Thursday, August 13, 2015
With its many highly-publicized battles to beat back
to sell its cars, Tesla Motors understandably might look like a
champion in the fight against the regulatory
state -- or at least like a victim. But for anyone who doesn't
already know about its reliance on government
favors, a recent
editorial should dispel any doubts that, in fact, Tesla opposes
only those regulations it finds inconvenient:
In 2012, President Obama announced a new "Corporate Average Fuel Economy" standard that will require all the cars each automaker sells to get an average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.I agree with Investor's Business Daily that Tesla's move betrays a lack of confidence, but I would go further. First, the move shows an incredible lack of understanding of principles and precedents. If they succeed, they have no room to complain if some other regulatory decision goes against them down the road. Second, by what right does the President tell anyone how to make cars or which cars to buy? It is outlandish that so many people seem to expect to be told what to do about nearly everything these days. Not so long ago, any such order from a government official would have had him rightly called a tyrant or worse.
Given the lead time that automakers need to design and test new cars, they now have only a few years to figure out how to achieve that goal. And since there are only a couple non-plug-in cars on the road that even come close to 54.5 mpg today -- the tiny Toyota Prius C hybrid gets 53 mpg -- the only conceivable way to do so will be to force-feed electric cars onto the market.
Which is why the rest of the industry is looking for relief from these CAFE standards when they come up for review in 2017 and why Tesla is now mounting its full-court press to toughen them even further. [bold added, link dropped]