Hybrids and EVs like the Focus Electric will help makers reach CAFE standards
VW will spend more than anyone to meet 2016 standards

While the 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 costs.

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 standards.

One thing 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 standards.

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.

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