A Peculiar Path To Green Cars

President Obama’s decision to¬†support California and other states’ application to set stricter limits on greenhouse gasses from cars and trucks is peculiar from a couple of different points of view.

First, the federal government and its denizens are usually pretty protective of their prerogatives. One of those happens to be the right to set standards in matters of interstate commerce. In fact, they have been so proactive in asserting their control in these areas that they have persuaded the courts time and again to stretch the limits of the constitution nigh unto the breaking point. So it a complete reversal of course to effectively cede to the states the right to set emission standards for vehicles.

Second, he puts the federal government’s newly acquired car companies and their unions between a rock and a hard place. No automakers have coped more unsuccessfully with mileage standards than the Detroit car companies. The plain truth is that they haven’t proven themselves capable of building quality, small cars that meet mileage standards which can be sold at a profit. Oh they build the all right, but they sell them at a loss and make their money on trucks and SUV’s. So now he lays a regulation on them that they would have been ill-equipped to meet in the good times let alone now. Weird.

I guess that it’s pretty clear that he is intent on pursuing some pretty significant green initiatives. Letting a group of states dictate industrial policy is a pretty radical and questionable departure from established procedure and putting the Detroit automakers in this tight of a bind pretty much assures the government will have to double down on their investment.

A carbon tax sure would have been a lot neater solution. But, never expect a politician to take the sensible route.

more: here and here

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