intentions of increasing the fuel efficiency standards for vehicles in the U.S.
are noble, the reality is that it will ultimately cost consumers more when they
purchase a vehicle. The cost to build and develop the more fuel-efficient
vehicles will simply be tacked onto the car’s price tag.
The CAFE standards for an automaker’s fleet wide fuel economy currently require
an average of 34.1 mpg by 2016. The current CAFE requirement is 27.5 mpg.
According to the EPA, the price for an automaker to reach that fuel efficiency
varies, but on average each vehicle requires about $948 in upgrades to meet the
new efficiency standards. The EPA also claims that while the car will cost more
upfront, the driver will save $3,000 over the life of the vehicle in fuel
The NYT reports that the $948 average doesn't tell the full
story though and some carmakers will see significantly higher costs to meet the 2016
standards than others will. The reason for this is that some brands have
already invested heavily in fuel efficiency and technology. The EPA figures
that Toyota will only pay about $455 for each of its vehicles to reach the 2016
standards. This is thanks, in part, to vehicles like the popular Prius hybrid.
Less efficient car brands like VW will spend $437 to simply get its fleet up to
the 2012 standards for the incremental efficiency mandate. VW will pay out
$1,693 per vehicle to reach the 2016 standards. BMW will also spend heavily to
reach 16 standards at $1,453 per vehicle with Chrysler next at $1,328, and GM
spending $1,219 per vehicle. Ford will spend $1,228 per vehicle to meet the 16
that becomes clear is that the American automakers with larger cars, SUVs, and
trucks that use V8 engines will be the ones spending more to reach the lofty
Foreign makers will spend less with Honda needing only $574 to hit 2016
compliance, Hyundai needing $745, and Kia needing $501. The EPA numbers are
based on figures that come from automakers. Some of the costs are assumed to be
standard across the marker for things like direct fuel injection, better
aerodynamics, and reduced weight.