Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Green, at What Price?

Going "green" may be in vogue, but at what price?

In an effort to force the automakers to improve fuel efficiency and lower "greenhouse gases", what is left of the U.S. automakers will be forced to substantially improve gas mileage by 2016. In "auto speak" this is akin to asking most folks to make a change in the next 60 days.

It is expected the price of cars so equipped will rise by $1300 or so. The cost of electric vehicles are even more, starting around $35,000 and going up from there.

But will this move impact health and safety?

Some think so.
The government says no tradeoff exists, because nothing in the new rules would force automakers to sell more small cars, which are more dangerous in crashes than larger ones. But some safety experts think otherwise.

"The deadlines are so tight that downsizing will be a tempting compliance strategy" for automakers, says John Graham, the former rulemaking chief in the Office of Management and Budget.
More serious injury or death is acceptable to the folks in Washington?
It raises the risk that cash-strapped automakers will take the fastest and cheapest route to building more fuel-efficient vehicles: Make them smaller and lighter. Further, as General Motors and Chrysler rely on federal bailout money for survival, they are ill-positioned — and disinclined — to fight proposals that some say may not be just dangerously costly, but simply dangerous.
Why waste a good crisis? Kick them when they are down.

Just another example that big government knows what is best, even if it means more carnage.
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