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T O P I C     R E V I E W
The Famous Druid
Member # 1769
 - posted August 01, 2011 01:43
While the eyes of the world were on Republican attempts to plunge the world into the financial abyss, another story kind of got neglected...

The Obama administration has announced new fuel economy standards 54.5 miles per (puny US) gallon, that's 65.5 miles per UK gallon, or 4.3 litres/100 km.

This is a huge improvement, and will encourage some real innovation from the American manufacturers, who have been left far behind by their European competitors.

Well done Mr Obama!
 
GrumpySteen
Member # 170
 - posted August 01, 2011 02:00
Should I add some rain to your happy moment with some facts or would you rather remain blissful?
 
Ashitaka
Member # 4924
 - posted August 01, 2011 07:48
lots of time between now and the for other politicians to detooth and castrate the new rules
 
The Famous Druid
Member # 1769
 - posted August 01, 2011 09:47
quote:
Originally posted by GrumpySteen:
Should I add some rain to your happy moment with some facts or would you rather remain blissful?

Rain away, good sir, rain away...
 
dragonman97
Member # 780
 - posted August 01, 2011 09:48
quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
While the eyes of the world were on Republican attempts to plunge the world into the financial abyss, another story kind of got neglected...

The Obama administration has announced, new fuel economy standards 54.5 miles per (puny US) gallon, that's 65.5 miles per UK gallon, or 4.3 litres/100 km.

This is a huge improvement, and will encourage some real innovation from the American manufacturers, who have been left far behind by their European competitors.

Well done Mr Obama!

Actually, it made the front page of the Times a few days ago...but I certainly grant that it didn't get the same kind of buzz.

I love how it stresses that the automakers finally stopped complaining as they've gotten an insane amount of financial support and just said 'Yes sir.' [Big Grin]
 
GrumpySteen
Member # 170
 - posted August 01, 2011 11:32
The Famous Druid wrote:
Rain away, good sir, rain away...

Things got a little out of hand at work, so I couldn't respond until now.

1) The full 54.5 standard isn't to go into effect until 2025. 14 years is more than enough time to alter or even abolish it.

2) Light trucks and SUVs only have to get a 3.5% fuel economy increase until 2021, when the increases will be 5%. Right now, the CAFE standard for light trucks is 24.2 MPG. That rate of progression only gets them to 37.5 MPG.

2) The deal may allow crossover SUV style vehicles built on an automobile chassis to qualify for the same exemption as actual SUVs and trucks If this is true, we can look forward to all non-compact passenger cars being given SUV-like features to take advantage of this.

3) They keep saying that cars will have nearly a 60 MPG CAFE rating (not EPA rating, well get to that) and that overall fleets will have a 54.5 MPG CAFE rating. For that to actually be the case, for every 37.5 MPG truck they sell, they would have to sell four cars. In 2010, there ere 6.1 million trucks sold and 5.6 million cars sold. Does anyone really think car sales are going to go up by 70% with a corresponding drop of 70% in truck sales to meet the projections?

And, perhaps most damningly

3) The CAFE standards use the same data go generate EPA MPG scores, but "the test results are not adjusted to account for real-world conditions. Instead, the results from the city and highway tests are combined." Yep... that 54.5 is city mpg+highway mpg and is completely unattainable in a vehicle rated at 54.5 MPG. The 54.5 CAFE rating only equates to about 40 MPG on the EPA sticker rating.

But wait, I'm not through

4) Many cars already meet the new standard (the Ford Focus and Fiesta models, for example). These cars exist because automobile manufacturers have slowly begun to realize that not everyone wants a gigantic SUV and that there is, in fact, a significant consumer demand for cars with better fuel mileage. Perhaps they might even start making small cars that aren't devoid of features in their misguided attempt to get anyone with money to choose an SUV or a full size gas guzzler that carries a higher profit margin. I'm not going to hold my breath on that last point.

What we have is a new standard that actually just defines existing cars as the new standard to strive for and doesn't push anything. Automobile manufacturers only agreed to it because they know they can already meet it without any actual R&D.

Despite the lack of any need for R&D, I'm also quite sure we'll still hear them wailing for the next decade and a half about how they need to have their R&D and business models subsidized.
 
dragonman97
Member # 780
 - posted August 01, 2011 13:05
Steen wrote:
quote:

4) Many cars already meet the new standard (the Ford Focus and Fiesta models, for example). These cars exist because automobile manufacturers have slowly begun to realize that not everyone wants a gigantic SUV and that there is, in fact, a significant consumer demand for cars with better fuel mileage. Perhaps they might even start making small cars that aren't devoid of features in their misguided attempt to get anyone with money to choose an SUV or a full size gas guzzler that carries a higher profit margin. I'm not going to hold my breath on that last point.

To which I'd add: These recent models that meet the new standard? They first became popular, and award-winning vehicles...in Europe. People who actually give a damn about mileage wanted/needed fuel efficient vehicles, and we gave them to them† -- and even made them good!

It's a pity folks here continue to swoon over behemoths. I don't know about other parts, but gas is $4.08/gal. around here, and I think one has to be a bit loopy to deliberately buy a vehicle that doesn't get the best mileage possible (within economic reason, I'd add).

† n.b. I wouldn't dare say we're the only ones making fuel efficient vehicles for sale in Europe...just to say that we're not dumb enough to sell them gas guzzlers. (Which pretty much says something about our opinion of the domestic market, IMHO.)
 
The Famous Druid
Member # 1769
 - posted August 01, 2011 13:38
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
These recent models that meet the new standard? They first became popular, and award-winning vehicles...in Europe. People who actually give a damn about mileage wanted/needed fuel efficient vehicles, and we gave them to them† -- and even made them good!

Indeed, Ford make a nice version of the Fiesta that beats many hybrids in fuel economy, but they don't sell it in the USA.

I just checked the merkin version of the Ford website to make sure they still don't before writing the above, and was amazed at how well-hidden the fuel consumption figures are. The info is there, but you have to go digging deep into the tech specs, whereas on aussie car websites that information tends to be more 'up-front'.

They obviously think merkins just don't care about fuel consumption.

A couple of years of $8/gallon should fix that.

@GrumpySteen: Yeah, I kind of expected those kinds of ifs and buts, but most of them also apply to the current standard, so there's still a substantial improvement, and it pretty much guarantees the end of the "we don't bother selling fuel-efficient cars here" syndrome. Plus, with the worlds two biggest car markets now adopting/moving-towards fairly demanding fuel-efficiency standards, fuel-efficient models will become the new mainstream everywhere, even crappy little third-world countries like oz that would never dare set their own fuel-efficiency regulations.
 




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