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Automakers claim new fuel economy ratings will put hundreds of thousands out of work  (Source: Business Week)
Supporters of increased efficiency standards claim the numbers are inflated

The battle between the auto industry and the federal government over changes to fuel economy regulations is exploding. Lawmakers in Washington want to impose much more efficient standards on future vehicles that could see a fleet wide fuel economy average of 62 mpg in effect by 2025.

Some in the automotive industry argue that the costs to reach the lofty 62 mpg fleet wide average will be much higher than the cost of burning more fuel in less efficient vehicles for consumers. Automakers have previously claimed that the costs would have a dire impact on the industry.

new study by the Center for Automotive Research has been published and the study claims that the rise in efficiency standards by 2025 to 62 mpg could add up to $9,790 to the cost of a new vehicle and will reduce sales by 5.5 million units. The report also claims that the resultant price increase would force a reduction of 260,000 automotive industry jobs due to reduced demand for vehicles by consumers.

On the other side of the battle, those pushing for the increased efficiency standards claim that the tech needed to meet the efficiency standards would only add $770 to $3,500 to the price of a new vehicle.

David Friedman, deputy director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Clean Vehicles program and supporter of the new efficiency mandate, said, "The Obama administration should ignore this industry-advocate propaganda piece and focus on setting the strongest vehicle efficiency and global warming pollution standards based on credible scientific analysis."

President and CEO of the Union, Jay Baron, says that the main difference in cost between the industry and government studies depends on how much the price of the technology will come down over the next 15 years.



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RE: With the current model they are following
By Argon18 on 6/15/2011 2:28:10 PM , Rating: 2
The size isn't the problem, it's the weight that is keeping MPG numbers low. For example, a hatchback from 20 years ago, the VW Rabbit, weighed in at about 1800 lbs. Compare that to a hatchback of today, a 2011 VW Golf which weight about 3000 lbs. That's a massive increase in weight. I use the Golf as an example because I own one, but all cars from all manufactures are guilty of packing on the pounds.

Plush 12-way adjustable power heated leather seats. navigation systems, airbags and antilock brakes, huge power tilt/slide moonroofs, and lots and lots of sound proofing are what's making modern cars so heavy. Some of that is safety related, but most is comfort / convenience equipment.


By killerroach on 6/15/2011 2:41:46 PM , Rating: 2
I'd argue that most of it is safety-related. Nice seats and sound systems add a few pounds of weight here and there - structural steel packs on the poundage in a hurry.


RE: With the current model they are following
By mindless1 on 6/15/2011 2:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
It's been a few years since I've seen a VW rabbit but from what I vaguely recall, besides being a roughly similar shape (short hatchback), the rabbit is a significantly smaller vehicle.

Let's add up what you listed. seats, about 20lb, navigation system adds negligible weight, air bags 10lb, antilock brakes a couple pounds, moonroof 20lb, soundproofing 10lb. That's 62lbs total not 1200. Even if I'm off by 100% that's still only 124lbs not 1200, but of course we can also assume a few hundred to meet more stringent impact tests but the rest is most likely that the car itself is larger.


RE: With the current model they are following
By dgingeri on 6/15/2011 3:01:22 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, you're off a bit. the seats are about 50lbs heavier. (there are multiple electric motors in electric seats, and steel arms to operate the adjustments. I've installed these, I know how heavy they are.) the ABS system is about another 30lbs. (the ABS system adds a Brake Pulse Modulation valve at about 20lbs, 4 wheel hub sensors at about 1lb each, a control computer at another 5lbs, and extra brake fluid and connecting pipes.) The moonroof would add about an extra 150lbs. (A moonroof has to have extra framing around the opening plus a heavy, hail resistant 1/2" thick sheet of glass that weighs in at about 70lbs. these suckers add a lot of weight.) Granted, the GPS nav system would be near nothing, and sound proofing would be about 20lbs, but still, some of your numbers are way off.


By Spuke on 6/16/2011 12:48:55 AM , Rating: 2
Most of the added weight is indeed in safety equipment and stiffer structures. Some old friends that turned their street cars into race cars shaved a TON of weight off by cutting out structural reinforcements and safety crap. I agree, seats and sunroofs are damn heavy. You can easily shave a few hundred pounds by swapping in lighter seats, no sunroof, and even a lightweight battery (a lithium ion starting battery is now an option on some Porsches).


By mindless1 on 6/16/2011 3:16:09 PM , Rating: 2
I suspect you are considering total weight, NOT weight difference. Yes I have installed power seats, swapping out manual seats. The motors are a pound each, maybe two, there was already a metal track for support so the extra tracks add another pound or two (per seat).

ABS modulator is now being integrated into master cylinder, reservoir and valves assembly, for a smaller car there is not much added weight anymore contrasted with years ago. Even with medium to larger cars having the module separate it's closer to 10lb than 20lb in recent years.

I was comparing the difference between a fancy electric sunroof and the older style, since a sunroof isn't a new invention, could be ordered as a factory item on many cars for quite a few years, or of course installed later and this is still optional, it's not hard at all to buy a car without one.

It's been quite a few years since cars were barren of any *luxury* items unless buying some cheap base model economy car, else you have to special order it because of the way things are packaged, dealers tend to have cars with quite a few extras on their lots.


By chick0n on 6/16/2011 10:11:52 AM , Rating: 2
wrong.

have you ever handle the ABS module/Seat/whatever with your hands?

ABS module is about 20 lbs on it's own with all it's related wiring/logicon/pipes.

Leather seat compare to cloth seat is at least 20 lbs heavier EACH.
Navigation system is about 8-10 lbs. depends on how big the head unit is.
Moonroof with all it's related rack and motor weight at least 100 lbs.
Air bags are light, it's just wrap up but all 7 airbags (modern cars) with the sensors and stuff weight at least 5-10 lbs.
but the biggest weight comes from "beefier" chassis. Bigger Front member and rear weight at LEAST 200-500 lbs or more. depends on the material used.


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