How Much Does Gas Mileage Cost Us?

  • June 4, 2023

“Penalties” are what you’re forced to pay when you’ve done nothing wrong – as opposed to something criminal. Like selling cars to people who wanted to buy them that use more gas than the government says they’re allowed to.

Stellantis – the corporation that currently owns the Dodge, Jeep and Ram truck brands – was recently “penalized” by the federal apparat to the tune of $235.5 million for doing just that. The “penalties” were imposed because Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles sold during the 2018-2019 model years didn’t comply with the apparat’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) decrees regarding how many miles-per-gallon a vehicle must go, irrespective of how little the buyer cares.

The EPA said in December Stellantis had the lowest real-world fuel economy among all major automakers, at 21.3 miles per gallon on average in 2021,” according to a Reuters news story about this business.

Well, so?

Was anyone forced to buy one of these offending vehicles? As opposed to the force being applied by the apparat to force them off the market?

As the Reuters story explains, the “penalties” for “non-compliance” have tripled (to $15 for every 0.1 MPG of “non-compliance,” up from $5.50 before the Biden Thing was selected resident).

The MPG decrees have been coming down since the ’70s and are nearly double now what they originally were, approaching 40 miles-per-gallon and on track (because of newly hurled decrees) to ascend to 50.

In April 2022, NHTSA sharply boosted fuel economy standards, reversing former President Donald Trump’s rollback of U.S. regulations aimed at improving gas mileage. The organization raised fuel efficiency requirements by 8 percent for both the 2024 and 2025 model years and 10 percent in 2026.

This effectively out-regulates (as distinct from out-lawing) most of the vehicles Stellantis (and not just Stellantis) sells.

Or rather, that sell well.

The “penalties” are purposely designed to make them too expensive to sell. Or rather, too expensive to buy for most of those who would otherwise like to – which is an interesting thing given that the supposedly benevolent reason for these regs is to “save people money” (that they’d otherwise spend on gas, you see).

There are several problems with this line of reasoning.

Or rather, this justification.

The first being that it ought to be obvious the people who want the kinds of cars that Dodge, Jeep and Ram have been selling do not mind paying what it costs to fuel them. They are perfectly aware that a Hemi V8 uses more fuel than a hybrid four and freely choose that which they prefer.

Imagine that.

It is important to harp on the fact that there is no misrepresentation going on. The federal apparat does not claim that people are being sold vehicles that do not deliver on the city/highway mileage numbers touted. The problem is that they did not “comply” with the “standards” set forth by the regs.

It is an important distinction.

If buyers are aware that the vehicle they’re about to buy does not “comply” – and do not care – then why is it a problem? Well, for the obvious reason. It is an affront to the authority of the apparat – and the apparatchiks – who get punitive when their authority is affronted.

Also, their agenda.

They do not want most of us to be able drive certain kinds of cars, irrespective of oour wants. And irrespective of the fact that “efficient” alternatives are and always have been available. This latter italicized because it’s important. No one has ever been forced to buy a “gas hog.” Not today – not before the regs came into existence some 45 years ago, either. Before there was CAFE there were 9 MPG Chrysler Newports – and 35 MPG VW Beetles. People were free to choose – and that was (and is) the real problem, insofar as the apparat (and the apparatchiks) are concerned.

They ultimately do not want most of us driving, period. This also ought to be obvious by now.

First to get out-regulated were big cars, the kind that average (not rich) Americans used to routinely drive, because they liked them and could afford them. Including the gas. These were penalized out of existence as mass-market/affordable vehicles by the early 1980s. Next to go were affordable SUVs and trucks – which had become the alternative to the big cars average Americans used to routinely drive. These are now also largely unaffordable – with prices on the lower end around $40,000 to start.

The end goal being to leave Americans no alternative, except the electric one. Which most of them won’t be able to afford, either. The CAFE regs green-light EVs – and red-flag anything that isn’t.

Whether people want it being entirely beside the point.

This latter having become something that no longer matters to the companies that make the cars. Or rather, it is compliance that matters more to them.

When the penalties imposed for selling people what they wanted to buy were announced the other day, a spokesman for Stellantis said they “reflect past performance recorded before the formation of Stellantis and is not indicative of the company’s direction.”

Italics added.

“Past performance” means compliance. The 2018-2019 models Stellantis is being punished for selling performed very well. They sold very well, too. But that was when Dodge and Jeep and Ram were under the Fiat-Chrysler umbrella. Stellantis is the new management and it is headed in a different “direction.”

A more compliant one. An engine-free one.

It is why there will soon be no more V8-powered Dodges – and no more V6-powered Jeeps, either. The Charger and Wrangler are to be “electrified” – which is the only way such vehicles can comply with the regs. It does not matter that buyers aren’t asking for any of this. It does not matter that they do not want this.

The apparat insists – and the companies comply – no matter how much it costs us.

. . .

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