Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Detroit Calls Emissions Proposals Too Strict

DETROIT — Automakers said Monday that they were working toward President Obama’s goal of reducing fuel consumption, but rapid imposition of stricter emissions standards could force them to drastically cut production of larger, more profitable vehicles, adding to their financial duress.

Mr. Obama ordered the government on Monday to reconsider whether California and other states could regulate vehicle emissions to help control greenhouse gas emissions, a reversal of a position taken by the Bush administration.

The announcement came as General Motors and Chrysler are borrowing billions of dollars from the government to avoid bankruptcy, and as Toyotaprepares to report its first operating loss in 70 years. Shortly after the president spoke, General Motors said it would cut 2,000 jobs at plants in Michigan and Ohio because of slow sales.

The California regulations, if enacted today, “would basically kill the industry,” said David E. Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, an independent research organization in Ann Arbor, Mich. “It would have a devastating effect on everybody, and not just the domestics.”

But Mr. Cole said he thought major modifications to the proposed standards were likely and that action was still “a long ways off,” giving the carmakers more time to overcome their financial problems and develop the technologies needed to sell a full lineup of compliant vehicles.

Right now, carmakers say they would be able to sell only their smallest, most fuel-efficient cars — models like the Toyota Prius, a hybrid whose sales have fallen sharply since gas prices began dropping last fall — because once-popular vehicles like pickup trucks made by Ford and G.M. are not efficient enough.

“I want clean air and clean water just like the next guy,” said Erich Merkle, an independent automotive analyst in Grand Rapids, Mich. “But in the real world, there would be consumer outrage with the fact that they’re limited to maybe two vehicles and there’s nothing there that would meet their family’s needs.”

Environmental advocates who have long challenged the automakers’ opposition to the proposed California standards say such regulations will help the companies produce vehicles that consumers want.

Failing to invest in reducing emissions and increasing efficiency will only prolong Detroit’s problems, said David Doniger, climate policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“I think this is the pathway to their survival,” Mr. Doniger said. “If carmakers are going to survive in a world of volatile oil prices and global warming, they have to be making more efficient vehicles. When the economy comes back and people start buying cars again, they’re going to expect that gas prices are going to go up, and they’re not going to want the gas hogs that they used to want. Consumers’ tastes have changed in terms of what’s cool.”

One concern automakers have with states regulating tailpipe emissions is that keeping up with a hodgepodge of standards would be difficult. They expressed support Monday for the ideal of cutting emissions but want their engineers to be concerned with meeting just one set of requirements nationally.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents 11 carmakers, said it favored “a nationwide program that bridges state and federal concerns and moves all stakeholders forward, and we are ready to work with the administration on developing a national approach,” in a statement from the group’s chief executive, Dave McCurdy.

G.M., the only Detroit automaker to issue its own response Monday, said it was “working aggressively on the products and the advance technologies that match the nation’s and consumers’ priorities to save energy and reduce emissions.” But the company also emphasized the need for “a comprehensive policy discussion that takes into account the development pace of new technologies, alternative fuels and market and economic factors.”

Automakers are operating in the worst market since the early 1980s. New vehicle sales fell nearly 19 percent in 2008 and are universally expected to be even lower in 2009.

Representative John D. Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, who has long been one of the Detroit automakers’ strongest allies in Washington, praised the president’s attitude toward global warmingand expressed hope that the administration would act only after studying the effect that “setting a patchwork of different emission standards” would have.

“President Obama and I both share the goal of energy independence and a cleaner environment for our children and grandchildren,” Mr. Dingell said in a statement. “We have a unique opportunity in history to address the issue of global climate change and we must take bold and balanced action.”

Mr. Cole, the Center for Automotive research chairman, said he believed Congress would ensure Detroit would be able to live with any new standards.


On this decision I'm backing the President. Long overdue.

Praise Obama


Blogger B Will Derd said...

Yes, let the government decide what cars should be available for us to drive and make the cost of new vehicles so high that we all hang on to our old cars rather than buy these leaner, cleaner pieces of shit mandated by our dear leader. Praise him.

7:27 PM  
Blogger madtom said...

Someone had to do it.

Praise Obama

8:50 PM  
Blogger B Will Derd said...


10:00 PM  
Blogger B Will Derd said...

OK, now I get it. In fifty years we'll all be driving the same cars and it will be like Cuba--- right? Except their cars will be 100 years old....

10:17 PM  
Blogger madtom said...

When you drive your first gas electric truck, you'll wonder how we ever got along without them..

10:41 PM  
Blogger madtom said...

Oh, and of course I'm 100% behind the stimulus, like I know what that's about.

Praise Obama

11:02 PM  
Blogger B Will Derd said...

'When you drive your first gas electric truck, you'll wonder how we ever got along without them..'

Only if they come with a lobotomy as standard equipment.

11:50 PM  
Blogger madtom said...

At 2 gallons an hour, you can run a big generator, 10 gallons of fuel will power a electric race car for 5 hours without a fuel stop.

2:37 AM  
Blogger B Will Derd said...

I call 'BS' on that little factoid you just dropped. Not even remotely possible. But I would welcome being proven wrong.

11:02 AM  
Blogger B Will Derd said...

Doing my own research, the unproven claims of the new Tesla car come closest to your claim, but doesn't go as far as you have. I read their specs which don't tell the whole story by a loooong shot. They say the Li batteries will last for 100,000 miles (10 grand to replace and warranted for only 24,000 miles) but they don't tell you how efficient the batteries will be at their half life. I know something about Li batteries since I buy many of them for power tools, and they start going down hill after about the 10th full charge and by the end of their advertised "life', a charge is about 1/10 of their new performance. They also will burn furiously if dropped hard. I had one burn to a puddle when the truck it was in hit a pothole. And calling that a 'race' car is stretching a point. The range (244 miles) is based on hwy driving at 50 miles per hour on a flat road in ideal conditions. At best, if you used the generator you suggested (which is a big polluter), you would get 24 miles per gallon, by the way. It's interesting, but a loooooong way from beating a gasoline engine for cost efficiency or in in other real way.

6:53 PM  
Blogger madtom said...

In my design we do away with most of the battery, and
run the gas generator, I would only allow enough battery to move the car forward 15 miles at low speeds, to run accessories, and to take the high loads during heavy accelerations. That would only be about $2,000 worth of Li batteries. But the electronic, and power management package would be the same as Tesla's. More or less.

RmmmmRmmmm NASCAR

Lobotomy is extra.

7:08 PM  
Blogger madtom said...

How may 24 MPG race cars could you build?

And remember it's a race car, the winding in the generator and motor don't have to be rated for 1000 hours, just a few hundred. You take the motor apart, strip the wires, rewind, and you have a new motor in the morning. The old wire is recycled into new wire.

I bet I could get better than the 24 mpg. I am sure, Detroit could.

7:20 PM  
Blogger madtom said...

The generator/motor combination has an inherent efficiency. No transmission. The transmission represents 40% of the fuel, weight, friction and manufacturing cost of the standard drive train.

It's hard to get away from that fact.

7:27 PM  
Blogger madtom said...

Just as proof that I'm crazy.
I just had a vision of a car, with two generators, one for the low speed winding, and one for the high.
And for just a moment I saw it, flying down the track, at full speed, in the leaders draft, with both generators running at half load.
But just of a second, and it was gone.

And, I saw a satellite fly over tonight.

7:52 PM  
Blogger madtom said...

If your into the Marvel animated features.

The Hulk vs. Thor is good, I give it 3 MT's

8:27 PM  
Blogger B Will Derd said...

I'll have to check that one out. I'm not that into it, but my 7 year old son is and it's hard to find stuff he likes and I can manage to endure without superhuman effort.

10:23 PM  
Blogger madtom said...

You might want to check the recommended age for that movie.
It comes as two movies on one disk, Hulk v Thor, and Hulk v Wolverine!

11:30 PM  

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