English Comp. C101-05 -- Assignment 1 -- January 2013

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Assignment 1
January 25, 2013
Composition – ENG* C101-05
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Are the new-car fuel economy rules, recently finalized by the Obama administration, more about preserving the environment or are they more about the money? After reading an article written by Brad Tuttle, titled “How the New MPG Standards Will Affect Drivers, Automakers, Car Dealerships & More,” Time, 30 August 2012, it seems that society cares more about the money aspect then the original, environmental, reasons behind why people wanted more miles to the gallon. These new “CAFÉ” (corporate average fuel economy) standards demand that all new automobiles are made to get at least 54.5 by 2025.

An analyst for the car-research site TrueCar.com, has been quoted referring to the new rules as a “win-win-win for everybody, meaning, a win for consumers, and manufacturers, as well as the environment.” However, it still appears that some will profit more than others. Some have even said that the new regulations actually represent a loss. Some examples of likely effects due to these regulations are following

Drivers will have to pay an estimated average of $3,000 more to purchase a new vehicle when fully implemented according to recent studies by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). However, this is four times less than what NADA had originally predicted. Still, NADA estimates that approximately 7 million people will not be able to purchase a new vehicle due to the price increase. It’s also been said that “if this rule suppresses new vehicle sales, achieving the nation’s greenhouse gas and energy security goals will be needlessly delayed.” Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has made it apparent that he does not agree with the new regulations. One of Romney’s spokespeople has even been quoted as describing the regulations as “extreme,” adding, “The president tells voters that his regulations will save them thousands of dollars at the bump but always forgets to mention that the savings will be wiped out by having to pay thousands of dollars more upfront for unproven technology that they may not even want”, in a statement to MLive.com.

In spite of initial costs for one of these new cars requiring more money upfront, they are da is the only that an improvement of 5 mpg would save over $500 per year for a person who drives an annual total of 15,000 miles. Consumer Reports, claims that while new car prices will increase, this increase would be offset by fuel savings. The government indicates that drivers will save approximately $8,000 over the life of one of these vehicles due to the mandated increase in mpg as opposed to a vehicle driven presently.

Currently hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles have the highest overall mpg ratings, and obviously will benefit when the new regulation take hold, however, they’re not the only vehicles likely to experience rising sales. A new tweak to the mpg standards gives extra credits, which can be used to bump up the manufacturers’ overall mpg average, to automakers selling natural-gas-powered vehicles in the U.S. Bloomberg reports that Honda is currently the only automaker selling such vehicles in the U.S. A Honda executive has been quoted saying that the credits make sense, not only because the incentives benefit Honda, but also because “a dedicated natural gas vehicle reduces CO2 emissions by 25% and petroleum consumption by 100%.”

Clean diesel care sales will increase as well. As it is the sales of clean diesel vehicles have already risen more than 25% since the first half of 2012. The Diesel Technology Forum (DTF) issued a statement welcoming these changes – and proclaiming that these vehicles will become more popular thanks to the changes. Allen Schaffer, DTF executive director, has been quoted saying that clean diesel autos are 20-40% more efficient than gasoline vehicles, causing diesel to become a major factor in the...
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