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President Obama admires a Chevrolet Volt  (Source: Motor City Times)
Proposed standards are expected to be the same Washington and automakers agreed to last summer

The White House, California, and major automakers have came to an agreement on proposed economy standards that will see the requirements ultimately nearly double fleet wide fuel economy to 54.5 mpg by 2025.
 
People against the plan in the auto industry and Washington have argued that the 54.5 mpg goal will mean additional money added to the price of each vehicle and the loss of jobs in the auto industry due to reduced sales. Some estimates from Washington peg the cost to the automotive industry to meet the proposed standards at as much as $100 billion.
 
The proposed 54.5 mpg standard would save customers $6,600 in lifetime fuel costs for a 2025 model year vehicle. The Department of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, rightly point out that the actual savings is closer to $4,400 when you take into account the additional cost of the technology needed (as reflected by the sticker price of the car) to make cars reach such lofty mileage numbers.
 
"These unprecedented standards are a remarkable leap forward in improving fuel efficiency. We expect this program will not only save consumers money, it will ensure automakers have the regulatory certainty they need to make key decisions that create jobs and invest in the future," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We are pleased that we've been able to work with the auto industry, the states, and leaders in the environmental and labor communities to move toward even tougher standards for the second phase of the President's national program to improve fuel economy and reduce pollution."
 
"This is an important addition to the landmark clean cars program that President Obama initiated to establish fuel economy standards more than two years ago," added EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "The progress we made with the help of the auto industry, the environmental community, consumer groups and others will be expanded upon in the years to come -- benefitting the health, the environment and the economy for the American people."
 
A letter sent to President Obama this week from 100 House Democrats praised the new standards writing, "[The new efficiency standards] increase our national and economic security in an unprecedented way by dramatically decreasing our dependence on foreign sources of petroleum." 

The following are areas targeted for improving fuel efficiency across the board:
  • More efficient gasoline engines
  • Greater availability of diesel engines for passenger cars
  • Advanced transmissions
  • Improvements in vehicle aerodynamics
  • Reduced vehicle weight thanks to the use of aluminum and composites
  • Low rolling resistance tires
  • Improved air conditioning systems
  • More efficient vehicle accessories
The rules offered up today are not final; there is still a period for the industry and consumers to make comment on the rules. Administration official in Washington said recently that cars would have to average 62 mpg and light trucks 44 mpg to meet the economy standards of 54.5 mpg by 2025. The EPA estimates that real world driving would see 39 mpg.
 
Some in Washington have already argued that the new fuel economy proposal will legislate out of existence the cars on the market today selling for under $15,000. Obama and his administration still claim that the new standards will save consumers $1.7 trillion in fuel over the life of the vehicles on the road. That figure is contested and some fear that automakers will be forced to build vehicles consumers aren't interested in to meet the economy standards.

Updated 11/16/2011 @ 4:30pm to reflect official announcement and add quotes.

Sources: The Detroit News, WhiteHouse.gov



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RE: Spin
By bjacobson on 11/16/2011 6:00:31 PM , Rating: 3
thankfully, all these complex improvements will mean we will be able to wrench on our own cars for repair easier than ever or take it to Joe Mechanic down the street if you want a cheaper repair alternative.


RE: Spin
By invidious on 11/17/2011 10:56:39 AM , Rating: 2
Sarcasm? How does a more complex system make it easier to work on the car?

Strict government safety standards are the reason why cars are as complex and hard to work on as they are now. I dont see why strict government milage standards will be any better.


RE: Spin
By dsx724 on 11/17/2011 1:29:39 PM , Rating: 2
Strict government safety standards and CAFE requirements are the reason the auto industry has prosper to the way they are now. There are engineers working on cheap embedded systems that help drivetrains pollute less, produce more power, use less fuel, improve control and safety.

Just because you can't keep up with progress doesn't mean progress should stop. I personally don't want to be stuck with a slow smelly 1960's thunderbird for the sake of being able to "work on it" which is probably why I can see why strict government mileage standards will be better for the economy and the consumer.


RE: Spin
By Zoomer on 11/18/2011 9:28:04 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, the higher prices for new models means that more people will stick to driving the older cars longer. This is counterproductive. And these who drive less essentially subsidize these who drive more. Is this desirable?

The better solution will be to raise gasoline prices so that the market is not distorted. People who drive more will either reduce their driving or demand more efficient cars.


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov














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