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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,

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The solution for automakers is easy.
By soloburrito on 11/16/2011 8:12:11 PM , Rating: 2
Attach an 80+mpg scooter or motorcycle with new vehicle purchases as a $2500 "CAFE offset".

First, with some creative accounting, "sales" of each scooter or motorcycle will increase the fleet MPG to fall inline with regulations.

Second, it clearly illustrates how government regulation typically ends up being a cost to consumers directly.

Finally, it introduces everyone to a very practical method of transportation. The cost breakdown could be $2000 for the scooter or motorcycle and $500 towards a training class and safety equipment. More widespread use of those vehicles will satisfy the intended outcome of reducing gasoline usage and pollution.

RE: The solution for automakers is easy.
By soloburrito on 11/16/2011 8:17:15 PM , Rating: 1
Nevermind. Cafe requirements also take into account vehicle "footprint" so that would kill the motorcycle idea off the bat in addition to I'm sure other issues I've likely overlooked.

Either way there are some other easy things automakers can do like offer more diesel-based vehicles for one.

RE: The solution for automakers is easy.
By Targon on 11/16/2011 9:37:25 PM , Rating: 2
Diesel here in the USA has a higher amount of Sulfur Dioxide compared to what they offer in Europe, so yea, better fuel economy with diesel, but you dump far more true poisons into the air than a normal gasoline engine does. Carbon Monoxide and Dioxide are far less toxic to the environment in comparison.

As I've said, Ethanol reduces fuel economy, so it is VERY questionable that there is any benefit of any kind by adding it to gasoline.

RE: The solution for automakers is easy.
By Spuke on 11/17/2011 9:58:33 AM , Rating: 2
We have had ULSD for a few years now in the US.

By twhittet on 11/17/2011 1:59:26 PM , Rating: 2
And diesel is currently 84cents more per gallon in my state. It will be hard to convince users to switch with such a price disparity - even if they would save $ in the long run.

By YashBudini on 11/19/2011 7:55:30 PM , Rating: 2
Nevermind. Cafe requirements also take into account vehicle "footprint" so that would kill the motorcycle idea off the bat in addition to I'm sure other issues I've likely overlooked.

Actually both Yamaha and Suzuki make scooters than have fuel injection and catalytic converters. Given the engine size passing emissions should not be a problem. I've seen scooters with carbs that meet CARB standards, but yes not all of them can do that.

The biggest polluters per cubic inch continue to be side valve engines (originally called flat heads), still too common on lawn mowers and such.

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