Thursday, June 30, 2011
One of the reasons I dropped my personal Consumer Reports subscription is that they have become consistently liberal in their outlook, taking the sides of intrusive regulation by the government.
Today CR issues a statement supporting a high (62 MPG) fuel economy. One of their arguments is that vehicles can be reduced in mass without necessarily becoming less safe. For small differences in mass, this is probably true.
Monday, June 27, 2011
I can't remember the last time I felt open, unguarded lust about a Buick. But now GM comes out with a Buick turbo wagon, as if breathing the ghost of Saab back into Buick. Please tell us, GM, that this lovely piece of rolling practical sculpture will come with manual transmission.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Obama's energy department yesterday announced it would release 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which holds a total of about 726 million barrels, or about 160 days supply at the maximum withdraw rate of 4.4 million barrels/day. For reference, U.S. consumption is currently about 20 million barrels/day total, of which about 10 million barrels/day is imported.
So Obama just spent $12.5 billion (at market prices) to temporarily lower oil prices. In theory, this will soften the effect of lost Libyan production.
The problem is, the energy department will have to refill the reserves, buy purchasing the 30 million barrels, or waiting to paid in royalties from oil producers.
I am not sure if this was a valid use of the SPR, as we should be careful not to blow our oil reserves whenever the price gets high--it should truly be reserved for emergencies. Loss of production from Libya is not an emergency--it was a foolish policy decision by the U.S. and NATO to go to war with wily Col. Gaddafi.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Now here is a form of ethanol production I have no problem with. Dallas TX based Celanese says it has a process to make ethanol relatively cheaply from natural gas.
However, because the ethanol is produced from a fossil fuel, it doesn't qualify as a renewable fuel, and therefore can't be used to satisfy the renewable fuel mandates that are driving corn based ethanol. So unless the law is changed, corn ethanol will continue to drive up food prices and eat tax money.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Mitt Romney, pandering to Iowans, has come out in support of ethanol subsidies.
I'm going to have a hard time supporting the guy in the primary.
Ethanol subsidies, like other agricultural price supports, are reverse-robin-hood: they take from the poor (us) and give to the mostly rich (large farms and Big Ag).
Here's an idea: how about we let ethanol follow market forces. If no one wants the stuff, there will be less produced, and farmers can plant wheat and barley instead, to make proper methanol.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
In an uncharacteristically (for GM) blunt statement, GM's CEO said
"They are trying like hell to resurrect Lincoln. Well, I might as well tell you, you might as well sprinkle holy water. It's over," he said about Cadillac's historical competitor."
He's right, of course, that Lincoln is struggling.
But, he shouldn't be too proud of Cadillac--at 11,600 sales in May of this year, Cadillac is still well behind BMW (20,600) and Mercedes (20,300), and even Lexus (12,300).
Friday, June 3, 2011
According to The Detroit News, an unnamed source is saying that Mazda plans to leave the AAI plant in Flat Rock, MI, which would make Mazda a true import brand once again, with models coming from Japan and Mexico.
I understand that Mazda has a business to run, and that the Mazda6 (a good car) is not a great seller, but I am a little disappointed. I once owned one of AAI's previous products, the Mazda 626, which was a good handling but cramped mid-sized sedan. It was fun to point to my "foreign" Mazda and tell people it was assembled in Michigan by UAW labor.