A downward-revised Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard and a push away from electric-drive vehicles and towards alt-fuel types such as natural gas may be some of the transportation measures in store if Mitt Romney beats Barack Obama in the US presidential election next month, Automotive News reports. A removal of tax credits for electric-vehicle buyers could also be on the table, says Hybrid Cars.

Romney has repeatedly taken issue with the updated CAFE mandate that was agreed to during the first Obama term. They call for a 54.5 miles per gallon fleetwide fuel economy level by 2025 (a real-world equivalent of about 40 miles per gallon), roughly a 30-percent increase from current levels. The standards would make new vehicles too expensive for many consumers, the National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA) has said. In late August, the federal government finalized the CAFE standards for model year 2017-2025. The 54.5 miles per gallon mandate was first proposed in July 2011.

Meanwhile, Romney, which hasn't detailed any alternative proposal to the CAFE standards, has suggested the federal government invest more in research and development and fewer government investments in automakers, whether they be traditional OEMs like Ford and Nissan or alt-fuel specialists like Tesla and Fisker. For more on the energy policies of Romney and Obama, read this.


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  • 80 Comments
      Matt Brown
      • 2 Years Ago
      It will be super entertaining four years from now to see how he manages to attribute the success of Tesla to his policies.
      lad
      • 2 Years Ago
      It amazes me that the readers of this blog would even consider voting against their best interests by electing Romney and Ryan. These guys are minions for the fossil fuel industry as is the entire current Republican Party. I am a Republican but cannot bring myself to vote for these politicians that are bought and sold by Big Oil and are far afield of the old Republican values of Individualism and Fairness. No body or Industry would have dared to try and buy Ike Eisenhower.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 1 Day Ago
        @lad
        You'd like Gary Johnson or Virgil Goode if you used to be a republican voter. I urge you to consider them if you haven't voted already. They won't win, but i want to see support for third party candidates grow. The bi-opoly needs to go.
      Grendal
      • 1 Day Ago
      Well. Romney lost. So the point is moot. More of the same for EV's and EREV's for the next four years. I don't expect to see any new green loan programs either.
      Spec
      • 1 Day Ago
      Gary Johnson seems to be a good guy. Virgil Goode is a creepy nativist. I hope Virgil collects a lot of votes in Virginia.
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Day Ago
      It's very hard to have a rational debate about energy. The mention of Oil brings out the most rabid prejudices, in otherwise reasonable people. The primary task for both President Obama and Governor Romney, is getting Americans focused on the economic future of the US. Both candidates are finding it difficult to explain to the electorate how the economy works. This is because the American people, (and possibly the candidates) are still stuck in an old-fashioned world of economic ideology. Even on ABG, commentators like Carney, strike a populist chord when ranting on about the evils of oil companies, the mythical power of OPEC, Oil subsidies etc. These phantom bogeymen remain popular, despite being irrelevant, (and erroneous), it makes it all so much simpler if a bad guy can be found to blame. OTOH, the crazies of the ultra-right, rave on about taxpayer funded involvement in the economy being immoral (an argument which died out elsewhere with the death of capitalists like J.Pierpont Morgan) ! Both sides are seeking a simple solution, to a highly complex problem. The obvious truth is that the US is caught in a bad place. With the end of the cold war, the US became the only super-power. But winning the cold war, also left the US with a vast debt, an obsolete and inflexible industrial base, and neglected internal infrastructure. Although the US was the clear victor of the cold war, like the Great Britain after winning the Second World War, the US found itself unable to adjust to the change in the global economy . The rapid, and chaotic, transformation of the backward USSR, into the smaller but more trade orientated Russia, could not be foreseen. The massive growth of the PRC into an economic rival in only two decades, largely at the expence of a floundering USA. The US was not politically, or economically equipped for the winds of change. Issues such as the environment, world trade, energy depletion, and economic reform were either ignored, or mishandled. The US reacted like a baffled Elephant, without any clear direction, attempting to stamp on it's pygmy sized enemies whom it could not comprehend, while ignoring, or appeasing, the growth of tigers. Only in technology does the US still hold a commanding lead. Innovative technology, is still the product of free societies. Innovative technology, is the key to US revival. For all his faults, G W Bush understood this basic fact, and to his credit it was a policy he got right. To his credit, President Obama has continued and expanded that policy. The next President will be forced to continue to encourage US innovation, if he hopes to manage the economy. The US needs to efficiently and rapidly develop it vast reserves of Natural Gas. As oil revenue declines, the US economy will require massive new sources of revenue to deal with funding US economic reconstruction, while reducing debt. US industry needs to become competitive again, if the US economy is to compete with emerging rivals.
        carney373
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Marcopolo
        I don't rant about evil oil companies. In fact when others do, I remind them that the oil companies haven't controlled the world oil market since the 1960s. And when they did, they made sure oil production's growth kept pace with world population growth and economic growth - it's not a coincidence that in the era of the Seven Sisters world economic growth was, on average DOUBLE what it has been since 1970 when OPEC took over. Today the oil companies are little more than consultants and middlemen for the real decision makers - OPEC. The oil companies make a profit margin of about 8% - far less than Apple does on many of its products. It's true the oil companies have a certain confluence of interests with OPEC, since 8% of $140 a barrel (the 2008 price) is a lot more than 8% of $10 a barrel (the 1999 price). But they are not the real problem, not the real danger - they are remoras to the OPEC shark, eating its scraps. Nor have I complained about "oil subsidies". As Romney has pointed out, most of these are tax breaks available to all companies, and those that are oil specific have not only been in place a long time but are tiny in comparison to the money Obama has given to green projects. OPEC's power is far from mythical. Google "CIA World Factbook world oil reserves". You'll see that OPEC nations have more than 78% of commercially recoverable world oil reserves while we have less than 2%. OPEC is utterly ruthless in exploiting this to restrict the supply of oil available to the world to create artifical scarcity and atifically high prices in a brutally regressive "tax" on the entire rest of the world, including us. This tax can and has collapsed our economy, but its effects on the world poor is near-genocidal. Kenya has 50% more people than Saudi Arabia. Nearly all Kenyans work, whereas only one-sixth of Saudis bother to. And yet Saudi Arabia has more foreign earinings coming in than FIFTY Kenyas. Kenya has to spend nearly all of its foreign earnings to buy massively over-priced oil, in order to allow its fishermen and farmers to practice subsistence or get their produce and catch to market. With prices too high, crops spoil and boats sit idlle as people go hungry.
      BipDBo
      • 1 Day Ago
      Romney is more of a free market guy, so yes, he has taken issue with stricter CAFE restrictions. I seriously doubt, however, that it will be enough of a priority for him to reverse it. Romney wants energy independence. He will approve the pipeline. He will encourage more natural gas. He'll probably also encourage more clean coal, but I doubt he'll get any takers. He'll increase domestic oil production, but it won't be enough to drive all of our vehicles. He'll be likely to support continued efforts at efficiency and alternative fuels for vehicles for the goal of not buying foreign oil. Regardless of who wins this presidency, natural gas is on the rise, and it will continue to become cheaper. More and more power plants will be converted to NG. I wouldn't be surprised to see a rise in NG fleet vehicles such as for public transportation, public utilities and large commercial fleets. I doubt that very many more NG cars will be sold due to the cost and size of the high pressure tank and lack of stations. EVs and plug-ins are reaching independent marketability, and are on an inevitable rise, so I foresee more and more private vehicles using natural gas through the electric grid. One of the ways that I foresee Romney supporting research in alt fuels and electrification is through defense spending. Our military sees great strategic importance in using less fuel. Technologies to make our military vehicles more efficient would likely make its way into our driveways pretty quickly.
        Grendal
        • 1 Day Ago
        @BipDBo
        I'd rasther see the money spent on alternative to gas. But then again, I'm pro EV and EREV so no big surprise there. Every President wants energy independence. Here is clip illustrating that clearly: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-june-16-2010/an-energy-independent-future
        Rob J
        • 1 Day Ago
        @BipDBo
        Could you explain how a pipeline from Canada will decrease dependence on forign oil?
          BipDBo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rob J
          His stated goal was for North America to be energy independent. He's much more comfortable buying oil from Canada than from the Middle East, especially when allowing the pipeline would generate many private sector jobs and tax revenue.
          mylexicon
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rob J
          Uhhhhh.......reducing the cost of extraction and transport causes global production to rise. If global production rises the market puts downward pressure on the price of oil. If the price of oil slips, the nominal value of our imports decreases. Furthermore, importing oil from Canada may have less ecological impact and risk than putting oil in tankers and shipping it across the globe.
          Vlad
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rob J
          Importing conventional oil from Canada is less harmful for the environment. Importing tar sands oil is not. Calculations have been made many times. Digging up and heating tar sands bitumen to produce oil is hugely destructive for the environment. There is no "maybe". BTW, why so shy about pipeline's name? It's called Keystone XL. And no tree hugging liberal opposes it more than reliably republican Nebraska. See, one can live without gas. One cannot live without water. And Transcanada has a terrible safety record even with conventional pipelines. Keystone is riskier than those.
        Rob J
        • 1 Day Ago
        @BipDBo
        Also, could you provide some evidence that the price of natural gas will decrease over time? Last I checked the price has never really fallen except for the past couple years due to the economic collapse and an increase in demand will only push the price up
          BipDBo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rob J
          That's what all ofthe experts are saying. The other day, I listened to an NPR special on NG. Hydraulic fracturing is just beginning to open immense NG reserves. The cost to pull it out of the ground is extrememly low. The US is quickly transitioning to a NG energy economy. Increasing the distribution network is the largest hurdle, but would generate a lot of jobs. One problem with fracking is that the process is environmentally, regulated at the state level, and varies wildly from state to state. I am hoping that the next president will push for a good, sensible national standard set of rules.
        Vlad
        • 1 Day Ago
        @BipDBo
        Romney is not a free market guy. He is a "whatever makes me and my buddies rich" guy. And if that "whatever" is federal dollars - he'll take that, like he did for Bain bailout. That's also how Salt Lake City Olympics was saved, with taxpayers' money. So he will continue direct and indirect subsidies of fossil fuels. He'll protect fossil fuel industry from every threat, from EV adoption to cleanup costs to pollution standards. In no way it is good for EVs, nor for American public in general.
          BipDBo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Vlad
          OK, I did my best to look into those specific deductions. I will concede that i was misinformed that there are no industry specific deductions, but I do maintain that these deductions are much, much lesser in scope that the deductions that serve multiple industries. When looking at these I noticed that many cap out over a certain profit margin, so they are currently dormant. 82% of the breaks to the oil industry are non-oil specific. Recouping that remaining 18% would not significantly increase revenue, but it would remove some helpful incentives. Another point is that until recently, while there were these deductions, there were not any subsidies. Now, there are subsidies, because our president's energy plan subsidizes drilling in Brazil and I believe other countries as well. The matter of the debate, however, shouldn't be the fine print of the tax code, but rather the bottom line of how much taxes are paid. In 2011, Exxon made $18.65 billion. Out of that, it paid 42%, $8 billion in taxes. Out of the remaining $10.65 billion, Exxon invested $7.8 billion into capital and exploration. The oil industry pays its fair share in taxes.
          Jonathan S
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Vlad
          @BipDBo. Do you happen to have any sites that you could point me to regarding your "The oil subsidy argument is a myth" sentence? I honestly haven't heard that before... at least in reference to the USA. Wikipedia has some information about energy subsidies that seems pretty good but I'd be interested in other worthy sources too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_subsidies
          raktmn
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Vlad
          How exactly are non-oil companies supposed to take advantage of Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and state special tax exemptions and credits like these: Exception from Passive Loss Limitations for Oil and Gas - IRC Section 469(c)(3). Credit for Enhanced Oil Recovery Costs - IRC Section 43 Oil and Gas Excess Percentage over Cost Depletion - IRC Section 613 Expensing Liquid Fuel Refineries - IRC Section 179C. Incentives for Small Diesel Refiners - IRC Sections 179B and 45H. Amortization of Oil and Gas Geological and Geophysical Costs - IRC Section 167(h). Deep Water Royalty Act of 1995 Severance Tax Exemptions for Crude Oil (TX) Sales Tax Exemption for Oil & Gas Equipment (TX) Alternative Credit for Exploration (AK)
          BipDBo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Vlad
          If he is a "whatever makes me and my buddies rich" guy, then he would still be working in the private sector. He would be a lot weathier now if he had not entered politics. He'd also be a lot wealthier if he wasn't so darn charitable. The oil subsidy argument is a myth. Just stop it.
          BipDBo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Vlad
          The issue is that the oil industry does get tax breaks, but only as generic industry tax breaks. There are no oil-industry specific subsides or tax breaks. They get breaks for all kinds of things that every industry qualifies for. For example, the "Domestic Manufacturing Tax Deduction," goes to all industries and was written to keep factories within the US. Every person and every business has deductions on their tax forms. The total breaks that the oil industry can be claimed as a very large dollar figure but that's only because the industry is so huge. In truth, the oil industry pays one of the largest portions of its profits to tax as compared to other industries. http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/05/about_those_oil_subsidies.html http://www.examiner.com/article/dallas-frost-s-truth-to-obama-that-big-oil-subsidy-was-repealed-36-yrs-ago
          Vlad
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Vlad
          Oh, no. Nothing beats an alliance of a politician and a businessman. You money in a "blind trust" will grow so much faster. Nuclear industry has been complaining about that "myth" for decades. GOP in Congress conveniently voted against ending direct portion of that "myth" - nobody even started addressing indirect.
      Ashton
      • 1 Day Ago
      If Romney does ditch the tax credit, I don't think it will hurt sales too badly. Obviously they will take a hit, but not a big one IMO. I think if you can make a car good enough, it should be able to stand on its own two feet (or four wheels). Tesla's Model S will continue to due well, I think the X will also do good, and then in 2016 most of us will be able to afford a good and cheap (relatively cheap) "Model E". EV's and PHEV's have come a long ways, and I don't see any sign of them slowing down. As a conservative republican, I would love nothing more then to see EV's get zero subsidies, and still sell great. Romney may be partial to oil, but I don't think he will go out of his way to destroy the ever growing EV market.
        Spec
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Ashton
        Getting rid of the credit would kill sales. Tesla would do OK but the Volt & Leaf sales would be decimated.
        garylai
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Ashton
        Ashton - You obviously haven't read this: http://green.autoblog.com/2011/12/27/mitt-romney-chevy-volt-an-idea-whose-time-has-not-come/
          Ashton
          • 1 Day Ago
          @garylai
          actually, I have. In fact I even commented on it.
        Gary Birch
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Ashton
        Ashton how do you feel/think about the huge $$ breaks for oil and gas. Shouldent they also "stand on there own"?
        brotherkenny4
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Ashton
        I agree in a way. I would say that Willard is just saying stuff to get elected. We have no idea of what he might actually do. He might not do anything.
      transpower
      • 1 Day Ago
      Let the market handle the choice between a reduction in running cost and an increase in capital cost. I would like to have a Diesel-Electric Hybrid AWD SUV and am willing to pay a considerably higher capital cost to get it--but I realize that many others will not.
        brotherkenny4
        • 1 Day Ago
        @transpower
        There is nothing intrisically difficult about assembling this vehicle of your dreams. Whether it gets made depends on the profitability for the car companies though. Not whether such a vehicle would be good for our nation or the world. Reducing our dependence on foriegn oil or oil in general is bad for investers in oil, so you have that lobbying group to contend with too, that is, if you even believe that the government is trying to reduce our dependence on oil.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          @ brotherkenny4 Oil depletion will eventually resolve these issues. But here's the thing, be careful of what you wish for ! Oil revenue is a huge part (18-20%) of the developed worlds economy. Oil created the twentieth century. For the US, oil revenue, and the oil industry, is so interwoven into the economic fabric of the nation, that disengagement is almost impossible. Oil products are hugely profitable. Oil energy products are far less profitable to the oil companies, than governments. ( fuel is oil industry's least profitable product, but the governments most profitable tax base ! ). Governments rely on the vast revenue streams produced by oil products,as Oil is taxed many times over before it gets to the consumer. The actual oil companies themselves don't really care. I know this sounds difficult to accept, but we have already reached the stage where demand is outstripping supply ! Competition, from new emerging economies is becoming a real problem. The problem for oil companies is not how to sell more oil, it's how to find more oil ! So far, oil extraction technology has kept production ahead of depletion, but it's starting to slow. The next President, will find himself in a real dilemma, Iraq has joined Iran is selling it's oil production to Russia and the PRC, not the US. The next President, and all those who follow, will have to accept managing a US economy with less revenue, as the most profitable government source of funding, Oil, enters a slow terminal decline. The US economy can't withstand a 30-40% constriction ! US debt level is already unmanageable, let alone cut off a major contributor. Oil depletion is no cause for celebration, it's the most serious economic threat since....well, it's the most serious economic problem since industrial economies began !
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's gonna be an apocalypse for EV's! he's gonna shut down Tesla motors! He'll go rip out all those charging stations by hand, and waterboard us with gasoline!
        EZEE
        • 1 Day Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Water board with gasoline, lol. Why not compromise on stuff? I know....shocking.... Like, each new oil rig, take 1%, or even 1/10% of the revenues and dedicate that toward research, EV subsidies, anything. The oil companies are happy because they get more wells, and then piles of cash go toward research. Stuff like this shouldn't be that difficult. Same thing with refineries, current ones getting old? Build a new one in or near California (they seem to have the most problems with that) and do the 1% thing with the refinery.
        raktmn
        • 1 Day Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Reagan ripped the solar panels off of the White House. Is that what you are trying to reference? Or is this just a poor attempt at sarcasm because there is no way to actually defend Romney's own actual words on what his policies would be if elected?
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 1 Day Ago
          @raktmn
          I'm totally 100% serious especially about the gasoline waterboarding and the superhuman strength ( afforded by his magic underwear ) to rip out charging stations with just one little tug
      BipDBo
      • 1 Day Ago
      Politicians say whatever gets them votes. Obama's words, however, are cntrary to his policies. For example, he blocks builing the pipeline and domestic drilling while subsidizing foreign drilling such as off the coasts of Brazil.
      carney373
      • 1 Day Ago
      I like Goode on immigration and many issues but he agrees with the far left anti-American nuts on foreign policy and national defense - where we order our military to flee the field and let our enemies win.
      Giza Plateau
      • 1 Day Ago
      Not really, the price would just magically be dropped by the 7500 they are skimming today.
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