Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fix The Environment, Bankrupt The People

"Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status." ~ Laurence J. Peter

Not too long ago, I posted a blog entry about my new found expertise in mechanical repair. In the piece, I casually mentioned the problems caused by all these new-fangled emission control devices auto makers are forced to put into new cars now.

There is the EGR valve, which, if it goes bad, costs somewhere around thirty-five dollars to replace, and that is if you do the job yourself. Then there is the Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF), which costs well over $150.00. That's the price of only the part. If you hire someone to do it for you that price goes up. And up. And up.

Then, there's the PCV valve. And the catalytic converter. I'm not a mechanic, but I'm fairly sure these two items were among the first pollution control additions that the Federal government foisted upon automakers.

And there's more. Much, much more.

These "improvements", in turn, have spawned a host of additional expensive and unnecessary additions that have done little besides drive the cost of automobiles far past the point of affordability, at least for Obama's beloved middle and lower classes.

Now, Barack Hussein Obama is removing the restrictions on states to impose further "green house gas" reducing devices on automobile manufacturers and mechanics.

This, in the name of protecting the environment. Who's going to protect my bank book?

In the meantime, someone has to cover the additional expenses to comply with further Government meddling with the private sector.

Who do you think will benefit the most from these new regulatory changes? Hmmmm?

Well, it certainly won't be the middle classes.

Last night, a guest commentator on some TV news program said he knows of a trucking contractor who complained that implementing these new changes would cost him $20,000 just to be in compliance, putting him effectively out of business.

This legislation proposal would allow California and 17 other states to set stricter limits on auto emissions, according to this article, "That has provoked considerable anxiety in the auto industry. Carmakers fear that they will be forced to spend billions of dollars to comply with the California emissions rules, which are distinct from -- and more rigorous than -- federal fuel standards passed in 2007. The federal standards would raise the national fleet average to 35 miles a gallon by 2020."

"The California rules don't strictly limit mileage. But by setting caps on carbon emissions, they would effectively require vehicles to reach as much as 42 m.p.g. by 2020, according to some estimates. Currently, only two mass-produced vehicles, the Toyota Prius and the hybrid Honda Civic, average at least 42 m.p.g.

To reach that level on a fleetwide basis, automakers would likely have to invest in costly new technologies such as hybrid drive trains. Industry estimates put the per-vehicle cost of compliance as high as $5,000".


Get that? That's FIVE TH-TH-TH-THOUSAND dollars MORE than it already costs them to manufacture a car!

Anyone here want to pay $5,000 more dollars for your next new car?

That's the minimum.

Rest assured the automakers will add to that amount to realize that much more profit. I have often stated I could never be mistaken for an economist, but you don't have to be head mechanic at Jiffy Lube to understand that is a s**tload of money.

I have heard, though I'm not sure, that most companies of any kind make a profit on their goods and services an average of 2.5% over costs. What is 2.5% of $5,000? Does anyone here wish to pay that much more for their next new car? $5,000 PLUS Profit?

Aren't automoble prices already over the top? Have you ever wondered how much less expensive new cars would be if there were no emission and/or pollution control devices installed in them at all?

And there is, again, as I mentioned previously, the additional costs of repairs to these devices.

Is this how Obama is going to fix the economy?

Could someone please explain for me how raising and spending more tax dollars and driving up the costs of goods and services precipitously will solve the country's economical problems?

I'm now fifty-seven years old, and I have never seen a time when spending my money to repair my cars ever made me rich.

13 comments:

Mark said...

Actually, I think that 2.5% figure is probably wrong. Maybe it's 25%. I don't remember now, and I never was very good at math.

Always On Watch said...

My father, who died in 1998, was a master mechanic; and my husband is a mechanic. So, I know full well what all the emissions requirements have done to our cars -- with regard to repairs, maintenance, and higher sticker price.

And BHO is going to make all the above even worse than the mess we have now. And, yes, he'll bankrupt us and force us further down the road of socialism. I wonder if my vehicles (1985, 1993, 1996, 2001) will be banned by BHO?

Dan Trabue said...

Now, Barack Hussein Obama is removing the restrictions on states to impose further "green house gas" reducing devices on automobile manufacturers and mechanics.

A few quick questions: Do you prefer that local and state people make decisions about how they run their lives or do you prefer that to come from the federal gov't?

That is, if the people of Kentucky think that coal production was polluting their streams, and they wanted to vote to increase the cleanliness of coal production, so that it's NOT polluting the streams, do you respect the right of the people to do so?

Do you think the federal gov't should be allowed to say, "No, you people in KY can't require coal companies clean up."?

No catch. I just honestly wonder what your opinion is on local autonomy.

Dan Trabue said...

One other thing, where you state:

To reach that level on a fleetwide basis, automakers would likely have to invest in costly new technologies such as hybrid drive trains. Industry estimates put the per-vehicle cost of compliance as high as $5,000

You do know that the Geo Metros, which probably sold for ~$10,000 ten years ago, got 40-50 mpg?

source

We can already create cars that get that sort of gas mileage, without all the expensive stuff. fyi.

Also, while they're no longer produced (whose idiotic idea was that??), you can score a used Metro for a few thousand dollars nowadays, although that price increased with the price of gas.

Most Rev. Gregori said...

My second oldest son is a mechanic and owns his own repair shop. He is sick of all these anti-pollution stuff, because he says he feels like he is screwing his customers when he presents them with the repair bill.

Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Dodd, Barney Frank and their minions are dead set on destroying America, and I believe they will succeed.

Gayle said...

Mark, it's my opinion that Obama and cronies aren't interested in actually "fixing" the economy but in further ruining it to the point where the government will run it. That way we are all at the mercy of the government, which is what the liberals have always wanted. So here we are, watching it happen and feeling utterly at a loss as to what to do about it. I hate this, and I know you and I are not alone!

Mark said...

Dan, you are right this time. Certainly the Federal Government has no right to make laws for the states.

I think the problem I have with this thing is the fact that

A. there is no such thing as Global warming, thus added emission control devices are just a money pit. and

B. These anti-pollution devices they are proposing now are useless and only drive up the costs of buying and maintaining vehicles.

Mark said...

Geo Metros were manufactured by the Suzuki Corporation. I had a Suzuki once. It threw a rod.

And I didn't write that excerpt you quoted. It came directly out of the article referenced.

Mark said...

Gayle, you're absolutely right. The goal of the Democrats and the Obama administration is to gain as much power as they possibly can, and screw the rights of the people. This is just another way of accomplishing that task.

Dan Trabue said...

Mark said:

you are right this time. Certainly the Federal Government has no right to make laws for the states.

Common ground!

You also said:

I think the problem I have with this thing is the fact that

A. there is no such thing as Global warming, thus added emission control devices are just a money pit


But you support the right of the people - IF they believe that the science shows that climate change is a real problem and they wish to be responsible about it - to pass laws nonetheless? That's very American of you. I appreciate that.

You DO know, though, that there are other reasons beyond the possibility of climate change problems for wanting to implement these changes? Increased fuel efficiency can lead to less demand for petroleum, meaning increased independence from foreign fuel, for instance.

Also, whatever you think of the science behind anthropogenic climate change, there are other known problems of pollution. Asthma and health issues, air quality issues, water quality issues. The people of California (and other states) believe there is sufficient reasons to think that this is a natural law issue - that one's freedom to swing their fist (or drive their car) ends at someone else's nose (or health and environment) and they'd like to pass what they believe to be responsible legislation to protect human rights.

Good for them, I say. And good for Obama for standing up for state's rights. And good for you for agreeing with that notion, even if you disagree with this particular state's wishes.

tugboatcapn said...

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/11/09/MN1T13S7J5.DTL

Still, I guess it will get better mileage than Air Force One...

When Obama's and Waxman's wron-headed energy policies drive the price of a gallon of gas to $6 or $8, we will all be very grateful for the new high-milage standards...

Those of us who can still find a job or hope to afford a new car, that is...

Pamela D. Hart said...

Dan, why does California get to decide what is best for the rest of the country? I believe that the decisions reside in the individual states. Where does the constitution stand on these issues? It seems our constitutional rights have just gone to the wayside and we are at the mercy of what the feds want.

Dan Trabue said...

why does California get to decide what is best for the rest of the country?

? I'm not sure I understand. California has asked that they (ie, California) be allowed to set their pollution standards where they wish to set them. How is this deciding for the rest of us?

They're asking for the freedom to decide for themselves what level of pollution they find acceptable and righteously so. Good for them and for the other states so inclined. This seems to me to be clearly a state rights issue as much as an environmental issue.

To the larger, national question, I suppose you would agree that we need SOME laws deciding what levels of pollution are acceptable? I don't think most Americans want the factory next door to be free to decide how much toxins they put in our air or streams. It's a natural right issue. Your right to swing your fist ends before you get to my nose. Your "right" to pollute (there is, of course, no such right) ends somewhere, surely we can agree upon this?

So, lawmakers representing the People (hopefully the people and not Corporations) have an obligation to set some standards and righteously so. The question of "What will those standards be?" is going to be a tricky one, but seems to me we'd be best to err on the side of health and the environment rather than on the side of business and economics. As folk smarter than me have noted: The economy is a subset of the environment, not the other way around. We can't have a healthy, sustainable economy outside of a healthy, sustainable environment.