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Your Thoughts Regarding The New 54.5 MPG Mandate

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  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    This is the same battle that the car makers fought for years on safety equipment. That all changed once the companies figured out taht safety was a selling item.

    Now, as opposed before in the days of "we can't average 25 mpg!" they realize mpg sells.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,276
    Who would have thought you would be seeing as high as 35MPG out of a family size sedan?

    Funny enough, my family's 1985 Toyota Camry (a family sedan of the day) routinely returned 35 mpg. It's no wonder that when you add 1000#+ to a car that its fuel economy drops! Imagine where we'd be today if the drivetrain technology we've come up with to get our bloated vehicles around more efficiently was available with the same vehicles at half the weight?

    Oh, the possibilities! :sick:
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,600
    Imagine where we'd be today if the drivetrain technology we've come up with to get our bloated vehicles around more efficiently was available with the same vehicles at half the weight?

    I've often wondered that myself. To use a personal example, my recently-purchased 2012 Ram Hemi got about 19.1 mpg recently on a trip up to Carlisle PA and back, which also included some local driving. In old car terms, that's probably akin to taking a 1964 Lincoln Continental and giving it the performance of a '64 GTO, an the fuel economy of a '64 slant six Valiant.

    I think the '83-86 Camry is a really impressive car. It was rated as a compact at the time, but I'd consider it to be a good 4-passenger car. It doesn't have the shoulder room of something like a Plymough Caravelle, Ford LTD, or Chevy Celebrity of the era, but it definitely had adult-sized legroom and headroom.

    However, my 1985 Consumer Guide has a test of a Camry. Its MSRP was $14,058. Adjusting for inflation, that's about $30,200 today! And it did 0-60 in 13.4 seconds, and its EPA rating at the time was 27/32, 29 combined. Adjusted to today's ratings, it's down to 23/29, 26 combined.

    So, cars really have come a long way, in spite of the added bulk. But, it does make you wonder...if they took a 1985 Camry and gave it all the drivetrain improvements, but kept the bulk to a minimum, just how far advanced the fuel economy and performance would be.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    A '85-size sedan with today's features would have to use a lot of pricey materials to match the weight of the '85 Camry. The upshot is that it would probably cost a lot more than, say, a '13 Corolla, which is roughly the size of the '85 Camry.

    Andre, you have a lot of specs at quick disposal; is the '13 Corolla indeed similar to the '85 Camry? I just guessed that they're comparable, but I imagine the'new Corolla weighs more than the old Camry.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,600
    Andre, you have a lot of specs at quick disposal; is the '13 Corolla indeed similar to the '85 Camry? I just guessed that they're comparable, but I imagine the'new Corolla weighs more than the old Camry.

    I'd say the 1985 Camry is closer in size to the current Corolla than it is to the Camry. According to the EPA, the 2013 Corolla has 92 cubic feet of passenger volume, while the 1985 Camry had 93. The 2013 Camry has 103 cubic feet. To put that in old-car perspective, that '78 LeMans you once owned had 102.

    However, I think the 1985-era Camry was laid out better than a modern Corolla. I've been in a few of them, and foud them to have good legroom, both front and rear. In contrast, I think the Corolla is a bit tight with regards to legroom. But, I'm sure a modern Corolla would do much better in crash-testing than a 1985 Camry would.

    Weight-wise, I think the 1985 Camry Consumer Guide tested was around 2500 lb. I think a Corolla is aound 2600 lb, while a 4-cyl Camry is probably around 3200l lb.

    Oh, and a 2013 Corolla is EPA-rated at 26/24, even with its outdated 4-speed automatic (in 1985, the Camry's 4-speed automatic was probably considered cutting edge). And while not a musclecar, 0-60 probably comes up in around 9-10 seconds, compared to the 13.4 that Consumer Guide got out of their 1985 Camry. I think a 2013 Camry 4-cyl, which is rated around 25/35, will do 0-60 in around 8.5.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,276
    I've often wondered that myself. To use a personal example, my recently-purchased 2012 Ram Hemi got about 19.1 mpg recently on a trip up to Carlisle PA and back, which also included some local driving. In old car terms, that's probably akin to taking a 1964 Lincoln Continental and giving it the performance of a '64 GTO, an the fuel economy of a '64 slant six Valiant.

    That's no joke! What's the curb weight on your truck? I have essentially the same the same truck, only 43 years older, and it is (supposedly) 3,990 empty. Well, okay, mine's a 3/4 ton, which will add about 300# or so. Other than that, it is the same: Single cab, 8' bed, 2WD, V8.

    My truck scoots with enthusiasm, yet its 307 cu in V8 is rated at 200HP. If it had that Hemi in it, I'd probably have trouble finding traction out of a light! :shades:
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    edited October 2012
    Good comparisons. Thanks. Unfortunately the average American is bigger than he/she was in '85, which may explain, in part, why the Camry has grown.

    I imagine the '13 Corolla costs less or no more than the '85 Camry, in inflation adjusted dollars, even though it has more safety and convenience features.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,600
    I think my Ram is around 4900 lb. At least, looking online, they have the 4.7 V-8 SLT model listed at 4828 lb, and the Tradesman 5.7 Hemi listed at 4894.

    According to Edmund's, the GVWR on the Tradesman is 8610 lb, whereas it's 6600 lb on the ST and SLT models.

    To make it more confusing, mine is an ST model with a "Tradesman" option package. Which is different from a "real" Tradesman. :confuse: Mine has the Hemi, but only a 6600 lb GVWR. I wonder what they do to the "real" Tradesman to beef up the GVWR like that? I'm sure just the Hemi V-8 alone would add weight compared to the 4.7, so I'm surprised there's not much weight difference.

    For comparison, a Ram ST 2500, with the 8' bed, regulat cab, and Hemi, has a curb weight of 5464 lb and a GVWR of 9000 lb. So, it looks like the 1/2-ton Tradesman actually has a slightly higher payload capacity than a 3/4-ton ST. That doesn't make sense. :confuse:

    Today I drove my '85 Silverado, just to get it back in circulation. Checking its fuel log, it was last filled up on 9/25, and had only gone 1.6 miles. So basically, I filled it up two days after I bought the Ram, drove it home, and it hasn't been touched since. I thought it would feel like a real dog after getting used to the Ram. It's lighter than the Ram, but still weighs about 4200 lb, according to the scale at the local dump at least. And it only has a 165 hp 305, 3-speed THM350C tranny, and a tall 2.56:1 axle. But, making the transition back to it wasn't that bad.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,600
    I imagine the '13 Corolla costs less or no more than the '85 Camry, in inflation adjusted dollars, even though it has more safety and convenience features.

    Oh, definitely! That $14,000 Camry that Consumer Guide tested in 1985 would come out to around $30,108 today, adjusted for inflation. But I just spec'ed a Corolla on Edmund's, and the most I could get it up to was $21,755 with freight.

    Working backwards, that Corolla price would come out to around $10,116 in 1985 dollars.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    That's progress!
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    "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)
  • 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: 1,623
    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: 1,623
    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....
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    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.
  • 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: 1,623
    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.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    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).
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,623
    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#
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,693
    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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