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U.S. regulators say it isn't a big deal, since consumers will save on fuel over the vehicle's lifetime

A National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) official said a new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) proposal could add as much as $5,000 to the sticker price of a new vehicle.

The new CAFE proposal aims to increase the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks sold here in the U.S. to 54.5 mpg by 2025 in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lessen the country's dependency on foreign oil.

Don Chalmers, chairman of NADA's government relations committee, announced in a Detroit hearing for the proposal that nearly doubling today's fuel economy standards would force manufacturers to use expensive "fuel-saving technologies" that would bump up the sticker price of a new vehicle an extra $5,000. NADA is expected to release a study next month showing that the costs for the new higher fuel-economy standards will overshoot government estimates by over 60 percent (meaning an extra $5,000 to the sticker price for new 2025 models).

Chalmers argued that an extra $5,000 would put many potential buyers out of the new-car market because it could add another $60 to $70 to a monthly car payment and hurt a customer's chance to receive financing.

"I want to sell more fuel-efficient cars," said Chalmers. "If the customer can't get financing, it makes no difference."

U.S. regulators see the situation differently, though. Many believe the extra $5,000 wouldn't be an issue because customers save on fuel over the lifetime of the vehicle.

"We're hearing broad support," said Margo Oge, director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality at the Environmental Protection Agency. "What we heard is that this standard will create green jobs. This is what the consumer wants. This is where the companies want to invest. So, overall, it's been very positive."

Other supporters for the new CAFE proposal by the Obama administration include 13 major automakers, such as Ford Motor Co., General Motors, and Chrysler; United Auto Workers (UAW), and environmental groups like the National Wildlife Federation.

"These proposed rules will reduce the pollution that contributes to climate change, significantly reduce America's dependence on foreign oil and save American families money at the pump," said Bob King, UAW President, who added that the proposal could save customers around $4,000 over the life of the vehicle. "They will also create jobs in the auto industry and throughout the economy."

"This proposal provides our industry both a single program moving forward, as well as regulatory framework that enables manufacturers to plan and invest for the future with confidence," said Sue Cischke, Ford Motor Co.'s vice president of sustainability, environment and safety engineering. "We are committed to working with you to finalize these regulations. The standards proposed are aggressive, but so are the demands from our customers for greater fuel efficiency."

Others, such as Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG, are on Chalmers' side with opposing the new CAFE proposal. They say the new proposal offers "no new incentive for diesel cars."

The hearing for the proposal was one of three that will be held to give the public a chance to comment. The other two are scheduled for January 19 in Philadelphia and January 24 in San Francisco.

Source: Automotive News

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By quiksilvr on 1/18/2012 10:12:34 AM , Rating: 2
I mean honestly. The next lithium ion battery upgrade is less than 5 years away. Once that happens, the electric car market will explode, meaning by 2025 gas powered cars will become a rare purchase.

By Brandon Hill on 1/18/2012 10:16:36 AM , Rating: 1
I think you're being incredibly optimistic. I just saw a report yesterday saying that the average age of vehicles on the road today is something like 10.4 years, the highest its been in quite some time.

With this economy, I don't see that changing anytime soon. Gas is here to say, at least for the next 50+ years or so. Hell, until electric "quick charging" infrastructure is as robust as gas stations, it may take even longer.

By Stuka on 1/18/2012 10:38:40 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Very optimistic there.

There's no way electric will replace gas until you can provide the equivalent experience. We're 50+ years away from having an electrical source that can recharge/refuel within a reasonable amount of time to demote gas and be fully market ready and scalable. There are only so many elements on the periodic table, there are only so many ways they can interact to release energy, and beyond that there are finite amounts of each of them on the planet, and most likely only a third of which are accessible due to political constraints. There are a lot of problems, a lot of equations, and a LOT of testing... which means dollars. Research is not a natural resource which grows in a field in Iowa. It can not be forced into submission. It cannot be legislated. It is real work, and it can only be done so fast.

By Mint on 1/18/2012 2:24:02 PM , Rating: 2
While he was wrong saying "running", I don't think he'll be far off if he instead said "buying".

By 2025, I think the vast majority of new cars sold would be PHEV. By then we'll easily be getting 10-20k cycles from a battery before it dies, so it'll be much more cost effective than gasoline/ethanol over it's lifetime, which will cost more than today due to India, China, and hopefully Africa developing.

Even from a performance point of view, electric will soon be the way to go. Going from 100kW to 400kW will cost and weigh much less than gasoline.

By Jedi2155 on 1/19/2012 5:29:47 AM , Rating: 2
CARB (California Air Resource Board) has many scenarios on expected new vehicle purchases. 2025 is still optimistic to say most vehicles won't be Gas (or Diesel).

Here is one (of many)scenario

I feel price is still the biggest hurdle but by 2020, I expect an EV to be comparable in everyone single aspect to a Gas powered vehicle. Other factors though, will still make gas powered vehicles more desirable (high MPG will make cost to fuel less of a factor), quick fill up etc.

I do not believe our electric infrastructure to be able to handle 40% EV's at its current state BUT there is plenty of capacity right now. California can handle up to 2 million simultaneous EV's through SPARE capacity during the night no problem (that's 6.6 to 20 gigawatts), and if we use other generation and import power from other states. However 2 million though, is just 1/16th of the 32 million vehicles registered in California alone. Each new average (3 GW) nuclear plant though, can handle another million or so we can easily expand provided we will build that.

Still, I think a good healthy mix is the best way to handle our future transportation needs, but EV's are still in their infancy stage. I'm doing my part, just ordered my Volt last weekend :D.

By PrinceGaz on 1/19/2012 9:22:49 AM , Rating: 1
Not every EV needs to be fully charged every night.

In fact according to some research I've just made up, current EVs with 100 mile range on average only require 28% charge each night, so provided the charging points are designed to use power intelligently that means there is capacity to cope with 3.5x as many vehicles; so the spare Californian capacity could handle 7 million vehicles rather than only 2 million.

Unless all 7 million EV owners all decide to go out one day and fully drain their batteries.

By mgilbert on 1/18/2012 10:26:45 AM , Rating: 3
Until an electric only car can travel 500 miles on a charge, be fully recharged in three minutes or less, batteries last at least 15 years, and there are as many charging stations as there are gas stations now, I will not own one, and neither will 99% of the drivers out there. And you think that is going to happen in less than 15 years???

By twhittet on 1/18/2012 10:47:11 AM , Rating: 1
I can't:
Travel 500 miles in my car without refueling
Fuel my car in three minutes or less
I doubt it will last 15 years

So am I in the 1% because I own a normal car?

By mgilbert on 1/18/2012 10:53:38 AM , Rating: 2
I might have to refuel, but my car can travel 400 to 500 miles on a tank. It only takes a few minutes to refuel a gasoline or diesel car. Any car will last at least 15 years if halfway taken care of. Don't get caught up in the semantics. You know what I mean.

By FITCamaro on 1/18/2012 11:23:44 AM , Rating: 1
Idiots thrive on semantics.

By GotThumbs on 1/18/2012 2:08:30 PM , Rating: 4
The REAL key often do you drive 500 miles...400 miles...300 one go? Most drivers do nothing like this. So for those who commute between 20 and 50 miles each electric car would be fine. Most families have two cars. Use one for daily driving...and the other for when the family DOES go on a 100+ mile trip.

The reality is that Americans don't live in the reality of a global society. It all revolves around YOU...the single person. How else can you explain the tons of garbage people freely toss from their cars. I just see that as evidence of the number of low class people on the road. fyi...low class has nothing to do with your wealth. There are very wealthy people who are still low class. Low class exemplifies the dung of society who are do nothing to help...but are almost always a drain on our system and of course are always the victims. Lack of self-responsibility = Low Class Person. IMO.

Best wishes to all.

By Spuke on 1/18/2012 3:07:06 PM , Rating: 2
Most families have two cars. Use one for daily driving...and the other for when the family DOES go on a 100+ mile trip.
Most families have two cars because Mom drives one way to work and Dad drives another other way. One car is typically "upsized" to accommodate putting extra people and stuff in it for trips or the kids extra activities or to accommodate visiting families.

The reality is that Americans don't live in the reality of a global society. It all revolves around YOU...the single person.
LOL! Then you go off the deep end.

By FITCamaro on 1/18/2012 11:26:05 AM , Rating: 2
Fuel my car in three minutes or less

Then you're doing it wrong.

I doubt it will last 15 years

Then actually take care of it. Don't wait until things fall off to replace them.

My parents had an 88 Honda Accord with over 300,000 miles on it. The only reason it was replaced was because my parents totaled it. It didn't leak oil, it shifted smooth, and the suspension was in good shape.

By brybir on 1/18/2012 11:42:43 AM , Rating: 3
But, there are plenty of cars that even when taken care of, will not last 15 years.

By brybir on 1/18/2012 11:43:50 AM , Rating: 2
That is your line in the sand, so to speak, about what you would require before you would buy an electric car.

I for one would be happy to drive 300 miles, charge in 10 to 15 minutes, and have my car last 10 years. But that is just me. I suspect that "line in the sand" is different for everyone.

By Qapa on 1/18/2012 9:14:47 PM , Rating: 2
I understand what you mean (I read the replies on semantics, below), but I think your going about it the other way: if you had all those conditions 99% of the drivers would buy one!

I also agree that current electrics are niche cars useful for some (very) specific cases (usually, double car families living in/very near cities).

But supposedly, Nissan Leaf's batteries have 5 years warranties and after 10 years still have 80% range - that's not bad (initial range I discuss below).

Charging stations vary a lot, but in my country (and specially my city) there are chargers in dozens of public parking places and most malls. Adding to that, my work place has them as well, and at home I can also charge (private parking place already with electricity).

So, for me only 2 problems still exist: range and price.

Range, is definitely a problem. On the other hand, I usually need ~40km (~25 miles) per day (home-work-home), which means I can always go visit family or friends, shopping, dinner, go out, whatever. As for trips, I do a few small ones, within range. And 2-6 longer trips per year, some still within range+"quick 30min recharge", so I could almost live with this, maybe renting a car for a couple of weekends per year.

Also, most people don't mention but, on your daily chores, if you have charging places, you can keep charging, increasing the range - for instance, if you can charge at work, you can pretty much live on the edge of your range and don't stop for recharging on the way home, ok more reasonably would be to work up to 70 or 80 miles away from home being fine.

Price: I already mentioned (in other posts) that in Europe the prices are higher than in the US... like this:
~30% more (before taxes and incentives)
~60% more (after taxes and incentives)
So this simply sucks!!

In other words, for the US price I would already own one.

Granted, I started complaining you're mentioning it isn't for you and as a consequence it wouldn't be for anyone - you can't generalize like that. So I'm also not saying it is for everyone, in fact I started by saying it is a niche car, for now. But for some/many, and some statistics say most people drive less than 50 miles per day, this can already be something to consider... but I'd say, just increasing the range to 200-250 miles would make a lot of people really start considering this, specially in Europe but with US prices :P

By x10Unit1 on 1/18/2012 12:00:02 PM , Rating: 2
Sadly, it will take a while for a new technology to exceed gasoline. First, we have to pick a technology. Then we have to build an infrastructure to support it. And finally, we have to phase out gasoline powered vehicles.

Also, specifically for battery tech, we would have to have major advancements in battery and electric motor technology for battery tech to replace heavy duty towing vehicles.

By Reclaimer77 on 1/18/2012 12:35:48 PM , Rating: 1
It's not a new technology, it's an inferior one. It's important that we understand that distinction before adding more context to this debate.

First, we have to pick a technology. Then we have to build an infrastructure to support it. And finally, we have to phase out gasoline powered vehicles.

You're taking the logical approach. The Government isn't logical. Here is how they are doing it:

Step 1. Make the mandate regardless of it's feasibility. I'm sure someone will figure it out.

Step 2. ???

Step 3. Success!

By Paj on 1/19/2012 7:58:19 AM , Rating: 2
If you were to factor in the damage that gasoline does to the environment, its cost would be much higher. The price of oil will not be going down.

By IcePickFreak on 1/18/2012 3:48:00 PM , Rating: 2
Surely we won't be paying $1+ per kwh for all our electricity at that point. No way they'd do that to us.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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