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Bailout pt. 2: 50 MPG, 2 Standards, 1 Senseless Proposal

Tuesday November 18, 2008

More news related to the possible bailout of the US auto industry seems to suggest that the US federal government is either putting on a charade, or truly out of touch with reality in regards to the situation of the automotive industr, past, present and future. Latest comments from a senator aren’t exactly encouraging, in both that the possibility of any aid seems to be fading with every passing day, and in that there appears to be some kind of contempt for GM, Ford and Chrysler among the member of the US congress and senate. Either that, or those involved in the decision making are truly ignorant to both the realities of auto manufacturing and the situation/history of the Big Three.

Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida democrat, wants U.S. automakers to achieve a fleet average of 50 mpg by 2020. Right now, the CAFE target is 35 mpg by 2020 — a goal agreed upon only after a huge amount of jockeying in and out of Congress. Nelson asked, “Why should we be pouring taxpayer money into an automobile industry that has continued to resist higher miles per gallon, which has led us in part to the problems we’re in?”

Now, while demanding that the money be well spent is one thing, but to subject them to double standards is another. Why would the CAFE requirement be 35 mpg average by 2010, except for the Big Three, who would need to meet a CAFE requirement of 50 mpg? Apparently, the senator suggests that they should be given such mandates because they’ve been producing cars giving us low fuel efficiency and this caused the problem. Only thing is, let’s look at the fuel economy figures of a number of Big Three cars and competitors in the last 15 years.

  • 2009
    • Chevrolet Malibu – 22/33 mpg (I4) | 17/26 mpg (V6)
    • Dodge Avenger – 21/30 mpg (I4) | 16/27 mpg (V6)
    • Ford Fusion – 20/28 mpg (I4) | 18/26 mpg (V6)
    • Honda Accord – 21/30 mpg (I4) | 19/29 mpg (V6)
    • Hyundai Sonata – 22/32 mpg (I4) | 19/29 mpg (V6)
    • Mazda 6 – 21/30 mpg (I4) | 17/25 mpg (V6)
    • Nissan Altima – 23/31 mpg (I4) | 19/26 mpg (V6)
    • Toyota Camry – 21/31 mpg (I4) | 19/28 mpg (V6)
  • 1999
    • Chevrolet Malibu – 19/28 mpg (I4) | 17/26 mpg (V6)
    • Dodge Stratus – 18/28 mpg (I4) | 17/25 mpg (V6)
    • Ford Taurus – 17/26 mpg (OHV V6) | 16/24 mpg (OHC V6)
    • Honda Accord – 20/28 mpg (I4) | 18/26 mpg (V6)
    • Hyundai Sonata – 18/26 mpg (I4) | 17/26 mpg (V6)
    • Mazda 626 – 19/26 mpg (I4) | 18/24 mpg (V6)
    • Nissan Altima – 20/28 mpg (I4)
    • Toyota Camry – 20/28 mpg (I4) | 17/25 mpg (V6)
  • 1994
    • Chevrolet Lumina – 17/26 mpg (3.1L V6) | 15/24 mpg (3.4L V6)
    • Dodge Spirit – 19/24 mpg (I4) | 17/22 mpg (V6)
    • Ford Taurus – 17/26 mpg (3.0L V6) | 16/24 mpg (3.2L V6) | 17/26 mpg (3.8L V6)
    • Hyundai Sonata – 18/24 mpg (I4) | 16/22 mpg (V6)
    • Mazda 626 – 20/28 mpg (I4) | 18/24 mpg (V6)
    • Nissan Maxima – 17/24 mpg (V6)
    • Toyota Camry – 18/26 mpg (I4) | 16/23 mpg (V6)

One can look through these figures and quickly see that any difference is minute and there is no domestic vs. import divide in fuel efficiency, despite what seems to be perpetuated by some people such as this senator. You would think that it would be in the best interest of everyone that those involved in the decision making be educated on the matter, rather than base their thoughts and stance on myth/misconceptions.

So with those in power unable and unwilling to see, hear or speak the truth, one can’t help but wonder where this will lead and whether or not there will actually be any kind of bailout of the auto industry. One might argue that the government is opposed to throwing money at supposedly private corporations, but why did they award an $85 billion bailout to AIG?

Surely, if they are able and willing to hand $85 billion to ONE company, they could give the automakers the relatively small $25 billion without much fuss.

But, the automakers aren’t needed, right? I mean, nobody outside of Detroit would even notice, right? No one outside of Michigan would even care, and the very next day would be a day like any other for the vast majority of people, right? Wrong! This video lists some points about how the disappearance of the Big Three might impact the US. Of course, take that as you will and feel free to form your own opinions. But don’t think for a second that there would be no effect to the US at large, or even the world outside the US, in some ways.

Again, why is granting a loan to your own automotive industry so hard? The financial companies have been bailed-out in no time flat, despite being the cause of the current economic woes. Funny how the Big Three seem to catch all the flak from government officials for any of their problems being their fault somehow, but the economic sector causing its own collapse somehow doesn’t mean it’s their own problem? It just make sense…

These are… my two cents on the matter.

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