What Different Gas Mileage Standards Mean to You

Calismog At the forefront of everyone’s mind at yesterday’s D.C. auto show is President Barack Obama’s latest move on forthcoming mileage standards: an executive order for the Environmental Protection Agency to review whether states can enforce individual greenhouse gas standards. If they can, California and more than a dozen other states might enforce their own emissions and mileage standards independent of the feds, something carmakers say would force unwanted inventories upon car buyers and add thousands to the cost of each car.

By California’s stricter standards, automakers would have to meet a 42 mpg lineup-wide average by 2020; currently, the DOT’s corporate average fuel economy program has proposed a 35 mpg standard by then.

From former Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta to incoming National Auto Dealers Association chairman John McEleney, a number of presenters at today’s show vocalized support for a single national standard that’s not as stringent as proposed state standards. Natural Resources Defense Council vehicle policy director Roland Hwang, however, says California’s emissions standards wouldn’t add that much to the cost of a car. The proposed standards don’t have the same allowances for E85 vehicles as the EPA’s CAFE regulations, a loophole we also closed in last summer’s True Mileage Index. California standards also account for other pollutants, like A/C refrigerant emissions, Hwang said.

According to a 2008 study by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, Hwang says, the technology for such increased mileage would raise vehicle prices just $100 to $700 – a relatively small fraction of the $28,929 it costs to purchase and finance the average new car, according to Comerica Bank’s latest Auto Affordability Index.

The higher gas mileage works out to a payback time of less than three years, with additional savings beyond that – meaning the auto industry’s unrest over the issue is “well overblown,” Hwang said.

BMW VP of engineering Tom Baloga disagrees. Today’s proposals specifically target carbon dioxide, which is directly linked to overall efficiency – e.g., gas mileage. Having to comply with varying standards would force car buyers in different markets to grapple with unwanted inventories.

“For example, in Maine we only have one BMW dealership,” Baloga said. “That constitutes the whole fleet of that state, so the sales of that dealer will have to be controlled.”

Maine is one of 13 states considering adoption of California rules. With state-specific gas mileage standards, BMW shoppers might find a glut of rear-wheel-drive 1 Series coupes and virtually no X3 or X5 crossovers. Those vehicles and their all-wheel-drive systems suit Maine’s winters, but they get low gas mileage.

Couldn’t a carmaker like BMW simply conform to the strictest of the regulations – federal or state – and make it nationwide? Baloga demurred.
“It’s not that simple,” he said. “You still have to run the tests, you still have to file the reports” for all regulatory parties.

One thing is certain: Gas mileage standards will increase, and the auto industry will have to commit to meeting them, whether it’s DOT’s 35 mpg or the states’ 42 mpg. Because CAFE tests differ widely from those that result in EPA gas mileage estimates, it doesn’t mean the average car will get those sorts of numbers by then. But it certainly means there will be big increases over today’s mid-20s requirement.

By Kelsey Mays | February 4, 2009 | Comments (9)

Comments 

Original sheth

$100-$700 increase? That guy is an idiot and obviosuly has no idea how cars work. Why are opinions of people who know nothing about engineering or the auto industry take seriously? They shouldnt even quote activits who have never even changed an oil filter, much less designed a car. You cannot improve ANYTHING substantial on a car today for $100. That is a joke and its unfortunate that politcians will believe someone like that regardless of his qualifications to make such a statement.

Watchdog

What it means to us:

Less choices
More bureacracy
Higher prices and smaller cars
More bureacracy
More division between states
More bureacracy

Belly

That guy is an idiot and obviosuly has no idea how cars work.
-Hah! That guys knows ten times as much as you, and you call him an idiot? You sit on websites all day and that guy actually is part of the industry. You are a joke.

They shouldnt even quote activits who have never even changed an oil filter, much less designed a car. You cannot improve ANYTHING substantial on a car today for $100.
-Yeah just like those low rolling resistance tires. Read what it says - "raise vehicle prices just $100 to $700", you don't start out at $100, it is an increase from the base. Shet, you are an absolute idiot - who I would have to say at this point - has very little reading comprehension.

I like this statement:
Couldn’t a carmaker like BMW simply conform to the strictest of the regulations – federal or state – and make it nationwide? Baloga demurred.
“It’s not that simple,” he said. “You still have to run the tests, you still have to file the reports” for all regulatory parties.
-Not it isn't that simple but which is better for people out there?

Michael

A few clarifications --

1. “By California’s stricter standards, automakers would have to meet a 42 mpg lineup-wide average by 2020; currently, the DOT’s CAFE program has proposed a 35 mpg standard by then.” Actually, CA’s standards aren’t stricter – the actual proposed standards in MY 2015 would be 31.6 mpg under CAFE, and 31.3 under California, the last year actual figures are available for both. The 42 mpg cited is a staff recommendation – it is not law, or even proposed law. And the federal standard is AT LEAST 35 mpg – meaning it could be higher.

2. “NRDC policy director Roland Hwang, however, says California’s emissions standards wouldn’t add that much to the cost of a car.” Actually, no studies have been made on how much California’s regulation will add to the cost of a vehicle under their system while automakers simultaneously have to meet the CAFE standard, which is a completely different regulatory system.

3. “Couldn’t a carmaker like B-M-W simply conform to the strictest of the regulations – federal or state – and make it nationwide?” No. Under CARB’s regulation, compliance isn’t based on what an automaker builds, it's based on the mix of vehicles it sells in a state. So conceivably BMW could build its fleet to meet CARB’s standard nationwide, and still not comply anywhere.

For more information, your readers should go to nada.org/patchwork

http://www.minijetplanes.com

President Obama issued two memoranda on Monday to address the fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions of the nation's automobiles.

Original sheth

"Hah! That guys knows ten times as much as you, and you call him an idiot? You sit on websites all day and that guy actually is part of the industry. You are a joke."

Actually the guy quoted was not from the industry. Sorry, wrong again. He was a rep from some environmental group.

"Read what it says - "raise vehicle prices just $100 to $700", you don't start out at $100, it is an increase from the base."

I have no idea what you are talking about here. You are getting harder and harder to understand.

Under CARB’s regulation, compliance isn’t based on what an automaker builds, it's based on the mix of vehicles it sells in a state.

Right, except...this already happens today. I don't really see why they are complaining. I remember looking at a car for sale in MA that had an extra 595 tacked on the sticker for the stricter emissions. Big deal, more room to negotiate with the dealer as far as I am concerned. And if BMW can't sell X6s in ME, then too bad. ME has the right to regulate its own commerce. If the people car enough, then one of two things will happen: BMW will meet it, or the politicians will repeal it.

Original sheth

adrock,

the regulations today require a car to be slightly cleaner and the change is made to slightly reduce power on many cars to meet the CA standard. Its no more than a 5hp drop on affected vehicles. This new regulation is much more serious.

Its nice that you dont care if automakers cant sell their full lineups in 13 states but many consumers will not be happy. You can basically eliminate the majority of the vehicles sold today if you want to meet the CA standards. The nationwide 35mpg standard is strict enough as it is. CA is asking for vehicles that are 20% more efficient than the already tough standard set by the feds. That cannot be accomplished on the cheap. You talk about not being able to buy an X6 in Maine but BMW might well be reduced to selling Minis and 100hp 1 series cars to meet the CARB rules.

Miguel Garcia

Sirs: I do not know what to think. How does a small contractor who has to haul all his tools and materials to and from a job every day in a light pickup expect to get 35 MPG and over? To an Engineer who has taken Thermodynamics, studied Thermal Efficiency (not fuel efficiency, which is a marketing term,) well, how are we going to do it Coach? Unless some one has invented a 100% efficient engine while I was asleep.
I think the EPA should have
more Thermodynamicists than
pencil pushrs.

Post a Comment 

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • If you don't want people to see your email address, simply type in the URL of your favorite website or leave the field empty.
  • Do not mention specific car dealers by name. Feel free to mention your city, state and brand.
  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers. This blog is not a fan or enthusiast forum, it is meant to help people during the car-buying process and during the time between purchases, so shoppers can keep a pulse on the market.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
view posting rules

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App
Ask.cars.com