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Your Thoughts Regarding The New 54.5 MPG Mandate

hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,450
edited August 2012 in General
From the New York Times...

"DETROIT — The Obama administration issued on Tuesday the final version of new rules that require automakers to nearly double the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks by 2025.

The standards — which mandate an average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon for the 2025 model year — will increase the pressure on auto manufacturers to step up development of electrified vehicles as well as sharply improve the mileage of their mass-market models through techniques like more efficient engines and lighter car bodies.

Current rules for the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, program mandate an average of about 29 miles per gallon, with gradual increases to 35.5 m.p.g. by 2016..."


  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    this is the unadjusted number, so it's equivalent to what, 22 or so mpg on the sticker?

    I'm thinking they can make it without much trouble..... ;-)

    What a lot of fuss has been made about something that does relatively little and will leave the U.S. STILL playing catch-up to the rest of the world's fuel economy standards.....

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

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,450
    edited August 2012
    I'm not clear on what unadjusted means. Could you explain it, and how you get to 22 mpg from 54.5?

    I know that diesels, hybrids and electric vehicles are factored into the mix, but car buyers aren't clamoring for these, especially without significant government incentives.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I think it's great. Right now a Prius C & regular Prius average 50mpg, the new Ford C-Max comes in at 47mpg, and Prius V at 42mpg. With respect to pricing, a regular Prius and C-Max are in the mid-$20K range, or about the same price as an Accord/Camry. The Prius V has more cargo space (comparable to a small SUV) and is priced in the upper $20K. The Prius C is just south of $20K. A Jetta TDI gets good MPG too and is about in the mid-$20K price range.

    Bottom line is that there are hybrids/diesels out there right now getting 40-50mpg and the price of these isn't much more than a comparable non-hybrid, particularly looking at the regular Prius and Ford C-Max, both of which would easily fulfill the needs for an average family of 5. If Ford and Toyota can make a vehicle today getting in the upper 40s MPG costing $25K, there's no reason other manufacturers can't do the same. And then reaching 55mpg isn't that great of a leap.

    As the price of gas keeps climbing at it surely will with the global demand increasing, American consumers will be glad of the higher MPG standards and the extra initial cost will more than be made up at the pump.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,813
    I'm not clear on what unadjusted means. Could you explain it, and how you get to 22 mpg from 54.5?

    Well, that 22 mpg was a joke. Unadjusted is the raw laboratory numbers, which for the most part are unattainable in most real-world driving. These are the numbers that went on the window stickers of cars through 1984.

    In 1985, they adjusted the numbers downward in an attempt to reflect real-world driving, and be more attainable by the average driver. The formula they applied is somewhat complicated, but it reduced the numbers by roughly 10%, although it can vary from car to car. These reduced numbers went on the window stickers of the cars. However, for CAFE purposes and stuff, they still use the raw laboratory numbbers.

    In 2007, they started phasing in numbers that were adjusted downward even further, to reflect increasingly aggressive driving conditions, longer idle times, increased use of a/c, etc.

    Realistically, that 54.5 mpg combined number would probably equate to about 40 mpg on the window sticker.

    On the EPA's website, they have zip files you can download that show the raw unadjusted number. A Ford Fusion hybrid comes in around 54.1 mpg combined, while a Toyota Camry hybrid comes in around 54.8 mpg combined.

    However, the unadjusted combined number on the window sticker is going to be 39 mpg for the Fusion, 41 for the Camry.

    I think they factor in flex-fuel cars differently, too. For instance, by 2011, all Crown Vics were flex-fuel, as they could run on gasoline or E-85. The combined rating was 19 for gasoline, and only 14 for E-85 (window sticker numbers, the raw numbers are higher). But, I believe they apply some kind of factor, or credit, for the fact that the car can run on E-85, which inflates its rating for CAFE purposes.

    Moot point I guess, since the Crown Vic is no longer produced. But, I'm sure there are still plenty of other E-85 compatible cars out there.

    Trust me, the auto makers will find some kind of loophole around this. They usually do.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 6,127
    If Ford and Toyota can make a vehicle today getting in the upper 40s MPG costing $25K, there's no reason other manufacturers can't do the same.

    Toyota is only the most reliable auto manufacturer of our time, hands down. Sure, no reason others can't "copy" that. :sick: The best is always copied, I mean, didn't every NBA team have a Micheal Jordan on its squad? There's no reason other players couldn't play the same :P

    Ford is the only domestic auto company displaying a glimmer of competence, a shadow of management, and a hint of life. They are the only automaker of the Big 3 that avoided the necessity of monstrous bailouts. Asking GM and Chrysler to complete on a level playing field with them is like asking a High School Football team to compete with an NFL team.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I read up on that and you're will probably mean that about 40mpg EPA will equal the 55mpg CAFE. It can be confusing because when politicians announce it, I'm sure most people will think they're talking about EPA numbers vs CAFE. I think when people in high office discuss this, they ought to mention this fact, so it won't scare off the skeptics.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,236
    Yeah, once you figure out what they really mean this is perfectly doable. The manufacturers resisted the old numbers and got them frozen for years. Nest thing you know they could hit the numbers with room to spare and started focusing on upping the HP instead of the MPG numbers.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,813
    Just to show how far cars have come over the years...
    In 1978, your typical intermediate Mopar with a 360-2bbl V-8 (Cordoba, Fury, Monaco, Magnum) was rated at 14 city, 22 highway, 17 combined. These are the old, raw, unadjusted laboratory numbers.

    Today, a Dodge Charger SRT-8, with the powerful 6.4 Hemi V-8, manages to pull off 17.4 city, 31.8 highway, and about 21.85 mpg combined, for raw numbers. (window sticker is 14/23, 17 combined). Now, that's pretty thirsty by today's standards, and would be a horrible guzzler by those 54.5 mpg CAFE standards, but look at how far they've come.

    For something a little more tame, the 3.6/8-speed automatic Charger, which would put just about anything made in 1978 to shame in a drag race, is rated 24 city, 43.1 highway, and ~29.98 combined in raw numbers (19/31, 23 combined on the window sticker).

    So, if they can get a big car to get a 30 mpg combined number using today's technology, I'm sure they'll find a way to get it up more by 2025. Not to 54.5 mpg most likely, but they'll have hybrids, electrics, and other cars (plus government loopholes most likely) to help them out.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,532
    All of the regulations imposed here creates a "one step forward, two steps back" scenario in trying to balance fuel economy with safety and emissions regulations. The only ways to get better fuel economy are to increase efficiency and reduce weight, yet the safety and emissions requirements work against both of those goals. So, it's no simple task to make large FE gains.

    For example, my Fiesta curbs at 2,537#! Twenty years ago, that exact same car might have weighed 1,000# less but only achieved the same fuel economy because the drivetrain was less efficient, more drag, etc. But, take the drivetrain in my new car and put it in the older model, and FE would likely be vastly improved. Even lugging around all that weight, though, my car still manages 38-40 mpg without much effort.
    2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,450
    The easier, lower cost measures have already been taken. I may be too skeptical, but my perception is that the things required to get a midsizer (Fusion, Camry) to 40 mpg combined will be expensive, especially when maintenance and repair are factored in. For example, I'm thinking of the cost of replacing an 8 or 9-speed transmission.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,813
    For example, I'm thinking of the cost of replacing an 8 or 9-speed transmission.

    Yeah, I don't much relish the thought of that either. I'm still trying to get past the jump from the $650-700 it costs to replace something like the old 3-speed THM350 in my '85 Silverado, to the $1860 that it cost to replace the 4-speed 4L60E in my uncle's '97!

    That is going to be one of the side effects of more fuel efficient cars. I can see them becoming more expensive to repair, and more cost-prohibitive to keep running for a really long time. My Silverado could probably eat one transmission per year, and I'd keep replacing it. Knock on wood, it's still on the original....hope I didn't just jinx it! But, if my uncle's transmission craps out again, (it already did, twice), at this point I think I'd junk the damn thing.

    On the subject of these more complex transmissions... well, one of the car I'd considered getting, if I ever buy another new one, is a Charger, but just with the 3.6. If you get it with the base 5-speed automatic, it's rated something like 18/27. If you spring for the 8-speed, which I think is a $1000 option on the base model, but standard on some trim levels, you get 19/31.

    That 31 sounds really impressive for a car this size. In contrast, my old Intrepid was only rated 20/29, and I think under the new system, it's only 19/27. And the Charger is a lot more powerful, and heavy, than my Intrepid was.

    But, the big question I really need it? Most of my driving is local, so I'm not going to see much increase there. And I have a habit of driving cars till they drop dead, so for me the (presumed) cheaper rebuild cost of the 5-speed versus the 8-speed might mean the difference between a car that gets a second lease on life, and one that gets junked.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,450
    Also, time will tell whether the 8-speeds are as rugged and durable as the 3 and 4-speeds.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 6,127
    The 3-speed in my 1995 Dodge was rugged and durable enough to last all of 60K miles.

    The 6-speed dual clutch unit in my Audi has been amazing for 92K miles and still ticking.....
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    Even in the press, the fact that 54.5 doesn't really mean 54.5 the way the public thinks it does is not adequately reported - this is the only reference to that in the Times article:

    Even if the 54.5 m.p.g. goal is reached, most cars and trucks will get lower mileage in real-life driving. Credits for air-conditioning units in vehicles will reduce the average mileage to about 49 m.p.g., and actual driving conditions could reduce it further. ter-fuel-efficiency-standards.html?_r=1

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

  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Even in the press, the fact that 54.5 doesn't really mean 54.5 the way the public thinks it does is not adequately reported - this is the only reference to that in the Times article:

    And, the new standards are already being dissected through the political microscope. Romney is saying that the new standards will force automakers to build cars that Americans don't want and can't afford.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    When the truth is, some automakers are almost there already, but notably NOT the ones that sell extremely gas-guzzling full-size pickup trucks (and those German automakers that sell only gas-guzzler luxury cars, without an extensive diesel or hybrid line-up).

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

  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 412
    I'm looking forward to all these improvements over the next decade plus. Mostly because I can take those upgraded components and add them to vehicles I have like my 1976 Gran Torino, 12 city, 16 highway, 14 combined. I could take one step up and go with a late 80s 302/AOD combo, it would be cheap and get me closer to 20mpg highway. Another step up, the 4.0L SOHC V6 and 5R55W trans from a late 90s Explorer, probably about the same for mileage though I have heard of Explorers getting 22-24mpg out of that and the Torino is lower to the ground and weighs a hair less so I could match or beat that. Someday a 3.7L Mustang V6 and 6-speed automatic could fall under my hood, they get 19 city 31 highway but weigh 500lbs less, but I think 25-26mpg is reasonable to expect from that powertrain in my sedan.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 10,634
    My mom has a 2011 Fiesta and the mileage is great.
    Not only that, it runs great up and down the hills on the highway, doesn't struggle.
    Low speed shifting is not very smooth.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,532
    Boy, I don't know. You'd have to swap in the wiring harness and ECU on a sensor-controlled engine, and that just sounds like a nightmare. Do your homework and I'm sure it's doable, but worth it... ?

    Just putting an EFI crate engine with the right transmission/differential gearing into it will probably net you significant gains in both fuel economy and power, without the electronics nightmare.

    And, honestly, is fuel economy really the point of something like a '76 Torino? I know I would never want to rebuild my '69 C20 or Econoline with fuel economy as a primary objective, because I'd need to intend to put significant miles on them in order to make such an objective feasible... which would sort of defeat the point of putting so much effort into antique cars in the first place.
    2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,532
    That's what I found, too, when I rented an automatic Fiesta this spring. No such low speed issues with the manual tranny on my own Fiesta though. I'm really liking it so far, and I'm close to 40 mpg just doing "around town" driving. :D
    2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 10,634
    My mom's closing in on 83, so she doesn't drive a stick car anymore, although I'm sure she could, as that is what she learned to drive to start.
    Air conditioning, power brakes, and power steering, she's learned to adapt to those, too.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,532
    Hahah; nice! Might we all hope to be doing so well at that age! :shades:
    2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,450
    If you don't drive your '76 Torino a lot it might be difficult to justify one of the engine transplants you mentioned, in terms of savings.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,450
    Glad to know about the durability of your Audi's transmission, since my wife drives a '07 A4 2.0T Quattro. What year and model is your Audi?
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,249
    edited September 2012
    The new CAFE is much better than nothing, but the rules are a confusing labyrinth of exceptions and credits.

    I wish they had:

    1. moved the CAFE measurement from the old c. 1975 style of measuring mpg to the more accurate 2007 version.

    2. Skipped the hundreds of pages of bizarre rules and just gone with a simple standard. In other words, the 27.5 mpg which held for 25 years from 1985 to 2010 is really more like 21mpg combined by what's on your EPA window sticker. Go with that new number and slowly move it up to what I think the new standard boils down to for cars by 2025, which is c. 40 mpg combined.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,249
    edited September 2012
    As we know, the new CAFE is based on a car's footprint, and so there are different standards for each vehicle.

    I'm not sure, but I think for a car like the Accord the CAFE standard might look something like this per the EPA combined mpg sticker actually found on cars.

    CAFE standard by actual window sticker combined city/hwy mpg??
    2012: c. 22
    2018: c. 30?
    2022: c. 36?
    2025: c. 40?

    My 2008 Accord already meets the current standard with a combined mpg of 25.

    A 2013 Accord will get at least 30 mpg combined, and so it already meets the standard for 2018. And I think Honda will continue to do that. In other words, the Accord and other vehicles will be designed so that the last year they are for sale they meet the standard then in effect.

    Going with a 5 year design cycle, we can then try to imagine how an Accord of 2018 might meet the standard for 2022 (when it will still be sold, given the 5 year design cycle).

    The 2013 Accord will probably weigh about 3150 pounds, which is already a pretty good weight loss from a comparable 2012 Accord, which weighs about 3300.

    My guess is that a 2018 Accord will weigh about 2900 pounds, but still have the same interior room. How? It might go to a smaller but more powerful turbo engine, say a 1.4, which would allow you to lower the weight and shrink the size of engine bay a bit, while still keeping the same room inside the cabin.

    Such a car would probably be able to make my guess at the 2022 standard of 36 on the actual sticker by getting c. 30 in the city and all the way up to maybe c. 44 on the hwy, for a combined of c. 36.

    But I don't see right now how, without the use of hybrid tech, you get a car the size of the Accord to 40. But a dozen years of improvements to engine and transmission tech, plus lightweight materials like carbon fiber etc. might make it possible.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,249
    I think this car will be an interesting case. This car is going to be fun to drive, and yet do a lot to help BMW meet the standard. Rumors are that the standard model will be powered by a 3 cylinder turbo that makes mpg like a hybrid on the hwy, in other words mid 40s. And it should be in the low 30s in the city.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,249
    The Civic got a major redesign in 2012. It's getting a bit of an improvement in a few months with the 2013 model to improve interior plastics etc. Rumor has it that a year from now the 2014 Civics will get Honda's "Earth Dreams" 1.8 engine and CVT trans + 6 speed manual.

    The current LX Civic auto gets 28 mpg City and 39 hwy or 32 mpg combined.

    What will the 2014 Civic get I wonder. I'm guessing at least a 10%+ improvement, and so something like

    c. 32 city c. 42 hwy & c. 36 combined

    The Civic weighs a fairly impressively low c. 2700 or so pounds, and so it should pass the current crop of 40 mpg small sedans once it gets the new engine and transmission tech...
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 6,127
    edited September 2012
    What year and model is your Audi

    It's a 2006 A3 2.0T. Unfortunately for you and your wife, the A4's got skimped on a tad with their automatic transmissions being more traditional in their technology. The A3 got the special dual clutch direct shift gearbox, not the same as the A4's get/got (though recent model S4's have it).

    I'm sure that the transmission in your wife's Audi is plenty robust though to be very durable.

    Someone on Edmunds was pointing out that if my transmission lasts 180K miles, it'll still cost the same per mile as the Dodge unit (if it costs 4K to replace it). That's fair to point out, but I should also point out I'm putting out a bit over 2X the horsepower with the help of a couple mods, and still getting equivalent (essentially a wash) gas mileage to the 1995 Dodge Neon 3 speed.
  • cannon3cannon3 Posts: 296
    As I drive to work everyday I see 1 person in large trucks/SUV's in the fast lane. This is the reason why I am so for $5 a gallon gasoline. The only thing most Americans understand is money. Make them pay is what I feel. I downsized this spring to a 2012 Ford Focus SE Hatchback. I am averaging 35.2MPG per the computer. I have made it a goal to keep my speed down and just chill when driving. I love filling up 2x a month, and only paying 35-$40 per fill vs the 70-$75 each week! I like the extra $$ in my account...
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