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Could the proposed standards lead to automakers vacating smaller platforms?

The proposed CAFE standards that have been looming all year will force some major changes on the automotive market. The government says that the much more stringent fuel economy standard will save consumers at the pump and reduce the national need for foreign oil. The auto industry has said that the cost of meeting the standard would increase the cost of new vehicles and could result in lost jobs.
According to a new study published by the University of Michigan, the CAFE standards will make cars larger, not smaller. The study indicates that there is a loophole in the economy standards that the automakers could exploit.
"For just about all the scenarios, the car got bigger,” said Steven Skerlos, an associate professor at U-M Department of Mechanical Engineering. “What you can model in a computer is different from reality, but based on this research we expect it to happen."
The loophole is that the formula used for determining miles per gallons required under the new standard uses the vehicles footprint (multiplying the wheelbase by track width). This was done to give larger vehicles less stringent economy standards to follow. In a nutshell, the formula favors larger vehicles and those vehicles may be less costly since they wouldn't have to use as much technology for fuel gains. 
Therefore, automakers may design new vehicles to be larger in an effort to target the lower economy standards. The study also claims that not only would the automakers considering redesigning a vehicle to go for the lower economy limits undermine the CAFE standard goals, but it would also create more pollution
"This study illustrates that there may be a substantial financial incentive to produce larger vehicles, and that it can undermine the goals of the policy," said Kate Whitefoot, who conducted the research as a U-M design science doctoral student and is now a senior program officer at the National Academy of Engineering.

Source: AutoNews

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RE: Another government regulation backfiring?
By Strunf on 12/15/2011 7:35:38 AM , Rating: 2
The thing is that those taxes are blind taxes, as in they affect everyone that buys or has a car, sure if you want to make driving your own car a privilege only wealthy people can afford then yes TAX the hell out of automobile sales and gasoline, I'm pretty sure the "1%" would be more than happy to pay more of those taxes if that meant they would only share the roads with there own "kind".

By lightfoot on 12/15/2011 6:09:19 PM , Rating: 2
I don't disagree with your assessment, but I have to ask:
How do you reduce fuel use if you exempt the vast majority of the population from any rules designed to curb usage?

Due to sheer numbers, even the poor and middle class will need to cut back on fuel usage.

RE: Another government regulation backfiring?
By lagomorpha on 12/15/2011 10:30:34 PM , Rating: 2
i have to admit, as a motorcycle rider, i would happily pay $10/gallon in the summer months if it meant no SUVs on the road

By Lerianis on 12/18/2011 9:55:11 PM , Rating: 2
Why? The fact is that SUV's are safer to drive than many other cars and are less likely to get into an accident with a motorcycle because of their 'high and expansive field of view' than a small car is, according to the NHTSA.

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