A primary tool of the elite progressive (or socialist) is central planning.  Not only are the denizens of flyover country incapable of understanding the glory and rightness of socialism. They have the nasty, foolish tendency to ignore or even oppose what the elite know is good for them. They must be forced to be more diverse, equal, tolerant, and socially just. And if they resist, they must be punished, severely.

A perfect example of central planning is the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. A better example of the folly of central planning is hard to find. CAFE is rife with unintended consequences — and a complete lack of understanding of the science and engineering involved in the numbers picked, apparently out of a hat.

CAFE represents governmental control over our lives in ways unimaginable to most Americans. All automakers selling vehicles in the United States must conform to their standard. It’s the average MPG for all vehicles sold by a given car company. If Smith Motor Company’s most popular vehicles are pickup trucks with certified MPG figures of 24 highway (that’s what those numbers on the window stickers of new vehicles mean), it can still meet the CAFE standard by selling its supereconobox sedans, which get 42 MPG — thereby reaching the appropriate average fuel economy for the entire fleet.

Two years ago, the nation’s fuel economy standards went through the first major overhaul since 1985. New rules required the U.S. car fleet to reach the mid-thirties in miles per gallon by 2016. Now, policymakers are working on the next round of regulations for 2017 through 2025. They’re talking about much more stringent numbers — and, automakers argue, much more expensive cars.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) intend to announce the new regulations by the end of September, and the four scenarios currently being discussed range from yearly increases in mandated fuel economy of between 3 and 6 percent. Earlier this year, the government told automakers that it is leaning towards a 5 percent increase, which would mean 56 miles per gallon by 2025. But the feds could choose to be even more aggressive; the 6 percent increase translates to a fuel economy standard of 62 mpg.

According to a new study issued by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), adopting the most stringent fuel economy standard of 62 mpg by 2025 could increase the price of a car by $9790 and cause the loss of 1.7 million jobs. CAR says that the only way to meet such a standard would be to have 64 percent of the U.S. fleet utilize the most expensive technology, as in plug-in electric hybrids like the Chevy Volt.

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