"Companies have not been making more small, less safe and less desirable vehicles in preparation for the tighter limit, which insurance companies, manufacturers and dealers had feared. “They’re just taking the same vehicles and making them more fuel efficient,” says Benjamin Leard, a research fellow at Resources for the Future."
"Since automotive companies are in the business of making vehicles that consumers crave and maximizing profits, 'we would expect cars would be a lot less fuel efficient and more powerful and much larger than they are today,' says Leard."
"Since Tesla only makes electric cars, it can sell a variety of state and federal credits to other automakers who are having a harder time meeting these goals. They come in three mutually exclusive categories: zero-emissions vehicle credits, greenhouse gas emissions credits, and fuel economy credits.
'They can leverage the same car in multiple categories,' said Benjamin Leard, a research fellow at Resources for the Future."
"The expectation was that as emissions limits ratchet down, conventional car companies would have to spend more on credits to comply with the rules or invest in cleaning up their cars. But with the emissions and fuel economy standards holding steady, the demand for new credits would shrink.
'I would certainly expect the prices of those credits to go down' with the rollback of the standards, Leard said."
"There are some obvious obstacles to this seductive future. Under favorable circumstances, it would take years to materialize. There are roughly 250 million cars and other light-duty vehicles (pickups, SUVs) on the road. In a good year, the industry sells 17 million vehicles. Even if, beginning in 2018, all these were driverless, it would be 15 years before today’s fleet is replaced.
And these assumptions are, of course, unrealistic. 'Some people actually like driving,' says economist Benjamin Leard of the think tank Resources for the Future. Most won’t be customers for driverless vehicles. Neither will many Americans who don’t trust the reliability of self-driving vehicles. That’s about 60 percent of the public, reports an opinion survey conducted by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of Sustainable World Transportation, a research group at the University of Michigan.
Still other potential customers may be deterred by the high costs of all the needed sensors, cameras, computer chips and software. With present technology, this could add $10,000 to the cost of new vehicles, though that is expected to decline with time, says Leard."