I don't know if the new CAFE would get repealed under Romney, Rob, but I can say that there's a chance of it being dropped in 2018, no matter who the president is. The automakers supported this rule for two reasons: First, they knew they would have to deal with a separate set of similar laws in states like California, Massachusetts and New York. Second, they wouldn't have supported this rule if it didn't have an escape hatch, or "review period." The review period comes in 2018. If automakers can prove then that it will cost far more than was expected, they may be able to convince lawmakers to soften it or drop it.
It will be interesting to see what is considered a truck and what is considered a car, Chuck. Many of the SUVs are as large or larger than trucks. Either way, the mileage will certainly improve. I wonder if the CAFE standards would get repealed in a Romney administration. They probably would. Isn't that what happened last time?
I should add, Rob, that the vehicles which actually ARE trucks -- for example, the Chevy Silverado pickup -- will have to get 44% better mileage than today. So they will go from 18 to 26 mpg. That's less than the cars, which will need to be bumped up by 70%.
I think that's good news, Chuck. Last time around, the truck exclusion allowed the auto industry to shift its emphasis to getting people into minivans, SUVs and trucks -- all of which consumed more gas than cars even before the CAFE standard. What we've had since then is large vehicles that spend most of their time carting around single drivers.
Regardless of any particular political agenda, the US populous is "spoiled" with cheap gasoline. The true cost, as noted below, amounts to about twice the current average price. The domestic (North American) supply of oil has been increasing over the last four years and the demand has fallen - yet the price increases. People complain loudly and the government uses the only means it has available (rules and regulations) to respond. It's an imperfect system - but it does have the affect of focusing development effort. I fully expect that this is too ambitious a goal and the government will eventually have to backpedal, but we will ultimately end up with cars that make more efficient use of a gallon of gasoline.
Absolutely fascinating comments. I think the engineering community is ahead of the game in every respect! One of the biproducts of the 54.5 MPG mandate, I would hope, is improvement in public transportation. I commute 74 miles per day to and from work but if given the opportunity to "ride the bus" or take the train, I would do so in a heartbeat. I drive a Toyota Pre-runner, four cylinder truck that gets about 25 MPG even with 221,000 + miles. Fifteen gallon tank. Two days ago I paid $3.76 per gallon to fill up. I do not expect the cost of fuel to lessen as the years go by and yet I suspect most of that cost is dictated by taxes, state and federal. With this being said, we seem to be in a catch 22 situation with the consumer, as always, being left to "bite the bullet". To achieve the 54.5 mandate, significant changes will have to be made when considering present automotive designs. What we like may have to give way to what we have to accept as far as designs.
kenish - you are a genius. We'll call it a parental mandate and even add an incentive plan. "Mom's Cafe" offers a special treat on weekends if calorie quota and nutritional guidelines are met during the week...exceeding calorie quota will result in fines including but not limited to additional chores...
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