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Your Thoughts Regarding The New 54.5 MPG Mandate

hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
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: 12,669
    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: 4,120
    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: 2,997
    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: 21,599
    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: 5,284
    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: 2,997
    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 Posts: 9,195
    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.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,599
    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: 8,276
    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.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    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: 21,599
    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: 4,120
    Also, time will tell whether the 8-speeds are as rugged and durable as the 3 and 4-speeds.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,284
    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: 12,669
    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)

  • michaellmichaell 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: 12,669
    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: 408
    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: 9,459
    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: 8,276
    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.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,276
    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
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