They Just Outlawed Trucks

The federal regulatory apparat – which has become an unelected legislature – has just decreed that there will be no new trucks by less than a decade from now.

“Decreed” in italics because that is precisely what has just happened.

No law was passed, but last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (note the blasé bureaucratic terminology; it is just an “administration,” ands yet it does a great deal more than merely administering) decreed that by 2032, new vehicles must average at least 58 miles-per-gallon.

As of today, there isn’t single new car available that can comply with this decree. “Comply” in italics to mark the outrageousness of the “administration” of such decrees, which no one in this “democracy” of ours ever had a chance to vote for – or against.

The only car that comes close to being able to “comply” is the Toyota Prius, a small hybrid – and even it doesn’t quite get there.

It averages 57 MPG.

How will trucks “comply” with a federal decree that requires them to average 58 MPG? The answer is – they won’t. Because they can’t. It is a functional impossibility. In order to be a truck, it must be capable of doing work – such as carrying and pulling heavy things. This makes trucks heavier – by a lot – than a small car such as the Prius. As an example, the Ford F-150 (not the electric version) has a curb weight of 4,465 lbs., notwithstanding that its body is made of aluminum. It has a steel frame – onto which the aluminum body is bolted. This is how trucks are laid out because it is the best layout for the type of work people expect trucks be able to do without breaking.

A small car like the Prius has an integrated body and frame – this is called a unibody – and it helps reduce weight; even so, the 2023 Prius still weighs 3,097 lbs. And it is a near-miracle that something that heavy manages to almost “comply” with the federal regulatory apparat’s decree.

But it required a hybrid drivetrain – in a small car – to get it almost there.

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