EPA Announces New Fuel Efficiency Standards American Automakers Must Institute By 2025

While many American automakers are already shifting toward more fuel-efficient vehicles to please consumers aiming to save at the gas pump, the White House has made an official move in that direction. A new rule announced by the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today says the U.S.’ fleet of vehicles must average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

There are existing standards that require all cars and light trucks to average 34.5 mpg by 2016. The EPA says this will reduce our nation’s oil consumption and cut down on green gas emissions when everything goes into effect.

You know what using less oil means — gas customers will feel less pain at the pump. Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of our elder siblings at Consumer Reports is all about this new regulation, as it’s pretty pro-consumer.

“These standards mean consumers will be able to save thousands of dollars on gasoline over the lifetime of their vehicle,” said Shannon Baker-Branstetter, policy counsel for Consumers Union. “This is an achievable target that will make a positive impact in people’s everyday lives.  Increasing fuel efficiency in the next generation of vehicles goes beyond simple savings. It also helps lower oil consumption and cuts pollution while consumers save money on gasoline. ”

As the Washington Post notes, this new level of fuel standards will double the efficiency of the American fleet, compared with vehicles made in 2008. The rules will apply to vehicles made in 2017 to 2025.

And unlike other environmental initiatives, this one seems pretty popular not just with the Obama administration, but with automakers as well.

“Customers want higher fuel efficiency in their cars and trucks, and GM is going to give it to them,” said Greg Martin, General Motors’ executive director for communications. “We expect the rules to be tough, but we have a strong history of innovation, and we’ll do our best to meet them.”

EPA issues new fuel-efficiency standard; Autos must average 54.5 mpg by 2025 [Washington Post]

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  1. Applekid says:

    I hope by 20205 we’d get 54.5 lightyears per drop of water.

  2. KnightCrusader says:

    By 20205? Well, looks like they got a while to get there…

  3. axhandler1 says:

    Dammit, my car gets 20 furlongs to the hogshead, and that’s the way I likes it!

  4. Costner says:

    54.5 miles per gallon by 20205? Seems legit.

  5. TuxthePenguin says:

    Sorry, rant time..

    Right now the only technologies available for increasing fuel efficiency is to use hybrid and all-electric vehicles, both of which cost several thousand dollars more. So while you will be saving money at the pump, the vast majority of Americans are going to be spending more money paying interest as very few actually buy their cars outright. Even for those who are able to shoulder that outright, it takes years to make up the cost in gas. Assuming the average American drives 12k miles a year, that’s 127.6 fewer gallons per year (12k divided by the 2016 and 2025* average rates). At $4.50 a gallon, that’s a savings of $575 a year. At $5.50, its $700. But if you’re spending $4k more, it takes over 4 years at the higher price, 7 at $4.50. And it interest charges from the higher note and that stretches even further.

    On the other hand, there are others ways to increase fuel efficiency – smaller cars, lighter cars. But that means that they don’t protect you as much. So there’s that tradeoff. How many more people will die because their fuel efficient car gets crushed by a semi? Or hurt in an accident?

    Now I’m all for more fuel efficient vehicles. But don’t pretend that there aren’t some serious tradeoffs. Don’t pretend that this is all good for consumers because it takes a long time to recoup that additional cost. If you really want to help consumers, you address issues of fuel costs from both angles – getting more fuel efficient and finding new sources of fuel. Whether that is natural gas (sorry, that just scares me), increasing domestic oil production, or improving electric vehicles, great. But I HATE how people just pretend that this is a win-win situation.

    /rant

    • do-it-myself says:

      Who says you have to buy new? Sure there’s the maintenance/battery issue, but the depreciation has to more than make up for it.

    • kathygnome says:

      “Right now the only technologies available for increasing fuel efficiency is to use hybrid and all-electric vehicles, both of which cost several thousand dollars more”

      Keywords “right now.” Where did hybrids and electric cars come from? They came in response to pressure for better gas mileage and lower emissions. And pricing will come down in response to larger production.

      • Southern says:

        *Shrug*.. I had a car in 1986, a Honda CRX, that got almost 60mpg on the highway and around 45mpg in town. Granted it was only a two-seater, but I loved that little car. :)

        My wife had a 1987 Chevy Sprint that also got over 50mpg on the highway, and it was a 4-door (seated 5).

        I’d trade my eye teeth to have either one of those cars back with todays gas prices.

        • ChuckECheese says:

          And I had a Geo Metro that got over 40 mpg. Another friend had a Civic that got 45 mpg.

        • dolemite says:

          One of the main reasons cars today get such bad mileage is because the government requires airbags, steel beams, black boxes, ESC and a bunch of other things that add hundreds of lbs to the car. Back then, it wasn’t unusual to have a 2400-2600 lb midsize car, and small cars were 2000-2300 lbs. Today, a “lightweight” car is 2700 lbs and a midsize is 3300 lbs.

        • Joseph S Ragman says:

          I had a 1985 Dodge Omni four-door that got 35 mpg when I got it. Seemed respectable, but the trans seized up about six months after I bought it. After the replacement trans went in, the mileage went up to 51. I drove that car for five more years, till the motor went.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        Ah, so somewhere between 2016 and 2025 we’re betting on some new technology – that we don’t know of right now – emerging and making this possible.

        Yeah… I don’t like betting on miracles. I’m not saying we don’t need to push for improving fuel efficiency, but we’re talking about a 50% increase in the fleet over that period, there are only so many ways to do it. And it doesn’t seem anyone even thought of those costs/concerns.

        • Chuft-Captain says:

          This has been possible for years. There have been normal cars reaching these goals since the seventies, or longer. You just don’t see them because we’re obsessed with marketing bigger/faster/more penis compensation.

      • Paladin_11 says:

        Actually, there were electric cars for as long as there have been cars. We’ve just recently decided to revisit some old technologies.

    • sir_eccles says:

      I guess we shouldn’t bother then?

      The whole point of these initiatives is to set difficult goals. This pressures people into thinking differently, trying to use new technologies, innovate.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        I’m not so concerned about the efficiency goals – just be realistic about what that really means. It won’t be any cheaper for consumers in the long run because of the up-front costs. Perhaps technologies get cheaper, but let them compete on their own. Or, how about we drop ethanol and let that improvement in fuel efficiency take place (study after study has shown it makes things worse, not to mention we’re burning our food as fuel…)

        But if you read the post, it makes it sound like this is the “bestest thing for consumers!” without even a hat tip that there might be offsets to those savings.

        • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

          The ethanol issue must vary a lot based on model and driver.

          I ran several tests over the years with my older car (1998 Contour) and the mileage difference was about 3% less for the 10% ethanol blend. This makes sense, since ethanol only produces 70% of the energy of gasoline. So the 90% of the mixture that’s gas should have 100% of the baseline mpg and the 10% of the mixture that’s ethanol should produce 70% of the baseline mpg, for a weighted average of 97% of the baseline mpg. However, that’s just a textbook weighted average and assume that the whole is equal to the sum of the parts.

          With my 2007 Elentra, the results are a bit unusual. There has been virtually no difference (less than 1%) between regular unleaded and the 10% ethanol blend. I wouldn’t expect this, but it’s what I’ve seen over quite a few tests. I have no explanation.

          Obviously, it’s just anecodotal evidence. I’ve also seen comments the people experience drops of 10% or more mpg, but is strange. Since 90% of the mix is gasoline, if you’re getting less than 90% of your gasoline mpg with the 10% ethanol blend , it means the ethanol is effectively producing negative energy.

          • polishhillbilly says:

            12% less on 2005 silverado 5.3l ext cab
            7% less 1994 grand am v6
            9% less 2005 town and country

            These numbers become worse in Illinois. The fuel is leftover sewage water I’m guessing.

            • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

              I don’t doubt your numbers at all. It just seems crazy that you could get more miles our of 8.8 gallons of straigh gasline than you can from 10 gallons of 90/10 gas/ethanol blend … since the ethanol blend would have 9 gallons of gasoline in it.

              I’m just wondering if there’s a big difference in how engines processes ethanol blends?

        • f5alcon says:

          The other thing is ethanol can’t be piped, so to get it to market it is driven in diesel trucks.

    • highfructosepornsyrup says:

      Yes, well. No matter what change happens in the world, there’s bound to be a way to look at it negatively. C’est la vie and such. I’m sure by 2025 the cost of this new fangled electric technology will be down some.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      I don’t get why people think smaller isn’t safe.

      The fortwo basically have a cage protecting you. The wheels are design to block you too.

      at 71mpg, it’s fuel efficient and safe.

      As for light not being strong. carbon fiber, light and strong. there is a downside to it… but I just want to point out light doesn’t mean weak.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        I remember when SMART came out and at every auto show they showed the steel frame that was in it and how it was just as safe as a normal passenger car.

        Then I saw what happened when a semi hit one on I-35 here in Texas. Sorry, small often times means less safe, especially when the real risks (ie, semis, Mack trucks, etc) are not shrinking either.

        • Costner says:

          I’m not a fan of Smart Cars by any means and I’d rather be in a mid-size car myself… but I’ve seen larger vehicles smack into trucks and you couldn’t make out what the vehicle even was. When it comes down to the mass and speed of a fully loaded truck, very few vehicles will be left standing whether it is a Smart Car, a Toyota Camry, or a Dodge Ram.

          • Inglix_the_Mad says:

            Exactly. Better stick to a Tank and pray you never meet a large diesel train if you want to compare small cars vs Transports.

            Conversely, I saw a late model Jetta get rear-ended by a Hummer. The people in the VW walked away. The Hummer driver probably would’ve too, if the bint had been wearing her seatbelt. Bothe were junk.

        • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

          However, it’s possible that by 2025 we will have realized that tankers and semis may not be the best way to delivery goods across the country. We may have established fuel-efficient rail systems that transport most of our goods, for all we know.

          If all the cars are small, then the risk evens back out.

          • JEDIDIAH says:

            We already have a very fuel efficient rail system. It’s just overloaded. Anytime someone fixates on trains for a minute, they talk about nothing but bullet trains and never consider that we might benefit from laying more cargo rail.

            We’ve got it. People want to use it. We just don’t have enough of it.

            We even stack cars 2 high to get the most out of what we do have.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      You really think those technologies will still be that expensive by 2025 How about 20205?

    • Deep Cover says:

      Good analysis, but you “may” have left some costs out. If this regulation will keep us from spending close to $3 trillion entering a 10+ year war with Iran then I am all for it. That alone saves an extra $10,000 for every man-woman-child in the US today.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        Its much less likely we’ll go to war with Iran over oil than it is we’ll go to war with Iran after they drop a nuclear weapon on Israel or Iraq… or do something equally stupid in trying to cling to power.

        But if you’re getting at foreign sources of fuel, why not support regulations allowing us to use all our domestic sources that are currently off limits?

        Better yet… why not do both?

    • samonela says:

      Direct injection, smaller displacement forced induction engines, diesel engines, lighter suspension components (which allow the manufacturer to maintain the stronger body/frame materials), higher gear ratios and more transmission ratios are just some of the other options that car makers are utilizing now.

      I agree mid 50s mpg across a lineup isn’t feasible with today’s technology, but there are strategies that don’t lead to safety trade offs. It’s not that black and white.

    • Tim says:

      Crashworthiness and other safety standards are very stringent in the United States, and this doesn’t change that.

      Also, there are a LOT of ways to make cars more efficient. Aerodynamics, lightweighting, electrification of various vehicle systems, idle reduction, etc. You can reduce the engine RPM when you’re cruising, for example.

      Point is, these standards are spurring companies to develop some great technologies to save fuel. And they want to be able to sell their vehicles, so they’re not usually sacrificing safety, power or other things that consumers find important.

    • Costner says:

      A few points. Number one, if you think gas will be $4.50 a gallon in the year 2025 I have some great investment properties you might be interested in.

      Second, these types of laws drive innovation. If you look at CAFE standards throughout history, you will see how they forced manufacturers to innovate. Not only do modern cars get much better fuel economy, but they are much safer for the occupants. A modern Honda Civic with unibody construction can crash into a 1960s body on frame steel land yacht and the occupants of the Civic will come out way ahead.

      In fact, crash tests between newer smaller cars against older large cars prove that you are better off in a modern economy car than you were in an older large sedan – so smaller and lighter aren’t always bad things.

      Third, there are massive innovations in battery technology and electric vehicles. If a manufacturer makes some innovations in the next decade which allow them to have a few small vehicles that get 100 – 150mpg equivalent, they will still be able to offer larger vehicles that get 40mpg and easily make the average CAFE requirements. So really setting standards in the 50s and 60s is not going to be nearly as hard as one might expect.

      Fourth, even traditional vehicles are showing massive improvements. Look at the EcoBoost engine in the Ford F150. Not only does it get twice the horsepower and torque as a standard V8 engine of 10-12 years ago, but it gets 50% better fuel economy. The truck itself hasn’t shrunk and the towing capacity, cargo room, passenger compartment etc are all comperable if not bigger – yet the engine and drivetrain have advanced because consumers demand it.

      I will agree cost is a huge factor, and in some cases the payback period is too high, but we also need to realize there is more to the equation than simply the cost of the vehicle vs. the cost of the fuel. There are societal costs, there are pollution costs, there are environmental costs all of which are much harder to measure. It is a complex issue – but I’d say we are on the right track if we continue to push for higher CAFE standards.

      • Cerne says:

        And of course all technological development is due to government standards. Not competition or the desire to innovate.

        • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

          Ah, so let’s get rid of all the regulations the government has passed on vehicles in that last handful of decades. We don’t need seatbelts, better safety cages, any of that. Let the free market sort it all out.

          No, not all technological development is due to government standards. But if a company found a way to get 100 MPG but it meant pumping something toxic into the air, most people probably wouldn’t care about the toxins they’d be leaving behind on the planet for their grandkids. People are short-sighted. That’s where the EPA comes in.

          • JustJayce says:

            YAYYY for a government entity which is politically motivated and part of the machine that will leave behind trillions of debt for our grandkids.

        • Costner says:

          I think most innovation is done because customers demand it and/or the company wants an advantage, but history has shown us that if CAFE standards are ignored… auto companies don’t tend to innovate. When standards are raised, it is paralleled with increases and technological advancements.

          Of course there are other reasons automakers innovate – when we have exceptionally high fuel prices and consumers start demanding increased economy the automakers deliver… but why should we be forced to wait until fuel prices are sky high or until we have another war which upsets the oil supply? Why can’t we be a bit proactive?

          Besides, a lot of people ignore the fuel issue because they fail to acknowledge the societal costs of importing oil and fighting wars to support our demand. Thus these people don’t understand why we should focus on economy and as such they might need a little push or incentive to consider economy. Why is this a bad thing?

        • JEDIDIAH says:

          Selling innovation requires finding a customer that cares enough to pay extra for it.

          I think you will find those few and far between.

          Left on their own, American auto makers will game the system and make more overpriced trucks. They’re idiots. They really do need to be on a leash. It’s gravely against our founding principles but it’s true.

      • polishhillbilly says:

        At what price? Why rely so much on electronics? Install more electronics, adding weight, but offset it by adding aluminum wheels and foil then body panels.

    • Cerne says:

      Hey now everyone knows that government regulations are more powerful than logic, market forces or technological development cycles.

      • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

        Let me guess: you want to get rid of the EPA and you believe corporations will self-regulated based on market forces?

    • IGetsAnOpinion says:

      I lease a 2012 Volt – for $250/month. A lot less than owning, I save about $75/month in gas (includes paying for the electric) and I feel great driving right by all those gas stations and not polluting the environment. Until they bring those cars down to an affordable price though leasing is all I would do. I did compare it to both the Camry Hybrid, and to the more gas-efficient 2013 Nissan Altima, and in the end it was the cheapest overall combined with lease cost, gas cost, and insurance.

    • cspschofield says:

      Someday soon somebody is going to notice that hybrid and all-electric cars mean that many more car sized batteries to dispose of, which is a non-trivial problem. I wonder what the Greens will have to say then?

      Which, of course, assumes that they are honest enough to admit that they made a mistake. Not going to hold my breath on that one.

      • Costner says:

        Those batteries are easily recycled… which is why places that sell batteries are more than happy to take your old batteries off your hands for free… and why they charge core charges when they sell batteries over the counter.

        The real environmental impact of batteries comes from the mining to get the elements needed in the battery. Those nickle mines are pretty horrid places – but once the lifecycle of a battery begins it can be recycled time and time again, so I don’t think disposal is an issue.

    • Inglix_the_Mad says:

      Umm, no?

      VW makes a car / wagon that gets more than that much already for Europe. The Passat Blumotion (common rail Diesel) Car and Wagon versions get better than 60MPG already. They were doing better than 46MPG a few years ago.

      You should watch more Top Gear! Hammond used a Bluemotion wagon, and Jeremy used a Jag Diesel that got phenomenal MPG in luxury, on a race to Blackpool.

    • HealingTek says:

      Which part of “it’s a scam” surprises you?

    • luxosaucer13 says:

      There are always going to be drawbacks to any scenario. That being said, overall it’ll be a win because there will be less greenhouse gasses emitted by automobiles, less fuel costs for the average consumer, and less dependence on oil until a practical renewable energy source can be deployed. Right now the average CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is 393 ppm and rising: (http://climate.nasa.gov); in the late 1950s it was at 313 ppm.

      Regarding your statement about more traffic fatalities, who’s to say that newer materials won’t be developed that are lighter and stronger than what we currently have. Not all small cars are, “deathtraps.” As a matter of fact, there are several YouTube videos that show just how much of an impact a Smart car can take; it’s really quite astounding. I believe that, in the here and now, a significant step can be taken that will both decrease highway fatalities and increase fuel economy immediately: Reinstating the federal 55-mph highway speed limit. Doing that would increase fuel economy by an average of 18%, according to AAA statistics, and significantly lower highway deaths, according to federal DOT stats.

    • cantiloon says:

      Not just interest, you’ll be paying more for the car itself. The gap between the prices for hybrids and regular-ass cars has been closing, but it’s still a few grand more. I just looked up a local dealer and the 4-door Yaris (30/35), is 7K less than the cheapest Prius (44/40). 7K for 10 mpg. At current gas prices, that’s only $260 in savings per year, which means it would take 26 years to make up the difference.

      • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

        There are advantages to the Prius that go beyond financial. It’s not always about the money.

    • bzipitidoo says:

      You couldn’t be more wrong. There are all kinds of inefficiencies in our current cars. There are many things we can do that would lower costs and weight and raise fuel economy all at the same time. One of the simplest is a smaller engine– most of our cars are seriously overpowered. Somehow, 15 seconds to get from 0 to 60 mph is now thought to be unacceptably slow, but back in that day such times were not unusual. Do you know what the Europeans say of the American driver? He wants jack rabbit starts, and he wants to drive all day long.

      We purposely avoid better aerodynamics for the frivolous reason that many of us think it looks ugly. Specifically, skirts for the rear wheels. We can’t seem to get past our prejudices over issues of mere fashion.

  6. dush says:

    Someone should mention 20205. because 20205 is a long time from now.

  7. do-it-myself says:

    “vehicles must average 54.5 miles per gallon by 20205″

    Whew!!! That’s plenty of time!

    Ok, that joke has passed. In all reality. Would it be possible once we have cars that can run on 500 MPG, wouldn’t the pump reflect that at about $50/$60 a gallon to make up for it? I just hope by that time gas isn’t even needed for cars anymore.

  8. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    You know what using less oil means — gas customers will feel less pain at the pump.

    You’re pretty naive if you believe that.

    • Ekopy says:

      Exactly. As a nation were using less oil than we ever have. In effect, the prices are higher than ever before. Inverse correlation unfortunately.

      • dolemite says:

        The main problem is China and India expanding people on the road. The US is actually exporting oil for higher profit. Can’t control world demand.

  9. SkokieGuy says:

    And who was it who had a plan for reducing U.S. dependence on oil? Jimmy Carter….

    But today, after all the abuse and scorn heaped on Jimmy Carter and his supporters, we find ourselves paying more than $4 a gallon at the pump to fill our hulking gas guzzlers.

    It turns out that Carter was right after all.

    He was right in seeking to raise the fleet auto mileage standard to 48 miles per gallon by 1995. (Even U.S. automakers admitted at the time that they could easily achieve 30 mph by 1985.)

    Jimmy Carter was right in exhorting Americans to turn down their thermostats, even if he did look nerdy in a cardigan while urging us to do so.

    In his July 1979 speech, he was right when he said, “I am tonight setting a clear goal for the energy policy of the United States. Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 — never.” That worthy goal quickly went by the board.

    He was right to encourage fuel conservation by proposing a 50-cents-per-gallon tax on gasoline and a fee on imported oil — in effect, a floor for fuel prices.

    Invoking the pioneering spirit of the 1960s’ moon mission, he was right to recommend a tax on windfall oil profits to finance a crash program to develop affordable synthetic fuels.

    Jimmy Carter was correct, too, in setting a goal of obtaining 20 percent of our energy from solar power by the year 2000.

    We balked, and his energy program, which was new and demanding, shriveled up and died. When oil prices began declining in the 1980s, the justification for change vanished altogether. The Reagan administration junked the proposed 1995 mileage standard and the rest of the Carter agenda.

    From the History Channel http://hnn.us/articles/52030.html.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      But today, after all the abuse and scorn heaped on Jimmy Carter and his supporters, we find ourselves paying more than $4 a gallon at the pump to fill our hulking gas guzzlers.

      Well as we all learned during the Bush administration, the fault of high gas prices lies with the current president.

    • Costner says:

      I recall that when Reagan got to the White House he had the solar panels removed from the roof that were installed during Carter’s administration. It wasn’t because they didn’t work – it was just a political game and a direct insult to Carter. The stupid thing was the costs were already paid… so any energy produced by those panels was a net gain, so there was no incentive to remove them.

      We are told politics are worse today than ever before… I’m not so sure much has changed.

  10. Bodger says:

    Un-American! It is the constitutionally guaranteed right of every American to buy a new 3-ton 9-passenger vehicle which gets 10mpg every year in which to drive alone down to the corner store to buy a cold six-pack. Those environment-Nazi-socialist-hippie freaks are out to destroy all that we hold sacred. Rise up now — the gas hog you save may be your own!

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      The simple fact is that for many people electrics or smaller cars just won’t cut it.

      I have to have something that can haul cargo and pull a trailer. I have one truck and no other vehicles.

      It more than negates any cost and/or environmental savings if I buy a second car just for trips when I’m not hauling something, even if that’s 98% of the time and even though my truck gets 18mpg when not hauling.

      • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

        Yes, ok, I can see the financial argument, but why does the mere fact that you buy a second car negate the environmental savings? If you’re doing the same work with a car that gets 30 mpg as you are with a truck that gets 18 mpg, why exactly is that not a net gain in efficiency?

    • Blueskylaw says:

      I only drive my military stlyle, 5 ton vehicle to buy warm beer, which I then re-chill in my 5 ton,
      $10,000 dollar, Sub-Zero, institutional grade freezer.

      Oops, gotta run now, my landlady is banging on the door to my one room, 144 square foot apartment, demanding the rent again.

  11. PragmaticGuy says:

    The can legislate all they want but I can’t see it happening unless we’re all riding those little electric scooters or Segways.

  12. axolotl says:

    At 34.5 MPG, it takes 2.89 gallons to go 100 miles.
    At 54.5 MPG, it takes 1.83 gallons to go 100 miles.
    So for every 100 miles you drive in 2025, you will be using roughly 2/3 the amount of fuel you will be using in 2016.
    However, considering the rate of gasoline price increases relative to inflation, I’m guessing you won’t be saving a damn dime.

    Also: by 2025 the whole world will be underwater anyway so unless we’re talking about car-boat-submarine vehicles (CBSVs) this is all a moot point.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      It’s not always about saving money. Maybe it’s about using less gas.

  13. BorkBorkBork says:

    Interesting. On one side, the gov’t sets these new high fuel standards. No big deal – I’m interested in the innovation that will come of this. But one good way to increase fuel economy is to lower vehicle weight.

    On the otherside, however, the gov’t also has very stringent crash standards or requires tech (rearview cameras, etc) which as a result has increased vehicle weight.

    There’s nothing wrong with either, but is it possible to have both? Or will the tech needed to acheive both goals make cars significantly more expensive?

    I’m interested to see what happens in the next 13 years.

  14. and_another_thing says:

    Greedy, unimaginative and shortsighted legislatures are already plotting how to make up for “lost taxes” as fuel efficiency increases. Among the least friendly to the public are those methods that seek to track automatically how many miles a vehicle travels.

    • Geekybiker says:

      Easy enough. Just get an odometer reading every year when the car is registered. I already have to get smog checked.

    • NeverLetMeDown2 says:

      Great. Being on the road consumes a resource (space on the road), so those who use more of that resource should pay more for it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to move reasonably rapidly to time-based tolling as well, so that people who drive very little, and at off hours, pay very little, but those who drive a lot of miles at peak times on congested roads pay the most.

  15. milkcake says:

    Well, this is bad news for me. My car is just a hobby and I care more about horsepower and just pure driving. But I’m not enthusiast enough to go change engine and whatnot. I just want to buy a fast car and drive. And I kinda want this to be relatively affordable and right now there are tons of choices. I’m not sure if car makers can still make fast cars that has that much mpg. And if this is true, then most cars will have less than 200HP. Anything above, I probably have to pay extra tax or buy an expensive car.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      Please tell me why, unless you’re hauling a great deal of cargo or a heavy trailer, a passenger car needs more than 200HP? My Golf has 150HP and it’s plenty fun to drive and fast enough to pass people on the highway if necessary. Why do I (or you) need more than that?

      If it’s not about what you need and more about what you want… well, you don’t have a civil right to a fast car. Don’t like it, write your congressman.

  16. Geekybiker says:

    So basically they’re saying we won’t be able to have any cars worth driving by 2025? I hope the self driving cars are ready by then since driving will be a pure chore in a car required to get that sort of fuel economy.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      No, I don’t think that’s what they’re saying at all. I think what they’re saying is that cars need to meet a certain average efficiency by a given date. Nothing there prevents the production of a car worth driving. Just because your definition of a “car worth driving” requires it to be fuel-inefficient, doesn’t mean someone elses might not require that.

      Cars are tools meant to get people and stuff from point A to point B. If driving one doesn’t make you want to kill yourself, well, that’s important, but not the only consideration. And I for one think that the car manufacturers will figure something out. Hell, I drove a Focus last night that gets 7-10 more MPG than my current Golf, with a bigger engine, more useful power, better handling, improved safety, and more amenities. And that’s just over ten years. This isn’t out of reach.

  17. RDSwords says:

    Oil companies will just ratchet up prices to match the decrease in demand, and they will be able to earn the same profits from less production. It’s a great deal for the oil companies, but not so much for everyone else who will have to pay more for their more advanced vehicles without realizing an actual financial benefit from reduced fuel usage (since the price per gallon will increase to make up the difference).

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      Hate to sound like a broken record, but money isn’t the only consideration here.

  18. Cerne says:

    This right here is reason enough to not re-elect Obama. 54.5 MPG is better mileage than a new 2012 Prius. Nothing about this target is achievable and this represents a government that is so arrogant that they think regulations beat the the laws of thermodynamics.

    Even approaching this target in time will mean paying more money for worse vehicles.

    • Costner says:

      Really? Because pushing for greater energy efficiency which automakers already admit is achievable is a bad thing? Really?

      This is such a travesty in your eyes, it suggests to you that Obama is unfit to lead? Really??

      Nothing about this target is achievable? Really? Yet fuel economy standards have grown at a pace directly tied to fuel economy standards and due to customer demands have actually been improving even more than expected. New technologies such as hybrids, plug-in electrics, improved diesels, turbo charging etc are all leading to massive improvements in fuel economy to where a vehicle today can actually have fuel economy twice what a vehicle of the same size and weight would have had in the late 1980s… yet you feel these goals are un-achievable. Really?

      You actually think these targets somehow are in violation of the laws of thermodynamics? Really? You are suggested we have reached the absolute maximum level of efficiency when it comes to engine technology and thus there is no room for improvement or that the current pace of development is somehow unsustainable? Really?

      You also believe this target automatically means we will have to pay more for “worse” vehicles, even though you have no data to support what that even means. How about some comparison for example sake – a Ford F150 in 2005 it was able to get 12mpg in the city, and 16mpg highway. Yet in 2012, the current F150 gets 16 city and 21 highway.

      That may not seem like a huge difference, but the increase was driven by fuel efficiency standards. When CAFE standards weren’t improved, automakers didn’t innovate… when they were forced to improve economy, they were able to. The F150 has improved fuel economy by 30% in a few short years.

      Now think about it – the standards being demanded are for a fleet, so is it really that hard to think automakers can’t innovate to get an AVERAGE of 54.5mpg? The current Toyota Prius gets 50, and if they follow the trend set by the F150 and improve by 30% they would be getting 65mpg. That doesn’t even factor in the array of plug-ins which already are pulling in triple digit equivalent fuel economy or the models in the pipeline which will do even better.

      This doesn’t factor in the new line of diesels which perform much better than gasoline engines, it doesn’t include technological advances in turbo technology or in smaller, lighter engines that produce more power than older larger engines. Just compare something like the modern V6 from a Ford Mustang to the 4.6L V8 from a few years ago. Not only does the V6 produce more power than the V8, but it is lighter and gets better fuel economy.

      I really think you are a bit pessimistic if you don’t think auto companies can innovate. They have shown us they are up to the challenge if we demand it from them… and they have blow past previous targets without so much as a whimper.

      So how do you want to proceed… status quo and just taking what is given, or pushing them to innovate and succeed? Which method do you think is better for us in the long term?

      • Cerne says:

        Ok Let’s go down your list.

        A mandatory regulation isn’t pushing anything it’s enforcing it through government intervention in a supposedly free market.

        Yes this sort of arrogance divorced from reality strongly suggests that Obama is unfit to lead, especially when it is part of a pattern of the same behaviour.

        Fuel economy improves with consumer demand, not government fiat I’m glad you admit that. Fuel economy is getting better, but it’s not going to double in 13 year. Hybrids are a good idea, but they are expensive, have environmentally damaging batteries and aren’t going to magically make a fleet average this high possible this soon. Plug in EVs suck plain and simple. No one wants to buy them because they perform poorly, cost the same as an entry level sports cart and have an incredibly limited range. Some day we might all drive awesome electrical cars, but that would require a radical innovation in battery technology that the government can’t just conjure out of thin air. Diesel and turbo charging have produced improvements but once again they aren’t magic pills to make 54.5 mpg realistic.

        There is room for improvement in car efficiency and I do believe that the current pace of development is sustainable, that’s why I think this new regulation is unworkable horse shit.

        Thank you for bringing up the F150 because it totally destroys your point. The f150 achieves its’ relatively minor improvements (30% sounds impressive out of context, 5MPG doesn’t) by being a provably worse truck than it’s predecessor. The move to an aluminium frame and a smaller engine makes the new F150 more expensive, less safe and less capable. In short Ford built a truck to suit the government instead of its’ customers.

        Now think about it – the standards being demanded are for a fleet, so is it really that hard to think automakers can’t innovate to get an AVERAGE of 54.5mpg? The current Toyota Prius gets 50, and if they follow the trend set by the F150 and improve by 30% they would be getting 65mpg. That doesn’t even factor in the array of plug-ins which already are pulling in triple digit equivalent fuel economy or the models in the pipeline which will do even better.

        Now think about it- 13 years to get a fleet AVERAGE above the most efficient mainstream car in existence is insane. Also consider that Ford improved the F150 by adding features that the Prius already has so there is no way to apply that to the next generation of Prii. Today’s pug ins require a garage with a high voltage outlet, have a range under 40 miles, don’t sell and cost $40,000 for a car that performs about as well as a Focus. The models in the pipeline will do nothing to change this situation.

        Engines are getting better, but not at some magical exponentially fast level.

        I really think you are a bit pessimistic if you don’t think auto companies can innovate. They have shown us they are up to the challenge if we demand it from them… and they have blow past previous targets without so much as a whimper.

        Realism is not pessimism.

        The method that’s best for us in the long run? Letting consumers and the free market decide what cars are produced instead of isolated government bureaucrats who don’t have to pay for their mistakes.

        • NeverLetMeDown2 says:

          “Letting consumers and the free market decide what cars are produced instead of isolated government bureaucrats who don’t have to pay for their mistakes.”

          Personally, I agree, but if we’re not going to mandate better mileage, we need to sharply raise gas taxes, to ensure that the burdens of gas consumption (including military costs and environment impacts) are borne by those who use the fuel.

        • Costner says:

          There is a lot of points I disagree with in your post, but I’m afraid it would require chapters to discuss it all so I’ll just focus upon one key item.

          You stated “the f150 achieves its’ relatively minor improvements (30% sounds impressive out of context, 5MPG doesn’t) by being a provably worse truck than it’s predecessor. The move to an aluminium frame and a smaller engine makes the new F150 more expensive, less safe and less capable. In short Ford built a truck to suit the government instead of its’ customers.”

          Ok by all means please prove your statement with facts. Because the specs I’m looking at show a new F150 with the V6 EcoBoost engine has more power and more torque than the previous generation with the V8, yet the new one gets 30% better fuel economy. The current generation also has just as much towing and payload capacity, a bigger passenger cabin, thus I have no idea where your “less capable” argument stems from. I also have no idea where the “less safe” argument comes from considering the crash tests of the current generation F150 earned it the IIHS top safety pick and they earned a five-star government crash test rating. The previous generation did neither of these things.

          Now as to pleasing customers… guess which engine consumers have opted to purchase above all others?? You guessed it – the new EcoBoost V6. That engine is selling like hotcakes and has surpassed all of the V8 options because consumers are demanding it.

          So honestly… are you just making things up as you go? Because I’m not seeing much in your comments that are based in fact.

          • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

            He’s using subjective terms to describe the quality of the current F150 versus older models. Objectively, the F150 pretty much beats the pants off of older models, in terms of fuel efficiency, power, towing capacity, safety, roominess, and so forth. Those are quantifiable numbers.

            But he’s got an agenda to push (Obama must get voted out of office, for whatever reason) so he says that the current F150 is “provably worse”, which in the absence of justification for that (seemingly objective) statement, is meaningless.

            I can say I don’t like the new Golfs as compared to my current one. That’s a subjective statement of opinion, and could be based on nothing more than superficial appearance. But if I claim that it’s “provably worse” then the burden is on me to justify that (objective) claim.

      • Mozz says:

        ” Ford F150 in 2005 it was able to get 12mpg in the city, and 16mpg highway.”
        I don’t know if you were driving back in the 70′s but my f100 got that type of mileage, so no big deal.
        “Not only does the V6 produce more power than the V8, but it is lighter and gets better fuel economy.”
        But,it is not faster, (the purpose of a Mustang gt) so the power rating is useless. Like i said, back in the late 70′s my Ford got over 15mpg, had 154 horsepower. The V6 suv we just traded in had 160 horsepower, was it faster or able to rip stumps out of the ground? No. The 4 cylinder we just bought has 171hp. The v6 would suck it’s doors off and my dog mustang would beat it using 2 gears. However they arrive at these horsepower ratings is unknown. You would never drive anywhere near the rpm peak horsepower so it is completely useless. Give me 100 hp and better gas mileage if technology is so advanced, i don’t need useless high horsepower numbers.

        • Costner says:

          I’m going from actual EPA mileage figures for a 4WD F150. I’m sure with the right driver, and with perhaps a smaller engine or a 2WD model people could get better, but I was attempting to do a more balanced comparison by using only EPA reported figures for 4WD trucks.

          As to your comments about horsepower ratings being useless, I’m not sure I follow you. Look at the 0-60 times for a 2007 Mustang GT with the 4.6 engine.

          0-to-60-mph time: 5.1 sec
          Quarter-mile time: 13.8 sec @ 103 mph
          Power: 300 bhp @ 5750 rpm
          Torque: 320 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm

          Now let’s look at the new Mustang with the V6 engine.

          0-60 mph time: 5.3 seconds
          Quarter-mile time: 13.9 seconds @ 100.1 mph
          Power: 305 hp @ 6500 rpm
          Torque: 280 ft-lbs. @ 4250 rpm

          The power seems to translate although at a slightly higher RPM, but the difference is the torque. For some people who want that lower end grunt, that 40ft-lbs of torque makes all the difference even if the 0-60 or 1/4 mile times don’t really show much of a difference. However, part of this is also tuning because Ford didn’t want to alienate all of those Mustang purists who purchased the 4.6V8 just a couple of years ago. The last thing they wanted was a new V6 pulling away from a GT that still has that new car smell, but with a slight tune from a power programmer on a V6 you can add 15hp and 23ft-lbs of torque…that might just be enough to put it on par with the older V8.

          Plus, the new V6 gets 19/31mpg whereas the older 4.6 V8 got 15/22. So the V6 owner will be saving $650 a year if fuel costs. If we are honest and we acknowledge the typical owner will probably never come anywhere close to driving their car at the limit nor will they ever take advantage of the power they have on tap… the V6 probably makes much more sense for most people. I consider it somewhat of a sin to drive a V6 Mustang… but I can understand why so many people do it.

  19. aerodawg says:

    You mean the company that the feds have a big stake in is going right along with what the feds say? I for one am shocked!

    In all seriousness though, I hope everybody is ready for their next vehicle to be all aluminum and cost ridiculously more than the current equivalent. With the way CAFE works, there’s no engines on the horizon capable of the necessary efficiency to meet those targets without significant weight reduction….

    • Costner says:

      Ah… electric engines already exceed those requirements by a long way when measured in terms of gasoline equivalent. I have no reason to believe electrics won’t continue to improve to the point they are much more common 13 years from now.

      If a company produces a small electric car which gets 150mph+ equivalent, it sure makes it easier for them to continue producing midsize sedans which get in the 40s and still make the fleet goal.

      • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

        In fairness, that “gasoline equivalent” measure is pretty new and there are people who have a problem with the measure. It exists to give people a frame of reference when comparing an electric vehicle with a hybrid or conventionally powered car. It’s an attempt to make an apples-to-apples number for an apples-to-oranges comparison. Personally, I’m pretty sure it’s just marketing bullshit.

        Not to say that EVs aren’t more efficient than hybrids or gas-powered cars. I believe that they are, and we have many more options as to where we get the energy to power them, whereas with a hybrid or a gas-powered car, we can only power them with dead dinosaurs. (With exceptions for biodiesels and hydrogen-powered cars, I suppose.) The flexibility in power sources is all I need personally to consider EVs a promising technology worth pursuing. I don’t really need a mostly-made-up number to think that.

  20. ilikeboomies says:

    I really hope we are off our oil addiction before 2025. I wish I had the money to go cold turkey.

  21. HogwartsProfessor says:

    My newer Cobalt is cheaper to fill up, but it’s a tiny tank compared to my Buick. I’m liking not spending so much, though. To fill up the Buick was getting close to $50!!

  22. Press1forDialTone says:

    Cadillac: All cars based on the Volt
    Buick: All cars based on the Volt
    GMC: All trucks based on a Volt on steroids.
    Chevy: All cars based on the Volt.

    Chrysler and Ford: Out of luck.

    Recommendation: Buy a Volt.

    • Costner says:

      Ford C-Max…. 47mpg city, 47mpg highway – and it is still a hybrid (not a plug-in). Just give them a few years until they release the plug-in version and fuel economy will be above 70.

      • Pryce says:

        Give them four months…. C-MAX Energi will be out shortly.

        You are miss informed if you think Ford isn’t doing well with efficent cars. By then end of the year they will have boith the Fusion and C-Max available as hybrid and plug-in hybrids. Plus they have the all electric Focus.

        I’m looking at the C-Max Energi myself in the next 6 – 12 months. I just wish it had more electric range.

  23. kimmie says:

    So, those prices sound about right for 64GB iPad + 3g + AppleCare. However, when I worked for the feds, we had to accept bids on all IT equipment, no matter our special needs. We ended up with a bunch of Compaq desktops that I had to set up. Ugh. I’m surprised someone was able to dictate iPads when there are less expensive tablets that likely would have filled the needs, and I know Apple wouldn’t have won the bidding war with that MSRP.

  24. momoftwokids says:

    Two words….Chevy Volt. Sold a whopping 10,000 at this point when they expected 40,000?

    • Libertas1 says:

      And stopping production due to slow sales, as well.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      That isn’t necessarily a direct result of the technology that powers them, however. They could be selling poorly because of ugly styling, or the dealerships not knowing how to sell them, or a bunch of other reasons. Just because a particular model doesn’t sell well, doesn’t mean we should stop trying to make more efficient vehicles.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      Hmm. I’m in the market for a new car, maybe I should try driving one of those and seeing if I can get a good deal on one since sales are slow.

  25. ldillon says:

    The goal isn’t to reduce your wallet impact. The extra “win” is that fewer people are going to be able to afford cars in the long run, further reducing oil consumption/increasing public transportation.

    If you factor in two gulf wars and Afghanistan, we’re paying something like $20/gal for gas.

  26. cspschofield says:

    The first round of CAFE regs. killed off the station wagon and created the SUV (which, as a ‘light truck’ was exempt, then). I can’t imagine what people who want or need a larger vehicle are going to do in answer to this bit of stupidity. Move to Personal Panel Trucks, maybe.

    Another case of the Political Class legislating something that A) is none of their freaking business and B) they can’t really effect anyway. They will clap each-other on the back enough to grow calluses and when the rule turns out to be impossible,will quietly slip away, leaving us with a mess.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      A) Why is it none of their freaking business, exactly?
      B) The CAFE standards previously passed were a major factor in improving the fuel efficiency of the current fleet. Without them, there would have been no reason for the manufacturers to improve the efficiency of their cars. As much as you might think the invisible hand of the free market would have given the same result (the argument being that if consumers wanted fuel-efficient cars, the automakers would produce them), the real world doesn’t usually work like that. The auto manufacturers would look at a cost-benefit analysis of producing more efficient cars, and more than likely conclude that there’s more profit in producing cars with existing technology than doing the R and D necessary to improve things. Thus, no improvement in efficiency, even if that’s what the consumers say they want. And consumers need this product to function in today’s society. They *have* to buy what the manufacturers are offering. When someone is forced to buy something, that by definition is not a ‘free’ market. I mean, seriously, what are they going to do? Picket outside Ford’s headquarters?

      The fact is that the auto manufacturers do not give a single fuck about anything other than the bottom line. Not about providing what the customers want, not about taking the environmental impact of their product into consideration, not about whether or not their products are unacceptably deadly to the people who purchase them. For pete’s sake, this is the industry that valued your life at $200,000. If they don’t really care about whether you live or die, what makes you think they’ll care about giving you the product that you want?

  27. Robert Nagel says:

    Don’t get too excited about the supposed 54.5 MPG cars. The car companies are going to get a lot of the number from politically correct actions. For instance I have a 2012 Mustang with a 412 horsepower engine. If I take off from a light and am easy on the throttle the second and third gears are locked out so I have to shift from first to fourth. Needless to say even with all that HP the car becomes and instant dog if i want to accelerate after getting through the intersection. How do I handle this? I just get on the gas from the start. Which means I use an extra shot of gas each time I start from a stop. Why is there a limitation? Ford gets a bonus of around a half MPG. I they put a light in the dash telling you when to shift, boom another fraction of an MPG. Hybrid, you guessed it, a bonus MPG which is not related to real world experience.
    The result will be cars that are politically correct, but not particularly efficient. Certainly not equal to their published efficiency and the numbers that the government will tout to convince you that they are doing this for your benefit.
    The low hanging fruit of efficiency has been picked. Any extra gains will come from more and more expensive, delicate and complex systems which will be very difficult to recover.

    • Costner says:

      This is why you buy a manual transmission…. you shouldn’t allow the car to tell you when to shift. Slushboxes are never as much fun anyway.

  28. tz says:

    They just need to repeal the laws of physics. Why not 500MPG. And while they are at it set the minimum wage to $50/hr.

  29. NeverLetMeDown2 says:

    For all those who say “this can’t be done, it’ll require tiny cars, it’ll require everything to be a hybrid,” let me point out, for example, the Audi A4. A very comfortable full-sized sedan. I had one as a rental in Europe recently, with the 2.0 liter TDI engine. Excellent power, great torque (which is what really matters for performance), and got just shy of 49mpg, real-world mix of city and highway driving, over a two-week period.

    So, today, there are full-sized non-hybrids capable of nearly these committed levels.

    Personally, I’d prefer that we don’t raise the CAFE standards, but rather the gas tax (say $0.40/year per gallon for the next 13 years, and let consumers make the choice whether to buy more efficient cars, pay more, or drive less, but that’s just me. In any case, current gas prices aren’t coming close to capturing the externalities associated with driving (military costs of securing fuel sources, climate impacts).

    • Costner says:

      I agree with your sentiment, but I’d hardly call an Audi A4 a “full sized sedan”. The A4 is a small sedan and isn’t a whole lot bigger than a Honda Civic. I had an A6 and it was considered a mid-size sedan whereas the A8 is the full size sedan (and the A8L is the stretched version which is even bigger).

      The A4 size is plenty big enough for most people… although for “Americuh” sized adults who eat at McDonalds four times a week it would probably be tight. The rear-seat legroom also isn’t well suited for adults… but for kids it works fine.

      I do wish they would bring more of their TDI engines to the US though. The TDI Jettas and Passats get incredible mileage, but for some reason Americans just haven’t warmed up to the whole diesel thing yet. It is coming though.

      • NeverLetMeDown2 says:

        Fair enough, but I’d hardly call the A4 small. The A3 is a small sedan. The A6 is large, and the A8 is mammoth (like a Town Car, it’s not meant to be driven, it’s a car in which one is driven).

  30. AssaultLife says:

    Whatever savings will be realized at the pump will quickly be offset by increased fuel taxes to make up for the last revenue to the government. There will be no savings to the consumer, just smaller, less safe cars to drive.

  31. JoeJackson says:

    Oh the how the American corporations make me laugh, lets not look at alternatives, we need to ensure our dependancy on oil! 34.5mpg average is laughable, if we have cars that average better than that today, then why not make it 80mpg? They can still keep their fossil fuels, lets bring out turbine cars again! Who doesn’t want to drive a Bat Mobile to work every day??

  32. consumerd says:

    I just want my transporter pad in my house to work.

  33. Timmah says:

    Diesel is the answer my friends… If my 32 year old Mercedes can get nearly 35 mpg average with over 400,000 miles… I’m doing pretty darn good ;)