AD #2069 – What’s Really Going on with CAFE, Automakers Cut Production, France Clears Opel of Diesel Wrongdoing

March 20th, 2017 at 11:46am

Runtime: 6:15

To watch this episode on YouTube click here.

- Automakers Cut Production
- France Clears Opel of Diesel Wrongdoing
- Lexus Tests Sewing Operators with Origami
- Lexus RX Made with Aluminum Panels
- What’s Really Going on with CAFE

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29 Comments to “AD #2069 – What’s Really Going on with CAFE, Automakers Cut Production, France Clears Opel of Diesel Wrongdoing”

  1. Lisk Says:

    Sean, as I was reading the bullets for today’s show, the “France Clears Opel of Diesel Wrongdoing” one made me say “Imagine that”. Guess we are on the same page…

  2. phred Says:

    Thank you …again! for telling like it is. CAFE standards are destined to yield little golf cart vehicles that will have no “Zoom!Zoom! or individuality. If you are going to ride around in a Denny’s food booth …why would you even consider road performance or handling?

  3. G.A.Branigan Says:

    “The hard-core environmentalists don’t want you to know this, but even if we delayed CAFE by five years the United States would still have the toughest fuel economy and emissions standards in the world.”

    Indeed we do.We as a country have really ‘cleaned up our act’,but not the rest of the world.We as a country have done our share and more,not the rest of the world.

    Until such time as our already tough standards are met by the rest of the world,dirty air will prevail.

    As I’ve said before,we as a country have done our share.It’s time for the rest of the world to get serious about air pollution.

  4. GM Veteran Says:

    There is one more connection missing in the story about Opel being cleared by the French authorities for emission violations: the French government’s ownership stake in PSA. This fact just makes it that much worse, and lends credibility to those who suspect there could be some non-factual basis for what companies were suspected in the first place. I wonder if Opel will be cleared by the EU authorities as well?

  5. GM Veteran Says:

    #3: Well, when it comes to automobiles at least. We are still one of the top all-time polluters in the world overall. Lots of work to do in the energy production field!

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The US has the toughest fuel economy ‘standards’ but, because of cheap fuel, the US uses far more fuel per vehicle than Europe, and many other parts of the world.

    As far as smog-causing emissions, the US has the most strict standards, and the lowest real emissions. I suspect people in many European cities wish they had the US standards, and fewer diesel cars. The air quality in Paris was not very good the last time I was there, about 8 years ago.

  7. Wim van Acker Says:

    Emission standards: sounds good, but am wondering what the fact base is for these statements? I noticed this is highy complex when checking just two sources of information:
    2 specifically the graph under “2 Timeline” and “3 Limit values”.

    It I shard to compare the standards due to: different units (mpg in the U.S., g/km in the EU), different test cycles, different definition of vehicle categories, and exceptions for certain vehicles in the U.S.

    Would love to learn more about this, but believe that thorough study, or checking with those who have studied this in detail, will be needed. You may have done just that before making the statements, but just wanted to check.

  8. Wim van Acker Says:

    @7 “It is hard” instead of “It I shard”

  9. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: Given that our country is so big,of course we will have more vehicles on the road.When gas was more expensive,people such as myself didn’t drive unless I had too.But I’ve been that way now for decades.

    But other folks didn’t have the luxury of staying home.That would be especially true for folks that live out in the country.

    Then there is our agriculture which is far bigger than anything in the EU.But on the bright side,all the newer diesel powered farm equipment is clean.Up to standards.

    But as of now,still not sure what or how cow fartz will be taken care of,lol ;}>

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9 Because of our cheap gas, we use much more fuel per vehicle than many, or most other parts of the world. We have more vehicles per person than most parts of the world, but I suspect part of that is the result of “occasional use” vehicles, like my van.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If gas consistently cost $5-6/gallon in the US, there would be fewer huge SUV’s and pickups used to carry one person to work, and to buy groceries.

  12. XA351GT Says:

    If manufacturers want to stick to California they should stop selling new cars and trucks there period. Let it turn into Cuba. California’s smog problem isn’t cars as much as stationary idling cars stuck going no where in their massive traffic jams. The amount of time, fuel and money wasted going no where could probably pay off a lot of Cali’s debt. They need to fix their roads.

  13. John McElroy Says:

    #7. Wim, you can’t just look at the g/mile or g/km values. The key difference is in the testing procedures. In the U.S. emissions are measured from a cold-start. In Europe they’re measured with a fully warmed up engine. The driving cycle is also very different, with U.S. cars measured over a full 20 minutes or so, while in Europe emissions are sampled at different points but not continuously. Here’s a paper that goes into more detail:

  14. Wim van Acker Says:

    @13 That was exactly my point: my question was how you can be so sure that U.S. regulations are the most stringent before the Worldwide Light-vehicle Test Procedure has been implemented and the same unit of measurements are used?

  15. Brett Says:

    I believe the manufacturers would characterize that as “cutting off your nose to spite your face.”

    What “Cali debt”?

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12 California is about 1/6 of the US market. If some mfgs, like Ford and GM quit selling there, Toyota will gladly take up the slack.

  17. Chuck Grenci Says:

    The automobile has been an easy target ever since it WAS the leading smog producer. Even though that has changed, the stigma remains. As earlier discussed, the auto industry is cutting edge clean (and getting cleaner). John, put me down as fully on-board to your present and previous commentary(s) on this subject.

    And changing the subject, with a smile. Now I see where Lexus has gotten their new design sense (or should I say non-sense); the designers are using origami as their influence, and of course, the large mouth bass for its grill. Still I see them on the road so someone out there doesn’t seem to mind.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #13 Thanks for the link, John. Interesting stuff.

  19. Barry Rector Says:

    How much are these Big Rigs polluting while delivering all the packages to customer’s homes from every country in the world?
    I think the environmentalists need to go after all the shipping barges chugging half-way around the world to bring off shore products.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The article points out that real world NOx emissions from diesel cars are about 4 times the regulated level. They can devise a more representative test, but it might be hard to make diesels comply. Maybe Europe should re-think their incentives to buy diesels, at least in urban areas. At least they got rid of the urban acid rain, which was damaging buildings, monuments, etc., when they mandated low sulphur diesel fuel.

  21. XA351GT Says:

    Brett, Cali Debt is the huge financial hole the state is in. They tax the crap out of everything and are still broke. It maybe as you say cutting your nose off , but if you can’t achieve the numbers without costing you a fortune when you meet the requirements of the other 49 states , I mean come on. Your in business to make money . We already have read that EVs cost more to make then they can sell them for. Then they have to build 2 kinds of vehicles one for Cali and ones for everywhere else. At some point you have to stop the bleeding or you die. If Cali wants clean air so much then maybe they should all start riding bicycles .

  22. Victor West Says:

    California is not broke. How about Michigan?

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    California has too much debt, but they are not alone. A number of states have more debt than CA, as a percentage of gross state product.

  24. Bob Wilson Says:

    The article “AUTOMAKERS CUT PRODUCTION” shows one exception, Toyota. We’re also trying to get a handle on a report that Prius Prime inventory is running at 16 days and California dealers are asking for more. We are seeing a lot of people flying to CARB states to buy a Prius Prime and drive it home.

    #12 – As for California traffic jams and idling cars, the Prius family has always been turning the engine off when stopped. Hybrids don’t run their engine in a traffic jam and EVs don’t have an engine. Ordinary gas cars that idle in traffic jams require CARB credits which makes hybrids, plug-ins, and EVs affordable.

    Full disclosure, we just passed 3k miles in our Prius Prime and we are seeing better than 60 MPG all the time. In #13 John reports how Europeans fool themselves testing a warmed up engine. Well the Prius Prime uses EV mode to off-load a cold engine until the warmed engine can deliver +60 MPG.

  25. Albemarle Says:

    Thank you John for clearing up the misinformation about what the automakers have asked for. It would be good to know where the low hanging fruit is. Is it coal and oil electricity production, or manufacturing, or worldwide shipping? We have cars handled as well as we can, so let’s get aggressive on the next industry in line.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #24, Bob, I considered going to California, or somewhere away from FL to get a Prius Prime, but ended up getting a non-Prime. If I had a place to plug it in most of the time, I would have traveled to get the Prime. The Prime may be better in some ways, as with the “clean warm-up,” even if you never plug it in, but the regular gen 4 Prius is an improvement over the gen 3 in ride, handling, quietness, and in having semi-useful gadgets like adaptive cruise control. It’s too early to really know the mpg, with only 500-some miles on the car, but the readout is showing 55.xx in mixed driving, at least 10% better than the 2010 in similar driving.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The “low hanging fruit” for greenhouse emissions may be coal-fired power plants or shipping, but vehicles remain the major source of ground level “bad air” in cities, but the sources may well be commercial trucks and buses, more than “light vehicles.”

    When the wind is from the wrong direction, the biggest source of bad-to-breath pollution where I am may be the cruise ships parked about 3 miles to the north. They often belch smoke, even when in port.

  28. Brett Says:

    California probably has a lot of debt because the supply siders spent too much time in the driver’s seat in Sacramento before sensible governance replaced blind ideology.

  29. Jim Nader Says:

    LOVE the Casablanca reference during the France/Opel story! Thanks for the laugh, John and Sean!