The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
14 Points

That, by 2040, the federal government should mandate that all new passenger vehicles and light truck

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/12/2009 Category: News
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,104 times Debate No: 6486
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)




The only thing Obama could agree with Bush about is bailing out the auto industry, because the industry was obviously failing . With the bailout of American auto-companies being hotly debated before Congress, this issue is at the forefront of the discussion. America's transportation sector is heavily reliant on oil, most of which is imported from foreign countries. Therefore this brings us to the resolution , That, by 2040, the federal government should mandate that all new passenger vehicles and light trucks sold in the United States be powered by alternative fuels. The only definition that I see fit to clarify is Alt. Fuels. Alternative fuels are derived from resources other than petroleum. Some are produced domestically, reducing our dependence on imported oil, and some are derived from renewable sources. Often, they produce less pollution than gasoline or diesel. What the resolution is asking of the affirmative side to prove is simply since the US now has the reins of the US auto industry, should the US lead the auto industry to start to transition from petroleum vehicles to alt. fueled vehicles. As we begin we will examine how oil has become very unreliable and will become even more of a strain on the US in the future then it ever has in the past. Then we will take a look at the environmental and political impacts of switching to alt. fuels. Finally we will pump are way to the simple fact that alternative fuels are the future.

Contention 1-Oil, oh how much we have come to not like it
The majority of people in the world know that oil was resting at about 140 plus dollars a barrel and we were suffering, but oil prices have fallen. So why should you care anymore, simply because of the fact that oil production is going to peak by 2040. According to Resource Investor ,"U.S. Report Predicts Peak Oil by 2040", 14 Apr 2007 ,Jon A. Nones writes, "In Feb. 2007, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report to Congressional Requestors entitled, "Uncertainty about Future Oil Supply Makes It Important to Develop a Strategy for Addressing a Peak and Decline in Oil Production." The report examines 22 studies for estimated timing of peak oil production; 18 forecast peak production before or around 2040, with 2 more at or prior to 2050.". The industry has accepted this and the main reason why you should go to alternative fuels after oil production peaks is because of high global demand. The reason oil prices rose to 140 dollars a barrel was because we were consuming more than we could produce, therefore we produced more and that brought the price down, but the oil peak is significant because in the future when the oil prices go up, we will be unable to bring them down, because we can't produce more. Simply put we may be paying more for oil than just a arm and leg in the future. The US must mandate by 2040 because by that time we will be able to enjoy oil as much as we can, but we will be ready when the oil strikes back again.

Contention 2-CO2 emissions must be reduced as driving lessens
According to The Road…Less Traveled: An Analysis of Vehicle Miles Traveled Trends in the U.S.", December 16, 2008, Transportation, Federalism, Highways, Traffic, Environment Robert Puentes, Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program Adie Tomer, Research Analyst, Metropolitan Policy Program, "VMT levels have a direct link to the pollution generated via transportation. While aircraft and large ships produce significantly more pollution per vehicle than automobiles, studies have proven that a majority of transportation pollution is generated from personal and commercial surface Vehicles.", simply put petroleum vehicles are the highest polluter of carbon emissions. What is so bad about carbon emissions well if you may or may not know about the greenhouse effect. Life as we know it exists only because of this natural greenhouse effect, because this process regulates the earth's temperature. When the greenhouse effect would not exist, the whole earth would be covered in ice. The amount of heat trapped in the troposphere determines the temperature on earth. According to Lenntech "Carbon Dioxide", Of these activities fossil fuel combustion for energy generation causes about 70-75% of the carbon dioxide emissions, being the main source of carbon dioxide emissions. " and increasing carbon emissions cause global warming which is suspected that global warming may cause increases in storm activity, Melting of ice caps on the poles, which will cause flooding of the inhabited continents, and other environmental problems such as polar bears becoming extinct. We must mandate by 2040 because people are driving less and are using other methods of transportation so why don't we try are best to stop the leading cause of carbon emissions which is petrol cars. We know the effects and we must take action as soon as possible.

Contention 3- Politics, you know a lot people don't like ours so why don't we change it
Sub Point A-Political respect renewed again
The US has made many commitments in reducing carbon emissions and has not met any of them. It is even happening in are allies country. According to BBC News Aug. 28,2007 "Lib Dems urge end to petrol cars " Chris Huhne , "The EU is now committed to reducing the emissions from cars on average. "What we are saying is that needs to go further. We need to provide certainty to the car Industry and every other industry that is involved in this area to make sure that by 2040 we are using alternative non-carbon emitting fuels. ", it simply means this, as a government looking at the well being of the US in committing to lower carbon emissions and helping the environment we must guide the auto industry in the right direction. Also by fulfilling our promises, we will look better in the political spotlight and help the environment which we all breath.
Sub Point B-World leader, USA again.
The world needs a leader, a leader like the US to lead the world out of major challenges. According to the Economist Nov.6,2008 "Green, easy, and wrong", "Combating climate change, which demands technological and financial resources of the sort that only America has, offers the right sort of challenge. The world needs America to lead the fight against climate change. ", This is not just about us but the world must get off oil. It is not about the means, its about the end. The world is waiting for our lead and we must take it. We may be beaten up now, but this time reminds me of a poem about an old Scottish warrior, "Fight on my men, sir Andrew said, a little I'm hurt but not yet slain, I'll just lay here and bleed awhile and then I'll rise and fight again".


First off, I'd like to thank my opponent for putting up this challenge. I need practice for this exact resolved. I would like the first round to just put my points out. The next round will be for me to refute pro. There are Three main points I would like to bring to your attention and for what I would like run.

First point: Methods for production of alt. fuels can be highly dangerous.

What I mean by this is, sure, the alt. fuel is safe, but the production of the fuel itself can be highly dangerous. Of course, this whole debate is going to be based on what ifs, since we are talking about the year 2040. What con is going to try and prove is that we should go into a period of research and development and make sure that the production of alt. fuels is safe. And R&D takes a good amount of time before scientists, political leaders, and other such groups will declare a project safe. Chris Stefan, a J.D candidate who attended the American University Washington College of Law, stated that "policymakers must provide additional funding for study of the environmental impacts of alt. fuels in their current stages of development, especially accounting for the wide range of variability of the impacts based on the method of production. In short, policymakers must continue to promote the development of alt. fuel sources,but remain mindful of the dangers involved." I agree with the pro side, but as the resolved states, by 2040, so what con is proposing is wait until after this time to make sure that the production of alt. fuels is safe.

Second point: If the government mandates, we are forced to follow that policy, even if a better solution comes along

When it comes to policies made by government, yes they can change, however, for this point, it'll take far to long for the policy to change even in a better solution comes around. For evidence for this point I would like refer to David L. Greene, who is from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Andreas Schafer, who is from Mass. Institute of Technology, has found that "Within each policy category, there will be more than one policy measure that can be effective." So if pro team gets their way, then you can be possibly jumping into a situation without looking at each option that is available. Like I said earlier, I do agree with the pro side, however, con suggests that we just take the time to look at our options before we go changing policies and not knowing what could have been.

Third point: Government has damaged the fuel economy in the first place

Should we really give the choice to the people who have damaged the fuel economy in the first place? I think not. I mean, look at it this way, if your boss makes a rule for the office then production ceases, should that boss be allowed to put another rule that can possibly damage the company any further? No, the workers would want someone who can create success for the company. Think of the American people as the workers of the company, the U.S.A as the company, and the government as the boss who has damaged the fuel economy in the first place. For my evidence for this point I would like to use Steve Chapman, a columnist and Editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune, on April 12, 2007, has stated that "The government's fuel economy standards also haven't done much to promote conservation. On average, new vehicles get lower mileage today than they did 20 years ago, thanks to the proliferation to large trucks and SUVs." Yes, I know the resolved states passengers and light trucks, however, let me say this. Because of the governments' choice to not promote conservation, vehicles have lower mileage today they did 20 years ago. Again, let me ask this, Why should we put the mandate into the hands of the people who damaged the fuel economy in the first place? Based on this evidence, the country can not take another blow like this.

Again, I would like to think my opponent for proposing this challenge. And let me say, this is going to be a challenge, as this is the first debate I have done on Thank-you. And thus, Con has presented it's case
Debate Round No. 1


To start I would like to thank my opponent for accepting the debate and now onto refuting my opponents case.
His first point is methods of production of alternative fuel can be highly dangerous, however I would change it to let's see into the future if there is a better alternative. The biggest point to be made is one major advantage to vote pro is the fact that 2040 is a long time and if a better solution shows its self, then the term is known has we might have to change policy. However from what we know now, which is what I am debating Oil is going to peak by 2040 and global demand is going to be at it's highest at that point. So it doesn't matter if you want to accept the con to be a weather forecaster, because the what if argument isn't true, because scientists have already proved peak oil and if you don't buy that look to my contention 2, which stated that the fact that the majority of CO2 emissions are from petrol cars, which is a leader to global warming not that smog is a health hazard and must be reduced as well. So my opponents first point falls, because I am not looking at what ifs, I am looking at the evidence that is proved thus far. If my opponent can give credible evidence that oil is not going to peak in 2040 then he could win that argument, but he doesn't so you must vote pro. I think I covered point 2 as well, this policy is placed on purpose so we can gradually switch to alternative fuels. The point about alternative fuels being dangerous, his own evidence says that we need to proceed with our route but be mindful of the consequences. Of course there is always going to be a risk, but oil as of right now is more dangerous than alternative fuels. It doesn't even say that alternative fuels are dangerous, it says that they could be dangerous, so my opponents point 1, and 2 are based on what ifs, while I am focusing on the present conditions of oil, and alternative fuels. First the CAFE rules which your point 3 dealt with applies to cars and light trucks. We can't help that the auto companies made more SUVs and trucks that had less mpg's, we simply were promoting a policy to help with conservation. However the government didn't hurt fuel economy, because no where in your evidence does it say that it damaged it, it says we wanted cars and light trucks to work with less CO2 emissions. The CAFE standards were put into place in 1991, and they have worked to help lower CO2 emissions. Second the government do not help in the proliferation of SUV's and trucks. The auto companies did, because they believed that the public wants them. However with gas prices rising and of course the oil peak coming, the public will want a car with better mpg. The government didn't destroy the auto companies and even than you have been arguing that we need to do this in your own speech. So you must vote for the affirmative. In conclusion I will stretch across my arguments, which were one that Oil production will peak in 2040 by studies from the CBO, this means that if you didn't like gas prices at 140 dollars earlier you really aren't going to like them, because the oil companies will be unable to increase production to help people out. The government is not only protecting the people from environmental issues, but rising oil prices were a contributor to the reason why this recession has been so prolonged. The government is trying to eliminate a possible recessionary pressure in 2040. Two the environmental impacts are and must be important to people. As petrol vehicles are the leading contributor of green house gases. Third the US has been looked down upon on issues, so why doesn't the US lead the world on something that will benefit everyone and at least have people like the US again, at least a little.


I would like to start my second round by refuting my opponent's points. First: Oil production will peak by 2040. My opponent says that if I can provide evidence saying that oil will not peak by 2040, then I win that argument. Well, here is my evidence. The USGS(The U.S Geological Survey), which provide scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, have calculated that there are 3,021 billion barrels left, on top of those oil reserves that countries have not reported. Which, if you think about it, then if we really are going into an oil peak, then wouldn't countries hide their oil reserves so they can power their own country? It makes perfect sense. So therefore, my opponents oil peak argument has been refuted. Second, my opponent sated that I sated alt. fuels are dangerous. That is not what I said at all. What I said was, that the production, the making of alt. fuels, can be dangerous. I have never said that the alt. fuels themselves were dangerous. So my refute for this point is, we should spend from now until we are absolutely know for sure that the production of alt. fuels is safe. For now, we should stick to oil. And finally, my opponent has stated that we can't help what the auto industry does. And I have to agree with my opponent. However, though we don't have the power to mandate the auto industry, the federal government does, and from what we have seen, is that when it comes to this issue, the government have failed. Again, 20 years ago, vehicles have had better mpg then they do now. And besides, the government then did not do much to promote conservation. So, should we allow the people who did not do anything then do something now? No, we, the American people, can not allow that. Con has thus refuted pros points.

Now, I would like to reinforce my three main points.

First: The production of alt. fuels can be dangerous

We should take time to research and make sure that the production, again, the production, not the alt. fuels themselves, are safe. It is irrefutable that alt. fuels are safe, but the production of them can be dangerous. We must make sure that the production is safe. That's all con is saying.

Second: If the government mandates a switch early, then we can be tossing away an opportunity to try and find a better solution.

What con is saying here is, we should take time to make decisions. Now, to a lot of people, 2040 looks far off and is surely enough time. However, look how fast 2008 flew by. It seemed like only yesterday that it was January, 2008. So we have to look at the long term, not the short term. And the government mandating a switch in 2040 is going with the short term. Again, the American people can't afford the government looking at the short term. The con rests with this point.

Third: The government has already damaged the fuel economy

As I have stated in my refute to one of pros points, we can't control the auto industry, the federal government can. And they have failed us. 20 years ago the mpg of vehicles were better then they are today and the federal government has not done nothing to promote conservation. The con rests.

Finally, I would like to thank my opponent for making this a challenging debate.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponents only arguement on oil production peak is that there is some oil that is not reported. That doesn't mean that there is a lot or a little. Also the country that made this survey was the US to the congress, so why would the Congressional budget office, who does studies on subjects to make policy change say that there will be an oil peak, if they secretly had oil saved. My opponents arguement just seems to be an conspiracy theory and does not hold in thsi round and he is only renforcing my arguement because we only have so much left that is correct and thus the oil peak in production will happen which not only is an economic concern for Americans, but also a security crisis as other countries can use it to bring about political change, case in point Russia with resources on Ukraine. Second my opponent brought up how alternative fuels are dangerous in how they are produced. How are car batteries that bad in fact read this article about
Electric cars are not that dangerous to produce and besides producing oil is dangerous because of the fumes that is leads into the environment. So oil and alternative fuel dangers are simply a trade off. Con has not refuted the points, because the car companies have learned that there business practices were wrong, so now they need a new direction to go in and that is through alternative cars. The CAFE standards forced them to make cars have less CO2 emissions in the air and they have followed through. MPG may be not as high, but we still need to do so to stop production of vehicles that release CO2 in the first place. As I already stated we only have one planet, so we need to get to a point where the number one pollutor of CO2 is stopped in time from being on earth.

Now onto why you should vote for the Pro

1. My opponents first point about alternative fuels produced being dangerous, but there are some fuels that are not dangerous as in electric cars and if they were so dangerous than why are there some of these vehicles being produced now, obviously they are worth the risk because of what I just said in contention 2 of my first round about the environmental impacts.
2. My opponents contention 2 states a lot about the long term, but that is exactly what the pro side calls for, we have the means and ingenuity to do so, so why don't we do it. The government is essentially preventing harms to it's own people and to the world. So you must vote pro, because that con arguement just doesn't fly because if the facts change, which they sometimes do, you can always change the mandate. As the facts state now though, we must take action on this probelm.
3. The government is doing this for the better meant of it's people and as far as failing, we haven't because all cars have to meet CAFE standards. If MPG's are down well, so be it, at least we have a vehicle that isn't polluting the earth or causing our citizens to pay an arm and leg and possibly cause some of the same economic probelms we are facing today with oil prices being so high and remember with oil peak in production means, when oil prices go up, they can't produce more to bring them down.

Now to stretch across my arguments
1. Oil production is very important in this debate because it means exactly what I have said time and time again. We can not put our citizens throught the turmoil that they have already gone through with oil being 140 dollars a barrel for the simple fact that once oil goes up again we will not be able to ease there pains in an meaningful way.
2. Environmental struggles happen and with petrol cars being the number one polloter of CO2 which causes global warming, we need to tackle the number polluter by cutting him out eventually. Through voting for the pro side you will get that.
3. This argument which my opponent never argued against was the fact that the US has not been looked upon very well and by voting pro you will be helping to restore that pride that we use to have. The pride that we are doing something that is not only for the enhancement of our own people, but the enhancement of the world. Vote pro for the simple advancement of our society and to take responsibility and correct the wrongs that must be made right. Thank you and I would like to thank opponent as well for debating on this topic.


First I would like to post my opponents points he has placed in the second round. First point: "His argument just seems like a conspiracy theory." I have given a reliable source. And if that's not enough for you, I would like you to read this article. This article proves that we have enough oil for 200 years. 200! That has got to be plenty of time to do a decent amount of research to make sure that the production of alt. fuels is completely safe . Pro has failed to realize one thing about this debate. Con does not have to prove that the government should not mandate passenger vehicles and light trucks should run on alt. fuels. As I said, I completely agree with pro. However, con has to prove that it shouldn't be done by 2040. And with oil that can power the US for 200 years, we can definitely wait until 2075 or another year to switch, again, once people know that the production of alt. fuels is completely safe. Second point: MPG may not be high. If the MPG is not high, then how fast will we run through our alt. fuels? We will probably run through it faster then gas or oil. People would be spending more time at fuel stations then actually getting anywhere. At least, for now until we research further into production of alt. fuels, oil is efficient. Again, con agrees with pro that we should have a mandate. However, we have time. Third point: Petrol cars are the number one cause of global warming. However, pro did not give his source. From a source I have here, cars only produce 33% of CO2 emissions. And 40% of the CO2 emissions is from power plants. Again, cars is not the problem. If you would like to read other causes here is my source. So pro has failed in proving that cars are the number one cause of global warming.

Let me reinforce my points again.

First point: Productions of alt. fuels can be highly dangerous

From my source, we have 200 years. We can take this time to do research into production. As I've said, con does not have to prove alt. fuels are bad. Con has to prove that we should wait until a decent amount of research is done. We have enough time. We don't have to rush, as pro wants us to.

Second Point: If the government mandates an early switch, we could throw an opportunity away

Pro has stated that I haven't refuted his point on the policy of the US. However, if you read through then clearly I have. I have stated over and over that if the government mandates and early switch then we can possibly be throwing a chance to find a better solution away. In fact, this point should go along with my first point, as the con side is looking at time. Pro wants the US to create a policy that will make the world happy. If the government mandates this switch, and the world is happy then everyone wins. However, think about this. If a better solution comes along, how would the other countries look at the US? They would think we are stupid and didn't take the time to allow this solution to come along. We would be in the same boat as we now, if not then worse. We can not allow that. Pro wants us to rush into a political tactic that might not work. Again, this debate is about time.

Here is why you should vote con

1. My opponent claimed that cars are the number one reason why we should mandate the switch to alt. fuels. He did not give a source, and clearly, as my source points out, 40% of CO2 emissions are from power plants. Pro wants to get rid of the number one contributor of CO2 emissions. If you vote pro, then you will be getting rid of our power plants and then we would be without power. That is not beneficial to the US. Being without power is very detrimental, so why go that route. That's all con is saying

2. Either way you vote, the government should mandate a switch to alt. fuels. Because the pro side is right, we do have one planet. However, we have time to mandate a switch to alt. fuels. There's no need to rush into a decision without having a firm structure. We have time. Remember, patience is a virtue. We have the time to completely understand all the options before we make a decision.

3. If you vote pro, then you are putting a risk into other countries looking down on us even more then they do now. How? If we don't take the time to look at all options, we mandate this switch by 2040, and then by 2045 we can have an even better solution and then we would be looked at as the country that rushed into a big, horrible decision. We have the time to do a good amount of research. Again, this debate is about time. And, as my source says, we have 200 years.

Vote con because we have the time to come up with better solutions. Vote con because the American people can afford the time that has been given to our political leaders to make the right decision. And most of all, vote con because pro wants to be rid of the number one polluter, and as my source says, that would be power plants. America will not benefit from being without power.

Thank you and, as opponent has said, I would like to thank him for this debate.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Rawlsfulcopter 9 years ago
Con made some very nice points and I completely agree with minimizing government interference.

Pro should have some kind of crazy good sources before trying to argue in favor of putting the government in charge of a plan like this. I have to point out that since you started this debate, you probably should have been able to avoid the situation. Plus, even skimming over real quick before you post might help with things like "are" vs "our" and the Enter key can be very useful sometimes.
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Vote Placed by iXetsuei 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by Rawlsfulcopter 9 years ago
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