NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica is interviewed on 9/5/12 about new vehicular fuel economy standards on the Fox Business Network. Host is Gerri Willis. Here is a transcript:
GERRI WILLIS: No summer blues for car dealerships. Consumers driving up August auto sales 20% higher from a year ago. But will the White House’s new fuel efficiency standards put the auto industry’s progress into reverse? With more, Mark Modica, Associate Fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center. Welcome back to the show, Mark, great to see you. I want to show folks these efficiency standards. They are sort of shocking. So, right now 29.7 miles per gallon is what is required. By 2016, two years from now. 35, by 2025, 54.5. What do you make of that?
MARK MODICA: Well, it is quite a jump, and it’s going to cost consumers. Estimates are that this will raise the prices of cars between $3,000 and $4,800 per vehicle.
WILLIS: Wow. We can’t afford that.
MODICA: No, no we can’t.
WILLIS: Let’s talk about how many customers might actually leave the market if this happens.
MODICA: Well. Yes. I mean people are not going to be able to afford the cars, so you’re hurting the manufacturers as well as consumers. I think most importantly, you are not really helping with the problem because the way these standards are judged, it doesn’t matter how many of these cars with high mileage sell as long as the manufacturers make them, so a manufacturer can be selling cars that get thirty miles per gallon and then build a couple rated at 90 miles per gallon to offset it, but the consumers aren’t going to buy the cars, and the manufacturers can still meet the standards, but they’re just wasting their money building cars that just aren’t selling.
WILLIS: It sounds like ridiculous federal regulations that help nobody but it gives the politicians …
WILLIS: … something to brag about. Speaking of politicians, the president has weighed in on this regulation which he has touted. Here is what the president said.
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BARACK OBAMA: Not only does it save you money at the pump. It moves us closer to energy independence and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as all the cars in the world emit each year combined. It is a smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do.
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WILLIS: Well, the president said it’s the smart, right thing to do. Do you agree, Mark?
MODICA: I don’t think it is very smart, Gerri. We could look at the policies up until now. Look. We have had the Chevy Volt, we’ve had other plug-ins.
WILLIS: Nobody likes that car.
MODICA: Gas prices are higher now than they have ever been. The cars are not selling, so you are not doing anything to reduce oil consumption. There are 250 million passenger cars registered in America. Having a few thousand of these things on the road is doing nothing. You know, the Chevy Volt is well-known.
But Ford has a plug-in Focus Electric, Mitsubishi has a Mitsubishi I electric. Both of those cars sold less than fifty in August. The cars are not selling. They’re not spending the hundreds of millions of dollars producing and hyping the car that General Motors did with the Volt, but the Volt is the one that is actually selling more, and that car still sold one- tenth of what they’re best selling Chevy Crew sold. So these cards will be built because …
WILLIS: Nobody wants them.
MODICA: Because they’re …
WILLIS: People don’t want to pay. They cost too much. Well …
WILLIS: Thanks for bringing a story to us. Really appreciate it.
MODICA: Thanks, Gerri.
WILLIS: That’s those bureaucrats in Washington. They don’t know what they are talking about. Thank you.