New Fuel Mileage, Emissions Standards to be Announced

Tomorrow, President Barack Obama will announce a new national fuel economy and emissions policy that incorporates California's contested plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions on its own, apart from federal government regulations. The new policy hasn't been formally released, but it has the backing of the automotive industry and politicians, and it won’t allow states to author separate rules in the future.

According to reports, fleet mileage for cars will have to average 42 mpg, and trucks will have to average 26 mpg by 2016. It's not clear if these numbers are to be based on EPA averages — what's printed on a car's window sticker — or CAFE standards. We'd assume it’s CAFE standards, given only one car on the market — the 2010 Toyota Prius — already achieves these ratings according to the EPA. For example, the Toyota Corolla has a CAFE rating of 40 mpg, but a combined EPA rating of 30 mpg. That’s because the CAFE system allows room for lots of loopholes, like highly inflated ratings for alternative-fuel vehicles.

It takes automakers years to develop new engines and transmissions, and last summer's gas price spike undoubtedly got every manufacturer rethinking what goes under the hood regardless of any government rules. If the best-selling Corolla — redesigned in 2008 — still falls shy of the 42 mpg number, even Toyota will have to upgrade every vehicle in its lineup … except for the Prius.

U.S. to Issue Tougher Fuel Standards for Automobiles (New York Times)

By David Thomas | May 18, 2009 | Comments (17)
Tags: In The News

Comments 

Original sheth

CAFE mileage is still counted based on old methods of rating vehicles. They definitely dont use the 2008 EPA methods so every car sold today gets credit for more MPGS than the sticker indicates. E85 vehicles count for more as well. I see lots of unintended consequences here including increased migration to crossovers because of the disparity between cars and trucks. This also means less hp, fewer V6s and V8s, higher prices and smaller cars overall. The only reason vehicles in Europe can get anywhere close to this kind of mileage is due to diesels. Since we don't do diesels in the US these figures are going to be VERY hard to meet without full hybrid technology.

Colin B.

I think direct injection, homogeneous charge compression ignition, turbo charging, electric steering, stop-start idle and 6-8 speed automatic or twin-clutch transmissions will more than do the trick.

I think GM has said that the new 2012 Spark, 2011 Aveo and 2011 Cruze would get 40 mpg in the combined EPA cycle.

So I guess in CAFE-speak that means something like 55 mpg. It should be easy for automakers to pass this smoke-and-mirrors standard by 2016.

Does anyone know how CAFE derives its standards? I never knew they held different MPG standards than the normal EPA ratings.

Six

This is well within the realm of possibility, and may be one of the things that saves the car as gas prices inevitably increase and as oil becomes more scarce.

I think it will also drive the steps forward in technology that will help in developing widespread adoption of non-fossil fuel vehicles, whether hydrogen, electric, or otherwise.

And cars that are simply more efficient using gas are a better step forward than today's corn ethanol emphasis.

sheth

Colin B:

The Cruze will not average 40mpg. They have projected 40mpg on the hwy. I would expect city mileage to be in the high 20s at best. We are a long way from cars that AVERAGE 40mpg. Even if you adjust for the optimistic pre-2008 ratings there are only two cars that meet that standard- Prius and Insight. The Fit, Versa, Corolla, Jetta diesel, Aveo, etc. do NOT average over 40mpg. Most aren't even close to that figure.

Electronic power steering is already widely used. Direct injection is good for 1-2mpg. Start-stop systems are good for about the same. A 6 speed auto can add about 10% over a 4 speed on the hwy and not much else. YOu wont be seeing 8 speeds in Camrys any time soon so there is no need to even go there. The cheapest way to increase mileage is to decrease engine size and performance. There is no magic bullet. In the 70s they met regulations by cutting power and that's likely to happen again.


HCCI is still in the development stage and is several years from being introduced. When it does debut you can bet its going to be costly.

freethinker

Sounds like maybe a new wave of "trucks?" Yet another fuel economy loophole. First, minivans to replace station wagons because minivans, being heavier, were subject to less stringent rules. Then the automakers figured out that if you enclose a pickup truck bed, wammo- SUV! And since this beast is as heavy as a commercial truck used to be, it's subject to even lower fuel efficiency rules. Then, characterize cars like the PT Cruiser and Legacy as "trucks" to inflate the mpg estimates. This is the joke that keeps on coming. Except it's not funny.

johnnyt

politicians are such dreamers. we have one in bankruptcy, and another on the ropes. how many more have to fall before the well-meaning but completely-uninformed will quit tinkering with our major industries?

C

I am thinking Subaru and Mazda will go bust first.

Original sheth

According to the government this will "only" add $1300 to the price of the average vehicle. I have no idea who came up with that figure but it doesnt appear to be anyone working for a car company. If the average hybrid costs about $5k more than its gas only counterpart I would love to know where the $1300 figure came from.

When I was watching the slanted (and factually flawed) report about this on the national news last night some enviromental advocate said this new standard could be met easily and the
"Japanese" were already selling cars that beat this now so its all a matter of Detroit getting in gear. As proof they showed a MY2007 EPA rating for a Prius. These people are idiots.

chance

There's only one area left that will deliver the kind of efficiency that's needed to achieve this. The industry can do this now if they would call me. How many of you pinheads are going to run out and buy an electric car? We don't have 20 years to do this. We have the answer right here in Nashville. If you want to see it run email me?

Six

Everyone's acting like the sky is falling on this. CAFE mileage, as noted in the article, is a very different standard from the EPA standard for mileage.

Many European and Japanese cars already exceed this standard. The technology is there to improve mileage all around, cars in the US simply haven't had the reason to offer more efficient cars. Here's a good reason.

Too many cars in this country are 19mpg in the city, the days of cheap and plentiful gas are almost at an end - car makers are either going to adapt or they'll find in a few years that no one can afford to drive their cars anymore. Oil is finite.

Original sheth

"Many European and Japanese cars already exceed this standard. The technology is there to improve mileage all around, cars in the US simply haven't had the reason to offer more efficient cars. Here's a good reason."

THey are DIESELS. Did you miss that part? They are also SMALL, very small. Do not act like European cars are equivalent to US vehicles and just happen to get 30% better mileage. Most European diesels can't be sold in all 50 states. They get great mileage by selling small cars with small diesel engines.

politicians are such dreamers. we have one in bankruptcy, and another on the ropes. how many more have to fall before the well-meaning but completely-uninformed will quit tinkering with our major industries?

http://www.createfreeblogs.com/smashing/37841/

This is well within the realm of possibility, and may be one of the things that saves the car as gas prices inevitably increase and as oil becomes more scarce.


http://crash456.blog.co.uk/2009/10/29/how-to-reduce-fuel-emission-from-your-car-7266446/

To reduce your fuel emissions, it is recommended to follow vehicle manufacturer recommendations for proper tire inflation and oil change frequently and keep your car tuned. It will also improve your fuel mileage significantly.

http://www.createfreeblogs.com/smashing/181194/Fuel+Emission+%96+The+silent+Killer.html

Interesting post to read. Now 3-4 years on, the fuel standards have changed the emphasis now is on Hybrid Cars, part petrol and part electric. This is becoming a fast growing new trend and Japanese manufacturers such as Honda, Toyota and Lexus are reaping the rewards with their Hybrid cars.

Daniel, your spot on, modern cars are a blend of petrol and electric. Hybrid's have many benefits, low road tax, low fuel costs, no congestion charge,etc and Japanese manufacturers have a good head-start compared to the western world. I saw a sports Honda CRZ Hybrid the other day and it was quick.

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