Friday, February 24, 2012

Obama: victim of circumstance or man of action

It all depends on the outcome.  If gas prices rise it's Bush's fault, Exxon, oil speculators, unrest in Iran, demand in Brazil, people buying big trucks, etc.  If they go down, it must be due to the GM bailout, Chevy Volt subsidies, and new fuel mileage standards.  Opinion Journal reviews Obama's latest slice of un-reality:
"The American people aren't stupid," thundered President Obama yesterday in Miami, ridiculing Republicans who are blaming him for rising gasoline prices. Let's hope he's right, because not even Forrest Gump could believe the logic of what Mr. Obama is trying to sell.
To wit, that a) gasoline prices are beyond his control, but b) to the extent oil and gas production is rising in America, his energy policies deserve all the credit, and c) higher prices are one more reason to raise taxes on oil and gas drillers while handing even more subsidies to his friends in green energy. Where to begin?
I'll take a shot at Obama taking credit for increasing fuel mileage standards to 55mpg.  NPR had an excellent series called "Getting to 55 MPG" that reviewed the challenges.  The first thing to remember is that this is level is for a carmaker's entire fleet average, meaning that the companies are going to have to churn out thousands of cars that few people want since hybrids and electric cars make up a tiny percentage of vehicles sold in America.  If you want to stick with a car that doesn't plug in, you're going to have to do without some, uh, comforts:
"Like, when was the last time you actually took your hand and rolled down a window?" she asks. "But now there's an expectation that every vehicle, even if it's an entry-level vehicle, will have that kind of creature comfort [power windows]."
Wooldridge says we expect our cars to heat faster in winter, to cool faster in summer, have seat warmers and plugs for two cellphones, maybe a DVD player, and - of course - have a radio.
So get ready for the return to stick shifting, America.  Or as Fark put it: "To get to 55mpg you'll have to give up power windows, heated seats, DVD entertainment, and AC that could freeze the Sahara.  But on your deathbed you will receive total consciousness."

So you got that goin' for ya.

Extra - Lots of stuff at Memeorandum.

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