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If 62 MPG Becomes Law...

hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
edited May 2011 in General
Negotiations are going on in Washington that could radically change the design of cars and trucks over the next 13 years.

As you probably know, new federal fuel economy and emissions rules took effect Jan. 1, requiring automakers to hit 35.5 mpg corporate average fuel economy by the 2016 model year.

That might only be for starters. Automakers and regulators from the EPA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Air Resources Board are now haggling over a tougher proposal initiated by President Obama. That plan calls for a CAFE range of 47 mpg to 62 mpg by the 2025 model year.

Industry spokespeople say the 62 mpg CAFE, supported by environmentalists, would be too costly and may not be feasible.

One industry estimate says hitting 62 mpg would require widespread vehicle electrification, and add almost $10,000 to the price of a new vehicle. Federal agencies say the cost would be $3,500 per vehicle, at most, and would be offset by fuel-pump savings.

Barring an unexpected technological breakthrough, I think that a 62 mpg mandate, by 2025, would force the auto industry to produce vehicles that motorists wouldn't want to own. For sake of discussion, though, let's assume that 62 mpg is the goal. In that case, as unpopular as raising the gas tax is, I'd prefer going this route over increasing average fuel economy through CAFE standards. What are your thoughts on this?


  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,981
    I'd like that on the local highways. The speed limit here in Michigan off the interstates is 55. :-)

    100km/h - it's the law.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    I'd agree with you, but, unfortunately, the proposal is for increased fuel economy, not about raising speed limits.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,981
    If gas prices stay high, you have to wonder if the average rate of speed is going to drop.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,071
    Vehicles were travelling a lot slower on the NE Extension of the PA Turnpike than normal this past Sunday. Sixty-two MPG? Are we all going to be riding mopeds?
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,917
    May not be feasible? May?

    3500 per vehicle? I'd like to see the public sector sucks quantify that one.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,594
    If this move to a 62 mpg average involves a lot of electrification, I hate to think of what that's going to do to electric rates!
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,273
    I hate to think of what that's going to do to electric rates!

    I am very interested in that too. I have heard estimates all over the map, including opinion that the rates will actually go down. The argument is that generating capacity will not need to increase because recharging will be done at night when other demand is low. Therefore, the fixed costs will not increase and will be spread out over a larger number of kilowatts delivered. However, this depends on just how many vehicles are charging at night and on the effects of running the power plants at higher output 24 hours a day so I am dubious.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    edited May 2011
    It's hard to apply the right auxiliary verb. "Won't" implies certainty, whereas "may" covers a range of probability.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    A moped is probably too thirsty with two aboard.
  • nine51nine51 Posts: 78
    edited May 2011
    I guess we will all be driving eggs with bike tires. You can't legislate physics. Even the best hybrids only get into the 50's on average. More electrification will help for those who drive short range, but "plug-ins" will be running on coal or nuclear power. Is that a good thing?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    I agree with you.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    edited May 2011
    62 mpg is the raw number - Prius is already well ahead of that proposed 2025 standard in the year 2011. The new compacts like Focus and Cruze are at 50+ mpg on this scale, as are larger hybrid sedans like Fusion hybrid.

    It won't be hard to get to 62 mpg for cars, I don't think. The problem is for automakers to get their fleet average to 62 if they also sell trucks, SUVs and large crossovers. But if they could sell 100K 75-mpg compacts per year for instance, they could sell lots of those big guzzler vehicles even if they made only high-40s (which would equate to a rating in the low 30s on the Monroney sticker).

    This isn't as extreme as it sounds, and it is certainly a much needed step. But I'm sure the automakers will succeed in diluting it for the sake of their profit margins, so I'm just hoping the feds do instigate at least the much weaker 47 mpg standard.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    The administration wants new American cars and trucks to average as much as 56.2 miles per gallon by 2025, roughly double the current level. Regardless of what the final number is, the big question remains, will American motorists want to buy these cars? The verdict for hybrids and electric vehicles so far is, not so much.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,396
    Regardless of what the final number is, the big question remains, will American motorists want to buy these cars?

    Ask yourself what gasoline will cost in 2025 and the question answers itself With gas at $7-$8/gallon we'll want 75 or even 100mpg. Mileage standards have saved the bacon of the Detroit makers more than once in our lifetimes.

    That said a gas tax is a better way to make our fleet more efficient.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    edited July 2011
    "...a gas tax is a better way to make our fleet more efficient."

    I agree, and it's also simpler.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,623
    and I think will punish any politician who raises it more than 5 cents a gallon...

    So I'd say don't waste your time hoping for that one. But I agree it would help.

    I believe in CAFE and I think it has already helped bring about a revolution in internal combustion engines since 1975.

    56mpg is really more like 42 by the way the mpg is measured today. A few cars are already reaching or exceeding that standard 12 years before 2025. Another decade of progress on ICEs should make it work for cars. Trucks, SUVs, and Vans are tougher, but I think they can be done too with smart engineering.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    I think that CAFE is politically expedient in the U.S., but not the best way to go. Which countries have achieved the greatest gains in mpg and lower carbon emissions, the U.S. and Canada, or Europe?
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,273
    How about if the use of the increased revenue from the increased tax could be specified (irrevocably)? What specified use or uses would lead you to support the increase?

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,020
    These gas milage requirements will mean the end of SUVs and performance cars. Who is going to want to buy a 2025 Mustang with 90hp and an electric heater for power? I don't want to get too political but this is just more class warfare by the people in Washington. Unfortunately like many of the hairbrained schemes hatched in that city it will end up slamming the middle class. What did they say? An extra $10000 for a car that will get beat by a Tata Nano? Baloney. :mad:

    I'm buying a 2015 Mustang GT and by 2025 I'll own the fastest car in America. :)

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,623
    edited July 2011
    More likely it's a way to save the middle class money. Rather than spending c. $2500 a year on gas, as many people now do, a lot of people will be spending half of that by 2025, and some even less.

    There will still be room for some sports cars. And very fast ones. I'd bet on it.

    The SUVs, however, are likely to get a smaller and less powerful. That too is a good thing, imho.

    Saw a bumper sticker the other day: "Support OPEC! Buy an SUV!"

    There will still be SUVs after all this is said and done. They'll just get 35+ mpg.
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