Enrico applauds Obama for increasing the fedgov’s CAFE standards, governing the average miles per gallon consumed by fleets of cars sold in the US.
This is such a freakin’ OBVIOUS move that it is just criminal it has taken so long to make. This is the first increase in 32 years, for all love. Enrico kids you not.
The world totally ABOUNDS with techniques for increasing the fuel economy of internal combustion engines. And, the world is CRAWLING with well-demonstrated, prototype-ready slight twists on ICEs which are much, much more efficient. AND (Enrico wishes he had a bigger font), the world is completely infested with radically different personal transportation schemes which are insanely more efficient than ICEs.
So, why, O why, have these highly prolific engineering feats not swept the ICE into the dustbin of history? Or at least, goosed it up to the point where it doesn’t simply gulp fuel?
Economics, my dear reader, economics. The auto manufacturers pwn the nickels and dimes of making the ICE. They make them on a vast scale. They are insanely cheap to make. They can’t afford the loss of market share and profits that would arise from introducing costs others don’t have, even if those costs greatly increase fuel efficiency.
One of Enrico’s portfolio companies has a well-demonstrated technology which would increase the fuel efficiency of diesel engines by at least 10%, at a scaled-up cost of approximately $300 incremental per engine. Enrico thought, when he invested in this company, that his proposition would be a no brainer for engine manufacturers to snap up. He was sadly naive.
Enrico personally visited Caterpillar, and personally explained the economics and the fuel efficiency savings to very senior, experienced, wise engineers at the company. The engineers totally agreed with the findings, and actually thought the fuel efficiency results would be even better than Enrico claimed. But they also demonstrated to Enrico’s complete satisfaction that it was a non-starter in the marketplace. Too much incremental cost. $300.
There are probably thousands of stories like this.
The car manufacturers need the assurance that everyone else will be forced to introduce these miniscule additional costs in order to be able to sleep at night.
The only possible criticism of Obama is that he didn’t go far enough. There’s no reason why cars can’t get 50 mpg on average, even sticking with the ICE. But Enrico won’t criticize, nope, he sure won’t.
Let’s all decide we’re not going to buy oil from our enemies, ever again.