Environmental Machocism

The Government Wants to Tax You for Gas Consumption

We’ve all heard about how absurd and unfair it is of the government to mandate the corporate average fuel economy of vehicles made by new car manufacturers.  Known as CAFE, people have long called for the government to get the hell out of the business of telling car makers what to build.  Safety is one thing, but dictating how much gas mileage a vehicle gets is something else.

Not that long ago the federal government didn’t lose any sleep over how terrible a car’s MPG was.  CAFE comes from an idea which originated in the 1970’s, then was launched straight to sacred cow status by the 1990’s.  Plenty of very cool vehicles can’t be built by the companies simply because of CAFE, since the manufacturers can’t balance them with enough gas sipping cars on the other end.

Just to let you know, CAFE almost killed the Viper project, and keeps Hemi’s out of more vehicles.  It also helps make life more miserable for the rest of us.  If CAFE weren’t around, Ford would be building all their Mustangs with a minimum of a 429 and Chrysler would have their 600HP 426-style Hemis into almost everything.  Hell, even GTOs would have the 455 crammed in with twin turbos.  CAFE has been a huge pain in everyone’s ass since it was introduced.  Even Obama sucks on CAFE’s teets, mandating that cars all average 35MPG by 2018.  35MPG!  Most cars can’t even average close to that!  CAFE is forcing manufacturers to build cars they can’t sell in order to build cars they can sell.  It’s a delicate balancing act – the gas sucking cars must be counter balanced with cars that sip it like tea.

Then there’s the massive problem with CAFE being caused by all you “stupid consumers” as well.  You see, you’re not buying what you’re supposed to be buying.  The feds have this perfect world idea of what you need, and even though they do their best to shove it down your throat and ride your ass, you’re not buying those little putt-putt cars.

I guess we should just face the fact that we’re all morons, right?  Kind of like when you’re at Thanksgiving and there’s a ton of food on the table spread out in front of you.  There are all kinds of healthy and unhealthy options to choose from, but you know what you want.  You want that big chocolate cake in the middle of everything.  However, since this isn’t your first rodeo, you’re aware you are going to end up having to eat some of the green beans, carrots, and things like that before you get cake.

Obviously the feds have made sure there are a crap ton of lima beans and soy burgers, but all of us idiots are still guzzling down the cake without even touching the veggies.  So, guess what?  Like you’re mom did, if she was actively involved in your life, the feds are now looking for ways to smack you on the side of the head and make you eat those god damn veggies, or else you can’t have the cake.

CAFE was flawed from the moment of it’s inception, and it still is.  Just because a company is being forced to build a car with mandates from the government, there currently is no law that says you must buy it.  We live in a relatively free society (getting less free by the month), so you’re allowed to buy whatever it is you actually want.  As long as you can make the payments and afford the insurance, that is.  Despite those 40MPG micro-cars becoming available, there just aren’t many people stupid enough buy them.

Using the mentality of “If you build it, they will buy it”, CAFE was forced through.  There is a reason there aren’t any fast food restaurants with drive-thrus selling asparagus or movies in the theatre about how soda cans are manufactured.  The public doesn’t want any of that kind of crap.  You have to make a product that people actually want if you’re going to stay in business.  Well, get ready to get a taste for asparagus sprouts on a whole wheat bun, because the feds are thinking, and that is never good for any of us.

What’s being pondered is something called HAFE.  What is HAFE?  It stands for “Household Average Fuel Economy”.  HAFE would shift the burden of fuel efficiency from the manufacturers to you.  The auto makers could make absolutely any car they want, and you could still buy whatever it is that you want…as long as you can meet the federally mandated HAFE rating for your particular household, and you must uphold it.

Not getting it yet?  HAFE would work much the same way CAFE has worked, only now you are the target and not Chrysler or Ford.

The feds would take a look at your family: How many kids do you have? How far do you drive to work? How many vehicles do you own?  All those kinds of things, and then decide your vehicles must average 35MPG.  If you have a pickup and an SUV, then you’re not going to make it.  To balance out either one of those cars, you’d have to buy a micro Smart Car in order to balance it.  Oh, but that’s not all.  You’d have to drive the micro Smart Car an equal or even greater amount to actually satisfy the 35MPG mandate.

You see, possession isn’t enough under HAFE.  You actually have to meet the mandate or you’ll be fined.  This could be the biggest money grab ever dreamed up.  The formula for figuring out your HAFE is extremely over simplified in order to keep people from being scared, too.  Edward Lapham, of Automotive News fame writes, “If you own an SUV that gets about 20MPG and a mid-sized convertible that gets about 30MPG, and a compact sedan that gets about 40MPG, and you drive them all about the same distance in a year, your HAFE would be 30MPG.”

That seems awful reasonable and simple, right?  But, how many of you out there own three cars?  Collectors generally have more than three and many average people are lucky to have one.  What happens if you own a garage full of Road Runners and Barracudas?  Yep, you’re fucked.  Under HAFE you’d be taxed or penalized every year just for having a muscle car in your garage.  It’s basically a perpetual car note.

Let’s say the feds give you a HAFE of 25MPG and you only average 18MPG by years end.  That’s when the feds will be able to slap you with a tax penalty for not doing your part.  You’re not being taxed unfairly, since we have to be fair.  No, you’re being taxed for not doing your part to help the environment.  This is a deliciously tasty idea to Washington because it means they will have a brand new way of rounding up cash from everyone.  Also, the ones generally being affected will be the wealthy, who generally have vehicles with lower miles per gallon on average.

There’s a ton of things that this whole HAFE idea has not addressed.  For instance, what about the guy who needs a large dually to get his work done since he is in construction?  What if you’re a single female with a convertible Mustang and nothing else?  These things haven’t even been addressed yet.  All this goes to further prove that a politician with too much time on his/her hands is a dangerous thing.

Think it won’t or can’t happen?  Do you really think that people in the 1960’s thought that the government could ever mandate what hair spray is made of?  Let’s keep HAFE in the basement.  Politicians always want to keep their jobs, so contact them and tell them to kill the Pelosi agenda introduced HAFE immediately.  Let the free market run without these restrictions.  It’s what our founding father’s intended.

Posted 1/7/2011 at 6:13 AM on Xanga