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Your Thoughts Regarding The New 54.5 MPG Mandate

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,568
    "Fuel economy of new vehicles purchased in October hit its highest level since at least 2007, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute said Monday.

    The average fuel economy based on window-sticker value of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in October was 24.1 mpg — the highest level yet, and up 4.0 mpg from October 2007, the first month of monitoring."

    Survey: Fuel economy in new cars hits highest level since '07 (Detroit News)

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I wonder if the gains will slow now that gas prices are falling? $3.33 average in VA the radio said this morning.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    edited July 2013
    My all-new 2013 Accord is the first model to be covered by the new EPA mpg requirements of the past few years. It's also been designed, of course, to take into account the higher price of gas we've had for the last 6+ years.

    My 2013 Accord is a CVT, and is rated by the EPA at 27 in the city and 36 on the hwy, with a combined rating of 30. This compares with my 2008 Accord which has a rating of 22 in the city and 31 on the hwy, with a combined rating of 25. That's a pretty big jump over 5 years. In percentage terms it's a 20% increase.

    I was guessing that for the next generation of Accord, due out in about 5 years, Honda might be targeting a similar percentage increase. In other words, they might be aiming for a car that gets a 36 combined epa figure, although that's probably on the high side.

    But I was wondering whether the EPA requirements actually require Honda and other makers of midsize cars to do that, and the answer is no.

    Take a look at this chart, which gives the guidelines going forward for each "footprint" of car, from small, to midsize to large:

    http://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/good-and-bad-news-emerges-from-cafes-fine-pr- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - int.html

    It's a bit confusing because the famous "54 mpg" requirement for 2025 is based on the EPA test of 1975, and those numbers need to be cut by c.30% to match the current EPA window numbers, which are close to my real-world results. Anyway, doing that translation, you find that the EPA requirement for a midsize car in 2012 is about 23 mpg. So the current Accord is way beyond that, and in fact the 2008 Accord was beyond that.

    But the requirements get strict quite rapidly, right? Not really. And they are starting from such a low base # that it doesn't start to get impressive until about 2025.

    The standard for a midsize car for 2017, for instance, is about 27 mpg combined, and so the 2013 Accord is already beyond that.

    The standard for a midsize car for 2021 is about 32.

    The standard for a midsize car for 2025 is about 38.

    In other words, if the next generation Accord for model year 2018 gets an improvement of just 10% over the current model it will easily meet the target for 2021.

    I think Honda and other car makers will be more aggressive than that in improving mpg, which is a good thing imho.

    Since the 2013 Accord gets 20% higher mpg than a 2008, as I've said my guess is that they are targeting maybe as much as another 20% by 2018, which would mean a combined mpg sticker that year of about 36. If they could do that (and that's probably way too optimistic) by that time they would be only 2 mpg away from the standard for 2025!

    It's good in my opinion that these standards exist, but they sound much more impressive aggressive than they actually are. The 2018 Accord could achieve a 32 EPA mpg number and still be way ahead of the curve. The more I think about it, the more I realize that's probably closer to what they'll aim for. After all, the current Civic is rated 32 mpg combined (although the 2013 Civic still uses older tech engine and transmission). If the next gen Accord can get the mpg of the current Civic, that would still be impressive.

    Anyway, these epa mpg numbers should be possible to hit even without hybrid technology, and the Accord of the future will probably have about the same amount of interior room as the current model. This is how I've wasted my time on this Saturday morning as I wait for the rest of my family to wake up ;-)
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    edited July 2013
    As many articles have pointed out, the 54.5 standard by 2025 is a total fiction.

    The real EPA number for that year would be more like 38mpg. And with the "credits" that manufacturers can claim for various real and imaginary things it actually gets taken down to about 35 mpg.

    But that's still a significant improvement over where we are now....
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,568
    edited July 2013
    Nice post - I woke up at 5 am and just drank coffee, goofed off and watched some youtubes. :shades:

    I think Honda and other car makers will be more aggressive than that in improving mpg

    Maybe it'll go like seatbelts. No one wanted to pay extra to have them as options on their cars so the feds finally mandated them. And then we got mandated airbags. At some point the lines blurred and some of the safety equipment we have is mandated while some of it is demanded by the consumer. And now lots of consumers are even willing to pay extra for stuff like rear view cameras or traction control.

    Lots of people buy on mpg nowadays.

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  • ohenryxohenryx Posts: 285
    Lots of people buy on mpg nowadays

    Very true. I was surprised when Toyota discontinued the V6 as an option on the Rav4. "Not enough people wanted it." I was reading a long term test on the Honda CRV, and they were bemoaning no availability for a V6. They referred to the car as a "gutless wonder" on the highway. But of course it gets wonderful mpg (for a CUV), and that is what people seem to want.

    I don't drive enough miles anymore to be worried about mpg. When I was doing 33 miles (one way) to work, it mattered. These days, at 5.3 miles one way, I simply don't care.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    edited July 2013
    "Lots of people buy on mpg nowadays."

    +1

    I think the demand by consumers is driving some manufacturers to go way beyond the EPA requirements for boosting mpg.

    Also, the way the law is written manufacturers can "bank" credits when they go over some years to use when the standards are much stricter c. 10 years from now. And so the 2013 Accord is earning credits for Honda because it already meets the standard for about 2019.

    The 2013 Accord LX CVT weighs 3254 pounds, which, iirc, is only about 75lbs less than the 2012 LX. I think Honda wanted to lose more weight than that, but the tough IIHS small offset crash requirements caused them to beef up the structure to a significant degree.

    It's possible that they'll be able to take another 150 lbs off the LX in 5 years, which would take it down to c.3100 pounds. And a slightly smaller and lighter car could make do with a smaller engine, which might mean they could use a 2.2 liter engine in 2018?

    The new 2014 Mazda6 and Nissan Altima already get 38 mpg hwy. I bet that Honda would like to equal those numbers by the time the current Accord gets to its major refresh for model year 2016, which comes out just a little more than two years from now. As you said, customers really want higher mpg, as long as they can do it without sacrificing safety or performance.

    And so far, that's happened. My 2013 Accord accelerates significantly more quickly than a 2008 Accord and is significantly safer, all while getting c. 20% higher mpg.

    It's actually a golden age of automotive engineering imho.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,568
    edited July 2013
    Golden age but it's tough too. Cars last a lot longer so unless you hang out in Chronic Car Buyers Anonymous, you may wind up like me and keep your car a decade or more. We have smaller engines, better mpg, and still have peppy cars so what's left? Ten air bags per car isn't unusual. How much more tech can we cram into the dash that will convince people they need a shiny new car? (especially when auto tech currently runs ~3 years behind the stuff you can buy online).

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  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    edited July 2013
    Good point. But I think that many people will be lured to buy new cars for the next several years because of how much better they are.

    A 2008 Accord LX didn't have bluetooth (almost essential imho), was kind of a slug where acceleration was concerned, got only so-so mpg, was noisy, not as safe, etc., and it was still a top car for its time!

    The 2013 Accord has bluetooth standard, is faster, gets higher mpg, is quieter, safer, etc.

    Most other cars have similar improvements over their previous generations. Plus many people put off buying a car because of the great recession, the earthquake in Japan/flood in Thailand, etc. Car sales are still accelerating for now. At some point (maybe in 10 years?) what you say might be true, but imho we have not reached it yet.

    Automotive News:

    U.S. sales likely to rise 16% in July, LMC says
    Strong tailwinds to start second half

    Nick Bunkley Twitter RSS feed
    Automotive News
    July 19, 2013 - 12:21 pm ET -- UPDATED: 7/19/13 1:57 pm ET - adds details

    DETROIT -- U.S. new-vehicle sales are projected to rise 16 percent this month as the industry gains strength entering the second half of the year, according to a forecast released today by LMC Automotive.

    LMC estimated that the seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate for July would reach 15.9 million, nearly matching June's rate of 15.98 million, which was the highest in five and a half years. The SAAR for July 2012 was 14.1 million.

    The forecasting firm also increased its full-year forecast for light-vehicle sales by 200,000 units, to 15.6 million....

    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130719/RETAIL01/130719831/u- -s-sales-likely-to-rise-16-in-july-lmc-says#
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,900
    do you really think people are buying JUST on mpg? I don't. I think it's mpg + all the nice features and gadgets they have grown accustomed to.

    I don't think you could give away a 1992 Geo Metro as a new car, even at 50 mpg.

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,568
    Some combination - I don't know how many mpgs I'd be willing to give up for cruise control for example.

    All it'd take would be another oil shock to have people bidding up Metros on eBay. That's happened before.

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  • 2old4this02old4this0 Posts: 1
    edited July 2013
    My now-discontinued Geo Metro (3 door, 3 cyl., 5 spd. manual) got 55 - 60 mpg on the hwy and between 32 & 40 mpg in the city, depending on the amount of freeway in the mix.

    With a ten gallon tank, Minneapolis was roughly 35 gallons from Detroit via Chicago & Madison. I cruised through cow country with it floored at 86 mph ... had a cop going the other direction flash his lights at me to slow down. ;~)

    Loved that car almost as much as I did my first car (1969 Camaro, bought new in 1970) ... until some jerk in a Caddy hit his brakes -hard- for no good reason during a heavy rain storm and I slid right up his tailpipe. Then the Caddy took off, leaving me with a smashed hood, grill and passenger quarter panel (the cad in the Caddy was making a right turn when he simply decided to stop.

    So those mileage numbers? Yawn. They've been done before.

    Contrary to some of the sentiment expressed above, I'd pay good hard money for another Metro just like my first one because, yeah, I don't care about all the fancy features (insert list of juice sucking, gas burning, 'features' that break and / or invite break-ins here). I don't need electric door locks, heated mirrors, heated seats, satellite tracking of my trips, electric windows, A/C, backseat video, front seat video, surround-sound, "Fine Corinthian paper-thin leather seat, wood burl accents, prescription windshields, electric door locks, cruise control, remote starters and so on nearly as much as I need to keep my cash mine.

    I've already got a living room ... I don't need to ride around in one.

    I've got a 1989 Jaguar VDP sitting in front of my house in running condition with good rubber and VERY little rust that I'd trade for a Geo Metro (as described above) in similar condition. Last year I put brand new brakes all the way around (pads, rotors, disks, drums ... everything between the brake line and the wheels. Starts right up. Burns premium. Unwanted and unloved.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    On the EPA mpg site, which has epa ratings going back to 1984

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/

    It says that the Metro was rated a pretty amazing 41 mpg combined, which is pretty close to what a hybrid gets today....

    A very small gas car today should be able to equal that even with more weight and safety equipment. But it hasn't happened yet.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    http://wardsauto.com/sales-amp-marketing/industry-fuel-efficiency-remains-record- -levels-small-cars-set-new-high

    Industry Fuel Efficiency Remains at Record Levels; Small Cars Set New High
    Jul. 19, 2013John Sousanis | WardsAuto

    June marked the fourth consecutive month in which the WardsAuto Fuel Economy Index remained at a record level of 24.3 mpg (9.7 L/100 km).

    The month’s FEI score represented a 2.2% gain over year-ago and is 15.9% above the index base-period rating established in fourth-quarter 2007.

    Cars recorded a 28 mpg (8.4 L/100 km) FEI score, a 3.4% increase over year-ago, while accounting for 49.3% of deliveries.

    It was the third consecutive month light trucks outsold cars, but the expected downward effect on industry fuel economy has been offset each time by mix shifts and rising FEI scores within segments of both vehicle types.

    Small cars earned a segment-best 29.9 mpg (7.9 L/100 km) rating in June, up 0.6% from like-2012, while midsize cars (28 mpg [8.4 L/100 km]) showed a 4.7% improvement over year-ago....
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,973
    The only small car I've had much experience with was my uncle's 2003 Corolla, which he recently traded for a 2013 Camry. His Corolla was rated at 30/38 in its day, but was more like 26/34 in the revised 2007+ ratings.

    The Camry is rated 25/35 I think. Yet it's a lot bigger, faster, heavier, etc. I'll be curious to see what kind of fuel economy it really gets, though. My uncle said he usually averaged 32-34 mpg with his Corolla. He used to do a lot of highway driving, but it was often rush-hour driving. So, stop-and-go on the interstate probably isn't that much different from "city/local" driving.

    I drove his Corolla to Carlisle PA once, out of curiosity, to see what kind of economy it got, but also to see if I could tolerate living with something that small. I think I got about 37.6 mpg on that trip. Pretty good, but my old 2000 Intrepid would get around 30 mpg on that same run (I actually did 32.4 once when I tried to "hyper mile" it a bit), so I decided that the fuel economy savings wasn't enough to offset having to put up with something that small, cramped, and uncomfortable. Of course, in local driving, the Corolla would've done a lot better.

    I wonder if my uncle's Camry will really get similar mpg to that old Corolla? It almost seems too good to be true, for something that big to be that efficient. But time, and technology, march on!

    Interesting that you'd mention a 2008 Accord. A couple weeks ago, before he bought the Camry, I went looking at cars with my uncle. I was a bit miffed with my 2000 Park Ave, which I had just put in the shop for brake failure, and it had three other visits to the mechanic since last October, each one running about $1,000. Well, at the local Nissan dealer, I found a 2009 Accord EX-L, 4-cyl, that looked pretty nice. I was a bit tempted...
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    edited July 2013
    I bet you'll find the new Camry does get about the same mpg as a ten year old Corolla.

    I just looked it up, and a new Accord gets slightly better mpg than a 2003 Civic. That's especially impressive given that the 03 Civic has a 1.7 liter engine, while the new Accord is at 2.4.

    Sorry you've had trouble with your Park Avenue. The 2009 Accord would be smaller, but how did it compare in terms of interior room with the PA? That generation was the height of bloat for the Accord, getting positively bulbous. And in the interior my 2008 EXL Accord even has plood! I like the looks of the plood with the blond interior, but it does seem like a sign Honda might have lost its way a little with that generation. What was the price of that 2009 EXL?

    A better choice for you imho would be a new 2013 LX CVT. It has a lot previously lux features standard, like bluetooth, alloy wheels, back up camera, etc. Looking up the epa ratings of a supercharged Park Avenue from 2000, it looks like its rated 19 mpg combined on premium fuel. Compared to the 30 of an Accord the epa guesses you'd save $1300 a year on fuel, although I don't know if you drive that much. Anyway, I've read that you're lukewarm on the styling on the new Accord, but it's classic and inoffensive imho, and for c. $21000 with 1.9 financing from Honda it's a very good deal.

    PS Andre, you are so good with numbers, I was wondering if you'd check my math on what's required for cars with a midsize footprint for 2012, 2017, 2021, and 2025. The numbers I came up with were 23, 27, 32, and 38. But I was just using a crude 30% discount. Earlier in this thread, I was rereading that somewhere you saw the raw numbers which, when matched with a particular car, could give a more exact rendering. For instance, I think the "raw" requirement for 2025 for midsize cars is about 54 mpg, but translated down I think you found a car that got that raw number that had a window sticker of 39. In other words, my number seems to be off by 1 mpg, which is not big but still something. I wonder if my other numbers are off by 1 mpg as well...
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,973
    I didn't sit in that particular Accord, but have sat in a few from that generation. From what I remember, the front seat has plenty of room for me, but with the seat adjusted for me, the back was a little cramped. And worse, the seatbacks were plastic, which would take its toll on your knees. However, that could have just been the cheaper Accords, maybe the nicer ones had padded seatbacks? I can't remember now.

    As for that Accord, the dealer still has it. Here's the link. They're asking around $15K, and it has about 51,000 miles on it.

    As for the 2013 Accord, I don't mind its styling, but I just don't find it all that exciting. But in this class of car, there's really not much out there that DOES excite me. Based solely on styling, I think the Mazda 6 is the best of the bunch, followed by the Ford Fusion. I do think the Accord looks better than the Altima, Camry, Avenger, and 200 though. And maybe about on par with the Malibu, which I'm finally warming up to its style.

    My biggest beef with the latest Accord was that the seats seemed a bit small, like they put compact car seats in a midsize to make it feel roomier. I don't know how the published specs play out, but the front seat felt like it had less legroom (but still adequate I guess) than the '08-12, while the back seat felt a bit roomier.

    I don't really drive a whole lot these days, and have several cars to spread it across. The Park Ave had 56,372 miles on it when I bought it back in December 2009, and now has around 92,500. So that's panning out to around 840 miles per month, or around 10,000 per year. However, many of those miles were put on early on. So far this year, it's gone about 4200 miles, so I doubt if it'll even hit 8,000 by the time December 14 comes up, which will mark the 4-year anniversary of when I brought the Buick home.

    Oh, as for those fuel economy numbers, yeah it's the raw, unadjusted average they use, and not the numbers published on the window sticker. And those numbers can be quite different. For example, my uncle's Camry was 25/35, 28 combined on the window sticker. But the raw numbers are 31.6214/49.530, 37.7663 combined, according to the Excel files that they let you download. The Camry LE hybrid is rated 43/39/41, but the raw numbers are 58.5/56.1/57.3951, so it already beats that 54.5 standard!

    The Camry XLE has a 40 average on the window sticker, and the unadjusted average is 54.8331. So I'd imagine that for a car to hit that 54.5 average, its adjusted combined number would be around 39-40 mpg.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    edited July 2013
    andre wrote: " The Camry LE hybrid is rated 43/39/41, but the raw numbers are 58.5/56.1/57.3951, so it already beats that 54.5 standard!"

    Indeed. But can a non-hybrid midsize sedan, with room and performance similar to a current model, get to 39 mpg combined by 2025? That does seem like a challenge, even with improving technology and design. But the "credit" buy downs, which are one of the big black wholes of the new regulatory regime, could seemingly allow companies to buy that down by c. 1-4 mpg. But that part is difficult to figure out.

    In regard to the seats of the 2013 Accord, I think they are less bulky than the seats of the previous generation, but I think in terms of room for people they are about the same. Personally I like the 2013 seats a little better than the 08 seats. The 08 seats have slightly lower quality leather imho. The 13 seats have higher quality leather with perforations to help them breathe, and they do seem a bit better on hot days. The cloth seats in my parents 2013 LX Accord seemed fine. I actually prefer cloth seats, but to get nav. which we really like you have to get leather.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,900
    Most people are not going to drive some homely tin can death trap, even if gas is $10 a gallon. That gets old real fast. Only the truly desperate would do so, and might have to do so, even as we speak.

    I think the answer lies as much in weight-saving and aerodynamics as it does in advanced engine design.

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  • berriberri Posts: 4,189
    I think this mandate is another case of big government and the nanny state. Quit imposing unilateral, and often artificial, mandates - and stop treating citizens like they are children. People will adjust their choices based on gas prices and availability. The answer for each person may differ based on how they choose to allocate their budget and financial resources. One size doesn't fit everyone. Oh and finally, stop diverting highway funds and taxes to other issues like Amtrak. Most American citizens are smarter than Washington thinks they are. You don't have to be an Ivy League graduate to have common sense.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,900
    well YOU may indeed be smarter than Washington thinks you are, but lots of people aren't.

    Given no supervision Americans would shoot every buffalo on the prairie and build Los Angeles :shades:

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  • berriberri Posts: 4,189
    Hmmm, Buffalo meat is dry and I like LA :D
  • seven_upsseven_ups Posts: 10
    Given no supervision Americans would shoot every buffalo on the prairie and build Los Angeles

    How little faith in one's fellow Americans. A typical elitist reponse.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    "well YOU may indeed be smarter than Washington thinks you are, but lots of people aren't.

    Given no supervision Americans would shoot every buffalo on the prairie and build Los Angeles "

    lol!+
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,900
    I have to warn you that calling me an elitist is the highest compliment you can give me. :P

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  • berriberri Posts: 4,189
    edited July 2013
    While I don't necessarily agree, I did get a kick out of Shifty's provocative tongue in cheek. However, you are aware that this directive is highly flawed? It is crafted heavily toward D3 and UAW to allow them to continue to subsidize their profitable trucks. It is loaded with loopholes and geared toward penalizing Asian brands that don't have significant high margin truck segments. Basically, Detroit can keep pumping out gas guzzling pick-ups and offset it with smaller cars, while the transplants just have to mostly eat the profit margin hit on their cars and crossovers this regulation causes. They don't produce many large pick ups and SUV's with fat margins to help offset the cost impact of this regulation. Over the past decade or more, the transplants have exercised leadership in improving car mileage efficiency, so they are shafted to assist the laggards in Detroit. I'm not a fan of government involvement is business markets except in emergencies or anomaly situations that harm the markets. These do not exist right now. Lawyers and politicians, particularly those in Washington, are generally not people who demonstrate exceptional business and economic acumen. This is a prime example of why.

    By the way, you better start putting some money aside for your car purchases down the road because this regulation is going to noticeably impact the price of future vehicles (think back to the price impacts in the 70's of government regulations and rules imposed on the automotive industry). The government historically ignores, or vastly under estimates regulatory cost impacts.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    edited July 2013
    "While I don't necessarily agree, I did get a kick out of Shifty's provocative tongue in cheek. However, you are aware that this directive is highly flawed? It is crafted heavily toward D3 and UAW to allow them to continue to subsidize their profitable trucks. It is loaded with loopholes and geared toward penalizing Asian brands that don't have significant high margin truck segments. Basically, Detroit can keep pumping out gas guzzling pick-ups and offset it with smaller cars, while the transplants just have to mostly eat the profit margin hit on their cars and crossovers this regulation causes. They don't produce many large pick ups and SUV's with fat margins to help offset the cost impact of this regulation. Over the past decade or more, the transplants have exercised leadership in improving car mileage efficiency, so they are shafted to assist the laggards in Detroit...."

    You make some good points here.

    But flawed though it is, I think it's better than nothing. We'll agree to disagree.

    Engineers all over the world are working on figuring out how to make this work. And so far they are succeeding. Even if gas prices fall temporarily they'll keep working on it, which is big reason for this.

    So far the costs aren't large. Adjusted for inflation a new Mazda6, Nissan Altima or Honda Accord, all of which are next gen cars that get 30 or more mpg, cost about the same as the earlier models of cars from 5 years ago when adjusted for inflation.

    Yeah, it's the Nanny state and it's flawed and problematic. But sometimes imho it works.

    I grew up in Orange County near LA in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. The smog in LA in those days was terrible. It was as bad as smog in big cities in China today! People with asthma and allergies, like me, suffered, and some people died sooner than they had to. Cars were a big part of the problem. But the gov't Nanny state started working on this problem in the mid-1960s. By the mid 1980s, cars were producing something like 90% less smog than they had just 20 years earlier. Without gov't regs it never would have happened.

    Today, with about twice the population than when I was growing up, and about three times the number of cars, the air in LA and other cities across the country is dramatically cleaner, and all because of these smog regs. I'm grateful, even though I live in KY now and only visit So. Cal once in a while.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,189
    I don't really have a problem with some of those emission regulations because they were creating some health issues. However, some of the safety and economy stuff went overboard and car price increases far outstripped inflation in the 70's after their implementation and enforcement. That hurts working, middle class families (not that the millionaires in Congress and the White House really care). I think getting cars to 50+ mpg (at least those not protected, or otherwise deceptive under the new rules) will require one of two things; significant downsizing or use of expensive, and sometimes hard to get, materials and alloys. Now just like before, the end result is likely to have unintended consequences such as more families up-sizing to trucks thereby effectively rendering the rule useless, or raw material shortages and price spikes affecting more than just cars. Lightweight, but strong metals and composites are expensive and the alloys can be difficult to mass produce. Some are also not readily available. Remember what happened when the EPA regulations resulted in catalytic converters - materials like platinum and palladium sky rocketed in price. Those price increases affected more than just vehicles as well. There will probably be other things that aren't being considered that will result. For example, hybrid batteries don't directly pollute, but their production process at the vendors can be caustic, and what happens when they all have to be disposed of - the government still hasn't resolved that issue with nuclear power plant wastes. The government needs to work these things out before they implement rules like this, but they usually don't and we all get impacted by the ramifications that result. Do you think the administration had truly open and frank discussions with the auto industry and their vendors before they pushed this through (and remember, GM and Chrysler were in no position to openly argue at the time given their predicament and government bailouts). I suspect Washington involved them about as much as they did doctors and hospital administrators before they passed Obamacare. Regulations generally have costs and impacts, and I guess I'm just not convinced that there is an urgent crisis here, or that tradeoffs will be advantageous to middle class consumers when all is said and done. Sometimes government leaders need to look at things from a business and economics perspective (and actually do a little arithmetic), rather than just using political marketing.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    edited July 2013
    Again, you make some good points, but overall we'll just need to agree to disagree.

    RE: Car Safety. Most cars were death traps up until the late 1960s. Here's a video of the IIHS crashing a 1959 Bonneville (a huge car) with a smaller 2009 Malibu:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtxd27jlZ_g

    1.2 million views of this, which is again an example of the Nanny state, with all its flaws and costs, saving lives.

    The fatality rate on US highways per mile driven has fallen by c. 80% since the 1960s. Not all of this is gov't regs, but a large part of it is. Some of it is the IIHS, an insurance industry group that tries to save its clients money by saving lives and injuries so that they don't pay out as much. Capitalism at work. And it works.

    Here's a non-partisan scientifically-based source, Consumer's Union, on the new CAFE. This is just first three paragraphs.

    http://consumersunion.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/FuelEconomyStandards.pdf

    Executive summary
    New vehicle fuel efficiency and emission standards – the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards for model years 2017-2025 – will save consumers thousands of dollars over the lifetime of new cars and trucks, while also cutting back on pollution, creating jobs, and reducing our dependence on oil.

    As a result of CAFE standards, our analysis shows consumer can expect to save about $7,300 in fuel costs and a net savings of over $4,600 over the lifetime of new vehicles. The estimated cost increase for new light-duty vehicles to meet the 2025 standard is less than $2,000; small increases for financing, taxes, and maintenance are also factored into the net savings. Since improved efficiency will save about $700 every year at the gas pump, the increased vehicle price pays for itself in about three years. If financed with a car loan (as most purchases are), consumers begin saving the very first month of ownership as the gas savings outweigh the increased CAFE-related loan costs, and increase their savings over the life of the car.

    By driving more fuel-efficient cars, Americans will save approximately 30 billion gallons of gasoline each year by 2025. The net benefits, compared to the previously enacted standards for 2016, have been estimated between $326 billion and $451 billion over the lifetime of the new vehicles. Moreover, most evaluations of the new CAFE standards have relied on conservative estimates of gas prices; the EPA/NHTSA projections assume that consumers will pay $3.87 by 2025, with only small increases in most years of the vehicle’s lifetime. At higher prices, consumers would save more money....
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    "• Improvements for U.S. car industry: Fuel economy standards in the European
    Union and Japan are even more aggressive than the new CAFE standards (ICCT
    2012). For the U.S. car industry to remain competitive, it will have to compete on
    fuel economy globally. According to Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, “in the last few
    years, fuel efficiency has become the number one reason to buy.”22 Fuel economy
    improvements have been coupled with other advances in technology that have
    enhanced features and improved performance. Raising fuel economy standards
    provides certainty and reduces risk for automakers to increase investments in
    efficient technologies and forge new partnerships that will deliver greater value to
    consumers.

    • Job impacts: When consumers save money on gasoline, they shift more of their
    spending to more labor-intensive goods and services, including goods made in
    the U.S. that would have gone towards oil, much of which is produced overseas
    and employs fewer people per dollar spent than other goods and services..."
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