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North American roads will never be the same thanks to fuel-efficient fleets

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

President Obama swept away years of lawsuits, political fights and jurisdictional rows by imposing new emission standards ...Read the full article

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  1. Harold K from Windsor, ON, Canada writes: An excellent article - Mr. Simpson does a great job analyzing the positive impact of this sound public policy with larger political economic and environmental issues. This change may be painful in the short run, but we need long term thinking and policy -- for a change...

  2. L Harder from Canada writes: It could be if Bush imposed standards a long time ago the domestic auto industry might be in a better position and the price of oil lower.
  3. siren call from Alberta: Land of the Living -and dead- Dinosaurs., Canada writes: What a spectacle.

    Graceful, smart and energetic Obama charting the course.

    Angry and Simple Steve waddling grimly behind.
  4. wooly bully from Trawno, Canada writes: How Mr. Simpson stitches some of his comments together puzzles me. Mandating higher fuel efficiency has been fought for years by the car companies, not due to climate change denial or acceptance, but because they saw no need to kill the then golden goose: big, high-profit SUVs (considered trucks and therefore not counted for EPV efficiency standards). The profits let them lobby and fund politicians on both sides to help delay and stall any efficiency changes. (You didn't see any efficiency changes during the Clinton administration either, did you?) In the short-term, with $15/bbl oil, this works. Once oil hit $150/bbl, the lack of a plan "B" for the big three looks to have doomed 2 of them, with Ford the only one nimble enough to change on it's own. Now people want fuel efficiency: For economic and for emissions reasons, but they will take them for economic reasons alone as they did in the late 70s before oil prices dropped. (We have been here before -- remember Chrysler and the K-Car). Now, not to be strident, but I am one of those who doubts the entire global warming message, (now cleverly renamed climate change to provide cover since it suddenly getting cooller, which was not in the models). But never mind all that. Having smaller, fuel efficient, hybrid, or alternate fuel vehicles is good all on it's own without needing to invoke the IPCC. Good for all of us Mr. Simpson, whether stridently denying or blindly following. Please keep the "denial demonization" under control.
  5. The Angry Left from Canada writes: At least one good thing can come out of the auto-industry collapse in North-America. As other posters have already stated, if the NA big-3 hadn't resisted this in the first place, had they diversified into high-efficiency and not put all their eggs in the SUV basket, they may not be facing their many woes now. Look at Volkswagen. They consistently produce the most fuel-efficient cars that they sell the world over, not relying on their own market to the exclusion of all others, turn a profit despite high-cost union labour complete with legacy burdens, and who's the biggest car company in the world today? Volkswagen, that's who.
  6. iPhone from Canada writes: .
    I do not understand the implications of 'carbon tax or cap and trade'.

    1: Who pays the tax?

    2: Which body collects the tax? Which body monitors and enforces regulations? Which bodies establish policy and regulations?

    3: Or in a 'cap/trade system' where is the trading system run?

    4: Which regulations does the system adhere to?

    5: Are there international agencies involved with regulations and retention of these taxes?


    My concern is that while laudable 'carbon taxes' are one of the few initiatives that could be used to cause a North American Union... and hence loss of Canadian sovereignty.
  7. Wayne Crockett from Toronto, Canada writes: There is no connection between a carbon tax and North American union. It is pathetic that the Canadian government is being such a follower in this instance but that is the nature of both the Conservative and Liberal parties - talk a good line but do nothing until pushed. The only people talking about North American Union are the John Ibittsons. I couldn't figure out why he switched so completely from loving Bush to loving Obama until his new book came out. He sees Canadian support for Obama as an in for his long wanted North American union - he mistakes relief at the change in regime with desire for unity. Ain't gonna happen.
  8. On Edge from Canada writes: I hope this legislation will apply to pickup trucks too?
  9. Durward Saar from Canada writes: Jeffery Simpson, are you stupid or just a liar?
    Co2 has nothing to do with climate change and any attempt to limit emissions is for a tax grab not to fight a mythical problem.
    How is it that journalists are allowed to perpetuate this lie? Is there no honesty in Canadian journalism? Is what Jeffery wrote even considered journalism?, or is it socialist propaganda?
    When news papers perpetuate a lie is that not a dis-service to the people of the country? Are there no laws that hold news papers to the truth? there should be if there is not.
    Jeffery Simpson is full of it.
  10. Canada First from Canada writes: Without an independent Canadian auto manufacturer, there was little reasonable hope for a Made in Canada fuel consumption policy. That opportunity could be here now with the purchase of a portion of Chrysler or GM if we really wanted it.

    I am not sure humans are the sole cause of global warming, but creating energy efficient vehicles and getting rid of SUVs and pickups for those who don't really need them is a win-win-win situation. More space on the roads, cleaner air, & less money being sent abroad to countries who are definitely not our allies are all good reasons for this change. It is unfortunate it took this long for common sense to prevail.
  11. N Dawg from Canada writes: I guess we can debate the causes of global warming forever. Is climate change man-made? At this point, I don't really care. I do think it is important to have a smaller footprint on this planet though. If this policy will move us one step in the right direction, then it is worth supporting. Producing cleaner fuels - and getting more km per litre - is a worthwhile goal and one that is obviously doable.
  12. Bob Cajun from Canada writes: Over in England, you still see mini-vans, pick-ups and SUVs on the road, despite their substantially higher gas prices. People who drive mini-vans, pick-ups and SUVs need them, poverty be damned. Not quite sure what the point is of demonizing the North American car buyer for having more than 2.2 kids or working a blue collar job that requires hauling materials and tools around. It is NOT the government's business as to how many kids you have or what you do for a living. But if they insist on taxing these people more, don't cry when the cost of home renovations triple
  13. Rick C from Calgary, Canada writes: Mr. Simpson certainly has a pompous aura about him; constantly lamenting the fact that Canada is following not leading.

    Of course what Jeffrey leaves out is that he knows why.

    Canada does ~ 90% of its trade with the US. Whether Canadians like it or not our economy is closely linked to the US economy.

    Setting up stringent emission standards in Canada while the US was doing nothing would have put Canada at a huge competitive disadvantage.

    It would have encouraged businesses and industries to set up shop or pack up and move across the border.

    Why do you think the Liberals did nothing on the environmental file for 13 years?
  14. Paul, Bytown, from Canada writes: JEFFREY SIMPSON... Articles like this are the reason the MSM is dying and people have lost respect for journalists. Wait let me correct, advertisers, since journalists don't exist anymore.
  15. Eyes Wide Open from Canada writes: Jeff Simpson is a political scientist, not a real one. So he's got a lot of gumption pretending he knows more about the physical world and how it works than those of us who are real scientists. Jeff, you may want to start to by looking at the real facts:

    Surface temperatures peaked 12 years ago and are now on a significantly declining trend:

    In the tropical troposphere, where according to the models global warming is supposed to be several times stronger than on the surface, current temperatures are lower than they were 30 years ago when satellite records began:

    In light of all the evidence, how can we take Jeff Simpson as a serious and professional journalist? How can we take the G&M as a serious newspaper as it repeatedly sticks to its one sided climate alarmist story?
  16. J.C. Davies from Canada writes:
    "The dwindling and increasingly strident band of climate-change deniers will scoff at this measure, as they do any attempt to reduce emissions. But there is no scientific support for their objections any more"

    What nonsense. The scientific community is as divided on the issue of global warming as is the rest of the population.
  17. Brent Hodges from Canada writes: Simpson wrote:

    "The dwindling and increasingly strident band of climate-change deniers will scoff at this measure, as they do any attempt to reduce emissions. But there is no scientific support for their objections any more ..."

    What utter nonsense.

    Mr. Simpson and his fellow propagandists are the true "deniers". Any new development in actual science is met by them with hands over ears and chants of "la la la I can't hear you".

    In the United States alone more than 30,000 scientists have signed on to a petition that expresses skepticism of the global-warming-alarmist scenario.

    If it weren't for such skeptics, hacks like Simpson would still be using the fraudulent "hockey stick" graph of temperature history.
  18. Eyes Wide Open from Canada writes: Eyes Wide Open writes: "How can we take the G&M as a serious newspaper as it repeatedly sticks to its one sided climate alarmist story? "

    Let me correct myself. Occasionally we do get a breath of fresh air on the subject of (non) global warming from Rex Murphy, one of the few intelligent and honest journalists that appear in the G&M!
  19. Brent Hodges from Canada writes: If Mr. Simpson were a real journalist rather than a hack propagandist, he would ask what actual effect the proposal will have.

    Some questions to consider:

    1) How much of any average improvement will be because of regulation? Average fuel economy has been increasing lately anyway because that is what consumers want. If the regulation only dictates what was going to happen on its own then it is not much of a triumph is it?

    2) Will a given person actually use less gasoline? The presumption seems to be that there will be the same amount of driving as before and hence fewer litres of fuel consumed. However, with each kilometre burning less fuel, it may be that people will drive more average distance. This is a well-known phenomenon with lighting. When people switch to energy-efficient lighting -- they are more apt to leave them on.

    3) So the U.S. is leading are they? When Canada imposes more than double what our neighbours do in gas taxes that is a bizarre interpretation. Does anyone seriously believe that the U.S. will impose higher taxes on gasoline than Canada?
  20. Randy McClure from Canada writes: Durward Saar from Canada writes: Jeffery Simpson, are you stupid or just a liar?
    Co2 has nothing to do with climate change --------------------------------------------------------- You global warming deniers are like a bunch of zombies. Someone drives a stake called reality through your hearts and you just keep coming back. Face it. The oil companies who pay you to post here sell a product that we should be using less of. That is bad for business. Everyone knows that. And everyone knows you guys are morally bankrupt for peddling the wares of big oil. How can you look at yourself in the mirror? How can you look at your kids and tell them ... "Daddy shills for the companies that are selling stuff that will make your world unlivable in 50 years. Yes, I'll be gone by then, so I'll have had my fun in my Hummer, but you'll be OK. You might have trouble finding regular food, and water will be scarce and maybe half you friends will have died of malaria or been killed in envirowars. But we need the money for another big screen TV and a cottage, plus powerboat, ATV and his and hers Harleys."
  21. Bernard Fitzpatrick from Toronto, Canada writes: Well done Mr. Simpson.
  22. Brent Hodges from Canada writes: Randy McClure:

    "The oil companies who pay you to post here ... "

    Are you really that pathetic that you have to manufacture slander?
  23. Brent Hodges from Canada writes: Remember Kyoto?

    We could still implement it but that would require Canada and the U.S. to reduce CO2 emissions by a shocking 35% from current levels.

    Assume for a moment that one accepts the global-warming-alarmist theories of the IPCC. Even if every country (that the treaty was meant to apply to) adhered to the Kyoto limits, what would that mean?

    Would that reverse global warming? NO.

    Would it stop global warming? NO.

    Would it slow down measurably? NO.

    Even if Kyoto were fully implemented the IPCC says the temperature would keep rising. The IPCC model claims that Kyoto would not even mean 1 degree less of warming by 2050 -- indeed NOT EVEN ONE TENTH OF ONE DEGREE LESS WARMING.

    If you subscribe to the fadish global warming theory, cheering this auto decision is a little like cheering someone on the Titanic for carrying a spoonful of water up from the bowels of the ship.
  24. wwww bbbbb from Toronto, Canada writes: This is a much better article compared to John I.'s b.s. article on Obama's impact on Canada. This is real public policy based on scientific fact....... what is the problem here Johnny I.?????

    What I don't get is why it takes the gov't to require higher standards? Why arn't the car companies trying to improve milage for their consumers anyway??? Oh right, their kick-backs from the oil industry would end.
  25. J.C. Davies from Canada writes:
    Bottom line is that Obama can force Detroit to build small cars but he can't force the American public to buy them. I'll wager that a decade from now the most popular vehicles (by sales) will still be pickup trucks, while the "Obama-mobiles" will sit on the car lots unsold.
  26. Fake Name from Canada writes: "Those in places such as Alberta, who have rightly complained that their oil and gas industry should not be singled out for special attention, should rejoice. Ontario is where cars are made in Canada"

    Wait and see. I wouldn't be surprised if there's still a way to spin this into regional victimization. My guess is it will take the form of a complaint that Alberta was harmed by having the demand for their product reduced.
  27. Brent Hodges from Canada writes: Mr. Simpson observes that the average composition of the fleet of cars on the roads will change, with "electric cars" taking a greater share.

    No doubt.

    And of course, the geniuses in government that Mr. Simpson cannot muster the intellectual energy to question will naturally categorize "electric cars" as having zero emissions.

    Except that they will overlook the fact that the power used to charge those batteries will, to a large extent, come from coal-fired electricity.

    But never mind that, Mr. Simpson is too busy looking on Obama with an adoring eye to actually consider any real facts.
  28. Brent Hodges from Canada writes: Mr. Simpson also notes that hybrid cars will become a growing portion of the North American fleet.

    Also, probably true. But is that a good thing?

    It is true that a hybrid-electric vehicle can produce fuel savings when driven. But often overlooked is that hybrid cars consume much more energy in the manufacturing process.

    One study completed a couple of years ago showed that for an average user, over its full lifetime (including manufacturing) a Toyota Prius will consume more total energy than a non-hybrid Toyota Corolla.

    In other words, blind promotion of hybrid vehicles may actually result in higher carbon emissions.
  29. Ed B from Calgary, Canada writes: I'm from Alberta and I work for an oil company. The solution to all this is easy. Let's have $150 oil again. Look what that accomplished. I had my best year ever last year. You couldn't give away a gas guzzler and production lines were shut down. People started to drive more sensibly and drive less - you don't need a celebrity President, a technological revolution in the car manufacturing industry or a new vehicle to get better fuel economy. All this came undone when the oil price plummeted again. And as I write this I am looking out the window at 2 inches of snow on the ground, having just spent Victoria day watching the thermometer skyrocket all the way up to a blazing 3 C, so it appears it may have solved the global warming problem too (Jeffrey must read different media than me - the anti-AGW news is in its ascendancy these days, but Jefff is a true believer and maintains the faith no matter what). So just give us $150 oil, we Albertans will stop whining, fuel economy will go way up, gas guzzlers will gradually disappear, the earth will cool down, and everyone can go back to demonizing the oil industry again. It was much better that way.
  30. cold air from Ontario, Canada writes: iPhone, you addressed your question to the correct person, aldyen donnelly, on another thread. I have a different idea of straightforward than he does.
    The carbon tax and cap and trade are dissimilar in respect to nationalism. A unilateral US cap that included calculating the GHG emissions of imports at the base year, and included distibuting cap limits to existing domestic producers, could have the affect that to export a product to the US, the exporter would need to purchase the cap from an American producer. The companies most able to profit from that would be one which buys the caps space from itself (a multinational based in the US).
    This article is ... well, it is what it is. Standards like this set the parameters for competition to increase efficiency, and it appears to close the light truck loopholes of past years that saw the growth of the SUV (car emissions haven't gone up meaningfully since 1990, but light truck emissions have). The only reasons I see one could be upset by it is false intellectuals will equate it with protectionist wealth redistribution schemes... and some people do need a truck.
  31. Eyes Wide Open from Canada writes: I have no problem of doing more with less. That just makes sense! However, most of the ecoinitiatives are oriented towards doing less with less where they want you to become more or less a luddite!

    Check out this article on Honda's hybrid - what a hoot!
  32. Walter Funk from Canada writes: Simpson: "....strident band of climate-change deniers will scoff at this measure, as they do any attempt to reduce emissions ..."
    We've seen the shill change from anthropogenic global warming to just global warming and now to climate change as the global chill continues.

    Indeed it is difficult to find a scientist that doesn't believe in climate change.

    Perhaps Simpson is planning to publish a sequel that is in keeping with current data trends: Cold Facts: How Canada Can Thrive in the Next Ice Age.
  33. Eyes Wide Open from Canada writes: "The dwindling and increasingly strident band of climate-change deniers will scoff at this measure, as they do any attempt to reduce emissions. But there is no scientific support for their objections any more"

    Sales of your recent book "Hot Air: Meeting Canada's Climate Change Challenge" must be pretty bad, huh?
  34. Sask Resident from Regina, Canada writes: Vaclav Klaus is president of the Czech Republic and if the president of the Council of Ministers of the European Union until June 2009 has noted that poverty is the best way to reduce carbon related emission. He uses the examples of shutting down inefficient eastern European industry after the fall of the wall and the present recession. However, Obama has begun some of a more by instituting intensity based targets (less fuel use) for a part of the transportation system. Funny he didn't put a cap on total use, such as allowing each American to burn only so much carbon, and allowing them to sell or trade their limit. The rich could buy the right to a litre of gasoline from the poor under the cap.

    If you believe in anthropogenic climate change, then the only way to stop it is to stop emissions of carbon from long term storage, reductions in growth of emissions will make no difference. So no non-nuke electricity since all others produce high carbon emissions per unit of electricity, especially wind, no air planes and very few private vehicles and not a lot of food (try growing lettuce in Toronto in January). However, Obama's intensity based targets (less fuel use)

    I think that Simpson lacks the where-with-all to understand this. Acid rain was regulated first with intensity targets then with total caps, but the reduction of acid rain was a goal. Carbon emissions under a cap and trade is similar to the asset back securities and is an emperor without any clothes. What is the goal of a reduction in carbon emission in Canada, where 2% of the world's emissions occur? Elimination of Canada's total emissions will not make any difference to the climate.

    Also, who should get a right to emit and how will those privileges be distributed.
  35. Bret McNally from Canada writes: Whether you believe in Global warming or not, how can setting fuel efficiency standards be bad for anyone??

    It costs me less to drive and it reduces pollution. Both plus's. That smog around major cities is mostly from vehicle exhaust.

    Pretty sure the technology is out there to produce a more efficient internal combustion engine or components for it. Funny how the fuel consumption efficency climbed at a steady rate until the U.S government no longer mandated it. Then it flatlined.

    Watch "who killed the electric car". It is a good documentary. Even though I don't believe electric cars are the answer for everyone. It does show that the technology is out there, has been for a while and what lengths people and corporations are willing to go to suppress it.
  36. Steve French from Windsor (Flint, North), Canada writes: Do the oil companies pay right wings retards per post or per word?
    They sure spam a lot of threads with their conspiracy theory that scientists and environmentalists are lying to steal their money.
    Pretty boring, same old stuff every day.
    There is no global warming, no pollution, no limits to consumption, no limits to finite resources, Darwin was a fraud, scientists invented abortion, Roe vs Wade must be overturned, people walked with dinosaurs just 6 thousand years ago, everything is a socialist/marxist/liberal extortion plot to steal their precious money.
    Blah blah
  37. Sask Resident from Regina, Canada writes: How will governments decide who should be allowed to produce carbon emissions? In a free and democratic country, we use the economic system to determine who is allowed to emit by pricing. If you cannot afford to emit, you buy an efficient emitter, conserve what you can afford and look for alternatives, such as subsidized public methods.

    But, if governments decide that the free enterprise system and pricing is not the way to go, how will governments decide who is allowed to emit. in dictatorships, the people in power will be allowed with little regard for others. In a democracy, the bureaucrats will be given that role by elected officials, but the governing will still have a better probability to be allowed to emit than the governed. In all cases, without pricing, the rich will be allowed to emit at a lower cost to them since the majority will be paying.

    So, since Simpson seems in favour of this idea, will he get a litre of gasoline but not the rest of you?
  38. aldyen donnelly from Canada writes: I strongly advocate for fuel efficiency standards. Unfortunately, President Obama's retains the major faults and loopholes that doomed the last round of CAFE standards as well as the Califronia emission standards. Who killed the electric car? The California emission standards, for one. Under the loophole-ridden CA standards the car manufacturers had banked a massive surplus of "zero emission vehicle credits" while they were wiping out the electric car. At one point under the CA rules, the OEMs could get up to 8 ZEV credits for selling a golf cart. Obama's CAFE standard potentially imports the electric car-killing CA loopholes into the federal CAFE. A larger not-imported-from-California loophole in Obama's CAFE is that it potentially credits Flex Fuel Vehicles as if they will all burn mostly ethanol most of the time. FFVs are made to burn any combination of petroleum and ethanol and typically burn fuel that is less than 10% ethanol once they are on the road. The FFV provisions in Obama CAFE guarantee (1) Detroit 3 advantage over Asian car makers because the D3 make flex fuel vehicles and the Asian manufacturers don't, (2) a happy ethanol lobby and (3) that US GHGs will likely go up, not down. Finally, Obama's CAFE treats a truck that gets 26 MPG as equal to a car that gets 42MPG. It is near certain that light truck sales will remain high under this new standard, which does not reward distributors who shift sales mix to small cars (contrary to inaccurate reporting on this matter). Too bad. This was a huge opportunity to get it right. But Obama's commitment to ethanol prevailed. The good news is that Canada still has a chance to get this right. Canada can implement a CAFE standard that is simpler, has higher environmental integrity and easier for car manufacturers--as a whole--to comply with. Let's hope we do it just a little bit differently than Obama proposes, which would give us bigger GHG reductions at lower cost.
  39. aldyen donnelly from Canada writes: iphone. I tried to respond to some of your question in posts under the "Thickening Border" article. On CO2 taxes, none of our trading partners, not least the US, will reduce any of the tariffs or US GHG allowance purchase requirements they attach to Canadian imports by the amount of CO2 taxes we pay. All of the "transborder adjustments" will reflect actual supply chain emissions. Their position is that our governments can use whatever policy tools they wish (as long as they are not subsidies under softwood lumber or NAFTA). If provinces tax carbon and our CO2 emissions don't go down, the US carbon tariffs on our exports stay high. What worries me is that global experience shows no correlation between CO2 taxes and emission reductions. This reality is actually illustrated in a graph that the National Round Trable included on page 35 of its "Pricing Carbon..." report. The graph shows that price certainty and emission reduction certainty are contradictory objectives and that while CO2 taxes establish price certainty they do not deliver emission reduction certainty. So CO2 taxes increase the risk that the US tariffs on our exports will remain high for longer periods.
  40. Tom F from Calgary, Canada writes: Given that 60% of the oil consumed in the US is in the form of gasoline this will actually go a long way to "reducing their dependence on foreign oil" but I somehow suspect that we can probably safely start planning on the fact we'll get to go through all the auto manufacturer idiocy all over again in 4 or 5 years when the not so big three prove that they still can't build a small car to save their lives.
  41. Sask Resident from Regina, Canada writes: aldyen donnelly from Canada wrots: "Canada can implement a CAFE standard that is simpler, has higher environmental integrity and easier for car manufacturers--as a whole--to comply with."

    Prentice is quoted as saying Canada rules will be based on carbon emissions (intensity based) not the type of fuel. BTW, Obama exempted large trucks. Boone Pickens, who is just worried about oil dependency not CO2 emissions, wanted to move semis to natural gas which would have lowered smog and heath related emissions (SOx & NOx), reduced oil imports and, possibly, moved more goods back onto rail and water.

    Also, I believe little out of NTREE (very political) but the graph on taxes and emissions is interesting. Carbon taxes, like other taxes, just give the government more money to spend. The key is to get the government to spend wisely. (oxymoron - wise government spending?).
  42. aldyen donnelly from Canada writes: Brent Hodges said: "Average fuel economy has been increasing lately anyway because that is what consumers want." Look at:, where an accurate analysis of US fuel economy is reprinted. Figure 2 on page 9 compares achieved to regulated fuel efficiency, as well as average efficienty of all NEW car and light truck sales ("Total Fleet Achieved"), for 1978 through 2008. The graph does show that the manufacturers consistently beat the regulated standards. But I think it also shows that the regulated standards form important floors. More importantly, the graph shows that even though the manufacturers have overcomplied with the discrete standards for cars and light trucks, fuel efficiency overall new car plus light truck sales continue to decline. That is because light trucks account for such a large % of new vehicle sales. Light trucks accounted for 55% of all new US car and light truck sales in the first quarter of 2009, up from 46% in the same quarter of 2006. Light truck sales as a % of car plus truck sales were up in the first quarter of 2008 relative to both 2007 and 2006, in spite of the major run-up in gasoline prices throughout 2007 and in early 2008. Under the new CAFE, US manufacturers will maximize profits by maxing out Flex Fuel Vehicle sales in the car categories and continuing to--to the extent possible--max out light truck sales as a % of total vehicle sales, because it is going to be cheaper to make the trucks comply with their 26 MPG standard than to make smaller cars actually comply with their 42 MPG standard. The end result is that new vehicle fleet average fuel efficiency is likely to stay on a slightly declining trend after promulgation of Obama's CAFE.
  43. aldyen donnelly from Canada writes: Sask Resident...I am with you on the NRTEE report, in general. That graph on page 35 is my little private joke. The way I read it, the graph contradicts the major recommendations in the report. With respect to Minister Prentice's proposal, it is a step in the right direction. 100% of the transport sector efficiency improvements and GHG reductions in Europe derive from the passenger vehicle fleet's shift from gasoline to diesel (40% of on-road cars and 60% of new car sales are diesel). Obama's CAFE blocks such a fuel switch (appealing to US ethanol and refiners, whose business models need the US to stay a gasoline--as opposed to distillates--economy). It is the case that focussing on tailpipe emission standards positions Canadian regulators to reward manufacturers who elect to move more diesel and fewer gasoline models. But my understanding is that NRCan is working on a regulation that actually sets a different standard for each class of models. If this is true, the NRCan CAFE will still incent the market to oversell large vehicles. It is not clear that they have learned that we need one new car standard, averaged over all sales (all fuel types, all vehicle weight classes up to 10,000 lbs.) For technical reasons, I also prefer the single standard to be a fuel efficiency standard and not a tailpipe emission standard (the estimation error for tailpipe emissions is very, very large compared to that for fuel efficiency). But that less important than getting the one-standard-for-all-sales thing right. And, of course, we should not have the US FFV loophole in our standard. The rating for FFV sales that OEMs will use to calculate compliance with the single sales fleet average standard should reflect actual E85 gasoline sales/the on-road stock of FFVs in the prior year (E85 can only be burned in FFVs).
  44. aldyen donnelly from Canada writes: I would actually love Canada to go beyond correcting Obama's CAFE, as outlined in the above post. The article I referred to above shows that the average fuel efficiency of US NEW car sales declined between 1987 and 2004, in spite of the fact that efficiency was improving within the separate weight classes. What the article does not show is that total on-road vehicle fuel efficiency declined much more dramatically over the period. That is because the increasing differential between new and used car prices (in part due to the new car standards and increasing fuel prices) resulted in a substantial slow down in the vehicle stock turnover rate. Families accommodate higher fuel prices by putting off new car purchases. This drives overall emissions up. Cda's CAFE standard should oblige distributors (this is where the standard is enforced in both countries) to comply with a single standard over all retail new and used car sales and leases. And they should get credits towards the standard for scrapping trade-ins instead of selling them. This standard mitigates the normal market reaction to extend the operating lives of old cars. Every US regulator I have talked to agrees that is the right way to build a CAFE standard. But US laws preclude US regulators from covering used car sales in the US standard. Canadian regulators are not so limited. Getting this right in Canada could prove a significant source of competitive advantage given the legal constrains on US CAFE.
  45. Stephen D from Calgary, Canada writes: I'd like the projections on how many people Obama has condemned to death by this decision? Smaller cars in accidents more people are going to die!!

    Having traded my Civic for something larger I know it's much safer driving a larger vehicle. I'd rather pay extra for fuel than be dead thank you.

    Obama will at best be a lame duck president by the time this stupid decision is enforced, chances are just like digital TV there will be confusion over implementation
  46. Sask Resident from Regina, Canada writes: aldyen donnelly: Used vehicles are a social policy in North America, to allow younger and poorer people to buy personal transportation. Most can afford a 10 year old vehicle, including a 17 year old, but few can justify the cost of a new vehicle. Only if the goal is to reduce emissions does it make sense to buy instead of fix. That is also true for buildings, tear down the old and inefficient houses (filled with older people) that may be paid for and replace them with new, efficient houses if emissions are the true issue.

    But emissions are not the issue, politics and economics are the real reasons. Nobody, not even mathematical modelers, know what the risks of the future truly are, and short term issues are this and potentially next year's tax take and the next election.

    The Rocky Mountain Institute has some good ideas on using the economy to improve efficiencies and help the environment.
  47. Bill Tantleton from Toronto, Canada writes: Aside from the fact that manmade global warming is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated, I guess we can all sign on and sing hallelujah! Guess that's what happens when poorly informed, poorly educated people like Mr. Simpson get on their soapbox to chestpound on how wise he is. Try reading a book now and then that isn't filled with pseudo-scientific claptrap pretending to be science when it's really politics. Highly recommended from the University of Guelph, Taken By Storm "The authors argue that public policy discussions have abandoned science and resorted to ad hominem attacks:

    Global warming ceased to be a subject of scientific debate years ago. Watch how critics jump straight to an examination of motives or credentials rather than the substance of an author’s argument whenever books like this one are published. The argument, it seems, is that what you say, whether it is true or not, matters less than the way you say it or who you are. Scrutinizing the messenger rather than the message may be an effective political ploy; but what we are engaged in is not, at its heart, a political question. Our society has already done substantial harm to itself by not grasping this crucial point"
  48. The Sentinel from Canada writes: Jeffrey, Jeffrey, Jeffrey,

    GW will be the biggest fraud in history and I am willing to bet you and the other zealots are going to eat your highfalutin words. When GW is used by other countries to enact protectionist measures and used by politicians (Iggy too if he becomes PM) as an excuse to further Canada's integration with the US, you clowns will be the first to cry foul.

    Were you outraged when Obama reversed his decision on having terror suspects (e.g. Khadr) tried by military tribunals or did you let that one go?

    Baa baa blind (Canadian) sheep.
  49. aldyen donnelly from Canada writes: Sask Resident...your idea that used vehicles are a "social policy" is actually reflected in European regulations. EU nations do not cover used vehicles under their CAFE standard. They charge annual car registration taxes or fees that are a function of the vehicle's emission rating, weight and the # o fkilometers added to the oddometer reading since last year's registration. Taxing vehicle registrations is much more efficient emission reduction measure than taxing fuel consumption (if you are going for a tax measure) for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it is easy and costs little to code the vehicle registration tax base to provide tax discounts or exemptions for low income persons or persons who need to drive heavier vehicles more for work. Most EU CO2-taxing nations actually collect 3 to 8 times more revenues through the more balanced, progressive annual vehicle registration fee systems than they collect in emission or conservation taxes on fuel consumption. I don't like policies where governments set prices, so I like covering used cars under CAFE better than through annual veh. reg. taxes. But it is certainly easier to exempt certain buyers under the veh. reg. system. I think one question we need to ask, however, is: if this is all about cutting GHG emissions, is saving old cars for the young the best way to make cars affordable to them, or should we give them a limited tax credit to help cover car-sharing costs? When I was in university, hardly any of us owned cars. We had motorcycles and/or car-pooled. The first car I owned I bought with 3 partners and we rotated weekends. (Since we always did everything together, this was really more like rotating designated drivers.) We weren't environmentalists. We were broke. It wasn't so bad.
  50. One Cheshirecat from Victoria, Canada writes: Frankly, I am not 100% convinced that global warming is real - although I'm leaning that way. But if we use less oil, it will last longer. And the reduction in smog is a definite advantage. In the long run, whether climate change is real or not, Obama's move can't hurt.
  51. Durward Saar from Canada writes: Randy McClure, your a fool boy, the people who "Own" the oil companies are the same people who have pension plans and/or mutual funds. ie: the people ya twit.
  52. iPhone from Canada writes: .
    :-- aldyen donnell

    Thank you for your time to respond to my questions. Unfortunately, I do not have the time now to read each, although I am very interested and will need time to carefully read them. [I have saved them locally and will think them through.]

    Thank you very much.

    In fairness to the GM, the EXISTENCE of these Comments are infinitely more valuable that reading the ARTICLES. So democracy in this regard to distribution of information and ideas is indirectly served by by-passing the editorial board and linking individuals.

    For the record, as well, I am do not believe the Al Gore thesis... there are too many who disagree... and Gore is part of the propaganda machine. I am watching for the results of the 'Helmholtz Research Institute' from Germany (with Canada) which just came back from the high north... it looks like it is getting much colder than Maurice Strong's climate models predict. Hopefully, this will put the final nail in Club of Rome's initiative. I have not seen published the results yet... so anyway has references I would be interested.

    Again, thanks for comments 'aldyen donnell' i am planning to read them soon.
  53. Durward Saar from Canada writes: people who ask why the standards are wrong think on this, for every 100 pounds we reduce a cars weight 750 more people will die in the USA in accidents that they otherwise would survive, more people will be injured where in a real car they would walk away.
    How many lives are Obama's standards worth?
    Who are the heartless swines really?
    As for electric, how many cities in North America have rolling black-outs now?, how many will after? It's stupid, the technology is not up to snuff in the Green(communist RED) industry or we would have done it, the market would have demanded it, but it is extremely expensive and inefficient so it is to be forced on us at great expense in cost, living standard and freedom.
  54. Jesu Pifco from Canada writes: So much tiresome and predictable arguing about climate change.

    This is a story about fuel efficiency. For me it's about more "change" jingling in my pocket rather than in those of the government and the oil companies. That's why I've preferred fuel efficiency to all other vehicular considerations these past 40 years. My current diesel miser (no econobox!) is considered amongst most efficient, and the 2009 version "Green Car Of The Year" as a result of fuel efficiency and emissions results.

    In my neck of the woods, the price of diesel has been dropping (currently 14 cents/L. below regular gasoline which has just gone up 5 cents), so there's more "change" staying in my wallet since I got off gasoline. Better spent on food and drink and the energy consumed on one's personal metabolism than one's ride, IMHO.
  55. aldyen donnelly from Canada writes: Jesu guy. Leaving gasoline for diesel is a good decision many, many ways. The even better news, going forward, is that most existing diesel vehicle models will have no problem burning 20% to 50% biodiesel, while a normal combustion engine cannot take more than 10% ethanol (gross). While we do not yet know how to make commerical ethanol (blended into gasoline) sustainably and the GHG merits of ethanol are in question, we do know how to make biodiesel sustainably with an indisputable net benefit to the environment. I can't wait to see the diesel electric hybrid show up, which should prove far superior to gasoline-based hybrids. But there is little in Obama's CAFE that will speed that technology path along.
  56. Bill Tantleton from Toronto, Canada writes: One curious point that seems to be constantly ignored by all the human caused global warming hysterics, the ice caps on Mars are shrinking at a rate as great or greater than on earth, yet it would seem there aren't a lot of vehicles roaming the Martian surface. There is indeed global warming, but it is caused by changes in solar activity. By wasting our time and money on this hocus-pocus manmade global warming baloney, we aren't planning for adapting to the new world of weather change caused by changes in solar activity. Why is this never addressed?
  57. S C from Vancouver, Canada writes: "So, although individual models will increase in cost, an overall shift will be under way to smaller, cheaper models."

    What a nice way to say that we'll either pay more for the same car or pay the same for a smaller, cheaper car.
  58. Sask Resident from Regina, Canada writes: Durward Saar from Canada wrote: "for every 100 pounds we reduce a cars weight 750 more people will die in the USA in accidents"

    Only if they are driving/ riding in Detroit 3 vehicles. Most Asian small cars are safer than large Detroit 3. Unless a small car runs into a large car or a large car runs into a bus (it is called momentum). Check your numbers.
  59. Sask Resident from Regina, Canada writes: Further on traffic deaths, from NPR: 'U.S. highway deaths in 2008 fell to their lowest level in nearly 50 years" and "Even with the declines, more than 100 people die on U.S. roads every day."
  60. aldyen donnelly from Canada writes: I have a question. When a large vehicle hits a small vehicle and the passengers in the small vehicle die, what killed the passengers: the small vehicle or the large one?
  61. Philip Noel from writes: So when will Obama do something about all the coal the US is burning? Oops bad question, that would hurt his home state wouldn't it? I guess the answer is never.
  62. Steve I'm Not an Alberta Redneck from Calgary, Canada writes: Randy McClure from Canada writes: "Durward Saar from Canada writes: Jeffery Simpson, are you stupid or just a liar?
    Co2 has nothing to do with climate change --------------------------------------------------------- You global warming deniers are like a bunch of zombies......"

    Right wing imbeciles and trash is more like it, The only "scientists" who sign petitions against it are PhDs in buggy whip manufacturing who are willing to sell their "credentials" to the highest bidder. They should be flogged.
  63. Stuart Blaber from Oakleaf, Ontario, Canada writes: The global warming deniers could be right. Does anyone actually want to take that chance in the light of all the scientific evidence to the contrary? I think their children might have something to say about them. Glad to see Harper providing the leadership we pay him for. LOL Perhaps if he'd stop sniffing Obama's butt long enough to have a thought of his own, he might deserve to at least get minimum wage.

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