Wednesday, May 20, 2009

CAFE--How Not to Save the Planet

Ok, tonight's message will be about the new CAFE standards and their perverse impact on the usage of fuel. I think there are some sectors of the economy which will be forced to use more gasoline, not less, because of the new CAFE standards.

No, this is not a place where you eat. CAFE stands for Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. The Obama administration, in their madness just said that cars must meet 42 mpg and light trucks, 30 mpg by 2016. I won't comment on the cars, but now being in the world of agriculture (even if still a bit inept about it), I can see that these idiotic rules, designed by a bunch of ignorant city folk, are going to cost us lots of fuel on the farms, which means it will cost you when you buy your food. Someone must pay and it won't be the farmer.

Here is how it works. I have a 1999 half ton pickup which I use at the ranch. It gets about 20 mpg, which isn't all that bad. I have put 3/4 of a ton of stuff in the back (I know this for a fact) but I wouldn't go much bigger than that for a load fearing breaking an axle or something worse. Now, lets say I need to drive 20 miles to pick up 3/4 of a ton of stuff. I can do that in approximately the expenditure of 1 gallon of gasoline. So far, the math is simple.

But, if I had a truck which required 30 mpg, I would need one of those tiny little, puny pickups that most real men avoid. Well, farmers avoid them because they can't do much. A Ford Ranger can get 30 mpg but it can only carry about half of what my truck can. So, when I needed dirt to fix the dam on my lake and got 3/4 of a ton of dirt in one bed load of my present truck, it would require two trips to get that same amount of dirt with that smaller truck. The place I bought the dirt was about 10 miles from the ranch and thus represented a 20 mile round trip. To do that with one of those Obama approved pickup trucks means that I must drive 20 miles twice, or 40 miles. At 30 mpg, that means I would spend 1/3 more gasoline with a 'clown' truck which is supposed to save the planet, to do the same job.

And that, perversely, would mean I would pollute the air more than I do with my currently politically out of favor truck.

Boy, don't those city-slickers in Washington just know how to save the planet? Us poor ignorant hicks in fly-over country are too stupid to see their wisdom. We must be wrong out here in hicksville because the entire country is applauding the coming salvation of the world.

Below is me on my lake, the one I fixed in a way that minimized energy expenditure and CO2 emissions--all against the wishes of my president.

1 comment:

  1. Correct me if I'm wrong, but according to NHTSA, cafe standards are calculated as a _sales weighted_ average of the particular fleet. So maybe if fewer "city slickers" felt the need to supplement their "manhood" by driving around in a light duty truck when the only places they go are from their suburban home to their urban workplace, then the need for exceedingly high CAFE standards on light duty trucks wouldn't have to be so high.

    That would free up farmers like yourself or even "weekend ranchers" or part time "play farmers" to be able to drive around less fuel efficient vehicles.

    Clearly there are needs for vehicles that relate to our food supply and infrastructure, so maybe we should be wasting the fuel for city slickers to drive around in big trucks when there's no reason.

    Maybe instead of getting lower CAFE standards wouldn't it be more reasonable to change driving habits of those people who don't necessarily need to be driving the wasteful fuel-inefficient vehicles many seem to want to drive around for no particular reason?

    Global climate change aside, wouldn't it be a good idea to teach people to utilize a limited natural resource in a _responsible_ way?

    Just thinking.