May 19, 2009
Laura Henderson 202.621.2951

Obama Motors: Costly, Bureaucratic, and Pointless

WASHINGTON—In response to President Obama’s newly introduced mile-per-gallon fuel mandate, Institute for Energy Research President Thomas J. Pyle issued the following statement:

“It is overwhelming to consider the ways this new mandate will harm the American economy. This stealth energy tax will significantly increase the cost of every single new car on the market. Early reports suggest that consumers can expect to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 more for small cars and up to $5,000 more for large cars. And the notion that these cost increases will pay for themselves would be charming, but for the many Americans who will no longer be able to afford a new car.

“The mandate demonstrates just how seriously the feds are taking their new role as car company chief: The government isn’t just going to make decisions about how best to run their operations. They’re also going to limit your choice of automobile and force you to pay more in the process—that is, those who can still afford a new car.

“Our crippled and crumbling auto industry will now be forced to revamp every car it puts on the market to comply with the government’s latest edict. Right now, only three models even come close to meeting the President’s latest mandate. Car companies should be free to focus on building cars Americans want to drive, not carrying out government policy.

“Most alarmingly, this plan, offered in the name of reducing carbon emissions, will not work. Even if every single car and truck in the U.S. met the new fuel economy mandate—a stretch, given that this mandate will only affect new cars—the U.S. would decrease carbon emissions by five percent. Carbon dioxide increases from China and the developing world would swallow that five percent by the end of September—that means Americans’ sacrifices, which they will be forced to pay for years to come—will be moot in four short months.

“Is now, when Americans are knee-deep in the biggest recession in generations, really the time to take on a significant new economic burden that will yield negligible results? Do we really want the future of our nation to be one in which the government tells you what kind of car you can buy and then makes you pay more for it? In our experience, the American people say no.”

NOTE: Earlier this year, when the EPA requested public comments regarding the State of California’s request to set its own fuel economy mandate, IER urged Americans to express their disapproval of the costly measure. That campaign spurred over 10,000 citizens to voice their concerns regarding fuel economy standards for California alone, unlike this measure, which will affect the entire nation.


The Institute for Energy Research (IER) is a not-for-profit organization that conducts intensive research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets. IER maintains that freely-functioning energy markets provide the most efficient and effective solutions to today’s global energy and environmental challenges and, as such, are critical to the well-being of individuals and society.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email