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How The 35 mpg Law By 2020 Will Affect The Cars We Will Drive



  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    There are some nonmonetary reasons for preferring the old monster over the increasingly useless poofter trucks available today.

    The sad part is your old truck will probably still be plugging along when most of the trucks sold today will be crumple zoned into the recycle bin. My neighbor has a beautiful early 1980s Ford 3/4 ton with a diesel. It runs like a charm. He would not trade it for a brand new Ford. I don't blame him. Most of the trucks today are just plain ugly. He can buy a lot of diesel with that payment money each month. And when it breaks it will not cost him a fortune to repair like the newer models.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,290
    The sad part is your old truck will probably still be plugging along when most of the trucks sold today will be crumple zoned into the recycle bin. My neighbor has a beautiful early 1980s Ford 3/4 ton with a diesel. It runs like a charm. He would not trade it for a brand new Ford. I don't blame him.

    I'm the same way with my '85 Silverado. It's just a half-ton truck with a 305, but it's adequate for most of what I've needed it for. Mileage is pretty bad, maybe 10-12 around town, 14-16 on the highway. 18 if I get a good, long highway run and really old-lady it. But still, what kind of economy would a new half-ton truck get, with a base V-8? Maybe 14-16 around town, and 20-22 on the highway? Now that would be a pretty substantial improvement, IF I did a lot of driving. But I don't. I doubt if my truck has gone 4,000 miles in the past year, and I don't see that rate changing anytime soon.

    Even if gas went to $4 or $5 per gallon, what I'd save on a monthly payment for a new truck could buy me a lot of fuel!
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 29,470
    I did soem quick calculations to see what the new higher gas prices really mean to me.

    My Accord averages ~25mpg, and i do ~10K a year. So, 400 gallons.

    If gas goes from $2.50 a gallon to $4 gal (aka "the end of the world as we know it"), I spend an extra $600 a year, or $50/month ($12/week?) You get the idea. I would rather not pay it, but it isn't going to break me.

    Of course, if you are driving an H2 at 16mpg and driving 18K a year, your cost differential will be higher!

    Which reminds me of the often overlooked point. You get the same effect just driving less as you do getting better mileage but driving the same amount.

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), and 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's)

  • avalon02whavalon02wh Posts: 785
    "Will have little or no affect on the cars we will drive in 2020."

    The 35 MPG law will help change the cars we drive. Already we are seeing announcements like this: "Teijin Ltd. and Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. each plan to begin mass production of carbon fiber automotive parts around 2010 to meet growing demand from automakers hoping to reduce the weight of their vehicles." (Green Car Congress). We should see a lot of carbon fiber in some of the luxury models as car makers try to keep performance up and still improve mpg. A few years later the technology will become more widespread. We probably have 3 full car cycles before 2020 (design/build).

    The 2020 date should have been 2015. Gas prices are going to force people into smaller cars sooner rather than later. People are already having trouble at $3 a gallon when you add in all the other prices increases. What happens at $4 or $5 a gallon? The you-know-what is hitting the fan as we speak.

    "The entire U.S. auto industry got hammered by a tough economy in February, but Detroit's Big Three automakers bore the brunt of the sales downturn as consumers shunned big trucks and SUVs or avoided showrooms altogether." (The Detroit News) You will note that Honda is doing real well, their higher fleet average mpg is helping them. In a few more years they may move past Chrysler.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 94,503
    Our family... 100 gallons per month, more or less.. If it goes up to $4/gallon, that's another $100/mo...

    That's on top of the extra $100/mo. we are paying when it went from $2/gal. to $3/gal..

    So, if it does hit $4/gal. this year, that's $200/mo. more in just two years.. I can lease a Subaru for that amount of money.. :surprise:

    I don't obsess over gas mileage... but, it will sure play a role in whatever car we get next... We both average around 23 MPG... Moving down from that number would be a hard thing to do.. (and.. my wife wants an SUV..).

    Test drove a MINI Clubman, last week... 26/34 for the S model, 28/37 for the base model... Not bad.. :)


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 29,470
    I already told the wife that if the Odyssey goes, her next car is going to be a lot smaller, and better mileage. Or at least somewhat smaller, and a little better mileage!

    I was think before that the time is right to recreate the original Odyssey. Maybe the smaller JDM model?

    Chop a foot+ out of it, make it a couple of inches narrower, drop 800+ pounds (get it down into the 3,500# range) and make it with the Accord 4 cyl. It should be plenty big for most use (interior will be similar to a Pilot), and with the 4, it likely won't be the gas hog the big Ody is. Maybe even make a manual version!

    And yes, I know that I pretty much just designed an Accord highboy wagon, but that pretty much was what the original model was.

    I could give up a little power (but probably not any performance) if I could get mileage around 21/30 instead of the 15/24 I get now.

    Or I could always get a Kia Rhondo!

    The Clubman would be fine if we didn't have the kids.

    Heck, I could make a Jetta wagon work as the family truckster, as long as it has a roof rack for the racksack, and I can convince my wife to pack lighter!

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), and 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    the Camry "Venza" that is going on sale later this year - a Camry highboy wagon (more of a hatch though - steeply slanted rear hatch) with the 4-cylinder engine, should rate around 21/30, about the same as the Camry 4-cyl sedan. Should also get better mileage than the 4-cylinder Highlander available in the previous generation. Good thing too.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 29,470
    I saw a picture of that recently, but didn't realize that it was going to be a 4 cyl.

    At this point, a RAV4 FWD would work too.

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), and 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's)

  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    That's exactly the profile and demographic Toyota described when announcing the Venza for the Fall.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    "Test drove a MINI Clubman, last week... 26/34 for the S model, 28/37 for the base model... Not bad"

    Not bad, but not great, either,, especially when you consider it requires premium, or premium is recommended (don't know which one, but it might not matter much if using regular results in lower mpg). The base model MINI should have been designed/tuned to run on regular, in my opinion. That said, I think the Clubman, while relatively expensive new, is a neat fashion statement that will age well. I can picture it at a classic car show in 2038 and beyond.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,290
    I just ran some quick calculations too. My pickup went about 4,000 miles over the past year. Let's be pessimistic and say it averages 12 mpg overall. That's 333 gallons per year. Last time I filled up, I put premium in, at around $3.38 per gallon. It'll get clattery on 87 octane, and sometimes even on 89. Well, if gas shot up another buck a gallon, putting premium at $4.38, it would cost me another $333 per year. Or $27.75 per month. Or $6.40 per week.

    Like you, I'd much rather not pay it, but it's not going to put me in the poor house.

    Now if I wanted to go really extreme and buy a Prius, let's say I averaged 60 mpg on 87 octane at $4.10 per gallon for those 4,000 miles, versus 12 mpg with my truck on 93 octane at $4.40 per gallon. The fuel bill for the truck would come out to $1465, compared to $271 for the Prius. So the Prius, which I'm sure would set me back an easy $20K+ to purchase, would save me about $100 per month. And then I'd have to go rent or borrow a truck every time I needed one.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    So the Prius, which I'm sure would set me back an easy $20K+ to purchase, would save me about $100 per month.

    And if you finance you have a payment of $350 per month giving you a net loss of $250 per month. So when gas gets to $12+ per gallon the Prius would be a logical choice. Of course you still have to have the truck because you are spending many hours per week hauling wood to heat your home as fuel oil for the furnace will also be $12 per gallon.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    " So the Prius, which I'm sure would set me back an easy $20K+ to purchase, would save me about $100 per month."

    As gagrice pointed out, the opportunity cost of the Prius purchase would be an offset to the $100/month fuel savings. However, if you bought a Prius, you'd probably drive it more than 4,000 miles/year, and drive your other cars less, thereby yielding further fuel savings. I don't know how this would all net out in your case, especially if you swapped the Prius for your Intrepid, but I think the comparison is more multidimensional than a mileage driven comparison.

    Incidentally, I wouldn't trade the Intrepid for a Prius, but just used that possibility to make a point.

    The Prius, and hybrids in general, don't appeal to me at this time.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    you are spending many hours per week hauling wood to heat your home

    When I was a kid, buying a load of wood included delivery in the back of an old dump truck.
  • I'm referring to the loss of weight and complexity with the elimination of the engine and components that keep it going. Sure, electric motors and battery packs add weight, but that weight will be distributed better and will be largely offset by the elimination of heavy, old tech stuff.

    If you want a taste of things to come, see this article. GE is getting into clean power big time and may have a vision of the future much like mine.

    An excerpt from the article: General Electric has officially confirmed its $4 million investment in Norwegian electric carmaker Think Global, a development Green Wombat reported back in December. GE Energy Financial Services (GE) also has invested $20 million in Massachusetts lithium-ion battery maker A123Systems, which will supply batteries to Think. General Electric said its scientists will work with both Think and A123 to improve battery technology for electric cars to “enable global electrification of transportation.”

    And as Green Wombat reported last week, Think, formerly owned by Ford (F), unveiled its next model Wednesday at the Geneva Auto Show, a futuristic five-seater called the Think Ox that will eventually be available as a two-door coupe and possibly a taxi. The sleek five-door vehicle resembles a low-slung crossover SUV but maintains the signature touches of the Think City — an urban runabout now rolling off Think’s production line in Norway — including the roof-to-bump glass rear hatch. The concept car also sports a translucent roof with a solar panel, presumably to power radios and other gadgets.

    But Think did not reveal the identity of the Fortune 100 automaker that Think CEO Jan-Olaf Willums told Green Wombat had collaborated on the design and engineering of the Ox.

    According to Think, the Ox will have a range of about 125 miles (200 kilometers) on a charge and a top speed of about 85 miles an hour. Future models may include a range extender — a small flex-fuel engine that will charge the battery and let the Ox go 280 miles. (The General Motors (GM) Volt electric hybrid is based on the same concept.) Think also unveiled its “connect car” technology to make the Think City and Ox a rolling Internet-connected, GPS-enabled computer that will calculate the cheapest and most environmentally beneficial times to recharge as well as give drivers access to the cars’ systems through their mobile phones.


    They're talking about a small engine to extend range, but I believe battery pack technology will advance enough in the near future to allow a good 250 mile range at 70 mph on battery power alone. If a recharge takes less than 15 minutes per 3.5 hours of highway travel, that's very practical, in my book.

    Once we reach the above milestone, the added cost, weight, complexity, noise, vibration, and loss of space offered by an optional small engine won't be very attractive to most people.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    For me a range of 125 miles and 85 MPH is adequate, with overnight charging. I do think that these short charge times being thrown around are optimistic at best. When you charge that fast with that much current there will be a lot of potential hazards involved.
  • avalon02whavalon02wh Posts: 785
    We have a 4cyl Highlander (07). Works great. The mpg is about 15% better that the 3.0L V6 Sienna it replaced.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    wis: They're talking about a small engine to extend range, but I believe battery pack technology will advance enough in the near future to allow a good 250 mile range at 70 mph on battery power alone.

    me: well we could sit here and also say "I believe solar panel efficiency will greatly increase and everyone's energy issue will go away." It is very easy to solve issues with a good imagination or hope. ;)

    wis: If a recharge takes less than 15 minutes per 3.5 hours of highway travel, that's very practical, in my book.

    me: and again, I'll ask you to provide some engineering to that statement. Find out how many KWh of electricity it would take to go that far. Then calculate would voltage and amperage would be needed. That is fairly straight forward physics, though I'm not going to do it for you. Is 480V sufficient? 50 Amps? If a car takes 3 minutes to fill with gasoline, a 15 minute recharge means gas stations have to be 5 times bigger, with 5 times more hookups?
  • avalon02whavalon02wh Posts: 785
    "It is very easy to solve issues with a good imagination or hope."

    Are you sure you meant to say that? The business world is full of failures. About 80% of a new ideas/businesses fail. For an idea to succeed you really need to do a lot of hard work. Good imagination helps and makes a good starting point. As it relates to the 35 mpg rule, the car makers will need to let their engineers use their imagination. It will be up to the management to get the right product to the market.

    I am not convinced that battery packs along will work in all situations. For one, they probably will not work in colder climates where temperatures dip below zero. Ever try to defrost a window when the temp is 30 below? The other issue that has been raised recently about using electrons is the additional water needed to run the power plants. Nuclear and coal plants use a lot of water. In some cases water does not get returned to the river. And then there is the question of how much lithium is available.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    ava: Are you sure you meant to say that?

    me: I should have put a wink after that. What I meant is that anyone with a good imagination and maybe bending the laws of physics can envision a solution. But no everything is not practical - like perpetual motion. When discussing solutions to an issue, I find it rather a lazy and sometime impractical answer from others that well someone is just going to invent a great battery, solar panel or drill to the center-of-the Earth and get a lot of geothermal energy.
    It is just like people told you 50 years ago that we'd be in flying-cars right now, all "they" have to do is make nuclear batteries.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    What I read was kind of interesting. I question this conclusion given our current crop of gas engines:

    In the short term, the development of a retrofit carburetor device for all cars, that reclaims or transmutes the carbon from the exhaust, can drastically reduce the emissions of CO2 from transportation vehicles. (The transportation sector presently contributes to 33% of the carbon emissions.) Preliminary results from this type of device shows a dramatic improvement in mileage as well, making it attractive for consumers

    This briefing from 2000 claims the last administration blocked or stifled new sources of non polluting energy. The thrust of the message I read was that the Patent Office which falls under the Secretary of Commerce & the DOE were responsible for blocking new inventions that would help solve our energy dependence. It all sounds a bit like a conspiracy theory. Though I am open to hear more on the subject. I am a firm believer that any device that will save energy will find entrepreneurs with money to invest.

    The report also dwells on Cold Fusion like it was a done deal. As far as I can tell with hundreds of Universities around the World experimenting with cold fusion, it is still the holy grail in the quest to get something for nothing.

    Just as I think the 35 MPG mandate is so much political hokum.
  • dbweaverdbweaver Posts: 88
    I have a '08 F250 6.4 liter powerstroke deisel that gets 10 to 13mpg. I have a '99 F250 7.3 liter powerstroke that gets 16 to 20mpg. It looks like its getting worse to me.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    What CAFE giveth the EPA & CARB taketh away.

    I am looking for a clean pre 1995 Ford Powerstroke. Much more reliable engines with driving care would get better MPG than the current crop loaded with emissions stuff. Lots of people in CA take all the smog stuff off as they are not tested for emissions.
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 11,548
    I predict that in 20 years we will all be pushing our electric cars back and forth to work while Al Gore drives past in his stretch limo laughing at us. :mad:

    2015 Mustang GT, 2009 PT Cruiser, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • dbweaverdbweaver Posts: 88
    Bush is laughing at us now. I wander if he has any special interests in the oil business.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    If Bush had any control over the price of oil he would have used it. He does not want to leave office on any more of a sour note than he already will.
  • galvanggalvang Posts: 156
    If Bush had any control over the price of oil he would have used it. He does not want to leave office on any more of a sour note than he already will.

    Today, I agree he has no control on the oil prices but a few years back while his approving the GOPs version of the energy bills, they could of put us in a much better position in utilizing more alternatives for gasoline such as ethanol. They could of mandated across the board a 10%-15% per volume of gasoline, ethanol to eliveate production pressures or even gas prices. They could of created a Strategic Ethanol Reserve to be used in times of high expense or shortages in gasoline. There's other types of fuels such as diesels or other technologies such as hybrids, electric vehicles they could of pushed for in the short term.

    Now they're starting to do introduce some of these new technology vehicles. I was involved in a presentation on the new type of Lithium-Ion batteries which utilize a Nano-phospate chemistry internally inside the battery. Supposedly this new variant of the lithium-ion batt packs more punch, lasts longer, and is safer than the standard Lithium-ion batteries. Perfect for the new all electric vehicles.

    This same company named, A123 Systems, offers a plug in package for your standard hybrid battery pack in which extends your current hybrid mileage by 50%. So there are some new and exciting alternatives which could eventually saves us gas and money in the short term. If these were started or implemented a few years back I believe we would of been in a much better position today.

    In order to bring down the price of oil you need to reduce the demand and have a competing fuel other than oil.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    kdhsypder: Why would you want to drive an 18 mpg truck for example that uses 55 gal per 1000 miles when in 2020 you will be 'forced' to drive a similar truck that unfortunately gets 26 mpg and uses only 38 gal per 1000 miles. Do you hate money so much that you'd want to drive the less efficient vehicle?

    Becomes you are assuming that the more efficient vehicle will have all of the capabilities of current vehicles, which is quite a jump.

    If you doubt that, try to tow an Airstream trailer with any passenger car built today. I remember standard early 1970s Impalas, Delta 88s and Galaxies easily performing that duty. Think an Accord, even one with the V-6, can do it?

    Plus, saving fuel is not always the end-all and the be-all of driving. I could save fuel by toddling along at 55 mph, or driving a Fit instead of an Accord, but I like a driving 80 mph on limited access highways, and will continue to do so, and I like driving a larger vehicle. It is more pleasurable and worth the extra cost.

    kdhsypder: I agree wholeheartedly about the market being the driving force in changing our behavior patterns. This is exactly the point I was making, CAFE has nothing to do with changing our buying pattern. But what you're missing is.. what will be our choices when we do change our patterns?

    We won't change our patterns overnight. The automakers are working now to adapt to changing buyer preferences. And if CAFE has nothing to do with changing our buying patterns, why not let the consumers decide whether they want to buy more efficient vehicles? If consumers want them, the auto makers will provide them.

    kdhspsyder: Let's hypothesize that fuel has ratcheded up to $8 per gallon by 2020 and that in the absence of CAFE 35 nothing has changed in the intervening 12 years as regards to fuel economy. Todays 18 mpg gasser trucks are still being offered as 18 mpg gassers. At that time if one is tired of paying $8 x 25 for a fillup on a 12 y.o. truck, without specific pressure on the vehicle makers to meet a new FE standard then IMO ( admittedly ) one's choices will still be 18 mpg gasser trucks.

    A flawed scenario for several reasons. One, we won't go to bed one night with gas at $2.50 a gallon and wake up the next day to $8 for a gallon of unleaded. These changes will occur over time. People will have adjusted their buying patterns.

    Two, if people adjust their buying patterns, the auto makers will work to bring vehicles to market that meet their desires. Or, they will go broke. They are, after all, in business to make money by producing vehicles that people want.

    Three, if there are still 18 mpg trucks still on the market after gas prices have been rising steadily to $8 a gallon, then people obviously still want them, and don't care if gas is $8 a gallon, so they have every right to buy them, and companies have every right to manufacture and sell them.

    kdhspyder: Wanting to save fuel, that driver would have to move down to an auto or a small 4c truck ( the market for the price of fuel has changed his buying pattern ).

    Yes the market price for fuel has changed his buying pattern, so, therefore, companies will work to make something that he wants, all without CAFE.

    kdhspyder: But at which autos will he be looking? Without pressure to make more efficient vehicles his choices will be the same in 2020 as they are today as they were in 1998 as they were in 1992; i.e. 30 mpg midsizers and 35 mpg compacts.

    That is pure speculation. Plus, rising prices will provide pressure to improve efficiency. Some, however, will decide that they place more emphasis on power, cargo capacity, etc., and therefore will pay the extra for fuel. That is their business, not yours, or mine.

    kdhspyder: Here is the key point: CAFE 35 makes it certain that the 2020 buyer that's reacting to market forces which are changing his buying pattern will have the following new vehicle choices....
    ..a 28 mpg truck ( to replace his 18 mpg truck )
    ..a 35 mpg crossover ( iso a 23 mpg vehicle today )
    ..a 40 mpg midsizer ( iso a 30 mpg vehicle today )
    ..a 50 mpg compact ( iso a 35 mpg vehicle today )
    ..a 60+ mpg ultra efficient ( iso a 45 mpg vehicle today )

    The whole range of vehicles being offered in 2020 will be significantly better in fuel economy than today's models. The math ensures it. The fact that it's a national regulation doubly ensures it. It's not being left to the good will and generosity of the corporate bean counters and planners.

    If gasoline prices are that much higher, as I explained, then the market will have reacted long before any CAFE regulations have taken effect. If not, then CAFE was unnecessary.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    kdhspyder: I don't disagree here except that by past performance the vehicle makers are not paradigms of foresight, good planning and concern for the national welfare. They are primarily concerned with their own ( shortterm ) welfare. Unfortunately.

    They are in business to give people what they want, not what activists or anyone else thinks that people SHOULD want. During the 1990s, we wanted power, size, room and more refinement (increased control of noise, vibration and harshness, which requires a stiffer structure, and, thus, more weight).

    We also wanted more safety equipment and better crashworthiness, which were also mandated by the government.

    Auto makers manufactured vehicles that provided those attributes, just as they were supposed to.
This discussion has been closed.