Automobiles, Motorcycles and Libertarian Politics
No one seems to have notice this yet. But they will.
Not on the road – or at the car dealership.
At the supermarket.
Uncle is “proposing” a “program” (the soft-sell language hides the reality of regulations issued by an unelected bureaucracy – EPA – that will be extremely mandatory) that will “Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Improve Fuel Efficiency (their exact language, in the EPA’s pretentious Federal All Caps Style) of “Medium, and Heavy Duty Vehicles.”
Translation – sans the All Caps pretentiousness – commercial vehicles such as big rigs that pull freight, cement trucks, flatbeds/rollbacks, busses, 2500 and 3500 series work trucks and so on will have both fuel economy mandatory minimums imposed on them and be subjected to new “emissions” regulations that are based on the idea that carbon dioxide is a pollutant.
Because “climate change.”
This will be der untergang of whatever’s left of the already eviscerated economy. I’ll explain.
Until now, vehicles over a certain gross weight – 2500 series and larger – were exempted from federal Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) mandatory minimums (currently set at 35.5 MPG on average for passenger cars) on the basis of the fact that heavy duty trucks are heavy and must be so in order to be fit for any sort of duty.
Which means bigger engines, more fuel used. You can heavy-duty capability or you can have high fuel economy. You cannot have both in the same package.
For serious work, you need beefy steel frames – and big V8s and diesels. But expecting them to be fuel-sippy is like expecting a 300 pound NFL lineman to subsist on a 2,000 calorie per day diet and still be capable of functioning as an NFL lineman.
But this is precisely what Uncle expects.
Remember, this is not a “program.” It is a regulatory fatwa – with the weight of Uncle behind it.
And it will not be Uncle who pays the freight (literally).
It will be us – as always.
We – who had no opportunity to vote for (much less against) any of this.
EPA – a federal bureaucracy peopled by unelected apparatchiks who have never received anyone’s consent to be governed – simply decided that the time has comes for “…a strong and comprehensive heavy-duty national program (there’s that word again) designed to address the urgent and closely intertwined challenges of dependence on oil, energy security and global climate change.” (Italics added.)
Why is how much fuel we buy and burn – with our money – their business? And “Global climate change”?
The arrogance is luminous.
We are looking at a Mike Tyson in his prime one-two punch here. It’s not merely that they will be imposing fuel efficiency regs on heavy trucks – an engineering oxymoron akin to our NFL lineman on a 2,000 calorie a day diet – but also that they will be imposing an “emissions” mandate that cannot be complied with by mechanical/catalytic means.
This is critical to understand.
The EPA knows most people – who know nil about chemistry or physics – will not understand. They will only hear about “global climate change,” which they’ve (mostly) bought into – not knowing just how much they have bought into.
It is one thing to make an engine run more cleanly; to reduce its emissions output. That is, emissions properly defined. As they used to be defined: The byproducts of incomplete or inefficient combustion. Things like unburned hydrocarbons (fuel vapors, basically) and oxides of nitrogen which are reactive and cause legitimate/actual problems such as air pollution and acid rain. These emissions can be reduced to practically nil (as they have been) by extremely precise fuel metering and optimization of air-fuel ratios so that the engine burns the fuel more efficiently and by exhaust after-treatment of the exhaust gasses, as by catalytic converters.
You can still have large – and powerful – engines. In big – and heavy – vehicles.
But the only way to reduce greenhouse gas “emissions” is to reduce the quantity of fuel burned – because a given volume of gas or diesel, when burned, will result in a given volume of gas. You can scrub the gas but you can’t reduce the quantity produced – a key difference that Uncle is well-ware of.
And counting on the masses to not be aware of, until it is a done deal and too late to do anything about it.
No matter how “clean” a vehicle is in terms of noxious/reactive gasses such as HC and NOx, if it produces “x” volume of “greenhouse” gasses – which means carbon dioxide, which is an inert/non-reactive gas as far as all the former criteria – then Uncle is aggrieved.
Put plainly, Uncle is targeting heavy-duty vehicles for termination.
First, these vehicles are going to become much more expensive to buy and to operate as the compliance costs of Uncle’s fatwas filter down the food chain. We got a taste of this a few years ago when Ultra Low Sulfur Fuel and particulate emissions regs were imposed on big rigs. You may have noticed the price of a steak (and many other things) went up.
Truckers paid top dollar to buy Freightliners and Volvos and Macks built pre-fatwa (and so not yet encumbered by the expensive new “emissions” gear, which also had the effect of reducing their fuel economy as a side benefit). But the supply of the pre-fatwa engines was finite and as the new, Uncle compliant rigs – and engines and fuel – supplanted the older equipment. Everyone was forced to pay more. The truckers for their trucks and fuel; us for the stuff those more expensive and less-efficient trucks brought to the stores.
But the new fatwas are going to do more than just double down on things.
They may well end things.
As explained above, it is one thing to make an engine run more cleanly. This is a doable (though not cost-free) thing. But to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions” (as they’re politically styled) will not be possible without making heavy-duty rigs (or their engines) smaller and so, less heavy duty.
And much more expensive to buy and operate.
You cannot “clean” C02. All you can do is produce less of it. And that’s possible – given any known technology, at least – only by burning less fuel.
This is engineering, not chemistry.
Because “climate change” is a shibboleth, a con. A trump card brought out by the same people who’ve been striving for years to resurrect the feudal/company town model that briefly went away in the United States, as the pyramid got wider in the hips and material prosperity for working and middle class people abounded.
That resulted in a content populace that had no use for authoritarian socialism (or authoritarian fascism) and the “leaders” and their “programs” that come with either.
Same con – new label.
If you are skeptical, consider: Will the few at the top of the newly pointy pyramid be materially diminished by these “programs.” Will the “urgent and closely intertwined challenges of dependence on oil, energy security and global climate change” affect them in any way whatsoever?
The question hardly needs to be asked.
We all know the answer.
The real question is: Why do we tolerate it?
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