McClaughry: Congressman Welch and fuel efficiency

By John McClaughry

A week ago I discussed President Trump’s announcement of an EPA rule change, freezing the vehicle fuel economy standard at 37 miles per gallon in 2020, instead of letting it shoot up to the 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 as decreed by the Obama administration.

Bruce Parker/TNR

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt.

Our Congressman Peter Welch, ever agreeable to bashing Trump, issued a press release doing just that. I suspect, but can’t prove, that the release was prepared by the House Democratic caucus for all Democrats to send out to an eager world.

In his release, the congressman declared that “consumers are demanding greater fuel efficiency in vehicles.” Oh? That probably caused some amusement in Detroit, where the auto makers have been forced to build small cars that consumers don’t want, unless their price is subsidized by jacking up the prices on the pickups, vans and SUVs that they do want to buy.

If “consumers are demanding greater fuel efficiency in vehicles,” what’s stopping them from buying all-electric Teslas? Especially when they get a $7,500 Obama credit for doing so?

If consumers are demanding bacon cheeseburgers, then Burger King, Wendy’s and McDonald’s will deliver them.

If the congressman boldly said “the reason for high government fuel economy requirements” is to fight “the menace of climate change” by getting people into smaller, lighter, less comfortable, overly expensive cars, complete with range anxiety and recharge trauma, which would otherwise sell only to affluent climate change worriers,” I could at least respect that for candor.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Images courtesy of U.S. House of Representatives and Bruce Parker/TNR

7 thoughts on “McClaughry: Congressman Welch and fuel efficiency

  1. John,

    RE proponents want to “electrify” the New England transportation sector. That means:

    – Much less consumption of gasoline and much more generation of electricity.
    – Internal combustion engines using gasoline would be replaced with electric vehicles.

    EVs will be used to replace IC vehicles that currently are using gasoline.
    Plug-in hybrids and other vehicles could not be used, unless they use renewable biofuels.

    Electrifying the NE transportation sector would result in significantly increased load and generation on the NE grid

    EVs Charging: RE proponents claim EVs would be charged at night, and that it would “flatten the demand” curve. In reality, peak demands would occur at night, instead of during the day.

    – If the charging of all EVs were evenly distributed from 10 pm to 6 am, every day, the nighttime demand increase would be 67.95 billion kWh/y/(8 x 365)/1000 = 23271 MW.

    – If the charging of all EVs were evenly distributed during 24 hours of the day, the around-the-clock demand increase would be 7757 MW.

    – That would be a significant increase of the normal nighttime demand of about 12000 MW. The normal daytime peak demand is about 22000 MW, and about 24500 MW during the late afternoons of hot summer days.
    – The existing gas turbine capacity (which by now would include the gas turbines needed to replace nuclear) likely could not be sufficient to provide that new nighttime demand and electricity.
    – Future heat pumps would impose very significant additional demand increases of daytime demand during hot days in summer (likely already with peak demands), and additional increases of winter demand during cold days in winter.
    – The winter demand increases due to EVs + heat pumps, would severely stress NE generation capacity and fuel supply, and the NE grid. In fact, NE generation capacity and almost all NE high voltage and distribution grids would be completely inadequate.

    NOTE: In 2017, the entire load on the NE grid was about 121.50 TWh, of which 78.8 TWh was provided by low-cost domestic gas and nuclear. To generate the 67.95 TWh for charging EVs with expensive, unreliable, variable wind and solar would be a huge physical challenge, especially during summer when wind is minimal for months (just look out the window), and it would be financially unfeasible.

    New Englanders drive about 155.86 billion miles/y, at an assumed 24.7 mpg.
    Electricity generation for EVs would be about 67.95 billion kWh/y, at an assumed 0.436 kWh/mile, generation basis.
    The assumed 0.350 kWh/mile, per EV meter, is the average of cars, minivans, SUVs, ¼-ton pick-ups and larger pick-ups. See table 2.

    Any electricity required to replace other gasoline, diesel fuel and for operating heat pumps, etc., would be in addition.

  2. The car manufacturers refer to the small, hybrid and electric cars as “compliance” cars. Not made for the market. Once they meet the fleet CAFÉ mileage requirement they can sell profitable cars, trucks and SUVs.
    Toyota even converted a new hybrid plant to produce trucks, before starting production. Hybrid sales just did not develop. Hybrid sales have always been far below projections in spite of subsidies, free recharge, preferential parking and traffic lane priority.
    Peter’s nonsense is totally partisan and overlooks the help this move gives every Vermont and US citizen to afford a vehicle without all the additional costs required to meet the Obama decree.
    I sometimes think Peter and Vermonter’s live in a bubble. If they really wanted Vermont to lead the world fighting climate change we missed our opportunity when we lost 70% of our fossil free generation to regulations and politics.
    In Germany, where they have already tried all the incentives, they have recently banned older diesels from some cities. Even with this, new light vehicle sales are now 50% gasoline, 45% diesel and five, repeat 5, percent hybrid or plug-in.
    Think about it. Sounds like about time for Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” solution. We need enforcers.

  3. If everyone owned electric cars, I wonder what the cost for electricity would be to charge all those cars and since there would be no gas usage, there would be no gas tax. Who would pay for our roads?
    I guess there would have to be a new tax added to your electric bill. Isn’t that just what the liberals want. More taxes?? We could have another first in the nation.
    Welch needs to go along with baffling Bernie and leaky Leahy.

  4. I have a hard time with anything Rep. Welsh says since I learned how tied at the hip he is with his solar friends and benefactors. His Burlington office in the same building with the VT. Energy Investment Corp., rent must be cheap. His partner’s appointment to the VT. Public Service Board, how convenient. Now who had any sway in that decision?

  5. Hey, Welch. If your so keen on fuel efficiency, why don’t you ride a bicycle and get yourself a horse and buggy??

  6. P Welch, just another ” Progressive Democrat ” that’s still is under the belief that whatever
    Obozo put in place is gospel !!

    One would think that living in VT he ( Welch ) would understand that not everyone is interested
    in a Prius or who can afford a Tesla ?? Most need work vehicles, not mall or downtown latte
    shopping vehicles.

    So if Welch would take off his DNC Hat and put on his VT hat, he should be jumping for joy if
    working people could get 37mpg and that’s a stretch !!!

    Instead of the pipedream that Obozo mandated (54mpg) just another Phone & Pen policy
    is where Welch shows his colors.

    • Lols I can’t stop laughing from the last two comments “Leaky Leahy” & then “Obozo”!! Are they friends with Adam Shifty, Mad Maxine & Crooked Hillary??

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