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I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees

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Code Monkey
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Code Monkey   8/11/2011 9:04:25 PM
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Mandating efficiency standards is the only way to raise them. See today's "Quality Sucks" article. Most consumers go for the bottom line, social costs of inefficiency be damned.

anon9303122
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
anon9303122   8/15/2011 8:18:37 PM
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I seriously disagree. You are of the same mentality as the current bozo in charge, namely "we" are all too stupid to make smart decisions. Therefore, we must make you choose the "right" choice.

larryang
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
larryang   8/16/2011 2:51:10 PM
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Convince me that people can make the "right choice" given individual incentives that conflict with social costs.

anon9303122
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
anon9303122   8/16/2011 4:04:36 PM
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Be careful of what you wish for. You might acutally get it. Don't intermingle "social costs" with economic costs. Social costs are code words for loss of liberty and freedom. When I speak of a right choice, I refer to the right choice for the user. That is, I own a Chevrolet Suburban and a Volkswagen Jetta. I can easily make the right choice when it comes to transportation regarding the economic cost of operating either vehicle in conjunction with my requirements for transportation. Let's face it, I can't take my wife and four kids anywhere legally with my Jetta. So you will get my hackles up with "social costs" when YOU don't have a clue as to my requirements. People like you are EXTREMELY dangerous with your sanctimonious and pious B.S. statements.

Code Monkey
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Code Monkey   8/16/2011 4:40:39 PM
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There's nothing sanctimonious about observing what works and what doesn't work. Market forces have not increased efficiency despite the hidden costs of wasted fuel. Car companies crow about 30 MPG, the same MPG as my 1960 Ford Falcon Bondo Buggy.

abraxalito
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
abraxalito   8/18/2011 5:15:14 AM
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Ironically its those who introduce ad hominems ('sanctimonious' 'people like you' 'pious') who are the divisive elements in society. Your hackles are welcome to stay up, you yourself put them there.

UnderboatBoy
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
UnderboatBoy   8/18/2011 5:36:26 PM
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Convice ME that the government can make the "Right Choice" for me other than forcing me to make the "right choice" by choosing either new laws, rules and regulations or Jail time. What in your mind makes the Gov'mt the arbitor of the right social cost? Left leaning polliticians? The social 'cost' of loosing liberty to the fiat of (usually unelected and uncontrolled) government bureaus is the worst social cost of all.

Code Monkey
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Code Monkey   8/16/2011 4:03:23 PM
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"We" elected the "bozo in charge". Was that a smart decision?

actt2
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
actt2   8/25/2011 11:09:55 AM
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That's the Cass Sunstein "nudge." Expect a lot more of that type of regulation.

abraxalito
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
abraxalito   8/18/2011 5:20:51 AM
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The *only* way to raise them? So in each and every case where standards have gone up, there's mandatory legislation behind it? Evidence please! In any case, you contradict yourself - by saying 'most' rather than 'all' consumers. Those not included amongst the 'most' will be encouraging efficiencies through their wallets and purses.

UnderboatBoy
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
UnderboatBoy   8/18/2011 5:30:07 PM
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I'm from Mo-Town. My daddy worked for GM desigining cars, one of my uncles was in the upper eschelon of Chrysler motors during the 70s and I worked in a couple of market segments as an electronics power engineer myself. I can tell you if the 100mPG car or the 50mPG truck were buildable and IF PEOPLE WOULD BUY IT, the Big Three would offer it to you. There is no cabal with the Oil companies. There is no reason to hold back.

Bert22306
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Bert22306   8/11/2011 9:23:50 PM
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I think these mandates always result from the feeling that open market forces aren't enough to achieve the desired outcome. There is the underlying belief that the true cost of, in this case, driving automobiles, is way higher than the price of gasoline would suggest. In other words, that we the people are actually paying a big unseen cost. I don't find this totally off base. E.g., the fact that we are embroiled is so many Middle East conflicts can be attributed directly to our thrist for oil. So we are paying a huge price that's not reflected at the pump. Having totally oblivious politicians setting specific goals is galling. But then again, having people happily buying 6000 lb monstrosities with huge, blunt frontal area, just to "prove" their manhood in the case of men, or hide their timid nature in the case of women, is at least as galling. What's more galling of the two? That's a tough one. I dunno.

blommep
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
blommep   8/12/2011 11:47:06 AM
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Although I would agree with you that it is not possible to achieve major scientific or technological breakthrougs simply by mandating it, I do not understand clearly the relevance of this point to the fuel efficiency standards: I am driving a more than 10 year old car (Golf TDI) with rated fuel efficiency of 48mpg (not sure whether the US number is the same but it is 4.9l/100km european mixed cycle that I converted to mpg) and afaik the 2011 model is already above 60mpg. Although a Golf is not a very big car (but not the most aerodynamic either), this still indicates that the technology required to get to 54mpg is realistic and not very far-fetched, and expecting bigger cars to achieve this efficiently 14 years from now does not sound like an unfeasible research challenge, but rather a relatively minor improvement in technology that should be achievable if (and only if) the car makers are forced to take fuel efficiency into account during vehicle and engine design...

DutchUncle
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
DutchUncle   8/12/2011 7:04:21 PM
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Goals are necessary. Mandates, however, lead to such "improvements" as replacing all of the 75-watt bulbs by 65-watt, which *do* use 10% less energy but DON'T give the light expected when my house was designed and the fixtures were installed. The mandate only said 10% savings, so that's what the light bulb companies gave us - not the same amount of light for 10% savings. I just hope they don't try to achieve the new MPG ratings by making the cars out of tissue paper.

ssunda
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ssunda   8/12/2011 8:16:07 PM
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I am not sure how government intervention into technology innovation does not spawn more social fat in terms of influence peddlers, venture cpaitalists who have "connections" with former Prime Ministers and the like. Yet again, undernourished beaureaucrats jealous of commercial successes would like a piece of the pie for no sweat.

ManasK.RayChaudhuri
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
ManasK.RayChaudhuri   8/14/2011 4:57:08 AM
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Agree with you.It has happened in India that a Prime Minister had run away with the laurels of a fantastic transformation of Communications fron a brilliant technocrat.

zeeglen
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
zeeglen   8/12/2011 9:47:45 PM
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Remember the 1.6 GPS (gallons per flush) political mandate in the USA? Easy enough to limit the H2O usage to 1.6 gallons, the resulting problem was the "double flush per poop", which completely negated the politically intended water conservation. On the bright side, the manufacturers of commodes did eventually make efficiency improvements, so all was not lost. The point is that mandating smacks of big boss attitude ("all will pay who disagree with me!"); better to suggest and let those who actually do the design improvement to work at their own level of progress.

seaEE
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
seaEE   8/13/2011 5:19:08 AM
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A product should sell itself based on its own merit, not on a government mandate. There is an obvious incentive for LED manufacturers to design a product that will replace incandescent lightbulbs. At some point, LED technology and integration will reach a point where it can compete with incandescent bulbs based on its own performance and price. This is when the switch should be made, not prematurely by government mandate. I always remember a conversation I had with a buyer once. The buyer had impressed me for quite awhile with his knowledge of technical terms on various components, and I was actually beginning to think he knew quite a bit about engineering, when one day he was trying to procure some 1A fuses, and he asked me, if we couldn't just some easily obtainable 5A fuses because after all they were a better part. This comment brought me back to reality quickly. The government can talk technical, but I believe the actual technical knowledge can often be fairly superficial.

EREBUS0
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
EREBUS0   8/13/2011 9:53:15 PM
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Governments often forget that they exist to SERVE the people, not RULE over them. Setting government standards is all for political show. Few of the mandates in the last half century has done anything but change which pockets the money goes into. This one is no different. Actually solving the real problem would remove the money being used to sway the government officials one way or the other. Why solve a problem if you can get both sides to line your pockets? QED

ManasK.RayChaudhuri
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
ManasK.RayChaudhuri   8/14/2011 4:58:43 AM
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The process described has become Universal today.

Robotics Developer
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Robotics Developer   8/15/2011 9:18:05 PM
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I am sure that there are some endeavors that must be handled by the government, the best example that comes to mind is NASA and landing on the moon. For everything else, there is good old fashion capitalism (I know in some circles a dirty word). If the customer wants it, it will be built. Artificial mandates are just one more way for the government to pick winners and losers in the marketplace. I have never seen them pick correctly, they are too easily influenced by special interests. The government should stick to its constitutionally mandated areas of responsibility and leave the marketplace alone.

brian_g
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brian_g   8/18/2011 4:05:36 PM
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Could you kindly point me to the part of the constitution that created or gave the gov't the authority for NASA?

elPresidente
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
elPresidente   8/16/2011 2:11:43 AM
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The nummber should be higher. This is the candy-ass number after serious automaker whining. And sorry - you, dumbass teaparty consumer, do not have a say about how much crap you put in the air I breathe or how much national resources you use up for your own selfish means. Government has a purpose - it's too bad they caved to lobbyist in getting to the lower nummber.

UnderboatBoy
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UnderboatBoy   8/18/2011 5:50:35 PM
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Ah! .. at last we have the ad hominem liberal attack against the “dumba$$ tea party consumer” and the inference that tea-partiers are the citizen knuckle-draggers of society and “have no say”. Yes government does have a purpose and the main purpose of the one extablished is to get OUT of the WAY of the individual before anything else.

peralta_mike
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
peralta_mike   8/16/2011 2:17:31 PM
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I think the goal-mandate is too low. It should be 100 mpg! I predict almost all consumer cars will be hybrid cars with at least 100 mpg. Nah hum bug you say? Just watch and see...

larryang
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
larryang   8/16/2011 2:45:25 PM
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CAFE standards are compromise because a higher gas tax and/or carbon tax is politically unfeasible. While the government shouldn't mandate what technology, it's well within public interest to have a mandate. Besides, the technology is already there; Instead we have higher horsepower for the same mileage. The real problem is that the individuals interests and collective interests don't align, which something people have an ideological barrier to recognizing.

krisi
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
krisi   8/16/2011 2:59:45 PM
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Well Bill, there is simply no other way...with gas being so cheap in US the only way to conserve it is to mandate higher efficiency...the alternative is to raise the prices (thru taxation) and wait for the market to take care of efficiency...Kris

dphidt
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dphidt   8/16/2011 3:15:12 PM
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The auto manufacturers, among others, would not think of making major design changes (i.e. drive train) to a car just because the public wants it. It is too costly to retool, so why bother if you are already making plenty of profit with the current technology. Retooling costs money and that reduces the profit and stock value. However, they will voluntarily make cosmetic changes (body, interior, etc.) for more market appeal, but that is all. The majority of the people in the US are dependent on cars to get for travel, so the auto makers effectively have a monopoly / captive market. Same with the oil and gasoline companies. Even if you had 1000 people to boycott buying a gas guzzling car, the makers wouldn't care. They're selling millions of them. Plus, most people do not have an alternative. Their entire lifestyle (home location, work location, etc.) is based on the convenience of a car. So, in those cases where the market is a monopoly, then the government should step in and intelligently mandate standards in the "best interest" of the public. Same with the EPA, etc. Without govt mandates, the private companies would have the people driving 1970s technology cars that get 6 mi/gal and have all of the pollution from the oil refining spewing into the environment.

bcarso
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bcarso   8/17/2011 6:05:34 AM
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We haven't had untrammeled market forces for many years. And the difficulty is determining what the real costs of things are. It is clearly unacceptable to foul the commons --- but what is the real degree of that? For example, how much of the apparent global warming is indeed anthropogenic? In some ways I see the situation with regard to poluution and oil dependency a bit like the arguments for our far-flung globocop activities, which are busily bankrupting us. But I know people who draw an analogy to the hypothetical of the figure coming at you in a alley with a gun or knife or... Do you run like hell, pull out a weapon of your own, or get the guitar out and suggest the likely assailant huddle with you and sing Kumbaya? I tend to favor a policy of local neutralization, but some would argue that not only should you kill the assailant immediately, but that you should embark on a campaign to purge all alleys of any suspicious people. Similarly, there are those who will take any possibility that certain activities are deleterious to the environment and attempt to mandate, to coerce via physical force or the threat of it, all manner of policies. But if the real costs were what we paid the market would work. It's the determination of those, or the true threats posed by our assailants, that are so difficult. And we are, nearly all of us, very short-range in our thinking.

bernie22751
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bernie22751   8/17/2011 6:54:10 AM
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The idea that market forces will achieve outcomes seems to me to be a little simplistic. Unfortunately, as others have alluded to (lobbyist & special interest group pressure) the real market forces are not always apparent, or become skewed from what was their intended aim. Most analysts might agree that a hybrid car is a good thing and achieves fuel savings & contributes to the well being of the worlds eco system. But what of the real cost of producing the batteries? Could it possibly be that the reason most batteries are manufactured in China has more to do with the lack of environmental laws in that state rather than the cost of manufacturing? In other words, the "real" cost (of damage & then repair to the environment & cost of enforcement) is not actually passed on to the enduser? See what I mean by market forces directly skewing the desired original aim? See, market forces do indeed work, the real cost of fuel is "hidden" because consumers just don't want to know. The real cost of fuel needs to be reflected in the price consumers pay but unless that happens and the resultant market forces (outcry on the cost of fuel) pressure manufacturers to improves efficiency, then mandating may be the only way. See market forces forces do indeed work, the real cost of fuel is "hidden" There will be a huge social cost, whatever the solution, and whether its market forces or mandating to improve efficiency. I do like bcarso's analogy of the assailant in the alley as a good example of market forces being skewed.

Munster
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Munster   8/17/2011 10:51:02 AM
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Does anyone remember the times some unknown inventor has come forward with a new carburetor extolling the improvement of doubling gas mileage? If the inventor was on target, where did the carburetor go? I suspect the former and current conglomerate CEO is merrily skipping and smiling all the way to an off shore bank

UnderboatBoy
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UnderboatBoy   8/18/2011 5:54:16 PM
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This is the oldest and stupidest corporate boogey-man conspiracy theory about Mo-Town there ever was. IF GM, FORD, CHRYSLER, AMERICAN MOTORS or anyone came up with that incredible 100 MPG engine or carbeurator design, They would build it and sell it because it would cause unquenchable demand for that product...

newtoni
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newtoni   8/17/2011 11:32:56 AM
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I haven't seen any comments that are particularly relevant to the US auto industry's record on this. They've gotten themselves into this mess by crying wolf too often. Look at emission controls and safety requirements. Every past regulation was met with much roaring, screaming, lobbying and dire predictions of impossibility and death for the auto industry. Every time, the new demand has been met and exceeded; usually by foriegn competitors who were mostly mute during the discussion and in fact, seemed to have solutions already in the pipeline.

Icarus2
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Icarus2   8/17/2011 11:40:28 AM
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I would expect better comments from an engineering community than some of those here that agree with the government's approach. First, off where did the 54.5 mpg come from and why not, say 1 million mpg? It appears that the 54.5 mpg was a number Obama pulled out of a hat (or somewhere else). As the Iowa Trader tweeted to Obama, while you are at it, can you also do something about the gravitational constant? Second, raising the mpg standards will inevitably lead to electric and hybrid cars. This will raise CO2 emissions, not lower them. Do the math--the energy losses in generating electrical energy, transmitting across power lines, converting to DC, storing as chemical energy, re-converting electrical energy, converting that to mechanical energy, will make cars less efficient than if the energy is directly converted locally from chemical energy to mechanical. Not to mention the energy used to create the batteries or to dispose of these when they inevitably fail. The only energy advantage electric cars have over combustion engines is regenerative braking which recovers a very small fraction of mechanical energy.

gsdg90
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gsdg90   8/17/2011 8:11:11 PM
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Icarus, Centralized power generation is at least 3X more efficient than distributed power generation. This means that even with all of the losses, we can still come out way ahead. I believe your actual complaint stems from a resentment of President Obama rather than an engineering issue.

any1
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any1   8/17/2011 1:47:06 PM
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Of course the 54.5 mpg number did not come from a purely technical basis. It is an amalgam of what is technically feasible today and the environmental goals of those running the federal government today. That's all - it's a political statement/goal, more than a technical one. I'm certain that a lot of things will change between now and 2025. So I expect this number will change frequently between now and then.

Icarus2
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Icarus2   8/17/2011 11:01:07 PM
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That's my point exactly--this isn't scientifically based or engineering based, just a number pulled out of someone's ______. The fact is that even the EPA admits the 54.5 MPG will increase deaths from accidents. Why is it acceptable that the government big brother can decide this for us? It someone wants to buy one of these cars and take on the increased risk of dying in an accident, that should be for them to decide. If I don't want to take that risk with my family--and I don't--that a decision for me to make, not some unaccountable, unelected, government bureaucrat. And the larger point is that a lot of people have been duped into believing that the electric cars will lower energy usage. It won't due to the increased energy losses from transmission, conversion, storage, de-storage, conversion...

Bert22306
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Bert22306   8/17/2011 11:13:36 PM
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I don't think things are quite as cut and dried as you say. First, one might ask why we are spending billions of taxpayer dollars each week on wars in Middle Eastern countries, primarily to ensure that we have this constant supply of cheap gasoline and diesel. These totally arbitrary mpg mandates are only trying to do what a realistic price of gasoline would otherwise do by itself. Let's just layer those Pentagon costs on the price of gas, please? Never mind the human costs, which are incalculable. And the other point is, the total equivalent fuel savings of x amount of energy conversion via internal combustion engines, as opposed to the power grid, have been done more than once. The power grid wins out.

Icarus2
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Icarus2   8/18/2011 3:41:35 AM
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The comparisons I have seen are not apples to apples. They'll compare a Chevy Volt to a Surbuban for example. Intuitively, it makes sense that an ICE will be more efficient since ICE and electric generators have approximately the same efficiency but the ICE point of load generation avoids the losses from transmission, storage, conversion, etc. War and its causes are topics best left to other forums. We in the US have enough domestic oil and natural gas to supply our energy needs far in the future, if only someone hadn't put a moratorium on Gulf of Mexico drilling, Alaska, shale oil production etc.

UnderboatBoy
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
UnderboatBoy   8/18/2011 6:00:23 PM
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Wrong! The power grid looses even with switched mode conversion. Even commercials by the Power Utilities brag that they have to transport twice as much power to a light bulb than gets used by a light bulb to make it work. That's a 50% loss before reaching a resistive load... and not considering the "in-plant losses" Add the following losses: - power conversion for charger ... - electrochem for battery - reconversion to motor drive and the usual mechanicals and you probably end up with a coal to torque efficiency between 6% and 10%

Bert22306
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Bert22306   8/18/2011 7:54:04 PM
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This is not something that is up for debate, Underboat. When comparing the efficiency of internal combustion cars with electrics, obviously you have to use cost, not mpg. And even though that depends on the price of electricity where you live, compared with the price of gasoline or diesel, the numbers tell it all. In the era of the Internet, there is no excuse for not knowing this. Here is an article among a zillion that explains this stuff, for non-technical readers. http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/aug2009/db20090817_818797.htm I'm absolutely NOT a fan of battery electrics, because I think there are better ways of making uncompromised electric cars, but the numbers are there for anyone to see. Even WITHOUT having realistic prices set for gasoline, electricity still wins out by a decent margin. And yes, other sources of pertroleum exist, but they also cost more and would only make that comparison more skewed.

gsdg90
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
gsdg90   8/18/2011 8:48:19 PM
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UnderboatBoy, Even with 50% transmission loss, you still come out way ahead by central power generation.

RWatkins
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
RWatkins   8/17/2011 2:54:21 PM
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O.K., let's talk reality here... Since the 1970's there have been demonstration vehicles that have gotten well over 50 mpg. The NAHBE (Naval Academy Heat Balanced Engine) of the mid '70s achieved nearly 100 mpg running on peanut oil. The problem today is two-fold: 1. The manufacturers and oil companies are in bed together and U.S car designs rarely truely consider fuel efficiency except where and when forced to. Even the hybrid vehicles made here are sub-40 mpg (I had a Saturn SL 1994 that got 40 mpg, and a Dodge/Mitsubishi Colt 1977 that got just over 40 mpg). Instead the "standard" vehicle of today would have been a hot rod even a few years ago. We don't need teenagers dying in crashes because their parents can't even buy a high mileage low performance car for them made in the U.S. (I got my son a Honda Civic.) 2. The emissions requirements are based on total emissions rather than per-passenger emissions, and a fair amount (10%-ish) of gas mileage is being sacrificed to meet NOx requirements. This is not as large as the car/petroleum companies would like you to believe, however, or our catalytic converters would glow red with the heat they would have to reject to consume the leftover un-burned fuel.

Bert22306
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Bert22306   8/17/2011 9:22:57 PM
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Indeed, the Saturn SL-1 did manage 40 mpg on the open road. But I think you misinterpretd "what the problem is." "The problem" is not that GM doesn't know how to make fuel efficient cars, nor is it that GM is in bed with Shell Oil. "The problem" is that the American car-buying public shuns cars like the SL-1, and instead flocks to buy the most obscenely obese SUV they can get their hands on. Goes without saying, the auto companies oblige. US automobiles have met much higher EPA CAFE ratings than is the avergae in private vehicles, for decades. The problem is that Americans buy trucks instead, and not even the most liberal of politicians are willing to give SUVs and cars the same CAFE requirements.

Carlos1966
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Carlos1966   8/17/2011 7:51:57 PM
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If higher mileage vehicles were so easy to make, the automakers would be producing these vehicles to satisfy the current mandates. The cost estimates given to meet the mandate are a joke ($2000 is all it would cost to double current mileage!?). What's truly galling is hearing the Government Motors execs approach the platonic ideal of sycophant.

nosubject
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nosubject   8/17/2011 11:10:37 PM
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The government want to play the role of god, predict things more than ten years later and control the pace to get there. It is ridiculous. If they are able to do that, there should have no recession in 2008.

Ocelot0
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Ocelot0   8/24/2011 6:02:40 PM
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And the vaunted private market/banks created wealth out of whole cloth... Some better oversight there would have been nice.

seaEE
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
seaEE   8/18/2011 2:43:50 AM
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Remember when Honda and Toyota got there start in the U.S. during the gas shortage? As a kid I remember our station wagon stopping at gas stations that would only sell you 5 gallons of gas. That was a real incentive, provided by the market, to produce a fuel efficient car. The Hondas and Toyotas of today are far larger than the small boxy cars they were producing in the 1970's. If there is another gas crisis, I'm sure people will trade in their SUV's for the highest mpg car made. I wonder what that car will be?

peralta_mike
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
peralta_mike   8/18/2011 3:04:25 PM
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Let's look at history. Back in the late 70's and early 80's the car makers whined and cried about the higher mpg mandates. Later they did what had to be done to comply and as a result they produced cars with the required mpg and plus they made the cars lighter which had the profitable consequence of saving metal and materials which translated into higher profits. They didn't whine or cry about that. That's history folks. I believe if the govt mandated 100 mpg cars, then it would happen. Creative, inventive engineers would find a way to do so. Of course, the car makers would whine and cry about it but then be happy when those that do get more of the market share and end up winning more car sales and more profit.

Bert22306
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Bert22306   8/18/2011 8:46:01 PM
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Yes, but the counter argument is that legislations such as the California zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandates have had to be rewritten countless times. Because they were hopelessly unrealistic initially. The other thing is, instead of blaming the govt or the corporations, better put the blame squarely where it belongs: with the people. Corporations can make small, fuel efficient cars, and have done so. Did not GM make the Saturn SL-1, for example, for many years? That got 40 mpg, without so much fanfare. But people think they should be able to buy 3-ton trucks that get 40 mpg, and still burn rubber and make loud V-8 engine sounds. When they cannot, they give up on the mpg much faster than giving up on the 3-ton behemoth with loud V-8 engine.

patrick.mannion
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Staff
re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
patrick.mannion   8/23/2011 11:49:32 AM
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This is a really great discussion guys. There have been a few references to transmission losses vs locally generated power via gasoline. But it's not a fair comparison. What about the 'transmission losses' associated with getting that gallon of gasoline from deep under the earth to your gas tank? I haven't been able to find a direct comparison in efficiency, but I'm pretty sure it'll change the nature of the argument here. As for government, well, I'm all for free enterprise but now and again the gov' gets it right. We really wanted to get to the moon, and it helped there. We really wanted to protect our kids, but it took the government to make us use seatbelts. Right now, it seems the gov has lost it's way, and so have the people.

Duane Benson
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Duane Benson   8/24/2011 3:57:10 PM
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We lose a lot of time and energy when these sorts of arguments become politicized. Doing so seems to be a pretty common human trait though. Global warming. Lead in electronics. Nuclear safety. It's easy enough to set off long debates on any of those, or a host of other subjects. There's isn't enough hard data, or at least the hard data generally seems to be held someplace that I can't find. It's pretty easy to claim one conclusion or the other when there are so many unknowns. Nobody can truly refute such an argument because the "data" is equally ambiguous on all sides or is so obscured by emotional noise that what's real can't be picked out of a line up. I see a real lack of progress in the fuel mileage area. I drive a 1995 pickup truck. When new, it was rated 15mpg city and 17mpg highway. A few years back, I looked at replacing it with the same but newer model. In the ten years between purchasing the one I currently drive and looking at the new model, the rated gas mileage had dropped by three mpg. Every other aspect of the vehicle (that I could think of) had improved. But the mileage had dropped. One of these days, I'll get something that gets 40mpg. In the mean time, I'll keep this thing until it drops and I'll continue to walk to work four out of five days. I'm one of the lucky ones that lives close enough to do so. I really don't mind seeing fuel mileage standards mandated, but I would like to see it done with more logic. I would really like to see the mandated improvements focused on the lowest mileage vehicles. A five mpg increase in a vehicle in the class of mine will have a much greater impact than a five mpg increase in a vehicle that already gets 30mpg. Given 15,000 miles per year. At 15mpg = 1,000 gallons per year At 30mpg = 500 gallons per year +5 mpg At 20mpg = 750 gallons (save 250) At 35mpg = 428 gallons (save 72) I know where I'd spend my research dollar.

Bert22306
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CEO
re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Bert22306   8/31/2011 8:29:25 PM
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The problem is the pickup truck. We cannot assume that fuel economy is just about the engine. Pickup trucks are hopelessly un-aerodynamic, hopelessly primitive in the drive train, hopelessly overweight due to their separate frame and body, the tires are inefficient too, with way too high a cross section (too much flexing rubber that eats energy). All of this because they are meant to be trucks, so they trade off efficiency for load carrying ability. Obviously, starting with such an inefficent platform, you can't expect engine tweaking to make a big difference. Although it would help to install a diesel engine with very low power. And then no one would buy it.

Jonitron
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Jonitron   8/25/2011 2:02:46 PM
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No progress on fuel mileage may be partly my fault. I want a car that has some acceleration, some speed and performance, without the Tesla price tag. Thats called freedom. When I was growing up your heard the lament that we need to keep government out of our bedrooms. Well now the same folks have given them the keys to our garages, our power meters, out kitchens, our bathrooms, and more into our wallets than ever!! To say take it out of the political realm is not possible. It is political. Its about freedom and control over our lives. It's about what the government should be doing, and NOT doing. I want a fast car, I want a loud sound system, I want to eat a rare burger, I want a reveal light bulb, and I want a toilet that will actually flush my big meat filled log down on one try. I can only wish they were just in my bedroom because they really can't control that anyway. Give me power for a reasonable cost and I don't really care what technology makes it. Theres a reason we use oil folks - beacuse its the most cost effective fuel we've found so far. If the oil actually runs out, guess what, then we'll use something else, and it won't cost a penny more than what ever it takes to develop ahead of time today.

Ocelot0
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Ocelot0   8/31/2011 5:06:15 PM
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So you're one of those guys cranking up their sound system, assuming others want to hear the cr*p you play? Thanks a lot!

Bert22306
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CEO
re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Bert22306   8/31/2011 8:38:35 PM
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Call it "freedom" to act irresponsibly, if you like, but then we shouldn't be accusing the GMs of the world to be in bed with the oil companies. The problem is the consumer, not the corporations or the government. I guess that is my main beef in all of this. Every tom, dick, and harry can come up with an excuse why they "need" to drive ridiculous vehicles, or why they "need" to live in homes with 6000 sq ft of floor space, or they "need" to live 30 miles from work. The problem comes when the excesses of self-indulgence from a significant enough fraction of the population affect everyone else too. You know, like smokers. Same sort of effect.

Salio
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Salio   9/1/2011 1:21:49 AM
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Unfortunately if fuel efficiency standards were mandated, we would have essentially no companies (i.e. American and some others) improve them on cars. We would be stuck with Gas Guzzlers. Not to say that anyone is forcing us to buy those but then the alternative would only be Toyota. I hear what you are saying but I think it is a good idea to have a fuel efficiency mandate. If setting a goal for 54.5 Gallons/mile gets us to above 40 MPG, I will be happy.

Bert22306
User Rank
CEO
re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Bert22306   9/1/2011 7:19:09 PM
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I'm not sure what you're saying. As far back as the late 1990s, GM was perfectly capable of designing a 40 mpg car: the Saturn SL-1. No reason to think only Toyota can do this. The reason it takes federal mandates, to achieve this fleet-wide, is that individual car buyers only want high fuel efficiency for the "other guy," not for themselves. Individuals have an uncanny ability to create excuses for themselves. By the way, check out how much horsepower the 2012 GM 3.6 liter V-6 can generate, compared even with the brand new, similar design Mercedes 3.5 liter V-6 for the 2012 model year. GM beats Mercedes by close to 20 HP. So, there's simply no valid reason to think that American car companies don't know how to design engines and cars. It's up to individuals to do what's responsible.

Salio
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re: I'm tired of mandating technical progress via decrees
Salio   9/1/2011 1:25:12 AM
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I totally agree. Government is not necessarily the problem but in some cases it actually is the solution. I agree that not everything the goverment does is right. Unfortunately, if we left it up to the industry to adhere to safety rules or care for the environment, it is not going to happen.

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