The new standards are not going to be the end of the pickup truck. As for SUVs, the market has been replacing them with car based "crossover" vehicles.
But this is a dramatic increase in the MPG for the whole fleet of US cars and trucks on the road, and thus will make the economy less susceptable to fuel price shocks. My own car gets something like 32 MPG.
Boy, if only I could just wave a wand over it and turn it into a car that gets 54 MPG!
The consequences are that they make much more money with gas guzzling SUVs than efficient compact cars. So when the goal is to improve fuel efficiency then rewarding car manufacturers doing the opposite is not the way to go. For that to work gas prices need to rise y quite a bit. So that would be another alternative.
If you would have bothered to read my initial post then you'd know that I explicitly excluded those kinds of uses. I fully understand that there are cases where you need a beefy 4WD, but that does not apply to 80% of the US population who can easily do without such vehicles.
"Our founders never envisioned government as the savior of mankind."
I'm not sure how I would test this idea. What for example does it even mean to suggest that government should be the "savior of mankind".
What is clear is that the authors of the Constitution intended to create an interventionist central government.
Whereas the Articles of Confederation gave the federal govenment no means of taxation, the Constitution gives the Congress to Lay and Collect Taxes virtually WITHOUT ANY PRE-PROGRAMMED limitations.
[The restrictions on the taxation power are: No Bills of Attainder. No direct taxes, except as apportioned by populatioon between the states. The later was clarified, not really overturned by the Income Tax amendment, which allows Congress to lay income taxes without apportionment. I believe that is a complete list.]
Also, the Constitution gives the Congress the power to regulation interstate commerce, without any textual limitations. Which is logically a power increasingly involved in every commercial transaction in the nation, as local commerce gives way to interstate commerce.
Then you bring up "states' rights. Technically, states don't have rights, but they do enjoy wide powers in laying laws that affect the state's jurisdiction.
The limitations of the states' powers -- or rights, if you prefer -- are that in any area where the Congress acts upon its lawful powers, the federal law will overrule that of the state. Also, the 14th amendment makes every person (except those with diplomatic immunity) born in a state automatically a citizen of that state and the nation.
[And of course, the 14th amendment also federalizes the protections of the bill of rights, effectively meaning that the state legislatures may not create a law respecting the establishment of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, etc.]
So... whether you choose to believe it or hold your breath until you turn blue, the Constitution created an essentially interventionist government, with a well known list of actions prohibited of the Congress.
I obviously have nothing against God. Only people who claim to speak with God like authority as to what government is "supposed" to do.
This government was conceived as a government for the people, BY THE PEOPLE. Indeed it is the best meaning of Democracy to say it is government that rules by the consent -- in this case by the ratification of the Constitution -- of the people.
Welfare means "well being". Obviously, the use to label the social program we call "Welfare" came later.
So what contributes to the well being of the United States? The intent of the founding fathers was that we should argue that on a case by case basis.
THEREFORE, when the preamble says one of the purposes of creating this new government is the promotion of the General Welfare, they mean that we should use this government to [improve] the well being of the nation.
I take it as self-evident that clean water, safe food, safe cars, clean air, and health of the population all are examples where we have improved the well being, or welfare, of the nation.
Perhaps fans of dysentary or the birth defects associated with thalidimide would like to disagree.
Catalytic converters did not equate to much of a change in the rest of the vehicle. AIrbags still kill people, but not as often, and it is seldom mentioned on national news any more. On the other side, they don't impact the appearance or drivability of the vehicle very much. some folks realized that safety belts were not that bad, and many folks just ignored them. Also, we had no choice on any of those matters, they were rammed down our throats with no option available. The message from our government is perfectly clear: "We are much smarter than you so we will do what we believe is best".
Just try to purchase a car today that does not have those items. We have them exclusively because they are law. But consider the seatbelt ignition interlock fiasco of a few years back. It lasted less than one model year because it was really stupid. They should have interlocked the seatbelts to the radio and air conditioning system.
Thank you, analyst, for your constructive comments. I just reviewed my sources. Jeepers, I was correct. Maybe you should re-read your sources, or better yet, read what I actually typed. Poor lighting, etc, can make things difficult to understand. While things do indeed change, I believe pretty much all the points I made are still in effect. Those changes, they're called "amendments", pretty much like I said. It's the legitimate way to make changes to our government and its constitution. When you successfully pass amendments to the constitution, you've followed the rules. That's all I expect.
As to using the "commerce clause" to usurp the power of the states, that's not quite cricket. You wanna change the rules, see above paragraph.
But it really shouldn't be the discussion on a 54.5 MPG fuel efficiency target. This dialogue belongs elsewhere, and we really should take it there. Sorry for my part in dragging the conversation off-topic. This is an engineering blog, after all.
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