Driving dirty air

The Republican Party, which is now Donald Trump’s Republican Party (DTRP), has long heralded itself as the party of less big government and more local control. They’ve argued that states, cities, and counties know what is best for them and they should set standards.

DTRP dislikes car emission standards set by California’s elected leaders  so much so that a court battle looms over the state’s ability to set standards for vehicles, which California began doing in 1966.

In fact, the emission standards have worked so well that 13 states adopted California’s standards, meaning that car and light truck manufacturers have already designed their products and factories to meet emission standards which keep air cleaner. It also means consumers are buying these cars and trucks. Tough emission standards didn’t serve as a death-blow to auto sales in those states.

The same can be said for gas mileage standards.  DTRP wants to reduce mileage standards for vehicles, but that doesn’t mean consumers will race out to buy something new to drive. Consumers expect and demand good mileage, safety features, and low emissions.

Manufacturers couldn’t, and wouldn’t, retool their factories in an afternoon to produce gas-guzzling, dirty emission spewing cars just because the DTRP says it is ok. In fact, just two months ago, four manufacturers agreed to meet  continue to meet California’s vehicle standards.

A quick survey of the popularity of electric vehicles, hybrids, and high-efficiency gas fueled cars and trucks, would remind manufacturers that consumers want and expect cleaner running, higher mileage, vehicles. Both domestic and foreign car companies continue to offer best selling models with hybrid versions, and are also re-introducing retired versions of hybrids, because if they don’t, customers will drive past those dealerships on the way to others who offer what they want.

Donal Trump’s Republican Party can deny all kinds of reality and science, but car dealers won’t deny the reality of their bottom line. Profits are increasingly driven by consumers who buy cars using less or no gas, and emitting as little air pollutants as possible.

Car standards aren’t set at the White House any more; they are determined by consumers with their wallets in dealer showrooms and at gas pumps.

 

 

What’s for dinner tonight?

People root for teams in the Super Bowl and World Series for all kinds of reasons. We build dinner around the two teams playing.

We’ve had clam chowder (Patriots and the Red Sox), New York cheesecake (Giants), and California wine and cioppino (San Francisco 49ers and Giants). Duds have included everything we cooked in 2008 (Steelers v Vikings).

Tonight’s menu includes a new seafood chowder recipe and two New Belgium beers, Fat Tire and Ranger IPA (There are other good microbreweries in Colorado. New Belgium is employee owned and we like their beer).

It wouldn’t be a Super Bowl with the commercials (and wardrobe “malfunctions”). In 2011 Groupon learned how to make a lot of people angry in 30 seconds. And Budweiser seems to always get the right amount of heart-tugging in their ads. My favorite continues to be Volkswagon’s 2012 Darth Vader ad.

Tonight’s game, with all the chicken wings, pizza, beer, chili, and commercials, will have a lot of eyes focused on Seattle’s #40, Derrick Coleman, the first legally deaf player to play in the NFL.

There’s been some speculation about whether Peyton Manning will retire if he goes home with a second Super Bowl win tonight. Manning and his family have been role models among professional athletes, and I would like to see him win another Super Bowl (plus he was great on Saturday Night Live, so maybe a return hosting stint there might happen if Denver wins).

But tonight,  just like twins Riley and Erin Kovalcik, I’m all in for Seattle and Derrick Coleman. Go Seahawks!