The Science Fiction Future of Fuel Efficient Cars

Friday, July 29, 2011

Later today, President Obama plans to announce a major agreement between the White House and the nation’s top automakers. By 2025, cars sold domestically will have to drive 54.5 miles to the gallon. The president hopes this move will dramatically decrease the country’s need for foreign oil,  but this agreement  may also dramatically change the face of the American highway as we know it.

Paul Eisenstein, editor of The Detroit Bureau, and Ian Pearson, a futurist with the British consulting firm Futurizon, take a look at the future of driving with cleaner vehicles.

Guests:

Paul Eisenstein and Ian Pearson

Produced by:

Hsi-Chang Lin

Comments [1]

Charles

The "science fiction" aspect of this story is in fact the notion that federally-imposed "corporate average fuel economy" standards do any good for the country or for the American auto industry.

Any sensible and informed person, would say "No."

No European country attempts to regulate "corporate average fuel economy." No Asian country does it either.

It is only the United States that does it, and the only reason that the U.S. does it is because the Democrat party insists on it. As if by waving a magic wand of legislation, they can make cars go farther on a gallon of gasoline.

Asian and European fleets get better fuel economy, because those countries tax gasoline and exorbitant rates. And by making their citizens pay more for gasoline, they influence car-buying decisions among consumers.

In the U.S., Democrats know that they'd lose every election if they slapped a $1 or $2 per gallon gasoline tax on American drivers. So they don't do that. Instead, to reach their dubious goals of "reducing American dependence on foreign oil and greenhouse gases," they mandate that auto makers adjust the kinds of cars they sell. Which hurts U.S. automakers in the competitive marketplace. In fact, U.S. automakers are among the few who even try to meet the standards. BMW doesn't meet CAFE standards. Mercedes-Benz and Porsche don't meet the standards. They think it is a crazy standard. They'd rather build the kinds of cars Americans really want to buy. And those German car makers just pay the fines mandated by CAFE regulations. As a cost of doing business.

American car makers are the only ones who comply with the standards, because they live in fear of Democrats in Congress, who write the checks for bailouts and who might rewrite labor standards, safety standards or other regulatory messes they have created.

It is "CAFE," not computer-driven cars, that is the real science fiction.

Jul. 29 2011 09:23 AM

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