Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Govt. Regulations Hold Key To US-OPEC Competition

If an American consumer has got it, it came on a truck.

In Texas, that includes the pay check because the consumer had to travel in the ubiquitous pickup to get that, too.

Fuel costs paid by commuters are unpredictable, incisive and have an entire nation's economic conditions stymied. Transportation executives could compete much better if they could only predict what that all-important, number one cost of doing business will be, the cost of fuel.

All consumer items, from a loaf of bread to a pair of shoe laces, a fuel pump to a pair of blue jeans, has increased in price over the past 90 days by dramatic percentage points, and it's all about what it costs to operate that delivery truck.

Big three automakers GM, Ford, and Chrysler have already developed the engines that can power anything from the family car, the city bus, the cement truck, bakery wagon and over-the road heavy duty freight truck with the natural gas America has in abundance.

Ford has announced it will begin shipping F-450 and F-550 chassis cabs equipped with 10-cylinder engines capable of burning CNG or LPG this year. The fittings are already in place under the option, and would allow operators of fleets to fuel their trucks with natural gas or Liquefied Propane Gas - their choice. The automaker has already shipped more than 3,000 E-series vans with CNG/LPG prep packages since last November, according to

The engines have hardened exhaust valves and valve seats to accomodate gaseous fuels.

Freightliner/Daimler has a complete line of Mercedes-Benz taxis, Freightliner business class delivery trucks and cars available.

What are the savings?

According to a natural gas information clearing house in Austin,, a service of the Renewable Energy Institute, CNG burns 90% cleaner; emits 25% less greenhouse gases; 50% less nitrous oxide emissions; and costs far less. This website is a treasure trove of information about CNG conversion kits, natural gas compressors that work in the home garage, and technical data about various models and makes' compatibility with the new, alternative fuel.

CNG equivalent prices:

- Utah - .63 per gallon
- California - $1.75-2.50 gallon
- Texas - $1.45 gallon

Three conditions precedent hold American need for fossil motor fuels in thrall to mideastern fundamentalist Islamic whims.

1. Return regulatory control over miles-per-gallon requirements to one agency.
2. Pass HR 910 and put air pollution standards for automakers under the CAFE program.
3. Eliminate state regulations over automakers' fuel economy requirements.

All three are under control of government environmental regulators and all three are holding American economic interests in abeyance to a delicate diplomatic balance of power that is unraveling daily in the face of tremendous pressures brought to bear by the Muslim Brotherhood.

This underground political movement is responsible for the economic pressures that have caused gasoline and diesel prices to rise by a whopping 20%, a figure that has outstripped the government's prediction for the coming economic year by half in the space of less than 90 days, and rising.

There is an alternative, and it's up to Congressional leaders to break the cycle of boom and bust economic tyranny over the American purse and pocketbook held by the uneasy truce forged in diplomatic circles over the past 40 years that is rapidly deteriorating.

Under today's conditions, Arab-Israeli peace is up in the air. The diplomatic ties that kept Egypt and Saudi Arabian interests in accord are rapidly deteriorating, and Iranian adventurism is casting a greedy eye at the Gulf Cooperation Council states from Kuwait to Bahrain.

Massive new oil and gas fields have opened up throughout North America. An estimated 20% more product will be shipped in the coming year - limited only by a lack of pipeline availability.

Most people are unaware that the new well completion techniques that have made all this possible were developed by Halliburton World Services, the former employer of Vice President Dick Cheney, who battle tooth and nail to get a hands-off policy from environmental regulators during his tenure in the Bush Administration.

Quite simply, the government could easily break up the log jam by allowing automotive manufacturers to market engines that burn the clean, abundant motor fuel that is now available through horizontal drilling techniques and "fracturing" well completion methods to unlock the bonanza that is trapped miles deep in the shale strata that extends from Canada to south Texas, California to Pennsylvania.

So, what's the hold up?

Aside from environmental regulations that have placed all pipeline construction permits on hold since 2008, delayed offshore deep water and shall water drilling permits, and a complete embargo on refinery construction for more than 40 years, there is the matter of the complicated miles-per-gallon fuel economy standards set by multiple government agencies.

All this makes it much easier, faster and cheaper to build cars in foreign countries, then import them to American shores.

Such powerful lobby interests as the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) are clamoring for a return to a single national standard under the CAFE program (Corporate Average Fuel Economy), something in reach and possible through passage of HR 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011.

According to David W. Regan, vice president, Legislative Affairs, today there are three different fuel economy programs administered by three different agencies – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Air Resources Board.

Passage of HR 910 “would eventually return the regulation of fuel economy to a single agency – NHTSA - under rules set by Congress, not unelected officials,” Mr. Regan wrote in a letter to Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

How did all this happen?

In 2007, Congress passed the “Ten-in-Ten Fuel Economy Act,” a law that raised the fuel economy by “at least 40 percent,” according to Mr. Regan, “restructured the CAFE program, and reaffirmed NHTSA as the sole administrator of this program. Before 2010, fuel economy had never been regulated by EPA, and no state, including California, had authority to promulgate regulations related to fuel economy since the CAFE program was enacted in 1975.

“HR 910 would do nothing more than restore the statutory clarity that was lost in 2009 when EPA allowed states to begin regulating fuel economy by granting California a waiver from preemption under the Clean Air Act for its fuel economy/greenhouse gas rules, and when EPA elected to also regulate fuel economy as part of its voluntary response to the remand in Massachusetts v. EPA by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

A return to a single source of regulation supervised by Congressional oversight would do 4 things for the American consumer.

1) Congress, a body of elected officials, would have control;
2) fuel economy would be returned to the CAFE program, a regulation specifically written to regulate the same. The Clean Air Act, “for all its virtues, was not;”
3) return the matter to a single uniform and consistent definition;
4) “the administration would retain the authority to raise the fuel economy standard annually to it maximum feasible level – which is 34.1 mgp under the CAFE program in 2016, “at a cost of $51.7 billion.”

According to the letter, the EPA “has never offered any evidence demonstrating that giving credits to automakers for installing improved air conditioners would save 'hundreds of millions of barrels of oil.'”

Under that doctrine, credit is given to automakers for switching to coolants that are “less greenhouse gas intensive,” something that has “a negligible impact on oil savings.”

Opponents are using that as a cudgel to resist a return to the CAFE program.

“Such duplication is unnecessary and contrary to congressional design.”

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