Hennessey on CAFE

Excellent post, filled with detail, by Keith Hennessey on CAFE.  Some highlights:

The NHTSA analyses look at a range of benefits to society, including economic and national security benefits from using less oil, health and environmental benefits from less pollution, and environmental benefits from fewer greeenhouse gas emissions (this is new).  They also consider the costs, primarily from requiring more fuel-saving technologies to be included by manufacturers….

Rather than maximizing net societal benefits, [the Obama] proposal raises the standard until (total societal benefits = total societal costs), meaning the net benefits to society are roughly zero…

The Obama plan will increase costs enough to further suppress demand for new cars and trucks. This will cause significant job loss, and probably in the 150K 50K range over 5-ish years, with a fairly wide error band….[updated to reflect an error in calculation, AT]

The Obama option would reduce the global temperature by seven thousandths of a degree Celsius by the end of this century….[and] would reduce the sea-level rise by six hundredths of a centimeter.  That’s 0.6 millimeters.

Note that these points are all drawn from NHTSA work (see Hennessey's post for details) not from a "think tank" study.  Finally, Hennessey is concerned about the future:

…As early as this fall, greenhouse gases could become “regulated pollutants” under the Clean Air Act. Once something becomes a “regulated pollutant,” a whole bunch of other parts of the Clean Air Act kick in, and EPA is off to the races in regulating greenhouse gases from a much (much) wider range of sources, including power plants, hospitals, schools, manufacturers, and big stores.

One of the scariest elements of this is called the “Prevention of Significant Deterioration” permitting system. In effect, EPA could insert itself (or your State environmental agency) into most local planning and zoning processes. I will write more about this in the future. It terrifies me.


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