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Government Power Politics

Energy Star Program For Homes And Appliances Is On Trump's Chopping Block (npr.org) 273

Appliance manufacturers and home builders are in Washington, D.C., today to celebrate a popular energy efficiency program, even as it's slated for elimination in President Trump's proposed budget. NPR adds: You probably know the program's little blue label with the star -- the Environmental Protection Agency says 90 percent of U.S. households do. [...] The 25-year-old Energy Star program appears to be targeted simply because it's run by the federal government. It's one of 50 EPA programs that would be axed under Trump's budget plan, which would shrink the agency's funding by more than 30 percent. Critics of Energy Star say the government should get involved in the marketplace only when absolutely necessary. But that argument doesn't hold sway for the program's legions of supporters, which span nonprofits, companies and trade groups.
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Energy Star Program For Homes And Appliances Is On Trump's Chopping Block

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  • It's pretty simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @01:05PM (#54306831)

    The higher the organizational level at which a standard is set, the fewer groups have to come up with standards, and the easier compliance becomes. Done at least somewhat close to well, it is more efficient for the standard setters, the companies who follow the standard, and the consumers who judge by it.

    Now, Energy Star isn't a safety standard, so it's not exactly critical, but it's still a great thing to have a common measuring stick for all to use.

    • by kiviQr ( 3443687 )
      Depends how you define safety. Planet safety relies on programs that limit energy usage! You can pretend it doesn't b/c it will affect future generation more than us - but it will.
      • I agree that limited your personal environmental impact - and making compromises to limit the environmental impact of your society in general - is just common sense in terms of long term safety.

        That's not the same thing, though. When you talk about safety standards, you're talking about things that are dangerous on scales of less than a human lifetime, and also that have a nice, local cause-and-effect relationship.

        Climate change is too slow, too abstract, and the costs too dispersed to qualify. That's why

    • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @01:11PM (#54306877) Homepage
      This common measuring stick you speak of would enable consumers to make an objective comparison of products' energy use. Fair comparisons tend to put one product, the inferior product, at a disadvantage. This affects profits and jobs. And people will say OMG! the government is involved in the market so it must be bad.

      Both Hershey Chocolate and Prestone Antifreeze are very sweet to the taste. But the safety of each should be subjectively measured in a way that doesn't put either product at a disadvantage when marketed as a snack treat.
      • Did you mean the safety of each should be objectively measured?
        If we're only doing subjective measurements, I'd say the antifreeze is fairly safe. Safer than, say, Hydrochloric acid, even if it's not quite as safe as chocolate. It's probably okay to drink it.

        BTW, I know a fair few people who'd say that Hershey's isn't safe to eat, if only because it'll leave you wishing you had opted for something better. I personally prefer Ghirardhelli and English Cadbury chocolates.

      • And people will say OMG! the government is involved in the market so it must be bad.

        Actually, Energy Star is a great example of the opposite problematic thinking. That something the government does is good, therefore everything it does must be good.

        Energy Star is (was) a great premise. But they've already picked all the low-hanging fruit. A lot of their ratings I've seen lately have been unnecessary - duplicating info you can glean simply by comparing the wattage which is already labeled. It's a go

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by cayenne8 ( 626475 )

      Now, Energy Star isn't a safety standard, so it's not exactly critical, but it's still a great thing to have a common measuring stick for all to use.

      While I'm generally in favor of having more information on product labels (especially food which I ingest), has anyone ever really used this Energy Star rating when choosing appliances?

      I mean, I recently got a fridge. First thing I looked at was dimensions...what is the largest fridge I can get that will fit the space in my kitchen, and allow full access fro

      • some people like don't like paying for electricity so we try to use less. Especially here in NYC where it's expensive.

      • by higuita ( 129722 )

        i do not know about the US Energy Star rating, in europe we have this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        This is required and very useful. Most people DO look at then, specially on more expensive or consuming appliances. It keeps being improved and allows one to see how much energy or water they use per year. IIRC, newest version even show how much that energy cost in euros, so one can compare several appliances and see how much money one safe by going with a better ratting. Even if more expensive, some pay

        • Energy Star rated products have a prominent label that on appliances shows and estimated yearly electricity and/or fuel usage and cost but could also be on other products that might have other information like windows would have solar heat gain etc...

      • I've used it when purchasing appliances like refrigerator, washer, dryer, central air... electricity is expensive where I live. The number one reason I don't own an electric car.

      • by mspohr ( 589790 )

        I do look at the labels (especially since they are bright yellow and required to be plastered on the front of every appliance). Yes, they do influence my purchase decisions.
        (BTW, your "in door" ice dispenser takes up a lot more space in the freezer and uses more energy than the traditional ice maker. I think it's an American thing to have ice in every beverage. I prefer water at tap temperature and I don't drink flavored beverages.)

        • I happen to like cold water, at least in the summertime.

          However, I really don't like icemakers in freezers. 1) They take up a lot of space, and 2) they use tap water, which is nasty. There doesn't seem to be a way to easily plumb them to use the RO water I buy, so the icemaker in my freezer just sits unused, wasting space. And no, those crappy filters they put in fridges these days are not a proper substitute. 1) They're not reverse osmosis, they're just shitty charcoal filters, and 2) they're horribly

          • by mspohr ( 589790 )

            I think you can easily remove the ice maker from most freezers. I've done it in the past to fix them. Just a few screws and bolts.
            Or, you could just buy one without an ice maker... cheaper but they are pretty much standard on all but the cheapest fridges.

    • Some of the food my wife buys has that "non-gmo project verified" label on it. While I personally have no problem with GMOs, that would be a good example of a private consumer group setting a standard without the need for the federal government to do so.
      • And non-GMO is hard to truly verify, since cross-pollination with a neighboring farm is hard to avoid sometimes.

        That and standard cross-breeding nets you what most people should consider a GMO.

        • by msauve ( 701917 )
          Your point? How would a federal labeling program (vs a private one) fix that?
          • That it's truly meaningless and that a federal labeling program shouldn't exist - because it's mostly marketing fluff.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The whole Underwriters Laboratory is a good example of a private non-government regulatory mechanism that works very well. Bureaucrats in Washington are not needed.

        • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @01:54PM (#54307331)
          Except for the regulations (OSHA has them) which require UL (technically, NRTL) approvals, placing government mandated standards into the hands of unelected, answerable-to-nobody, private organizations.

          Even worse are the regulations, such as vehicle and electrical ones, which require compliance with privately created standards which are incorporated only by reference, and which cost big bucks to actually obtain (NEC and SAE), in which case "ignorance of the law" should definitely be an excuse.
          • FWIW, NFPA (publisher of NEC) now offers free online access to standards. It is stupidly crippled, but it is free.
        • You have obviously never had to deal with UL. Hint... it's a scam.

          While having energy ratings performed by UL as a standardized part of testing makes sense on the surface, the whole way the organization works suggests that it will all come down to how much money you give them, with their primary focus being on counterfeit "UL(R)" holograms.
    • by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @01:30PM (#54307069)

      common measuring stick

      Here is your valuable program certifying a gasoline powered alarm clock [gao.gov] as compliant.

      It's a pencil whipping operation. Nothing of value is being lost here. The 'ceritification' is just a bit of red tape everyone has to go through to sell to certain customers, leech federal grants and other stuff. The red tape employs a bunch of lawyers and adds another hurdle for anyone that might try to compete with GE et al. This is precisely the crap that Trump was elected to kill.

      • Nutrition labels on food were heavily fought by industry but that was the past when corruption (regulatory capture) was not as bad as it has been in recent decades.

        Today, food labels wouldn't be implemented at all. Voluntary industry marketing labels on some products is all one would have. If it was passed in the 90s, we would have something like Energy Star where industry does it without punishment or oversight and the labels would be as inaccurate and unregulated as Energy Star is.

        Do keep in mind that VW

      • You realize your example is a government oversight report, and that the findings from this report were used to improve the program to avoid similar issues in the future?
    • by xfade551 ( 2627499 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @01:51PM (#54307291)
      Energy Star probably should have been under NIST (National Institute of Standards and Testings, Dept. of Commerce), anyway.
    • I've seen those stickers for years and still don't know what they are supposed to convey. You know what sticker I look at when buying appliances? The price sticker. The same goes for the majority of consumers.

      • Not true. I look at both. Energy star it means this appliance uses less than some average for that appliance.

        That means if an energy star device is $100 more than an non energy star device you will save money in electricity bills. Of course lower bills for the next 10 years might be nothing to a rich person like yourself but saving money is a good bet in the long haul. Lastly energy star devices also tend to last longer as they waste less electricity. Less wasted electricity is less heat which increases l

    • Critics of Energy Star say the government should get involved in the marketplace only when absolutely necessary. But that argument doesn't hold sway for the program's legions of supporters, which span nonprofits, companies and trade groups.

      Is there a valid reason that prevent an organization like Consumer Reports taking over the consumer education function of the Energy Star program and test the appliances independently?

      Just because something is worth doing doesn't mean the federal government has to do it.

      • Is there a valid reason that prevent an organization like Consumer Reports taking over the consumer education function of the Energy Star program and test the appliances independently?

        Because tax rebates depend on the Energy Star ratings?

  • Critics of Energy Star say the government should get involved in the marketplace only when absolutely necessary.

    Please define absolutely necessary.

    On an unrelated note, I see that we are again suffering from the /. bug which narrows the comments.

    • Please define absolutely necessary.

      Those proposing regulations should be able to explain what is "absolutely necessary" about their regulations, and let people decide for themselves. What we don't need are self important people telling us what is absolutely necessary just to regulate something.

      I am really sure that most regulations and such start out with the best of intentions. But what I do know is that every time an edge case comes along, those regulations get expanded, to the point of ridiculousness. After all, we have to shut down that

    • Critics of Energy Star say the government should get involved in the marketplace only when absolutely necessary.

      Please define absolutely necessary.

      When it benefits the person involved, otherwise it's government overreach.

      An example illustrating use by the uninformed, the common Tea Party rant: "Keep the Government out of Medicare." A good read is, The Truth About the Tea Party [rollingstone.com]:

      As Palin launches into her Ronald Reagan impression — "Government's not the solution! Government's the problem!" — the person sitting next to me leans over and explains.

      "The scooters are because of Medicare," he whispers helpfully. "They have these commercials down here: 'You won't even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!' Practically everyone in Kentucky has one."

      A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending ...

      • I wish I had mod points. Best definition of "absolutely necessary" ever. But The Tea Party story is even better.
        • I wish I had mod points. Best definition of "absolutely necessary" ever. But The Tea Party story is even better.

          Thanks. I'm sure I'll get mod'ed down for mentioning it 'cause, you know, /. :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why don't they spin energy star off into a non-profit. It can be self supported with "membership" from appliance manufacturers.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      I can't tell if you're being sarcastic.

    • Either that, or devolve it to the states - let the various states decide whether they want it or not. Besides, all the manufacturing happens in China anyway, so maybe have Beijing own and manage the program
  • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @01:08PM (#54306851)
    Product makers apply for Energy Star ratings, they pay a small fee (how much can this program actually cost, anyway?). Consumers who care will be more interested in the products that are rated. I don't see the problem.
    • by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @01:34PM (#54307119)

      I mean, I can sorta show you what I think the problem is, but I think people will come to different conclusions on it.

      https://energy.gov/gc/articles... [energy.gov]

      Energy Star was around 20 years old in 2011 when they finally launched a pilot program to actually test the manufacturer's claims. Unsurprisingly, they found that some were lying. Since there was third party testing involved, we run into an odd issue: the federal government has essentially said "some set of third party testers get to verify energy star, and, if they are ok with it, we will take their word on it and let you use the energy star branding".

      Inevitably, this means that the manufacturers will find some way, in some cases, to scam the results. After all, if word gets out that YOU actually test the products but *I* provide the advertising star, I get to eat your lunch. The system incentivizes cheating, and it wasn't until the Obama administration that anyone had the balls to go look for said cheating.

      You could make the case that the system really does make stuff more efficient, even when some participants cheat. After all, they aren't ALL cheating, and removing the system would probably replace it with nothing, or a possibly more corrupt private industry rubber-stamper. You could also make the case that the incentivization to cheat or not cheat shouldn't be coming from the federal government anyway, and that encouraging a small side industry in testing drama is wasteful and unethical.

      What we will probably see is this: the mainstream media will jump all over it, as it is something to smear Trump with. Internet Trump Team will respond by claiming it is wasteful swampy garbage. No one will be convinced of anything, the facts won't matter in the slightest, and nothing will change in a meaningful way for anyone, except maybe the divisiveness in the country will grow a bit.

    • by necro81 ( 917438 )

      Can't it be self-funding?

      Even if it were, I'm sure there's a sizable portion of the government and electorate that would like to see it killed off because...well...it's gub'mint!

      Never mind that it has saved U.S. consumers (and governments, funded by taxpayers) tens-to-hundreds of billions of dollars over its life, and forced companies to create more efficient products that probably wouldn't have come about solely by the magic of capitalism.

  • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @01:08PM (#54306855)
    Did you know how many people were killed by EnergyStar? Little known is that O'Blama and Hillary were using the electrons saved by the EnergyStar system to fund Pizzagate, and Acorn.

    Finally America is winning again, and that goddamned EnergyStar will sing to the depths of hell, where it belongs.

  • I hope they get rid of smartway as well, I'm pretty sure that whole program is useless.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's because Energy Star is pretty much a scam. It takes more time, energy, and money to actually verify the tens of thousands of "Energy Star" appliances. So manufacturers self report energy ratings - which are often off by 35%-50%. That is, the self reported appliances may use 35%-50% more energy than reported.

    Since it's implementation, Energy Star has been a half hearted effort and a marketing tool. "Energy Star" doesn't mean anything. But millions can claim "Energy Star" tax breaks based on false

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So, basically: "it's flawed, so let's get rid of it"

      This sounds like the same brain-dead argument we heard during the FCC privacy rollback and the ongoing healthcare debacle.

      If the current regulations are flawed - FIX THEM, don't just throw them away....

      • If the current regulations are flawed - FIX THEM, don't just throw them away....

        Nope. Throw them out, fire the legislators who voted for it, and let the new batch of legislators decide if it's worth taking a crack at again.
        I'd also be in favor of mandatory prison sentences for any legislator voting for something that is ruled unconstitutional, or voting on something without having personally read it in its entirety.

        The solution is never more laws. The solution is almost always fewer laws, but better laws.

  • No! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @01:36PM (#54307133)

    The appliance aspect of Energy Star has a small impact. What's really at the heart of it is the energy efficiency program. I have reduced my home's energy consumption 40% by following Energy Star for Homes standards. I made my money back on the cost of repairs in the first year. I've been doing this and teaching it for years.

    While I can certainly appreciate cutting budgets in the name of reducing federal spending, this one IS effective and is a direct financial benefit to homeowners. 40% of the world's energy is used by buildings, the largest piece of the pie. As someone who has studied energy efficiency for a long time, I know that energy efficiency programs like this one are far more effective at reducing emissions and cutting operating costs than any other strategy such as renewable energy or switching to natural gas. Think of it this way, how many PV panels would it take to power your house? Probably a lot, right? And it would take forever to pay back. Now what if you reduced your energy demand significantly through energy efficiency? Less panels, right? If you want renewables to be cost effective, the greatest efficiency has to be gained first.

    And yes, it is about safety. Homes with combustion appliances are checked for CO spillage and negative chimney drafts that could allow uncombusted gas to accumulate in the home.

  • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @01:36PM (#54307135)

    It's one of the few things the EPA does that's useful and efficient. Setting a national standard is well within the things that government should do. Compared to all the really wasteful things they do this should certainly be kept.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ScentCone ( 795499 )

      It's one of the few things the EPA does that's useful and efficient. Setting a national standard is well within the things that government should do. Compared to all the really wasteful things they do this should certainly be kept.

      Except it's the manufacturers that self-report their own idea of efficiency, essentially self-awarding themselves this meaningless label. You'll recall the famous experiment where someone sent in an Energy Star application featuring their design for a gasoline powered alarm clock. Which was of course granted Energy Star status, not only sight-unseen, but obviously without even a moment's critical thinking on the part of whatever bureaucratic clerk is holding the exact job that Trump very reasonably conside

  • by realnrh ( 1298639 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @01:46PM (#54307239) Journal
    It is of course a mere coincidence that this highly successful and entirely voluntary program, which has saved US consumers billions of dollars over its existence, far more than the actual program cost or cost to manufacturers, was also responsible for rating several of Don The Con's properties as being in the bottom 10% of all rated structures from an energy efficiency standpoint, just because those structures happened to be highly inefficient with their energy usage. That got the program on his Enemies List. http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/25/... [cnn.com]
  • by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @01:51PM (#54307297)

    Nor does he have an agenda, plans, or power: all he has is Presidential authority. He's doing exactly what the GOP, Bannon, Kusher, Putin, the Kochs, the Mercers, or whoever else with actual power tells him to do. He's a puppet. All he actually cares about is feeding his narcissism and exploiting his position for personal gain.

    Stop attributing anything to him, he deserves neither credit nor blame.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by sexconker ( 1179573 )

      Nor does he have an agenda, plans, or power: all he has is Presidential authority. He's doing exactly what the GOP, Bannon, Kusher, Putin, the Kochs, the Mercers, or whoever else with actual power tells him to do. He's a puppet. All he actually cares about is feeding his narcissism and exploiting his position for personal gain.

      Stop attributing anything to him, he deserves neither credit nor blame.

      Did you think that putting "Putin" in the middle of a list and putting "He's a puppet." in the following sentence would make you seem like less of an idiot?

      Just come out and say it: You're a Puppeteer. You fools are worse than the "birthers" for the last President.

  • http://edition.cnn.com/2017/04... [cnn.com]

    Yet another bit of crookedry that would have right-wingers rioting in the streets if Hillary did it.

    • http://edition.cnn.com/2017/04... [cnn.com]

      Yet another bit of crookedry that would have right-wingers rioting in the streets if Hillary did it.

      With all of the "rioting in the streets" we've seen over the past few decades, you somehow classify the behavior as the trademark of the "right-wingers"?

      • Yes leftists riot, and therefore my figure of speech is invalid, and it's OK that the right are bald-faced hypocrites and Trump is a crook abusing presidential authority to enrich his businesses.

  • That's why he wants those EnergyStar labels to go away. The corporations will make more profit if they don't have to sell energy-efficient appliances. Then there will be more demand for power, and subsequently more demand for coal. It all makes sense when you look at it from the viewpoint of greedy corporations.
    • The corporations will make more profit if they don't have to sell energy-efficient appliances.

      They already don't have to sell energy-efficient appliances. Energy Star is a voluntary program.

  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @01:56PM (#54307351) Homepage

    The big manufacturers sell their products world wide. This means that they need to make them comply with the various standards that exist in different parts of the world. The EU market is about the same size as the USA one. The EU has its own energy standards and labelling [europa.eu], if the EPA Energy Star goes away in the USA they could simply display the EU ones in the USA. USA consumers would quickly learn what it was about, the manufacturers would save costs by not having to have their stuff tested twice; everyone wins. Going for global standards is where we will probably end up sooner or later anyway.

    • by unimacs ( 597299 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @02:30PM (#54307643)
      Except that big manufacturers don't sell all of their products in all markets and I find it highly unlikely that manufactures would put EU energy efficiency labels on products sold in the US since there would be no incentive for them to do so.

      They will happily sell products in the US that don't meet EU standards and products in Thailand that don't meet US standards.

      And yes, I am one of those people that considers Energy Star ratings when I make a purchase. What you'll generally find is that products with better Energy Star ratings are also of better quality than similar products with lower ratings. They're not just more energy efficient.
      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        I've always been more concerned with performance like how well something actually works rather than how efficient it is.
        Yet somehow almost everything in my house has an energy star rating on it anyway despite that having never been in consideration.

        Also CFLs are terrible just pay the extra $1 or $2 for LED and have something that works.

    • The big manufacturers sell their products world wide. This means that they need to make them comply with the various standards that exist in different parts of the world.

      I don't think that you have actually seen a household appliance in a European house. European houses typically have less space for appliances, so the appliances tend to be smaller. Then there is the 220/110v difference. The exception is dishwashers.

      No, they don't sell the same products worldwide (mostly).

      • I don't think that you have actually seen a household appliance in a European house. Then there is the 220/110v difference.

        I am European. I have not seen household appliances in the USA. Yes, your puny voltage means higher current for the same work.

        • I am European. I have not seen household appliances in the USA. Yes, your puny voltage means higher current for the same work.

          Having lived in both the USA and Europe, I have experience of appliances in the two parts of the world. Hence my knowledge that they are mostly different.

          The USA does have 220V, though. Typically, dryers (electric only) and electric ovens use 220V, also electric vehicle chargers.

  • by sethstorm ( 512897 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @02:03PM (#54307409) Homepage

    Nothing stops them from setting standards as a private sector entity.

  • by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @02:14PM (#54307495)

    This is the type of government program I like to see. The government is not mandating which appliance to buy. They are making a measuring stick available, and mandating that you can't lie about it. The "founding father's" made the central government responsible for setting weights and measures for a good reason. A fair market is impossible without agreed upon measures.

    I wish they'd taken the same approach with the FDA. Instead of saying, "Drug X may not be sold", or "Drug Y may only be used for this specific application.", technology would have advanced much quicker and cheaper if they published a registry saying, "We have determined that Drug X has shown efficacy for this application." I'd still need my doctor, but he (and the army of bureaucrats blocking him) wouldn't be the gateway to which drug I could buy.

    If Trump wants to cut the budget, make the FDA follow the Energy Star Program. Make the Dept of Education an advisory board ("We have studied the problem, and found these remedies work in those situations. Now, localities can more intelligently work out your own education programs.").

  • by caseih ( 160668 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @02:45PM (#54307765)

    All regulations have unintended consequences. And the best intentions sometimes backfire. For example, take the new European standard for electrical consumption of vacuum cleaners. In essence they've now banned the larger models. But it's not going to save any electricity. Now with smaller models that can't create as much vacuum and thus induce a much smaller CFM of air flow. Hence they work less efficiently and more slowly. So any electrical efficiency gains are offset by the poorer performance overall, requiring longer use and just as much electricity. Besides that, even if all things were equal, the greater electrical use (and subsequent CO2 generation) from the bigger vacuums probably can't even be quantified for most people since vacuum cleaners are used so infrequently compared to computers, lights, heating, and other electrical devices.

    This is, in my mind, a clear example of well-intentioned Energy Star -like programs and regulations that just don't apply well to many things and shouldn't. And this is why people, including trump supporters, get so upset with government interference in their lives. Most people I know aren't stupid. If they buy a new freezer, they do want to save money and energy by buying the newer, more efficient models. I think this would continue even without Energy Star, should it ever disappear entirely.

    Besides that, if you really want to change things, a carbon tax is better than efficiency regulations. If the true cost of energy is passed on to consumers you can bet they'll make different choices and drive demand for energy-efficient devices. Rather than set fuel efficiency targets, tax a vehicle's registration based on its fuel consumption. Lets people have the freedom to drive an old, less-efficient vehicle if they wish, as long as they are willing to pay for it.

    Sure direct regulation is easier for the government, but it's not always the best way. And it always has unintended consequences and leads to regulatory capture of the market by a few large companies.

    • Rather than set fuel efficiency targets, tax a vehicle's registration based on its fuel consumption. Lets people have the freedom to drive an old, less-efficient vehicle if they wish, as long as they are willing to pay for it.

      In the US this is already taking place. It's called a "gasoline tax", and both the feds and the states have their hands in the pockets of those who buy gas. Buy more gas, you pay more in taxes.

      You just want another tax to do the same thing, as if one tax isn't enough.

    • by Higaran ( 835598 )
      This sounds like a low flow toilet all over again

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