Originally Posted by mkoesel
To first answer that question: I don't know that I do. But even if I do, clearly the cost issue has been deemed of secondary or lesser importance by the powers-that-be since automakers are being forced to comply to efficiency standards in utter costs-be-damned fashion. Write or wrong, if you are going to tell the automakers that we can't put a price on saving the earth, then everyone else should be guided by the same philosophy.
If there is "almost nothing to be gained from a given fuel source", well then we need to find a new way. Co-gen is one answer, but there are clearly others, and while I am fully aware that all answers come with their share of drawbacks, the same is true for hybrid-electric, full-electric, and fuel cell automobiles. Yet these solutions are nevertheless being pursued.
To my eye, there's a very clear imbalance here. You can justify the current state of affairs however you want, but automakers are having the screws put very tightly to their thumbs, while some other industries and organizations - often bigger offenders at that - roam relatively freely.
Valid points. I am not saying that focusing on cars is right, or even the most efficient way.
I guess regulating car emissions via CAFE is the easiest because there is a framework for it already in place. God knows nothing new is getting implemented in Congress these days. I suppose it is also a way to distribute the "pain" over a large group of people, instead of a narrow industry (though industry could just pass the cost on to the consumers). In cars, you could probably make the case that adding a turbo to make a more efficient engine (per power output) works out best for everyone in the end:
- the car costs more to build by the company can pass along those costs to consumers (and maybe charge a premium because it is higher-tech)
- the consumer has to pay more up front but makes back their investment and more in terms of fuel cost savings over the life of the car
- the environment benefits because less fuel is consumed in total
- the US benefits because it reduces our dependence on foreign oil
I am all for a balanced approach to energy production, CO2 reduction, and environmental controls because there is no conceivable way for one group to carry all the load.