will reduce my long-run operating costs. But the government cannot dictate what my costs and benefits are, since they vary depending on how long you keep your car, how much you drive, whether you drive highway or city, etc. With time and proper investment/incentives, more fuel-efficient technologies will start to make financial sense for more drivers. The 2020 Highlander Hybrid with its 2.5L + hybrid platform looks to be moving in that direction.

Take a car like the 2019 Subaru Ascent, 8 passenger AWD. Turbo. Direct Injection. Auto stop/start. CVT. EPA rated 20/26.

Now, look at the 2016 Toyota Highlander, 8 passenger AWD. Naturally aspirated 3.5L, port injected, 6 speed auto. EPA rated 18/24. Why would I want all the complication of the Ascent for a measly 2mpg difference?

Remember the 3 R's to help the environment --- reduce, reuse, recycle? Current environmental regulations are doing the opposite --- creating disposable cars and lots of waste. Take something like auto stop-start. How much gas it will save will be different for someone who sits in gridlocked NYC traffic, vs someone who is driving in suburban neighborhoods who is stopping because of stop signs. Meaning, the cost/benefit analysis for one driver may be positive, whereas for a suburban driver like me, it could be negative. Therefore, I should shut it off, and the other drive should keep it on... but nope, EPA says "Honda, if you provide a permanent shut-off feature, you need to take a penalty on the EPA ratings, which increases the CAFE penalty." Honda very reasonably says, hell no, screw the owner, keep auto stop-start on all the time. If this thing kills an additional two or three batteries over the car's lifetime for a suburban driver, the net environmental impact may very well be negative since gas savings will be minimal at best.

Another thing is... CAFE does NOTHING to incentivize people to use less gasoline --- either in choosing a more fuel efficient car, driving a more fuel efficient car that they already own, or just driving less in general. What's happened in recent years is that consumers are buying LARGER vehicles which get the same fuel economy as their old smaller cars, and are driving even MORE!!! This makes it more dangerous, relatively, to be driving a smaller car, so then people like me who are concerned about safety decide to drive an 8-seater Odyssey instead of my Camry, even when it's just me in the car, because, well, everyone else is driving bigger cars.

For this reason, I support a higher gas tax... one of the few taxes I support raising. BUT... my state (NJ) just raised its gas tax, which I'm not opposed to. But, methinks the idea should be to use the proceeds from the gas tax to invest in things such as charging stations for electric vehicles, to maximize the benefit and minimize the cost for people to buy alternative energy vehicles, so that they have this incentive to do so. Or, maybe they could use the money to invest in public transit so that people don't need to drive as much. Instead, NJ wants to use this money to repair the roads, which is a good use of the money too, but the state also then has an incentive to NOT build electric charging stations since the more gas-powered cars there are, they more revenue they will receive to repair roads via the gas tax. Not exactly forward thinking, IMO. But, then again, one only needs to look at the mess of the MTA (which amazingly loses money despite charging nearly $3 to take a subway one stop) to see how well the government has managed tax dollars, so maybe investing in public transport wouldn't work that well.

A higher gas tax will also incentivize people to drive fewer miles, drive smaller cars, which would in turn make it less dangerous for everyone else to choose to drive smaller cars as well.

Anyway, what do I know. I don't make the rules. But the government needs to stop forcing automakers to dump unreliable stuff in their cars at the expense of long-term car owners. You really want to help the environment? Reduce the total amount you drive and maintain your car well so it lasts a long time. Manufacturing a car takes a whole lot of energy too, and the pieces of the old one that nobody wants goes to a landfill somewhere.
 
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Thank you Jiantao, you stated it like an expert. I'm sure many of us didn't understand why these unreliable electronics and systems are in our cars . It sounds like they didn't punish the truck and large SUV owners , but instead focused on the environmentally conscious car owners like us. Were they installed mostly in the cars at expense of reliability? I have VCT transmission in a outback and it cost $7,000 for a new one, if it breaks? My research shows they are not lasting like the previous transmissions. Trump and the republicans made a smart change to the Biden O administration CAFÉ law and we all hope cars get more reliable. If you use social media or Google, it is hard to see the truth about how this law has harmed consumers. Thank you again. Keyworks: Vcm tuner .vcm tuner 2 , vcm muzzler , vcm muzzler 2 vcmmuzzler , ....vcm's did almost nothing for MPG in my 13 ODY.
 

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Bear in mind that Corporate Average Fuel Economy allows the 94 mpg (equivalent rated) electric vehicle to effectively offset the 15mpg gas hog, with the two averaging....54.5.

I don't see how spreading the tax disincentive out over years of frequent purchases makes it more effective. To the contrary, paying it in one lump sum at the time of purchase (i.e., the CAFE penalty) is more likely to evoke the desired response. Like paying your income tax bill all at once when you file, instead of withholding from 26 or more paychecks.
 

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I don't think the CAFE standards effectively act as a gas-guzzler tax that the consumer pays upfront. It would sort of have the same effect IMO if the consumer paid a gas-guzzler tax at the time of purchase. But, CAFE penalizes the automakers for making cars that are too inefficient for their footprint, not necessarily punishing automakers for making larger cars as long as the larger cars are efficient for their size. One could argue that this does act as a tax since the manufacturers will incentivize the sales of their more fuel efficient cars so that they could sell their less fuel efficient ones, thereby passing the "tax" in the form of incentivizing consumers to choose more fuel efficient cars. I don't know if that actually happens, I don't think manufacturers really subsidize their smaller cars that much, but I could be wrong. Crunching those numbers would be interesting. I'm not saying that CAFE doesn't achieve its intended effects (it does), it's just a very roundabout and inefficient way to do so with a lot of unintended consequences.

Consumer purchase behavior is strongly correlated with gasoline prices, which I don't understand as someone who keeps their cars long term, but that's how it is. Once gas prices rise, people buy less F-150s and more Priuses.

Another thing is that, a lot of people want/need a larger car like the Odyssey. We tout the usefulness and practicality of the Odyssey frequently here. But, most of us (myself included) don't need 8 seats all the time. Most of us also have other cars that are more efficient. CAFE does nothing to get us to drive less or to choose to drive our more fuel efficient vehicle that we already own more often.
 
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