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46 comments

Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

Posted December 31, 2008 8:21 AM

The real trouble with America's automakers comes not from a lack of "bailout," but Congress' fuel-economy mandates. These require car manufacturers to spend billions on developing hybrids they know the public won't buy if gas prices stay low. But Congress won't repeal the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) because they fear the environmentalists. They won't repeal CAFE's "two-fleets" rule, which requires manufacturers to build cheap cars instead of importing them, because they fear the UAW. And Congress won't increase fuel tax because they fear the voter.

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#1

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

12/31/2008 11:57 AM

They won't repeal CAFE's "two-fleets" rule, which requires manufacturers to build cheap cars instead of importing them, because they fear the UAW. And Congress won't increase fuel tax because they fear the voter.

Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

So Fuel Mandates aren't the problem.......The root of the problem is the UAW, and spineless Congress.

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#2

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

12/31/2008 1:52 PM

I'm guessing someone didn't like the responses they got when they ran this topic in the Drives Blog.

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#3

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

12/31/2008 1:57 PM

Historically, the problems with the US automotive industry began with government regulation. In truth almost all troubles in all industries can be traced to government regulation.

In a free market, companies built what the consumers wanted, and the consumers bought what the companies built. If the car company built something that the consumer didn't want to buy, the company lost money. If they lost money for more than a year or two, they ceased to exist. Look at all of the automobile companies that existed at the beginning of the 20th century that are now gone to be with the Pharaohs. Ford, GM and Chrysler have survived up until now simply because they did a better job of making what the consumer was willing to buy.

Now along comes the government and passes laws that say that the auto makers will build cars in thus and such way, whether the consumer likes it or not, and what happens? First of all, the cost of complying with all of these regulations adds to the price-tag of the car without adding any real value to it. Second, since the manufacturer is building what the government wants instead of what the consumer wants, the consumer goes elsewhere to buy his new car, such as to Toyota or Nissan, for example. Bottom line, the company loses money, and eventually ceases to exist. This is Economics 101!

As for the UAW, they need a sharp reality check. Yes, they've done alright by their members over the years, but the reality is that the things they have demanded from the automakers have also driven up the price of cars without adding value to them. It's all very nice to have cradle-to-grave health care and platinum plated retirement plans and the like, but what happens when the goose that lays the golden eggs dies?

And the bailout? This is nothing more than corporate welfare! It is nothing more than a way to make the tax-payers pay for what they are unwilling to buy, and amounts to simple theft. Better to let the US auto industry die.

Simple reality is that for the US automotive industry to survive will take a massive rethinking on the part of the government, the automakers and the UAW. They are going to have to ask themselves, what are we going to have to do for this industry to survive? The fed is going to have to get out of the way, best by dismantling all of the regulations that are hamstringing the industry. The UAW is going to have to start thinking in terms of what can we give instead of what can we get. And the manufacturers, in cooperation with the workers, are going to have to look at what the American consumer really wants to buy in a car, and build it.

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#5
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Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

12/31/2008 11:33 PM

There is little I can add to Dr. Moose's reply.

It's all quite simple. Let the free market place do it's job without the meddling of pretentious politicians.

This Country rose to the top on the basis of one basic principle: We gave people permission to fail.

Now the government is saying "No. We won't let you fail" and it has used deficit spending for fifty years to stave off what should happen.

Ironically, we are now all the poorer for that behavior and it's destined to get worse. So much for Liberal policies.

L.J.

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#17
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Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/01/2009 11:11 AM

"No. We won't let you fail"

Sounds like communist rheotoric............. We all know how that turn out.

Risk can drive people to take more risk to pull them out. With out risk why try.

This Country rose to the top on the basis of one basic principle: We gave people permission to fail.

G.A.

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#10
In reply to #3

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/01/2009 2:29 AM

Dr Moose -- You've stated your points well, even though I don't agree with all of them. And I don't feel you've reached the root of the problem yet.

I disagree with the government mandates putting the domestic big three at a disadvantage to foreign manufacturers. As far as I know they have to meet the same mandates. And for all manufacturers there is plenty of design latitude to make the vehicles appeal to buyers.

There may well be tilts in the playing field I don't know about. If there are then they deserve close scrutiny. Yes, some of the foreign manufacturers have strong suits and play their cards well. Last time I looked their play methods were fair game in the world of commerce. But let us take a look at these cards for a bit.

First, and this is a big factor, the foreign manufacturers had much more time to develop and perfect small fuel efficient vehicles. Why? Because their countries of origin chose to discourage excess fuel imports through heavy taxation on fuels and in some cases on the sizes of the cars themselves. Is government strong enough or people weak enough (perhaps from wartime suffering) to allow this kind of unpopular taxation something we would choose to emulate? I think not.

Second, there is the quality factor. In general the leading industrial nations tended to develop cultures of excellence and pride in workmanship combined with advanced technologies that resulted in high quality products. We see this in the nations of origin of the most successful foreign automobiles. It was well noticeable in the USA in the first half of the 20th century. In the second half this cultural strength started to fade in the USA while it in fact strengthened in the nations which were most badly damaged by WWII. We can still see a high level of this quality culture in the USA. It seems to survive mostly in those enterprises that manage to isolate themselves from the influence of Wall Street; either via private ownership, small size or unusual financial strength in the case of some corporations. It seems like in the USA the bigger the public corporation becomes the more its quality decreases. Our Big Three auto companies seem to be trying to fight this trend. Can they succeed? Or is it too late for them. Is the heart of this problem in our education system or somewhere else? (oops, getting off topic here....)

Another card the foreign automakers were able to play was to take advantage of the political differences in our nation and locate their new assembly plants in locations where attitudes of state governments toward labor were driven by different political ideologies. If we were more cohesive as a nation would this have happened?

Blame the UAW? It is nothing but a natural predator programmed to feed itself and its young. It's like blaming the wolf for killing the last deer standing. When there is nothing left to eat the wolf will also die and its remains will be consumed by the ravens and the ants. Perhaps there is some wisdom in saving the deer and study in detail why it is so weakened that the wolf can take it down..... And perhaps it's time to tell the UAW that it is no longer going to be allowed to sit at the top of the food chain.

This then illuminates the third card the foreign manufacturers hold. It is the general enterprise strength they can build because they can plan and invest strategically for the long term. This strength enables them to weather ups and downs of business cycles without fear of destructive hostile takeover born of a temporary drop in their common stock price due to one or two bad quarters. Indeed would auto company managers have given retirement benefits in such lavish quantity during collective bargaining if they had to plan seriously for the company's position 5 or 10 years in the future rather than for the end of this quarter?

Maybe the root of the problem lies in the way we structure our legal and regulatory system to handle public corporations and their ownership. Perhaps the automotive industry is just another in a series of American businesses that will fall victim to a national policy that may no longer fit our needs in a 21st century world.

Ed Weldon

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#18
In reply to #3

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/01/2009 11:13 AM

DrMoose,

I disagree with parts of your assessment. Let me present a contrarian thought:

The government requires that cars be equipped with air bags and other safety features to allow the occupants to survive a crash. I unwisely drive when I'm too tired and fall asleep at the wheel. Vehicle is totaled but I survive with significant injuries. Had the safety features, government-mandated and strenuously fought by the industry, not been present, I would not have lived. Now, I am still around to work, etc, and purchase another vehicle from the same companies. This contributes to their continued existence. Has the government-mandated "meddling" with the company's product caused it to lose business in this real case?

I doubt that you are a Socialist in economic view, but your post suggests that the interaction between government/industry/individuals has been tilted well towards that direction. I have not noted any 5-year plans or requirements that we had to produce only certain types or sizes of cars. Have I missed something in our history?

Regarding the UAW, there is a real problem here, because the legacy costs of the retirement plans have added to the current costs of Detroit automotive production. That perhaps is where any "bailout" should be directed. Remember that one of our earliest founding documents described the government being of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Since all the manufacturers selling cars in the USA have to comply with the same regulations for fuel efficiency, safety, etc., I fail to see why the consumer's decision to purchase from Nissan etc. is attributable to government regulations or meddling.

Perhaps, the increasing gulf between top level salaries and the rest of us is part of the problem?

--JMM

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#35
In reply to #18

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/14/2009 12:47 PM

I read an article 11 years ago on all the government-mandated safety features in our society and how they seemed to protect people from their own stupidity. Everyone dies. 10 out of 10. If you should die for your own stupidity, why whould the rest of society have to support your survival? You may be able to purchase another vehicle but have added a tremendous burden to your family, and society. That being said, consider this, while some government regulation is necessary to ensure safety and and mitigate poor engineering practices, unnecessary regulation actually leads to more problems. Consider how an engineering department will work. They will analyze the regulation and work to find loopholes in order to save time, money, and design effort.

People want cleaner, more efficient, roomier, higher performance, better handling, stylish looks, etc. vehicles to choose from. The big 3 sat on their cabooses for so long in those categories.

The new Ford Focus is a great example. Instead of developing higher mileages and better performance, etc. they developed an integrated voice recognition system into the vehicle. That's ridiculous! Government needs to step aside and let failures be failures. If the big 3 can't develop the right vehicles, it's their marketing, conceptual design, management, etc. to blame.

The UAW adds cost. Sure, the aircraft and automotive industries have the highest pay for unskilled labor and uneducated employees. Pay them what their worth and cars will go down drastically. The exploited Executive salaries and bonuses add cost. Hold them accountable for poor decisions and pay them no more than 10 times the lowest wage and you'll save some money. The complex bureaucracy with unnecessary levels of management add cost. Get rid of meddling middle management that doesn't add value and only serves to offload a higher manager's job so he/she doesn't have to work as hard, and car prices decrease.

You can cut cost all you want but until you figure out how to make a profit you STILL HAVE COST!

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#36
In reply to #35

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/14/2009 3:29 PM

CATIA_GURU,

Within limits, I believe your main points are valid. I remember when my father studied the testing results from Consumers Union in the mid-1950's and then bought and installed seat belts in every family car. Since then I have always worn them (over 50 years now). Government standards didn't mandate them until later, and fortunately we never had any crashes before. Over 100 years ago, there were only two automobiles (horseless carriages they were called) in the State of Ohio, and they got into a wreck with each other. I guess laws, rules, etc. have a purpose.

--JMM

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#19
In reply to #3

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/01/2009 12:14 PM

I would like to add that the Congress in passing the legislation that instituted the standards were reacting PRIMARILY to the environmentalist lobby. Congress works for the people too (although that seems hard to believe at times). Much of the problem stems from government being reactionist to environmentalist ploys like Global Warming.

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#24
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Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/02/2009 9:54 AM

The automakers entered into materials, parts and labor agreeements that go into the cars, if there had been labor suppy competitors like there were parts supply competitors, the picture for Detroit might be different. The "partner" or "preferred supplier" concept added stability for both in exchange for expected reduced costs for both, but this also depends upon reliability of on-going business for the buyer, if the on-going purchases are within a range this works, if the monthly quantity fall below a minimum then it is no longer possible to continue the agreement.

A lab stadard fuel mileage test could be developed, with specified dyno loads for duration and ramp rates during changes to define fuel mileage.

The CAFE set minimum fuel mileage standards. The automakers have the best and the brightest to accomplish this.

Others did crash testing to provide life-safety and survivability information to car builders and buyers.

The window sticker on the car should have lab standard fuel mileage, a life-safety rating, carrying capacity in volume and weight, installed equipment and a suggested price (subject to discounts, rebates and negotiation or haggling).

But as an end-around the US government at the end of WW2 funded the re-development of Japan and then rebuilt Korea after the Korean War, (if the leaders of Vietnam had a brain they would have lost so the US could pay to rebuild there country, North Korea still has an opportunity LOL). And then forty years later the US states (PA, AL, ...) got into buying jobs by giving tax breaks to foreign owned auto-makers to locate in there towns (no other country in the world does this stupid stuff). So will the south rise again ? And then US manufacturers wouldn't listen to efficiency development experts, who went to Japan, etc and provided standardization and work flow and quality standards and ... which all came back as products that were improved, less expensive then US built, designs that met US expectations, so the US bought them. This is normally known as selective survival, it happens all the time.

I don't see just one thing to point to and say this is why Detroit is in trouble. I don't see anything that smart business exec's in Detroit should not have been able to overcome.

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#25
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Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/02/2009 11:10 AM

CoronaCameraMan,

Many good points in your answer. I appreciated your mentioning the quality issue, which US manufacturers widely ignored. Mr. Deming was the statistician who tried first to get US companies to make use of his work (I believe this was even prior to WWII). The rest is history that we tend to ignore. The current issue of Consumer Reports spends some time on the quality issue with automobiles and the Big-3. They see it as still being a problem, but with some bright spots in the Ford and GM companies.

Unfortunately, the current configuration of the very large US corporations isolates their leaders from the negative effects of their decisions while rewarding them lavishly. Stockholders are often unable to initiate significant changes even when they try to, because charters and bylaws are written to make that very difficult. Today, unions are seeing the "rewards" that have come from the decades past when a common attitude was "we're union, you can't touch us". I believe that in a coming tomorrow, corporations will be seeing similar types of "rewards" from today's unwise excesses and ignorance they practice.

--JMM

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#26
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Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/02/2009 12:10 PM

which US manufacturers widely ignored. Mr. Deming was the statistician who tried first to get US companies to make use of his work (I believe this was even prior to WWII).

That is true, but the US automakers had no comparable competition why should they adopt it.

The Japanese did not believe in it also, they only adopted it due to the respect they had for MacAurthor.

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#28
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Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/03/2009 1:21 AM

Good Answer.

Regards Dragon

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#37
In reply to #3

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/15/2009 3:13 AM

None are so blind as...

Three points-

1. None of the responses so far has clearly substantiated that the competitive foriegn car makers either are, or are not subject to the same fuel (mpg & emissions) standards. This is critical to the stated question. Relatedly, it has been meantioned that the "overall regulatory structure" has hamstrung the mfgrs for decades, while essentially granting unlimited monopoly contracting powers to the UAW. That has to be the most significant fact discussed so far because it has forced costs to an unsupportable baseline that overshadows all product pricing of the big three. The bail out is more of a Union welfare program that a corporate one because they are instigators motivating it & the ones who benefit most from it.

2. What is the long term interest of the USA in maintaining a viable manufacturing base? This goes to the question of the cause of un-viability being meddlesome regualtions by the Fed gov who now CLAIM to be the only possible savior in this situation through massive "stimulas plans". If our manufacturing capabilities continue to disappear over the horizon into foreign nations, it is only a matter of several years before other nations dictate world policy through military domination. There can be no doubt about that. It has been reported in the press that the nations today that are prospering the most financially are "autocratic". No pun here. They are dictatorships where individual rights mean nothing, & democracies are their willing accomplices (aka- global warming junk science, etc). All this portends disaster & should alert us to the critical need for America to chart her course through safe waters, not risky socialist experiments as excursions into the mist. What caused the housing bubble & the auto bubble to burst was gov intervention-- those well meaning "stimulas" plans of the past. But conventional wisdom says we must have more of the same because we can't face the music- yet? The bubble only grows.

3. The "sharp reality check" we would all like to see the UAW get, does not hold a candle to the reality check the majority of Americans need before it is too late. This goes to the question at hand because big centralized gov regulations bent on growing special interest groups is only the tip of this iceburg! The USS TITANIC AMERICA: "the ship that even God could not sink" is on a collision course. Some think we have already hit & nothing will stop us from going down. Democracies ALL crumble. But what if we are not done for, until everybody can see the 'writing on the wall'? The reality check to be looked for will depend on real leadership for a New Declaration Of Independence from those sources which are bent on infractions against individual personal Rights as defined in the first Declaration & in the Constitution. Until we wake up to the fact that we are being SEDUCED by those who only care about their own fame & power through government & through their pretended elite social status. We are seduced by promises of everything under the sun & in return EVERY DOLLAR must be brought under the CONTROL of govermnment, "...or we will surely collapse". No one in the modern world has been able to make government the servant of the people instead of their master, except the Founding Fathers of these United States. Since then the tide has taken a toll to wash out their foundation from under us. But in 2008 the new president elect is one who is on record as anti-constitutionalist & he is backed by a majority of like minded democrats in congress. Meanwhile America thinks this moment is historic for reasons having more to do with skin color than for what is actually on the agenda of these people! Black or white or whatever, it is their phylosophy of life & death that matters! Being beaten up by well meaning socialists with a batton hurts just as badly as taking a beating from a communist with a stick. Move over "divine right of kings", the Obamacrats are here in force & that is the new reality that the new UAW (& other liberals) will make absolutely clear to us all. John Thulin / 1-15-09 z1jst@msn.com

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#39
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Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/15/2009 12:36 PM

John -- RE you points quoted below:

"1. None of the responses so far has clearly substantiated that the competitive foreign car makers either are, or are not subject to the same fuel (mpg & emissions) standards."

Long as you take exception to what has been said why don't you go research the laws and tell us what they say in relation to this point....... None of us seem to have done that yet. I for one have previously stated what is really only common belief.

"2. What is the long term interest of the USA in maintaining a viable manufacturing base?......"

Good question here. Worthy of a good discussion. Too many accept that maintaining a viable manufacturing base is like some inviolate holy sacrament. By the way, what is a manufacturing base? What does it consist of? What is manufacturing? A farmer produces food that we eat. Is that manufacturing? How about the transportation system that brings products to our doorsteps. That's value added for sure. Is it manufacturing? How about the shipping department in a factory?

"3. The "sharp reality check" we would all like to see the UAW get, does not hold a candle to the reality check the majority of Americans need before it is too late........."

I agree. I don't think the majority of Americans have been affected enough to fully react. Your prescription seems to fit one viewpoint. There are certainly others. Our economic problems today seem to come not only from government policy and action but also from a lack of policy and action. Perhaps they can be blamed on an overarching political philosophy of those in power in the last few years. But a case can be made for the problems also being caused by a shortsighted and self centered society with all to much power to influence government action. I do feel that no one political ideology can solve all our problems, and that includes the libertarian ideas that I think I see in your comments.

Ed Weldon

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#41
In reply to #39

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/17/2009 7:46 AM

Ed, Your response is not very helpful. Allow me to explain. Response by ideological filter rather than weighing the points on their own merits & tracing them out to their logical ends shortcircuits the whole process.

To insist on categorizing the supposed unspoken intent of another's comments (mine for example) may be clever but does not lift us higher. You threw in a little flattery to make the medicine go down & then followed it up with generalized unsubstantiated doubts from shall I say it-- the superior mind of conventional wisdom. And we are supposed to know this because you are not a Libertarian (you use a debate tactic of creating an opponent as a "straw man"/Libertarian which is thus easily dismissed as lacking substance). Does anything throw SAND into the gears of understanding & informative communications more disasterously than that? All will see that I am no Libertarian.

Wordsmithing can be done out of pride or for charity or for any level in between- The actual intent (proof) is in the "pudding" as to the results it encourages. You ignored the stated intent & the content of the logic, probably because of filtering. Doubts can be constructive if used to further the verification of TRUE principals & their proper application, OR destructive if based upon false premises & their application. Whose "truth" is reliable? Ah, but this is the new America where there can be no political truth that can be substantiated (because one opinion MUST always be equal to another-LOL, unless you are a liberal), so the "nays" have it. Which is the effect of your posted reply regarding the political truths I have already discussed.

To all who will truly listen- the path to Freedom has been trod before! It is not Libertarianism, Socialism, nor 'middle of the road' compromises of those moral principals we know within ourselves to be true. Where is the morality in politics? It seems to have left the stage with Pres Reagon & is now mocked by Obama. If only he had a Lincolnesque top hat or beard to make the image complete!

The true path to Freedom is to recognize, validate & defend "Whole Person Rights"-- A phrase I coined to illustrate that ALL of my Rights (& yours Ed) must be sacred/absolute/inviolate or everything devolves to servitude under one government or another, or another, or another. An immoral people can never comprehend it let alone live it, because they have no faith in anything truly sacred (aka- spiritual, not of the body, inescapably obligated to their Divine Creator). So Americans if science demands it, go ahead & trade your "Whole Person Rights" because nothing is sacred, in exchange for the best position of servitude available anywhere on this demoralized planet- right here in America. This is an indictment that these United States are in line to get what she deserves as 'cause & effect' are not restricted to engineering principals only. Immorality can be cumulative, but so is morality. The tide of all this, in either direction is created by what our Society promotes & by our laws. If we know which direction we want to go its time to prove it. Just accept these words as fact, not as rhetoric & we all have a chance at the change we need in America.

Lest anyone imagine Humanism is the new standard for morality, just remember that they are 100% on the Secular/Civic/Collectivist side of this teeter totter society. If left alone they will discount & devalue Individual's Rights "for the greater good". No, it is tolerance for the Religious Rights, beliefs & practices of others (as learned after hard experience by our Founding Fathers) that promotes competition of ideas & self expression, & prosperity, not a misguided tolerance of immorality & its attendent enchroachments on our Rights which always scream the loudest for us to tolerate.

Here again you may be tempted misjudge me by your filters: I am not for some manmade theocracy to impose anyones beliefs on others. Rather my political trust is in the majority of the American people to judge & regulate their own affairs if ever they are actually given the chance. That chance can only be through Unity of the majority on core principal. The exceptions to the rule & variations of application are subordinate, not dominate to the process. The only alternative ultimately speaking is SERVITUDE (slavery-financial & otherwise). Realization of this must sweep the nation or we will drink those bitter dregs!

So what is the "rule" that requires national unity & then how do we get there from here? We are indebted to those Founding Fathers who believed & sacrificed to harmonize their political understanding to the point that as a new nation America was once willing to set aside personal interests (VOLUNTARILY) to weld together with the interests of their neighbors on clearly defined principals of our Founding Documents. They themselves testified of a Divine Providence that sustained their labors- even miraculously. It was not self serving or agrandizing to give Divine Providence the credit- it was a debt of conscience they owed. What was their object in creating a unified nation? Of course there was variation from person to person & from region to region, but the Uniting Concept was "Individual Moral Agency" (freedom of each individual to chart his own course within the moral limits of justifiable Law, neither impacting nor detracting from the rights of others). In the light of true freedom we are AGENTS UNTO OURSELVES BOUND IN CONTRACT/ CONSTITUTION to make government the protector (servant) of these very rights for all of us. So we need beg the leave of no man to choose our own beliefs or our own words. But today many encrouchments succeed to overthrow the soveregnty of "We the people...". It all boils down to whether or not America will sustain inviolate- WHOLE PERSON RIGHTS of a nation of individuals whose voluntary associations are obligated & capable to meet all social needs whenever we merit the benefits of Divine Providence.

But you may say: 'this is nothing new & has failed to produce the results you suggest'. In the words of Ronald Reagan: "Has the system realy failed us or have we failed the system?" America has been on autopilot so long that she failed to exercise her rights over government to keep it on course to protect ALL those rights. That was paramount but she has failed to do it (consuming freedom instead of primarily re-producing freedom). Human Rights should always be revolutionary against the status quo. Freedom from government violations is not to be found in-- "we must trust your eleccted officials", but it is more attainable through a pervasive attitude of-- "keep your hands off"! This is uncomfortable & requires vision to take us to each new level.

One result of this autopilot neglect was the pityfull attempts by Unions to protect the Rights of workers by subjugating them under the hands of Union Bosses! The Workers lost their individual voice with the loss of their individual Rights. 'Just surrender your right to be your own man & we will provide what you need' (never mind who & what you are, or what you think; Remember- "you cross this line you will bleed for it"). Morality in politics cannot be separated from morality in the streets, or from morality in the home. The very foundation of America is the Natural Family. We should quit trying to appease the 'morality neutral' agenda because it is a farce that will overthrow our right to have a moral society as defined by the majority (but within the limits of our Founding Documents upon which all else has been built). So how is morality going to secure our Freedom & overturn the abuses of the past before it is too late? Again, Ronald Reagan: "The answers to our problems don't require special genius, the answers are simple but they are not easy to do..." [sorry this is only paraphrased here, but the intent is the same as shown]. I submit that the answers are much more easily complied with than having to suffer the only alternative left to us- servitude. Once this is widely acknowledged the doorway begins to open.

Then, a widespread philosophy of equality treasured by the majority will be essential (fully predefined so that copycat politicians cannot immitate it with platitudes & double entendre to establish opposition to those original principals- as Obama & his Obamacrats are doing). Only that true philosphy of equality through individuality, will allow consensus through leaderhip & core principals to take its proper place institutionally at all levels of society.

Where do we begin? First, challenge the conventional wisdom that Secularism will protect us. It has never been the basis of a truly free soceity that was successfull in perpetuating itself; And there is no evidence that it ever will (probably because nothing is sacred or inviolate by it's very premise). It is nothing more than a bag of promises, a pig in a polk, a Bill Of Goods only! More than that it is vanity & flattery that government has the right to do anything it chooses, & only government can solve this or that crisis. Take away "gov has the RIGHT" & what is secularism, only an arrogant servant bent on dominating his aging master.

But what about my secular/civic rights, are they not included in Whole Person Rights? Yes! Yes! Yes! And that is part of the key to the vital changes America needs! How so?

There is no option here so I define it as the "ZERO OPTION BALANCE" where Religious Rights must be kept on a level & equal balance with Non-Religious, Secular & Civic Rights!!! I also call it the "ZERO BALANCE OPTION" because if we let either side of this "balance" tip the scale against the other side Our Rights are put under attack. But some may ask: "If morality is part of the key answer why not make Religious Rights the only standard of value?" Because there is no virtue or value in coerced conversions, nor is there freedom in any society that trys to force any of its citizens to believe anything gov dictates! How can I be My Own Agent to make my own choices on the most critical matters of life & death, if "the Village" retains all such powers to itself at every level & for every cause? There is no virtue in choosing to believe if that belief or practice is forced upon me anyway! So the Rule Of Freedom must include that gov & Individuals cannot unduly impact or destroy the Rights of others (including the right ot choose what we believe & practice). This is exemplified by Jewish Americans, many of whom freely acknowledge that their enjoyment of their Rights are only enhanced & magnified BECAUSE OF the Christian American Political Tradition- NOT IN SPITE OF IT. So also, every American who is an Atheist or otherly minded Individual would have the greatest assurance & reasons beyond debate to place their whole political/secular confidence in the Traditional American Values & Principals of Freedom as described in Whole Person Rights & the Zero Option Balance. Here there is no nead to take offence at opposing belief systems (no matter how obsurd) because your own veiws would then enjoy the same "hands off" treatment from your government! Only support of the Zero Option Balance / Zero Balance Option protects ALL of our Rights & ALL Americans equally. Every person committed to that same equality must acknowledge it OR offer something more true to the cause. John Thulin / 1-17-09 z1jst@msn.com

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#43
In reply to #41

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/17/2009 1:56 PM

John -- Looks like our debate is getting somewhat off topic into a broader more philosophical area. Your last comments deserve a better read than I have given them at this point. It appears that both of us are inclined to misread the other; or perhaps we are still groping for a way to convey our positions more efficiently through our commentaries.

I hasten to add that my general position is that idealism has an important place. However we translate it into action, either via ideology, scientific logic or some combination of the two there most be lots of pragmatism in the recipe for success to be achieved. And here the "success" we speak of goes back to the original construct of the "ideal" wherein must lie the definition of that success.

And of inalienable human rights.......is that the only component of the formula? What of human responsibilities?

I think you and I agree on more than we realize. More on this later.

Ed Weldon

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#4

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

12/31/2008 3:35 PM

oh yeah - Detroit has fought CAFE standards since the '70s.

Then guess what? Gas prices spiked and they went bankrupt.

The problem with Detroit is simple. They make inferior cars.

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#6

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

12/31/2008 11:35 PM

The initial entry is pretty obvious fare from Detroit. Do they pay these guys to insert this stuff? Didnt Detroit accept millions and millions from the government to make a hybrid, wasted the effort, got the Japanese interested who now have the market to themselves. The past 8 years has shown that there are regulations, but without regulators its all hogwash, hence the Hummer, the Escalade, etc etc, and, ipso facto, bankruptcy.

d

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#8
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Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/01/2009 12:38 AM

Unlike the 70's oil embargo, this is a different time we are living in.

With housing sales down, the economy and economic forecast as disamal as it is, and is projected to be for a long time............ Americans and others are shaken in a much more frightening way than they ever have been.

I know that the American auto makers know, that the tipping point of the SUV rage is over.

......... it's over, even with todays low gas prices. We still have travel trailers and boats to tow, so they will still be made........... just less of them.

We saw how quickly fuel prices could rise, and the "average Joe" does not want to get caught up with 6 year payments on a heavy fuel user. The future is now officially unpredictable.

If fuel prices stay relatively low and at least 'affordable'.............. we will still continue to see progress towards more alternatives and see more fuel efficient vehicles being produced. Government mandates are not needed. The consumer sees a different future, and the "Big 3" have had a whoopin' like never before in their existance.

The American automakers got caught up in the almost instantanious failing of the housing and stock markets. So if the economic wrecking ball had never started rolling, the US automakers would not be struggling. Why have we forgotten that the Automakers we not the ones that started the downhill spiral?

Yes they were arrogant, yes irresponsible to....... but the horrific and even more irresponsible downfall of our financial system was caused by government 'mandates' on housing loans.......... mandates to make loans to those that could not really afford to own homes.................. the government took down the last straws put in place by the auromakers and their unions.

Government mandates on automakers are forcing the auto companies to go down the road of government mandates on housing.

The auto companies need total internal restructuring to prove they will be a good candidate for a government loan.

................. just don't let congress insist that they produce another Edsel in order to qualify for that loan.


I must admit that I am a bit ignorant of the CAFE standards of recent years............ Are they about clean air to breath, or are they more about the more recent highly questionable "global warming" issues?

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#9
In reply to #6

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/01/2009 12:41 AM

i believe that the problem lies in the fact that the consumers calm their concience by attending the church or synagogue, instead of taking care and being more resposible for the creation that means to consume less!

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#7

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/01/2009 12:33 AM

Nobody ever held a gun to anybodies head to force them to buy a Hummer or an Escalade. However, congress forces Detroit to make cars that people do not want. What's next, forcing the public to buy them?

Simple reality is that people, consumers if you will, do not want to pay what Ford, GM and Chrysler charge for the cars they have to sell. If the American automakers build cars that American consumers want at a price they we willing to pay, then we'll buy them. But, if some other company in some other nation can build a car that we'd rather have at a price we'd rather pay, then that's where we'll spend our money. If the US auto industry is to survive, they need to figure out how to do this again, and the government needs to get the hell out of the way and let them get on with it.

Remember, in 1965 you could walk into a Ford dealership with less than $3000 and drive away with a brand new Mustang. Now a new 2009 Mustang is going to cost you something on the order of $28,000!

The point is that consumers want what they want, not what congress or well meaning environmental groups or anyone else tells them they should want. If I want a 3/4ton diesel 4x4, I don't need some tree-hugger or congress-pimple telling me that I WILL buy a hybrid.

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#12
In reply to #7

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/01/2009 3:27 AM

DrMoose -- So a Mustang now costs 10 times what it did in 1965. A starting engineer salary has gone up by the same ratio. That's the inflation that let us all pay off our mortgages with cheaper money. I think the new Mustang is a better deal. Look at all the new technology that wasn't there in 1965. Far as I can tell it's just as fast if not faster. Anyone got the exact stats on comparative mileage or quarter mile times? So what's the complaint? Yes, I know. We could fix the 65 Mustangs ourselves. Now we have to pay a mechanic that makes a bigger salary than an engineer for any work more complex than an oil change.

Should people be able to want whatever they want? Sure. Should they be able to buy exactly what they want? No, not if the car they want has too much of a negative impact on others. That's the kind of society we live in. What's too much? Well, we can fight over that. We should. The environmentalists have their place. I just wish they'd stay in it and stick to the logic of the situation. Unfortunately too many of them don't. So we have to fight back.

BTW, I don't think hybrids are for everyone, especially if your objective is to minimize your transportation costs or haul a lot of stuff (like me). Actually I wish I could afford a 3/4 ton 4x4 diesel pickup instead of the '78 GMC longbed with the 9mpg rat motor sitting in my driveway.

So are fuel mandates needed? Sure, until we figure out how to quit sending dollars to the middle eastern oil producers who hate us and quit pumping too much CO2 into the air. Are they responsible for the automakers' problems? I stand by my previously stated argument that they are not.

Ed Weldon

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#13
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Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/01/2009 3:53 AM

you are too frank and forthright in expressing the fact and root cause of the problem i am shure many wont see eye to eye with you i am gald at least one member is expressing the facts.

crm

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#14
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Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/01/2009 5:36 AM

You seem to be blaming the government mandates for Detroit's woes but their problem really dates back to the 50's when they were making so much cash that they thought they could afford gold plated union contracts that would look after every worker for life - whether they worked or not.

THAT's what's hurting them now.

The govt mandates are ALL abided by Toyota and Honda et al, so you can't blame those rules for the state that Detroit has got itself into.

It's true that the govt rules add costs to every car built but, if, as you put it, the govt was to get out the way, that would benefit Toyota and Honda just as much, if not more, than it would Detroit.

The money just given to Detroit is going down the drain along with Detroit, and it would be better to pull it back and let them sink without that last desperate line of cash that they are trying to fool themselves is going to save them.

Detroit's day is over, welcome to the new world order.

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#15
In reply to #7

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/01/2009 5:42 AM

You seem to be blaming the government mandates for Detroit's woes but their problem really dates back to the 50's when they were making so much cash that they thought they could afford gold plated union contracts that would look after every worker for life - whether they worked or not.

THAT's what's hurting them now.

The govt mandates are ALL abided by Toyota and Honda et al, so you can't blame those rules for the state that Detroit has got itself into.

It's true that the govt rules add costs to every car built but, if, as you put it, the govt was to get out the way, that would benefit Toyota and Honda just as much, if not more, than it would Detroit.

The money just given to Detroit is going down the drain along with Detroit, and it would be better to pull it back and let them sink without that last desperate line of cash that they are trying to fool themselves is going to save them.

Detroit's day is over, welcome to the new world order.

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#22
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Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/01/2009 3:19 PM

Nobody ever held a gun to anybodies head to force them to buy a Hummer or an Escalade. However, congress forces Detroit to make cars that people do not want.

No but greedy Detroit has their army of salesmen to promote their products. Detroit doesn't want to promote cheap inexpensive cars. Too little profit. Instead they promote the big luxury cars and SUVs because they can make more money. Remember the super salesman who could sell refrigerators to Eskimos? Well he works for GM now.

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#11

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/01/2009 2:36 AM

i would blame emission regulations its assumed that exhaust from the cars and vehicles are responsible for air pollution leading to global warming the real cause of global worming is the greed of real estate dealers and builders who has demolished large forests all over the earth,assisted by companies like caterpillars who had an engine division dedicated for cutting down 100s of Hectors of forests in a day . known as forestry machines , this was done to create more industries,Houses and commercial buildings, and disposable income group of people to own these properties by destroying the forests the green trees in the forests which were absorbing all most all of carbon dioxide and other gases have vanished result is Carbon dioxide released from the vehicle exhaust is blamed and engine manufacturers are forced to spend billions of dollars to design and develop new technology ,(and new type of diesel ultra low sulfur diesels further complicating the engine manufacturer's to develop fuel injection technology's to meet emission norms,Only companies that have racked in huge profits are oil companies and fuel injection system manufacturers )which cant be.you cannot control all parameters sulfur oxides,oxides of carbon, NOx &particulates during combustion of a fuel.you cant dictate terms to natural process of combustion which is controlled by Mother nature.its a marketing fad which is selling green fuel,green engine etc.

crm

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#21
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Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/01/2009 1:19 PM

Crm,

In the late 1950's to early 1960's, the skies in the Los Angeles basin were hard to see through. At times, nearby mountains were invisible. (My parents were born there; I was there often.) The earliest emission standards mandated then were done when the relative contributions from industry, homes, transportation, and agriculture were very uncertain. Many people complained. However, the air quality did improve. Since then the proportions from the various sources have become much better understood and automobiles have been found to be a major contributor. Today these skies can be hard to see through, but that is in the presence of many times more people and vehicles.

Health problems from the various components of "smog" are local and can be severe. Environmental problems are local, regional, and global. You would be right to say that the sources of environmental degradation are many and far from being just automobile transportation. At times, approaches to mitigate these problems have been equally harmful or have not even worked.

However, automobile emissions limits, restricting sulfur content of fuel, and increasing fuel efficiency requirements have all been helpful and their net environmental and economic impact has been positive. Please note that many manufacturers and business managers have been surprised to find that steps they were required to take for lower pollution have actually resulted in lowered costs or increased profits.

Regards--JMM

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#23
In reply to #11

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/01/2009 9:32 PM

"i would blame emission regulations its assumed that exhaust from the cars and vehicles are responsible for air pollution leading to global warming the real cause of global worming is the greed of real estate dealers and builders who has demolished large forests all over the earth,assisted by companies like caterpillars who had an engine division dedicated for cutting down 100s of Hectors of forests in a day . known as forestry machines , this was done to create more industries,Houses and commercial buildings, and disposable income group of people to own these properties by destroying the forests the green trees in the forests which were absorbing all most all of carbon dioxide and other gases have vanished result is Carbon dioxide released from the vehicle exhaust is blamed and engine manufacturers are forced to spend billions of dollars to design and develop new technology"

I wish the media would allow someone to remind everyone that in about 2003, it was discovered that the rise in Co2 levels precedes global warming periods by about 800 years.

The previous Co2 level estimations from ice core samples were, lets just say..... just a weee bit off. ...........Al Gore had that info avaolable to himself, but forgot to report it in his wonderful movie.


I live in the USA, in a small town in Oregon. We used to be the worlds largest lumber exporting port in the world back in the late 50's and early 1960's. Lots of logging, but we are required to replant logged areas, and we plant 3 to 5 times more new trees than we cut..... as it should be. For us, it's for sustainabily not Co2 issues.

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#27
In reply to #23

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/03/2009 1:16 AM

Good Answer. I believe it is politics and power that drives the "Global Warming" hysteria. The greatest threat is going too far the other way: the Earth has been frozen in the past far more often than it has been too warm.

Regards, Dragon

P.S. Sorry, I forgot to rate this off topic

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#16

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/01/2009 9:11 AM

I personally don't buy American cars because I find them to be inferior and not any cheaper than other brands. Why would I buy a bad product for more money than a good product? I have a bottom of the line Saturn and a bottom of the line Toyota and the differences are noticeable between them. Saturn is only 4 years old and has already had fuel injection issues, loose body parts, blown power steering, etc. The Toyota is 8 years old and has had the tires and battery replaced.

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#20

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/01/2009 12:32 PM

Fuel mandates are not the whole answer. Fuel consumption will take care of itself as soon as more smaller fuel consuming cars are on the road. Sure, it's only natural for people to want big luxury, comfortable go anywhere cars, but the public must be made to understand the honeymoon is over. In Europe and elsewhere, there are two classes of cars. One is a small economical car that everyone can afford and the other is the less economical, luxury car that only a few can afford. A drastic price difference in the two types of cars keeps a sensible balance of fuel efficiency by the public. In effect, the government through taxaction can get the public into smaller economical cars and penalize the rich for driving luxury cars. Why does everyone in the U.S. have to have a luxury car? Not everyone lives in a mansion.

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#29

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/06/2009 1:32 PM

How the automakers and the Federal Government responded to the mandate is the root of the problem. Good cars were built to meet requirements only not to be sold. Japan's response met the challenge better. The oil demand rose when congress lowered mandates for Trucks and SUVs. One stumble forward a big jump back. $$$$$$Billions$$$$$$$ of profits to Oil. The fuel used once then discharged out the tail–pipe.
Hybrids are only avoided because battery technology is controlled by the oil industry. With electric assist drive we could get plenty of performance and only need a two cylinder clean diesel. The combustion part of the car would be a backup source to the plug-in vehicle. Diesel has more power to weight and does not evaberate or turn to varnish when stored. We will build a new industry to see how many times we can reuse that little trapped electron. The control grid will get a new appreciation and needed attention.

Fuel prices would drop, as thirsty SUV will not stay the major consumer. The Oil companies likely make $$$$$$$Billions$$$$$$$$ controlling electric storage devices for the Hybrids. Standard oil has a good thin film for the Ultra capacitors. Sorry but I think the gas station might turn into $tarbuck$.
Oil will be the cheapest exploitable energy for years, but it is very dirty.

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#30

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/09/2009 12:39 AM

Dr. Moose is on the right track. "Government is not the solution to the problem, government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan. Congressional fuel-economy mandates are just one contributor to the woes of American auto manufacturers. Such requirements should be set by the customers, not unconstitutionally dictated by the so-called experts in Washington.

There are other more significant problems easily traceable to government. Among them:

Mandatory union shop laws in Michigan and other states where the (formerly) Big Three build their plants. It is no coincidence that the foreign brands are far more competitive since their plants are generally located in right-to-work states. State and federal labor laws have stacked the deck in favor of the UAW monopoly, which of course abused its power to force its customers to accept unreasonable contracts.

Ruinous state taxes in Michigan, coupled with an unrealistic state government that foolishly seeks to solve its (surprise!) deficit by making taxes even higher. This hurts both corporations and their employees. The smart people are leaving that state as fast as they can.

Excessive Federal corporate and capital gains taxes make this nation and corporations based here less competitive with foreign corporations. Ditto for our burdensome business regulatory structure. I have seen many investor documents labeled off-limits to U. S. citizens due to our SEC rules - even for companies primarily doing business in the U. S. Sarbanes-Oxley reporting requirements make it more difficult for U. S. business to operate compared to those in other countries. Poorly designed Federal and state regulations are a major reason for the short-term view that pervades most large American business units. It's time for Congress and state legislatures to do proper cost-benefit analyses on all of this and rewrite the rules with a proper respect for the Constitution and the rights of the people.

The tendency for a busybody Congress to stick its nose into every problem is perhaps one of the greatest causes of the culture of corruption that pervades Washington. If manufacturers and unions could divert the millions of dollars they spend on lobbying and campaign contributions to research and development, we'd get much better products. I like to say that the best way to reduce the influence of business money on politics is to reduce the influence of politics on business.

Our original clean-air laws were based only on parts-per-million emissions instead of total emissions and limited the number of options open to automotive engineers. This led to absurd designs such as the air injection reactor that actually increased pollution by causing more fuel to be burned to run the stupid thing. Clean air laws are good if they prevent drivers from fouling the air that everyone else breathes, but they must be based on good science and allow the designers freedom to fulfill their intent by the most practical means available. They ought not to be written such that it is economically impossible to meet their mandates. President Reagan signed into law a number of improvements to the original Clean Air Act despite the howls of the environmentalists, and those changes coupled with technology advances led to much higher air quality and more practical and efficient car designs. If you don't believe me, try riding a bike right behind a 1960s car, a late 1970s car, and a newer vehicle. You'll know the difference right away! There are lessons to be learned here by those who would try to write rules for fuel economy.

Government is not the only offender in this mess. There are also a number of problems that can be laid squarely at the feet of both labor and management at Chrysler, GM and Ford. One is an unwillingness to accept new ideas from others. Mention the "Not-invented-here" syndrome, and the first thing that comes to mind is an American automobile engineering team. They should be asking their customers what they want and need before they design vehicles instead of assuming that people will buy whatever junk they push out the door.

An unwillingness to sacrifice plant investments in mandatory union states is one of the reasons the manufacturers signed bad labor contracts. This topic has been amply discussed by everyone except the culprits.

The American companies have the attitude that a low cost automobile has to be shoddy, built with inferior materials used in unserviceable designs with poor durability. That must change if they want to keep a broad customer base.

These are some of the criticisms. The bottom line is that fuel economy mandates per se are not the root of the problem, but they are part of the rule structure for the industry that is the problem. I have some suggestions for improvements at the corporate level, but those are more apropos to the topic "Can the U. S. Auto Industry be Saved?"

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#31
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Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/10/2009 10:27 PM

Very Good Answer. "Here, Here!!" and all that.

Regards Dragon

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#32

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/14/2009 8:33 AM

FUEL MANDATES CAN BE SERVICED BY MANY MEANS. If detroit cant build a hybrid that cost less than a regular car then get rid of detroit. i convert bikes, motor bikes and classic cars to manual hybrids a couple of times it cost from $500 for a bike to $12000 for a car. what.. people cant read a volt meter and turn on their generators when the battery are low? detroit killed the electric car that people were staning in line for in cali. detroit built crap for big bucks when the suv craze was in its height now doDge is selling rams in miami for buy one get one free. i can go to you-tube and see some one make a hydrogen generator with a lemon and a salt shaker but its years away...b.s. i have been using a hydrogen welder for platnum for 20 years but its years away ehhh... detroit manipulated the laws in cali in congress and anywhere they went.. they let people burn in ford pintos and even newer models bucause of -cost effectivness models- they WHEN run wich says so many law suits for killling and burning people cost less than fixing the problems... detroit can go back to the hell they created for us and them selves .. WHY DOESENT THE OIL INDUSTRY THAT RAPED US ALL LAST YEAR BAIL THEM OUT. they certainly have detroit to thank for those big profits ...they got the flow now help-out you bros, but dont ask youR victoms to bail you out....AMERICA HAS HAD IT WITH DETROIT.

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#33
In reply to #32

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/14/2009 11:07 AM

Spotsart,

I read anger in your post. Regarding oil company versus congress "bailing-out" the big-3, I believe a careful research will show a lot of mixing between the two, in terms of stock ownership. So, if "big oil" owns a significant piece of the "big-3" it is certainly to their financial advantage to see a bailout instead of a bankruptcy.

--JMM

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#34

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/14/2009 11:49 AM

Some of the Blogs state (and I agree) that all of the Big 3 said that they do not read or consider any ideas outside of their own Company! I consider that this is a blattant refusal to think outside the BOX? When gas got up to $4.00 a gallon almost everyone started to think outside the BOX until the price went down but still it is much above what it could go too. Why?

Trying to think outside the box spured me into action. Work on my 1995 F150 started to show the obvious, it is operating around 25% efficent, and several months and dollars later the originally accurately measured 14.2 MPG is now accurately measuring 46.6 MPG and with a witness on board. If someone can do this with a volt meter, screwdriver, scope and soldering gun why can't the Big 3 do it?

Does it make you think about "The Dept. of Energy", founded during the Carter administration, with their assigned objective of "Reducing the United States" dependency on "Foreign Oil" has come anywhere close to their assignment? I read that they spent over $150 Billion to date. Have they done a good job? If you are still working, would your employer consider you a useful employee? Would you be terminated?

Wonder why a certified auto repair shop refuses to work on any car/truck that has any modifications ? Not to mention that the emissions have gone down and technically the vehicle has been classified as being in the "Green" catagory. If we can impact the enviroment by drastically cleaning up the emmssions on all cars on the road and reduce the consumption of gasoline/Diesel/Bio etc. why do the shops live in fear that they will lose their permit to inspect cars? I still like the idea of another "Boston Tea Party".

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#38

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/15/2009 7:14 AM

Interesting; I spend $35,000 on an american branded car and I know it will be reliable , on the other hand I could spend $12,000,000 on a business jet and I would expect some small thing to go wrong every flight. I don't have a real problem with paying the people that actually produce any product and I will continue to buy what I like if it falls into my affordable range. Last time I checked however, paying an executive many millions of dollars in bonuses without regard for the success of the company will ONLY result in failure. Lee Iaccoca got paid in shares of stock, his pay was directly related to the success of the company and Chrysler was indeed successful. Maybe there is a clue there. If you pay for failure you will surely get it. The UAW may seem expensive but they are at least doing what they are supposed to do and that is build high quality products with what the company provides them. Every company in every industry has standards to deal with, standards are not the major problem. Government meddling is a problem, both the auto and defense industries are corporate welfare babies because they both know that the government will be there to bail them out. In addition, where ever the government gets too involved in the regulation of industry there is a serious lack of innovation, initiative and focus, nothing kills motivation to innovate and succeed quite like a safety net. CAFE standards don't work because if the government wants you to average 25 MPG you will when in reality you could average 27 or even 30. As an example , I would encourage you to look at the ford focus and compare the american and european versions, we could have a more efficient version but CAFE standards don't require it and Ford does not want the standard to increased because in government, if you set your standards higher than you have to you will always have to maintain that standard. Market cycles will not support that. At the end of the day the only truly effective method of market control is natural selection, let the market have it's ups and downs and may the strong survive.............it worked for mankind until we invented government.

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#44
In reply to #38

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/20/2009 4:04 PM

"Government meddling is a problem, both the auto and defense industries are corporate welfare babies because they both know that the government will be there to bail them out."

I currently work for a Defense R&D firm that went from 170 Employees to 6 in 1990 when the Research dollars dried up. The only way they stayed afloat is by selling scrap metals and working part time or for free. I'd prefer that you to validate your accusations in your posts.

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#40

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/15/2009 4:35 PM

The big problem is we are importing too much oil. How do we change that? Oil is an easy resource to exploit. The automakers empires are built around building and servicing powerful combustion engines. Monopolistic influences will resist change.

The oil companies have some influence on potential technologies to increase efficiency.
NiMH battery patent –Invented by Ovonics- bought by GM- sold to Texaco- bought up by Standard oil - sues companies like Panasonic to control manufacturing and licensing. Chevron has control of technology of a thin film separators used for Li-ion and Ultra capacitors. The bottom line is, to many Lobbyist, Lawyers, and Politicians have to much influence on our choices.
The US engineers and assembly line workers could come to the consumers rescue if our priorities become clear.
Our economy should be based on efficiency not consumption (wasteful) .
Our Government revenues and corporate profits are based on mass consumption making it hard to get off the oil habit.
I welcome Fuel Mandates to encourage competition from as many sources as possible to establish new efficiencies and more choices. The potential to reduce fuel consumption for transportation is available now.

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#42

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

01/17/2009 1:18 PM

Maybe this is the answer........

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAqPMJFaEdY

Ed Weldon

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#45

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

02/08/2009 10:09 PM

In Canada the citizens get Healtcare from their government. In the US they get it from the company they work for. If I was to have a good design for a car that would sell in the US market. I'd build it in Canada. A car for the US market needs to be able to get up and down mountains. Family size in the US is often 4 to 6. Depression migrations have happened in the US. No where to go now. All places are equally distressed. West and East the same. Youth in conflict over jobs with the old. Working Classes of honest work beat on by all politicos. You can get there if you slow down. Tata model makes sense. Smart car makes sense. No where to flee. Up the mountain slow. How's the brakes. Where the transmission? Auto with fluid down the hill, the mountain does not burn up. Slow and steady. Hey, yeah, now we're here. Nothing to do. Past gone. Future here. What really is a car for? I use mine to get to work.

P.S. Kia broke down. Honda broke down. Both at shop. Which to Fix? Mechanic will call. Borrowed truck. Limping on. Older and smart. Have little hope. Natural death approved. Cheery day. Weather good...

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#46
In reply to #45

Re: Are Fuel Mandates the Root of Automakers' Problems?

02/09/2009 12:37 PM

I love it,

Gave a GA. So tell me, is your trance ending yet.

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