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EPA Prepares To Roll Back Rules Requiring Cars To Be Cleaner and More Efficient (nytimes.com) 378

Coral Davenport and Hiroko Tabuchi, reporting for The New York Times: The Trump administration is expected to launch an effort in coming days to weaken greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for automobiles, handing a victory to car manufacturers and giving them ammunition to potentially roll back industry standards worldwide. The move -- which undercuts one of President Barack Obama's signature efforts to fight climate change -- would also propel the Trump administration toward a courtroom clash with California, which has vowed to stick with the stricter rules even if Washington rolls back federal standards. That fight could end up creating one set of rules for cars sold in California and the 12 states that follow its lead, and weaker rules for the rest of the states, in effect splitting the nation into two markets.

Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is expected to frame the initiative as eliminating a regulatory burden on automakers that will result in more affordable trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles for buyers, according to people familiar with the plan. An E.P.A. spokeswoman confirmed that Mr. Pruitt had sent a draft of the 16-page plan to the White House for approval.
Further reading: EPA to its employees: Ignore science when talking about climate change (ArsTechnica)
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EPA Prepares To Roll Back Rules Requiring Cars To Be Cleaner and More Efficient

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  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Friday March 30, 2018 @04:07PM (#56355005) Homepage Journal

    Surely this change in regulation would do more to hurt US car companies that help them? If they don't design and build for efficiency, then surely this would limit their ability to export to any market that cares about efficiency or where fuel costs are already high? This feels like another short term action, just like trying to protect the coal industry, that will end up hurting more in the long run, than doing any real good.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2018 @04:10PM (#56355019)

      No, no, it's MAGA! Making Americans Get Asphyxiated!

      • by Gojira Shipi-Taro ( 465802 ) on Friday March 30, 2018 @08:39PM (#56356575) Homepage

        That's

        Mueller
        Ain't
        Going
        Away

        • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Friday March 30, 2018 @09:40PM (#56356811)

          The headlines on this story have all been uniformly Disingenuous and Sensationalist.

          Twelve Mile a gallon cars are NOT going to be coming back, Standards are not going to be weakened.

          What is changing is that the highly unrealistic target of 50 mpg for fleet average requirements in 2025 are going to be scaled down to something that is actually achievable.

          • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Saturday March 31, 2018 @01:16AM (#56357443) Homepage Journal

            What is changing is that the highly unrealistic target of 50 mpg for fleet average requirements in 2025 are going to be scaled down to something that is actually achievable.

            Unrealistic? Really? The Prius does better than that right now. And AFAIK, all EVs do *much* better than that in terms of miles per gallon-equivalent-amount-of-power. All it takes to hit that target is to produce more electric vehicles, more hybrids, and fewer gas hogs. It literally requires nothing more than changing the number of vehicles in each category that you build, while working to push down the price of electric vehicles to be more affordable. How is that unrealistic? Beyond, I mean, the possibly unrealistic goal of getting automakers to stop dragging their heels and whining and screaming like petulant children....

            • Hell... my plain old last-generation, not-hybrid, 2013 Mazda 3 tops 40 MPG on the freeway. First car I've owned, actually, that not just meets it's EPA estimate, but routinely beats it. The current gen already does better. And the new engine going into the next generation is even more efficient. No way is 50MPG unrealistic.

    • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Friday March 30, 2018 @04:25PM (#56355125)

      American car companies make money on trucks and SUVs, not high MPG cars.

    • by oic0 ( 1864384 )
      If it's better for their worldwide margins to build more efficient cars, they will continue to do so. They pay people a lot of money to help them come up with their market strategies. Also, you may actually see an increase in fuel economy. Emissions hardware tends to sap power or require a motor to run in an inefficient manner to achieve the parameters needed to reduce emissions. You usually push your foot down harder to compensate and hence burn more fuel. I'm not saying this whole thing is a good idea, ju
    • As someone who has been shopping for a new vehicle lately, I am dismayed by how many of the new vehicles have implemented desperate measures to achieve the higher CAFE requirements. The low hanging fruit in efficiency improvements seems to have all been picked. Now things like start/stop, exotic transmissions, and some poor turbo implementations are making the vehicles drive worse than the previous generation. And with electric/hybrid vehicles, many hidden costs remain a question, including rumored safet

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I first drove a car with start/stop in it in Germany over 10 years ago. It worked great. There's no reason for it to be a detriment to driving. Fast forward 10 years, my current car, a 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid has start/stop flawlessly integrated and not even noticeable. No jarring or jerkiness.

        I get 37 mpg combined mileage (based on 4 years of real world driving) and because of the electric assist I get instant torque whenever I want to pass grandma on the freeway. The hybrid drivetrain is a clean a win

        • by fisted ( 2295862 )

          I think start/stop is questionable at best. My car consumes .6L (that's .15 gallons) of gas per hour of idling. An hour of idling at traffic lights etc is a lot of start/stop cycles causing wear on the starter motor/magnet switch and all related moving part, as well as consuming significant juice from the battery that the alternator has to resupply (which means increased gas consumption while driving). I'm not sure whether it's a net positive or net negative, but I suppose even if it eventually saves you

    • So, what you're saying is that American car makers cannot make efficient, clean cars unless there is a law that requires them to? I don't know if I believe that.
    • by bobby ( 109046 )

      Unfortunately fuel efficiency and emissions are often slightly at odds, depending on what you're trying to achieve. Higher compression ratios, more ignition advance, and/or leaner mixtures give better performance and efficiency, but cause more NOx, possibly more CO and HC.

      To function properly, catalytic converters need cycling- they intentionally cycle the engine from rich to lean. Not the best for mpg.

      Diesels have been a huge offender on our highways, and since they _finally_ forced them to be cleaner, t

  • CAFE standards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Friday March 30, 2018 @04:09PM (#56355015)

    CAFE (Corp Average Fuel Economy) standards were always a silly way of doing things, since they specified average economy within a given class of vehicle. Car, truck, later there were more categories based on wheelbase and width. It encouraged automakers to make more "trucks" that were used as cars, actually lowering real-life average fuel economy for the cars on US roads.

    Better solution would be to tax fuel at a fairly high rate and let the markets decide what to buy. Use the tax money to subsidize clean (electric) transport like electric cars and trains, roll out charging stations, encourage solar installation, maybe even subsidize the (relatively clean compared to fossil fuels) nuclear power industry.

    • by Cajun Hell ( 725246 ) on Friday March 30, 2018 @06:53PM (#56356085) Homepage Journal

      Better solution would be to tax fuel at a fairly high rate and let the markets decide what to buy

      I totally agree, but then...

      Use the tax money to subsidize clean (electric) transport

      No, wait, no, stop. Don't subsidize anything with this money. And you can't afford to subsidize things anyway, once you look closer at your true liabilities.

      Use this money to mitigate the effects of the pollution. Plant forests with it. Build atmospheric scrubbers. Use it to treat people who are sick from pollution. Use it to build multi-trillion-dollar projects to put our coastal cities on stilts. That sort of stuff.

      The goal of the tax should simply be end the subsidy that we're currently giving to everyone who burns things. You won't need to give incentives to cleaner tech, because they'll already have the incentive of their users accruing less tax to clean up after themselves.

  • by bosef1 ( 208943 ) on Friday March 30, 2018 @04:11PM (#56355027)

    "EPA Prepares To Roll Back Rules Requiring Cars To Be Cleaner..."

    Armor All and Simoniz are going be very upset about this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2018 @04:12PM (#56355037)

    I swear to God, if Obama had found the cure for cancer, these f.cking trumptards would repell it, and in a sickening display of intellectual travesty, they would somehow claim that this is a Good Thing (tm).

    Seriously, you can't be more ideological than this. Way more than those so called leftist SJWs they condemn and whine about all the time.

    Trumptards are hell-bent on bringing society back to the dark ages, when humanity basically acted like a cancer of the planet. And they're proud of it.

  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Friday March 30, 2018 @04:13PM (#56355041) Homepage Journal

    There's like, the 49-state version and then there's a California version with extra emissions equipment. At least that's the way it's been in the motorcycle world since.... the 80's?

    But I don't think any of this matters, what Trump EPA does or what Obama EPA did. World will pretty much be all electric in the near future. Not because of ideological beliefs, but because of the march of (technological) progress means it will simply make more economic sense for people to buy electric cars than petrol burning cars.

    • by Holi ( 250190 ) on Friday March 30, 2018 @05:00PM (#56355397)
      Several states follow California

      Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico , New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia.

      So it's not quite 49 to 1.
    • But I don't think any of this matters, what Trump EPA does or what Obama EPA did. World will pretty much be all electric in the near future.

      Depends on what you think matters. You're right the world is moving towards electric. What trump is doing here is giving USA car makers incentive not to play along and get involved. Fast forward 20 years and you'll all be driving Chinese and European cars and still blaming Obama for killing the car industry.

  • Well it's clear what they're charged with "protecting" now.

    (Corporate) Economic Protection Agency

  • ..and anti-human life. That's what this is.

    Let's roll back the calendar to the Good Olde Days (approximately 50 to 75 years, that is), when we were totally ignorant about the impact we have on the planet we have to live on, we did what we wanted because that's the American Way, and God had the last word on everything!

    That's also what this is.

    The Dominionists should love this, it's one more thing to check off their to-do list: hasten destruction of the Earth, so Zombie Jesus will come back to them and take them Home that much sooner.

    We have to get the Trump administration out as soon as possible, while it may still be possible to repair the damage being done to pretty much everything.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    1. Cut taxes adding another trillion to the national debt we spent years rallying against. Make sure 80% of tax reduction goes to top 1% all the while giving a massive one finger salute to our children.

    2. Gut any environmental regulation our billionaire buddies want

    3. Give Putin locations of US nuclear submarines

    4. Allow traitors to covertly change republican party platform to be PRO-Russia

    5. Allow traitors who will now likely spend the rest of their lives in jail to run your campaign

    6. Install a traitor i

  • Another sad day for the USA. From a sad administration...
  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Friday March 30, 2018 @05:03PM (#56355419)
    You know, the Trump philosophy summarized simply as, "Fuck you, environment!" What bothers me is that they could make cars that got 50mpg 70 years ago, e.g. the Fiat 500. However, with all the safety rules they are now required to follow, they have to go to great lengths to build an efficient hybrid car... that still cannot do better than 50mpg. Technically, it is possible to build a vehicle that gets over 100mpg, but the regulations won't let you drive it on the street.
    • Technically, it is possible to build a vehicle that gets over 100mpg, but the regulations won't let you drive it on the street.

      And the trade-off is people are now walking away from accidents that used to guarantee death.

  • I'd like to see them ditch the café ratings all together. Always seemed stupid to take the average of a fleet for economy. Its a scam in there somewhere to keep smaller businesses from building trucks to compete with the big players since they'd have to obey the fleet averages once they got to a decent size.

    Personally I am done buying gasoline engine vehicles. I've got my last SUV and motorcycle in 2011. I'll be picking up an electric car if I have to commute more than 10 miles. These days I mos

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