The President paints a rosy picture about new CAFE standards.  From USA Today, Obama Announces New Emissions and Mileage Standards

President Obama announced new emissions and mileage standards today, pushing the average car to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016 – a 40 percent cleaner fleet of vehicles on our roads. The plan is based on the stricter auto standards that California has sought under federal clean air laws.

So how big of a deal is this? In today’s remarks, Obama stated that the move will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the cars’ lifetime. This is equivalent to:

* taking 177 million cars off of the road
* all of the oil than we imported last year from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria and Libya combined
* shutting down 194 coal-fired plants
* 5 percent of our oil consumption each year

Sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it?  Even the increased price isn’t that bad:

Though the more fuel efficient cars will cost consumers more – an estimated $1,300 – Obama said that the driver would save over $2,800 over the life of the vehicle, and the cars would pay for themselves in fuel costs in just three years.

Depending on the cost of gas.  If it’s higher, you get your money back sooner.

The new standards will bring about a small-car boom. Proclaims Jim Motavalli of the Daily Green: “The age of the SUV is over.”

And there’s the ant colony at this particular picnic.  The fuel efficiency has to come from less weight.  Green Hell Blog looks at some other numbers in CAFE Obama: Proposed mileage standards would kill more Americans than Iraq War

…The National Academy of Sciences has linked mileage standards with about 2,000 deaths per year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that every 100-pound reduction in the weight of small cars increases annual traffic fatalities by as much as 715.

For the sake of being utilitarian, let’s generously assume that the mileage standards reduced the price of gasoline by $1. That would translate to daily savings of $1 million. Is that savings worth killing more than five people per day, plus other non-fatal injuries and property damage?

According to Green Hell,

Obama’s standards will require automakers to meet a 35 miles-per-gallon standard by 2016 — four years earlier than the same standard imposed by the Energy Security and Independence Act of 2007.

What is the ever-loving rush?  Why not stick with the plan, allowing more time for technological advances?  It gives “haste makes waste” a whole new meaning.