Administration. I went directly to their database to gather the informatinon.
I can only take you back to when Jimmy Carter was running for office but every single presidential candidate has said our economy and dependence on foreign oil would be their top priorities. But once elected, the issue of our dependence upon foreign oil is rarely heard from again until the next election. Now I have to say the republican party has gotten much more aggressive about taking on the problem by pursuing U.S. oil sources but keep in mind even when they had the House and Senate they didn't get it done which begs the question why?
Our government knows the best way we can reduce our need for oil is to have vehicles that use less gas - period. In 2011, it was estimated we consumed 134 billion gallons of gas (21% of world consumption); even a 5% increase in average fuel economy can reduce gas consumption by over 6.7 billion gallons.
So it’s easy to see that we can make a tremendous difference on reducing our dependency through improving fuel economy in the U.S. Even though our government has established new guidelines for automakers, fuel economy on average has only improved around 2.5% in the last ten years. As it stands now most passenger vehicles are supposed to get 30 MPG. But let’s face it we all know that it’s a game between the government and the auto industry because when have you ever gotten the MPG promised on your new vehicle’s sticker?
We should ask ourselves why haven’t we aggressively increased fuel economy so we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil? As I’ve mentioned in other blogs when you’re trying to figure things out, follow the money. And when it comes to politicians you not only need to follow the money but also follow the votes.
Here’s the ugly truth: Congress realized years ago that any increase in fuel economy has a tremendous impact on tax revenues because of their 18.5 cents a gallon federal tax. The 2.5% increase in fuel economy over the last ten years will negatively affect tax revenues by $3.7 billion dollars a year. So the question is what incentive does Congress have to really push towards more efficient vehicles?
Every year the auto industry receives new government standards for fuel economy based on vehicle class. It might surprise you to know that it hasn’t changed much over the last ten years. Plus, just how exactly are they punishing automakers for not achieving standards? I think it’s fair to assume the MPG standards they come up with each year is for political purposes more than anything else.
To prove they don’t really have an agenda of improving oil consumption (refined into gas of course) all you need to do is contact Volkswagen’s U.S. division. The vehicles they are already selling us (and built in the U.S.) can receive a different engine that gets over 70 MPG. You could call Ford and ask them the same thing. These high efficiency vehicles aren’t allowed to be sold in the U.S. so Ford and VW send them overseas instead.
This leads to another question: why aren’t these car dealers allowed to sell these vehicles in the U.S.? One of the people from VW said they were originally told they couldn’t sell them because emissions were 10% worse in these fuel saving vehicles. Ford and VW responded with a great question and that is: if fuel economy improved by 50% then wouldn’t emissions drop by 40%?
Not being able to argue this point, Congress then told them they couldn’t sell these vehicles for economic reasons and wouldn’t specify exactly what they meant. They were told it doesn’t affect them because they get to sell cars regardless. Both companies got tired of the bureaucracy so they caved in. My guess is that both companies ended up benefiting in some way with Congress giving them a little something to keep quiet. Congress certainly had a lot to work with being they would lose around $15 billion dollars of tax revenue a year if fuel economy reached even 50 MPG.
There’s another issue that isn’t nearly as dramatic as the potential reduction of tax revenues and that is the oil trade can be a good and a bad thing. Americans are concerned about the leverage OPEC has on us and I agree completely. But our government looks at it another way and that is we kind of own them as well.
Nations like Saudi Arabia are scared to death we’ll find a significant amount of oil here at home. This makes sense because the U.S. is by far everyone’s best customer. These oil producing countries have built significant economies (infrastructure) primarily off of oil so if we pull back, their economies will get in very bad shape which leads to very mad citizens.
We use this consumer leverage to gain strategic military access in an area that has a lot of leaders who are loose cannons. I don’t agree with this strategy because it’s yet another example of us trying to save the world. Countries in the middle-east and countries that surround this region need to police themselves. I hate to be selfish but their missiles aren’t headed our direction. The only real thing we get by being in the middle-east is hatred towards us for interfering. They already hate us anyway because we are allies with a country they want to wipe off the face of the earth. If we think we’ll ever have good relations in the middle-east we are just naive we’re stupid.
I hope you’re as disgusted about this as I am. Every time I turn around politicians are doing things that we’d be fired for in the real world. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that Governor Romney and President Obama will tout that they will decrease our dependence on foreign oil. They’ll say it will be a priority for their administration. Then like what has happened over the last twenty years, nothing will be done. They just count on taxpayers falling for it again and again. The things they do in Washington are a very clear signal to me they think we’re stupid.
It’s time for us to show them they’re wrong. It’s time for us to ask our legislators why we aren’t using vehicles that have 70+ miles per gallon especially since the vehicles are made right here in the U.S. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to hear their answers!