Look, we have to do something about energy consumption, the environment, etc. California (with it's somewhat unique geographical constraints and high population) has all those problems in spades. So if California goes ahead and holds the auto manufactuer's nose to the grindstone, it is (IMHO) all a good thing. People will still buy cars regardless.
The $5,000 penalty? It just means the auto manufacturer's will have to discount their products a bit (well, maybe a bit more than a 'bit') to sell what they need to. Big whoop.
Certainly the lessons learned to trying to make these aggressive performance goals will net benefits in the long run. As the old adage says "..if you're given lemons, then make some lemonade).
The last time we had a gasoline crisis, the Federal government tried to reduce our usage of foreign oil by manadating CAFE. The intent was to reduce of usage of foreign purchased automotive fuel. The result was the usage of automotive fuel went up - because people figured out that they could drive further in $.mile. So, they moved further from work and took longer vacations and drove singally (not in carpools), etc.
Now we want to further reduce fuel usage, because our country is going bankrupt with our lopsided balance of trade and going into debt to pay for the government largess.
The result will be more oil usage.
The real solution? :
1. Eliminate CAFE
2. Put a 100% tax on all petrochemical automotive fuels
3. Put zero% tax on electricity for automotive fuel and CNG for auromotive fuel
Absolutely, Steve! The govenment has gotten to the point on this issue where think the consumer is too stupid to know what they want. Every engineer knows that every feature requires a tradeoff on some other feature (including cost) and here they are telling the people which features they want.
The government apparently feels they have not done enough "regulating", "oversight", taxing, and threatening to destroy every private enterprise in the US and the jobs that once were provided by them so now they are automotive designers now too. Incompetent, Marxist leaning, pols, backed by radical 60s left overs have done more damage to this country than any gasoline motor ever did. They need to be thrown out or you wont need any cars - hey... thats the REAL goal.
If the "voters" are pushing politicians for these changes, why are they not voting with their dollars? For the government to make this change, it assumes at least half the voters are for it. And if that many REALLY back such changes, would a law really be necessary? Automakers would have such a backlog of small cars on order (yes, you can order a car vs just settling for something on the lot!) that the market would be fundamentally different. So I always find it ironic that the gov't pushes such requirements, when most of their said supporters refuse to purchase the current efficient vehicles already available.
The big three all spent government funds back in the 1990's developing hybrid and electric drive systems. They even built a fleet of test vehicles that were extensively tested and performance data was collected to determine how to build an economical car. In one case Chrysler built and tested hybrid diesel neon that obtained 90+ miles per gallon of fuel. Once the program ended they walked away from the design and went back to building the same ICE as always.
What will it take to get mass production of hybrid electric cars? Is it $5 per gallon cost? Nope. Is it $10 per gallon? Nope. Is it the public surveys indicating the desire? Nope. Is it when some third world manufacture starts building and selling hybrid electric cars? Nope. How about the government regulating fuel economy? Nope.
Try, there is a stoppage of crude being shipped to the USA and no one can fill their gas tank and sales are headed for zero. Then and only then will the industry realize it’s time to build and sell something else. It may be too late by then!
There is no inherent reason why we cannot manufacture automobiles that get near 50 mph with an IC engine and 100 mph as a hybrid without loosing perfromance.
My 1983 Nissan Sentra averaged 44 mph! My 1992 Nissan Sentra average 38 mph and moved over for no one. My wife's 2008 Malibu Classic gets 37 mph on a mixed highway/suburban 150+ mile jaunt. These are all plain vanilla cars with 4 cylinder engines and 4 speed transmisions.
With current off the shelf 6 speed dual clutch automatics and direct injection, 2.5 liter and smaller engines in compact to midsized cars will easily get 40 mpg. An example is the Chevy Cruze and the Hyundai Elantra. The VW and BMW 1 series will get near 50 mph with a 6 speed dual cltuch atomic and a turbocharged 4 cylinder diesel. Today. Smaller displacement versions get over 60 mph in the EU.
The Prius Hybrid currently gets about 50 mph with a 1.8 liter gas engine and a 1.2 kW-hr battery pack. Change the enging to a turbodiesel and the milage approaches 100 mph with todays technology.
This is all accomplished without resorting to a pure EV or plug-in hybrid which only fits the urban life style. A typcial 50 mile+ surburban commute or a 200 mile sales day does not work with most EVs, and the cost premium doesn't make economic sense either. A pure EV with range of 50-100 miles may make sense in the city, and as a second car in the suburbs, but is doesn't make sense for 50+ mile commutes, and should you mess up on the distance estimate, or get lost, you're on the roadside dead. Plug-in hybrids are only marginally better. Case in point is the Chevy Volt versus the Chevy Cruze. They are both on the same basic chassis, but the Volt costs twice as much. A $21K Eco Cruze get 42 mpg vs the $42K Volt that runs on its batteries for 20 to 40 miles and then burns fuel averaging ~42 mph when doing so, and $21K buys a lot of gas. A simple, lighter hybrid Volt would only cost a few $k more than the Cruze, and get ~50 mph due to the weigh reduction.
Probably the only solution to CA is for the big boys to stop selling cars there. Mandating what type of car they have to make, and penalizing the manufacturer when they don't sell is absurd. The only solution that makes sense in CA and the rest of the US is to make good, reasonably priced, higher milage cars that perform well, and the polution problem and the high energy consumption problems go away.
It is supply and demand.. You cannot *make* someone want a fuel efficient car. Typical of the idiots in California, they want to *make* you purchase some not-yet-invented car, with some crazy expensive technology that only exists in a lab. People have to *want* one. If California wants efficiency so bad, tax the heck out of gasoline, like in Europe. People will either WANT a fuel efficient car, or willingly pay the taxes. When gasoline prices shot-up, people *wanted* a more fuel efficient car. People bought smaller cars, trucks and SUV's sat on the lot. The automakers build what people want to buy...duh!
Speaking of technology, lets look at the Fiat 500. A teeny-tiny car that contains some of the newest technology in gasoline engines that is not even used in many engines yet. Direct injection, MultiAir, 101HP, 1.4liter engine. Rated at 40 MPG Hwy, however, real life is under 40MPG w/manual trans. If the technology existed, it would certainly be used in Europe where fuel costs are several times the cost here. How to achieve 54 MPG?
Alot of hateful comments against domestic makers too. Everyone loves bashing them. This article was not directed only to the domestic makers. ALL automakers!!
Personally, I don't think EVs are the answer to a greener earth. Not currently. They require batteries that contain many more pollutants, electric motors are not yet that all efficient, and turning the country side into giant windmill farms is not my idea of beauty. Besides, the rest of the world drives tiny 5speed diesels and if they are starting there industrial age, they are probably polluting more than the US did in it's industrial age.
I think new EPA mandate only shoots the consumer in the foot and to loose American automakers would be a very sad day in our country's history.
The moajority of oil companies in the world are government owned and operated. Who's getting rich? Kings and Sultans? Our government has a sizeable tax on gasoline and even healthier one on propane. Propane was $0.65 one year and next year it climbs over a dollar to rest at its current price and nobody said a word.
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