The Bush administration is currently crowing to the wind that the evil libruls have been busy keeping oil and gas prices artificially high. If only the libruls would allow offshore drilling today, oil prices would start to fall tomorrow. It’s laughable on its face that such an argument could be made without even mild probing by the media. But, the corporate media has dutifully carried the administration’s water and reported such outlandish claims as though they were rock solid truth. The administration’s own actions lay this claim to waste. But just as dutifully, the corporate media hasn’t reported on them.
Climate Progress has the nitty gritty details. I’m going to share some summary notes presented there and discuss them. Basically, the EPA was supposed to construct a draft proposal to achieve a fleet average of 35 mpg in cars and light trucks by 2018. In December of last year, recommendations from the administrations’ science and legal experts were discarded. Then in a March 27, 2008 letter, the EPA was instead preparing, apparently at the direction of the White House, a plan for no-action.
Here are some details of what the EPA was planning to do, before being sidelined by the Bushies [emphasis mine]:
- EPA proposed that regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles be implemented in order to achieve the equivalent of 35 mpg car and light truck fleet average by 2018 (with the car fleet averaging 38.4 mpg by 2018 and the truck fleet averaging 31 mpg by 2017).
- These proposed standards were estimated to yield annual net societal benefits of almost $55 billion by 2040. It bears emphasis that these benefits were calculated using Energy Information’s (EIA’s) 2007 mid-range projected gasoline prices of $2.03/gallon in 2017 to $2.22/gallon in 2030. (These projections were the most recent data available at the time the materials were prepared.) EPA’s analysis concluded that the benefits would be much higher using more realistic gasoline prices because higher gasoline price projections would increase the consumer savings associated with driving more efficient vehicles. …
- When EPA used the EIA 2007 high gasoline price projections of $2.75 in 2017 to $3.20 in 2030 to calculate standards, it found that the car fleet could achieve a standard of 43.3 mpg by 2018 and light trucks could achieve a standard of 30.6 mpg by 2017.
- EPA developed its proposed standards in close consultation with NHTSA, found they were compatible with the fuel economy standards set by NHTSA, and concluded that those gains could be achieved without undo adverse impacts on the auto industry, its workers or consumers.
Un-freaking-believable. The administration has purposefully prevented the American public from achieving relief from gas prices. The Bush administration has therefore levied a stealth tax on all of us. A tax none of us should have to pay because it is going directly to the most profitable corporations in human history instead of being invested in the commons. And where is the howling from the “small-government” right-wing about your taxes being increased? They’re silent, which demonstrates that as long as Republicans hang taxes around our necks, they’re okay with them.
I wonder what the benefits would be if today’s gas prices were plugged in. The Bush administration: is screwing the American people by billions and billions and…