It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Will the 54.5 MPG be the average an automaker needs to meet. Will they be able to produce a slew of tiny cars that get 65 MPG while continuing to make cars that get significantly less than 54.5 MPG? Also, I wonder what will be excluded. I know that trucks were excluded in the past, so everything started getting called a truck.
Yes, the 54.5 will be an average, Rob. But figuring out a company's Corporate Average Fuel Econmy (CAFE) rating is complicated because it's not only a matter of knowing how many models a company has and what their MPG ratings are. The final CAFE is weighted by sales, so an automaker is tasked not only with building them, but also finding a way to make consumers buy them.
I think the goals are admirable but how realistic is it for this type of consumer technology to be driven by a government mandate? From what I can tell, this is no simple task, with much to be considered in the development process besides the MPG...is their a structure in place to address the multitude issues that are sure to arise?
This will be interesting to see play out. I would guess that this regulation is only for cars. I love my F150 truck. I would love it more if it got 55 MPG instead of 15, but I am pretty sure that it is not really fesible. Also, would government vehicles be exempt? I would imagine that the armor laden presidential and other head of state limousines get no more than 12 MPG.
I agree Tim - I loved my 2005 Ford Sport Trac (also a truck) which matched your Ford F-150 for gas mileage, but at around 25 MPG for my Chevy Lumina - it is my drive of choice today. I miss my truck but am driven by practicality...and the cost of feeding two teenage boys! Maybe we should be looking at how to feed teenagers more cheaply instead? That would really help middle-class families!
2025 is thirteen years away -- or, in other words, seven Congresses and four Presidential elections away. A lot can happen in that time (politically, technologically, and otherwise), so this announcement doesn't necessarily mean very much.
I'd pay a lot more attention to the 35.5 mpg standard that takes effect in 2016; that's just four years away.
When I bought my Chevy Cobalt in 2006, it was supposed to be a big deal because it got more than 30 mpg. (It actually gets about 35 mpg this time of year). Now many new cars in the same class get more than 40 mpg.
Of course, not everyone likes the same kind of cars I like. I learned how to drive in a 1990 Ford Festiva. Compared to that, the Cobalt feels roomy.
Don't worry, to cut teenagers calorie consumption by the year 2025. The Almighty Magical Mandate Magician has a plan. He will simply wave his crooked magic wand (the one bestowed upon his Excellency by a Kenyan voodoo priest in wet dream land) and utter a few twisted words from his special teleprompter and pooooooofffffffffffffffffff. Now teenagers only require 200 calories a day. What a crock! This genius needs to take a few physic classes.
Mr. 50 Caliber it appears you have a stuttering problem but I would like to remind you that in 1981 the VW diesil Rabbit got 55 MPG. This is, if anyting, an anemic goal and we should be setting the standard far higher.
I would just like to mention a story about the 4 minute mile. People used to think that a man could never run a 4 minute mile. It wasn't until 1 guy did it, that now over 1000 have done it. If we set our standard too low, we will never acheive greatness, go ahead... set the bar high and stop being afraid of the unkown, grab and claw at it until you get there. If the readers of this forum can't do it, no one can.
Just reread your post 50 Caliber - Since you incorporated my post in your response, I feel some responsibility and wanted to comment that regardless of personal political views, I think the post is a bit strong for this type of forum. I apologize if my response offends you, but I believe in respectfully expressing opinions, even though we may feel strongly about it.
There IS another approach other than a federally-mandated CAFE, and it is the european approach....tax the bejesus out of gasoline at the pump, and let the market decide how efficient of cars they want to buy. It has worked for them in driving the available auto fleet towards smaller body, smaller engine, heavily diesel powered autos. Plus the taxes levied can go directly to the federal fund to potentially reduce other tax burdens. In that scenario the choice of cars IS truly market-driven. It IS the most equitable solution, i.e. drive more miles, drive a fuel hog, pay more $$$$, your choice of cars is not federally mandated.
Adding taxes to the cost of gasoline is probably the best way to increase MPG. Then car designs, and MPG, will be market driven. To avoid serious economic implact, the taxes should be raised slowly and with advance warning. One problem is the ripple effect that increased gas (and diesel) cost has on the economy. For instance, shipping costs going up impacts the cost of everything. It would be necessary to avoid that ripple effect for legitimate business transportation. It is almost always worse to create change through regulation rather than through market forces. When government gives rebates for buying specific technologies (like electric vehicles) they are choosing for us rather than letting us choose what we like.
Energy efficiency has to be improved. The greenhouse effect is real and CO2 has to be reduced. This will result in big changes. We shouldn't complain about it, we should view this as an opportunity. Energy in all its forms will be more expensive, but if the money is spent here and not sent to the middle east, then at least it will help our economy and our country. This is going to be a heck of a business opportunity.
"Adding taxes to the cost of gasoline is probably the best way to increase MPG."
It's the only way. Otherwise, everyone will simply drive something that's exempt, or hang on to their old gas guzzlers. If not forced by economics, the American public will NOT voluntarily give up their gas guzzling land yachts. They didn't do so in the 70's, and they won't do it now.
I know another way. Mandate a limit for mpg on the highway. Gas guzzlers will have to cruise the interstate at 45 mph to meet the mandate, and small, fuel efficient cars and motorcycles will be allowed to travel 80 mph. Appeal to people's sense of urgency in having to get there NOW. Of course, enforcing this would be impossible, but it's an interesting concept.
OMG...!!!! You people just do not get it!! Why pussy-foot around; just tax gasloine to $10/gal. RIGHT NOW!..... Thinkl of all the money the government will reap... oh wait.... no one except the super rich will be able to even afford to drive at all... so, guess what?...revenues plummet. What's left of this economy will crash and burn, guaranteed.
I do not accept the premise that tax policy should be used to alter behavior (however, I know that IS exactly what it is constantly used for...). This is not economics at work, it is government coersion. It is sad and maddening to see so many seemingly intellegent people in this forum, are so willing to succumb to this, and think this is such a wonderful idea.
Oh, and one last thing...... CO2 IS PLANT FOOD! 54.5 mpg will not save the planet, anymore than 25 mpg will kill us all. Another premise that needs some serious and HONEST reexamination....
All policy is meant to define "correct" behavior or to alter "incorrect" behavior. To drive the point home you can either use the carrot or the stick. A tax is the stick. A rebate or tax deduction could be used as the carrot.
Isn't it too bad we get whipped with more stick and rarely get more carrots.
To David Worsey on the emissions issue read up on "The Gasoline Diesel" in Mechanical Engineering magazine this month. This new technology decreases NOx emissions because it lowers combustion temp. I guess that is why they call it Low Temperature Combustion.
Carrots and sticks...interesting analogy. Problem is, if the government starts handing out carrots to entice behavior, where do the carrots come from? Yep, it comes from where all government money comes from....taxes. It sounds better to use a carrot, but in effect it is the same, financially speaking, as the stick. And the stick has the advantage of being weilded directly on those whose behavior they want to change, where the carrot is often subsidized by those whose behavior has nothing to do with the issue at hand.
If you really want to live life with your glass half empty, then your are correct that everything is a tax in essence. Still, from a negative perspective, if one person gets a rebate by buying new car with high MPG, and another pays more gas tax because he chooses to continue to drive a 2002 Hummer, then that works. It is shiftling the money around according to your choice to conitnue the problem or contribute to improvement, even though the total cost will be the same.
There will always be some method of raising funds for the government. The cop gives out traffic tickets to pay for his job. The US International Trade Commission collects tariffs on imports. The IRS collects income tax with the largest portion going to US Defense. There is no free lunch. All services are paid for at some point. To me, user taxes make the most sense. What I really get mad about, is money that was taken for one purpose, and is spent on something completly unrelated.
I am not afraid or unwilling to pay taxes. I am afraid of my taxes being hijacked. Taxes, and rebates, need to have a well defined purpose to which they are solely dedicated. That is how to use the carrot and the stick.
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...
Do you know if this include trucks, Chuck? It's my understanding that earlier CAFE standards did not include trucks, so the car makers called minivans and SUVs trucks to exclude them from the standard.
I'm an American and I do not want to purchase a small, underpowered, less safe vehicle.
Sure, I'd like my vehicles to get better mileage, but I think that it should be market driven, instead of government imposed. I too hate seeing the amount of debt incurred for enviro-friendly projects which simply aren't effective. For the money, we should be investing in modern nuclear power instead of obtrusive windmills and partially productive solar power.
As another poster indicated, a big increase in mileage would be a huge market advantage for a car builder.
I lived through the EPA/CAFE influenced, crappy era of mid-1970s through mid-1980s American cars, and don't want to experience that again. :)
It's all a game... the whole "Sport Utility Vehicle" was a thinly veiled disguise to put everything on a truck chassis... hence excluding it from regulations... then you market an ever-more obese consumer market with the notion that driving to the supermarket is a Sporting adventure deserving a Sport Utility Vehicle... problematic regulation skirted.
The 54.5 mpg average pertains to cars and light trucks, Rob. But the rules call for cars to get 5% better each year, whereas trucks only need to go up 3.5% per year. The bottom line, though, is that automakers must have an across-the-board average (light trucks included) of 54.5 mpg by 2025.
I'm wondering what genius/lawyer/bureaucrat in D.C. was able to calculate the 55.5 number. why not 54 or 56 or 88. Hell why not go for 180 mpg if your pulling numbers out of your a**. The reason cars cost so much now is all of the mandates they have put on over the years.
I can't figure out how I ever lived through childhood riding in my families 55 Chev. No seat belts, no electronic tire inflation transmitters, no engine control modules; only steel dash boards to give me brain damage and non rubberized knobs on radios to gouge my eyes out if I was too stupid to pay attention.
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.
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%.
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 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.
Personally, I feel that the overall goal is weak, I'm sure it involved compromise on the numbers, which could even be higher. I am glad that Obama had the foresight to have a substantial part of the goal happen within his next Presidency. If he is in office, that will ensure that the automobile industry steps up and makes it happen (at least the 2016 goal), instead of throwing (wasting) millions of dollars to fight the law (I'm sure they will anyway). It's akin to the billionaires that are throwing countless millions into Romneys campaign to fight for tax breaks they obviously don't need. If these companies and billionaires would, instead of wasting money tricking the public, just hired more people and gave raises to the people that deserve it, the economy would fix itself. It is this greed that will continue to plague this country, and the same greed that will fight this 54.5mpg standard. You will, through the day see many come to this blog and give a thousand reasons why we can't make this goal. My word to them is, stop making excuses, and spend that time and energy in your office figuring out how to make it happen, instead of spending the next decade fighting about how it is not possible. We are humans, and engineers, and Americans. Let the politicians do what they do, and lets stop making excuses and design some stuff.
akwaman, I tend to agree with you. As I have written on this site before, the automobile companies have been wasting their time getting more power out of the same size engine rather than making smaller (and more fuel efficient engines) that get the same power. I expect the near term goal is in reach already in reach with technologies we already have.
The big problem with Detroit is the automobile press. They seem to think that everyone is planning to race their vehicles on the road. I remember when the Porsche Boxster was reintroduced. One of the complaints was that the engine was not powerful enough to take full advantage of the chasis. What the.... Who cares?! But there is was, and the car suffered in the opinion of potential purchasers. It was, of course, a silly thing to say. If your goal is to go as fast as possible, then buy a Carrera Turbo. I know that this example is not a Detroit product, but it is typical of what is often said in the traditional automotive press. Of course, then when the price of gasoline spikes up who benefits? The foreign car makers, becuase they live in an environment where gasoline has always been much more expensive. Then the drivers of pick-ups complain that gas costs too much. While some might need the trcuks, there are many who drive them who do not.
An automobile is a long term purchase. Americans buy the big, inefficient vehicles (SUVs and pick-ups) when gas is cheap. Then they are stuck with those vehicles when gas gets expensive. At the same time, we all bemoan all the wars and other problems we have in the oil producing regions. I think that this makes it a legitimate concern of the Federal government (which I tend to like to see limited). Considering Detroits recent financial performance, I think we would be silly to listen to them on these matters. What do you think?
Why would the automotive press want to discuss mediocrity? I'm not even sure the writers have enough creative writing skills to make eco cars sound interesting.
Also, the writers seem like they are in over their heads when they start talking actual technology. The advances in hybrids and EVs almost require some basic engineering knowledge to be discussed intelligently. It could also be that they feel the average reader wouldn't understand the complexities.
Performance is what has always been heralded. It is what people understand and want (US anyway). But people have to temper their desires based on practical reasons like purchase price and operational costs. If Detroit were to come out with a muscle car or 3/4 ton truck that got 40+ mpg and sold for around the $20K price point, they would not be able to make them fast enough.
When you need votes, you make silly mandates so you can say "look what I did".
When you make silly mandates, big companies and engineers go nuts.
When big companies and engineers go nuts, they design really cool things no one wants or could afford if they did want it.
Don't design really cool things no one wants or could afford if they did want it,...
...give money (significantly less than companies/engineers would spend) to engineering programs at universities and let them develop partial or complete solutions toward an end goal. Let them figure out what's feasible before jumping off the cliff.
I agree whole heartedly with (modestly) funding basic research. Let the schools uncover the technology drivers and the private sector will use their market based, profit motive to exploit and develop something useful with it.
Plus, the next generation of engineers come to work grounded in the new tech.
Watashi... your quote "the next generation of engineers come to work grounded in the new tech" ... Typical answer from someone who doesn't really want anything to happen. Let's pass the buck to the younger generation so we don't have to take responsibility. Weak. I guess you either aren't an engineer, or aren't a very good one.
I agree with your observation regarding automobile manufacturers getting more power out of the same size engines rather than looking for more efficiency at the same power levels.
I suspect that is in part related to the increased heft in same "sized" cars. I had a 1992 Honda Civic that got on average, 38 MPG. The Honda Civic today is just approaching that MPG figure and is producing about 40 more HP. it also weighs about 380 lbs more than my car.
Because we seem to need all sorts of "tools" in the drivers seat these days which distract us we also need a bunch of safety gear to keep us alive. Airbags that deploy from all directions, collision avoidance sensors and others add weight. I won't even get into the necessity of automated parking.
Just thought I would throw in an observation I have made regarding smaller high output engines and mpg. The cases I'm thinking about are primarily turbo 4 or 6 to replace NA 6 or 8, but some times a high rpm 4 to substitue for a 6.
Generally this does give a higher EPA number than the larger engine. However in road test data (I read many, online/paper, car mags to CR) this does not typically pan out. I have not spreadsheet the data, but my observation is that on the road, back-to-back, same drivers etc., the mpg of similar vehicles (purpose, mass, drive train-that is 2wd or 4wd) with similar horsepower does not vary greatly. It is not uncommon for the smaller turbo to get poorer mpg.
I suspect the problem is that the EPA cycle has a very low demand on acceleration (I've heard) and it may rarely invoke the boost on a turbo engine (or high rpm in the applicable cases). In the real world people do use the capability of the turbo engine and the amount of fuel-air mixture processed by the engine is similar (same amount compressed into the smaller combustion chamber) to that of the larger NA engine.
I would have to agree with you based on both anecdotal and spec sheet comparisons. A friend has a 2010 VW Tiguan and I drive, on most occasions, a 2006 Kia Sedona. Although he has a heavier foot than I do and drives on city streets more often our average MPG is about the same. I know this is not exactly laboratory testing but the results were surprising.
When you compare the relative spec sheets your observation seems to continue to hold true. At almost 1000 pounds heavier, I am a little surprised at the EPA numbers.
I agree with akwaman; I think this subject is spoon-feeding the trolls like baby birds. And I also concur that the 4 year goal is a lot more interesting than 13 years away. I still think need and efficiency should drive the product more than federal mandate. No, momma bird, I am full now. Brrrp.
You can call a healthy, even heated debate over the wisdom of federal policy that severly impacts every Americans lifestyle and well-being "trolling", but it still needs to be discussed. Don't try to minimize the relevancy of this mandate by applying taglines with negative connotations.
MPG legislation aside I think you need to look closer at some of the things you comment on politically.
Look at Romney's actual tax plan. It proposes tax cuts for everybody.
Obama's policies are raising taxes (see the ACA aka Obamacare) on everybody. His energy policies raises the cost of energy which hits the poor and middle class harder than the rich (gasp, say it isn't so). Numerous buisnessmen (large and small) have noted that the extra costs of this administrations policies & regulations are preventing them from investing and hiring-the risks are currently unacceptable. BLeating about greed being the problem only demonstrates your economic ignorance.
This is the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression. It is also the first one since that debacle that saw the government try significant Keynsian style intervention in the recovery (stimulus, yes I agree Bush assisted in that).
The massive overspending also has contributed to disaterous recovery.
Yes we can meet these standards-but it will not be a snap. Any company that can achieve a big jump in mpg quickly would do it in a heartbeat even at enourmas cost, what a competitive advantage it would be.
Thank you , Bunter...... I was starting to get depressed again with the last few moronic , cliche'-ridden posts. The best start to truly solving this massive and profound problem, will begin about 70 days from now.
No one would argue against having goals to improve the efficiency and MPG of motor vehicles. However, they must be realistic and achievable; what I see from this gang of leftists, statists, and big government nannies is an arrogance that ignores reality and seeks to control every aspect of life. That aside, the forcing of technology, which is largely what we see at work I believe results in diverting resources away from other more practical efforts, and focuses on technologies that are simply "not yet ready for prime-time"... (e.g. the Chevy Volt).
The title of the post "still not good enough" , really does say it all. For the leftist/socialist nitwits, it will NEVER BE ENOUGH.... no matter whether it is MPG goals, or raising your taxes. What I say is "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH".
Off topic, but someone needs a clue... Romney says he will lower taxes for all, but it's a lie, because it is not possible to do so without crushing the economy. If you believe that Romney will lower your taxes, you are fooling yourself. Also, misinformed person, (Bunter) Obama is not raising taxes on any households making less than 250,000/yr, the Heath Reform plan (not Obamacare) will not affect EVERYBODY as those who only listen to FOX believe, and even though our conservative biased Supreme Court ruled it as a tax legally, it is not a tax, or it would affect everyone. If you already have health insurance, it does not affect you. Funny how the conservatives cry about how poor people are putting a drain on society, yet a bill that helps to insure that the uninsured get insured is bad? The Republican party is playing a game that is contradictory. The real opposition to the Health Care Reform bill, is that they call it Obama care, and we know that Republican politicians oppose EVERYTHING Obama does, period, whether it makes sense or not (they say this publicly... so don't deny it). It is this kind of irresponsible governing that has eroded any respect I have for the Republican party. The conservative way of doing politics didn't work with Bush, it backfired horribly and left the country in a lurch. Are we ready to let Mitt come in with the same idea and screw it up worse?
The standard is a goal. A goal is a goal. It may be acheivable, it may not. If goals were set as "sure things", what is the point? The new standard is meant to push us. The truth is that if it is not acheivable, whoever is President at the time, (won't be Romney or Obama by then), will have to decide to revise the standard to a new standard as long as industry shows that it made a decent effort. I think the goal is plenty good enough, primarily because the comments I see posted show that many of us are unsure if this is possible.
On the real side, not political, we all know, standard Diesels like Volkswagen's TDI had been getting 50 to 60 MPG for a while. Then the crackdown on emissions took the smallest standard Diesel off the market in many states because of high emissions. The new genration of clean Diesels does not acheive 50 MPG due to emissions control losses in efficiency.
There is a great article in Mechanical Engineering magazine, September 2012 issue, called "The Gasoline Diesel".The article by Steve Ciatti of the Argonne National Laboratory's Transportation Technology Center discusses a new combination of engine technologies which uses low octane (80 to 85) gasoline called a Multizone Stratified Compression Ignition (MSCI) engine. This is actually a project which is partnered with Shell Oil. The benefits are great in both efficeincy gained and emissions reduced. This is done thru the method of Low Temperature Compression (LTC) But it doesn't stop there. Because the octance needed is so low, it can reduce the cost to refine oil to the lesser grade. And still better, the simplification in design of a compression ignition engine over a spark ignition engine can reduce engine cost as well.
I look at this technology and see a real possiblility that it can yield cars with MPG ratings above the 55 MPG range. Especially if we combine that with the electric power in a new generation of hybrids.
Ah yes, Romney is responsible for what you believe he will do, not what he says.
But Obama get's credit for what you believe he meant to do, not what he did.
BO's fiscal policy is not a change from Bush, it is Bush on heroin. Bush was hardly a fiscal conservative. Overspending was bad (as Senator Obama noted), spending like an insane man is hardly the cure.
BTW, the housing crisis, and by extention the recession, was the result of policies starting in the 70s and accelerated in the 90s.
First off, this mileage decree was not enacted in a legal fashion. BHO cannot sign a executive order, basically a memo. that changes federal law, it needs to be passed by congress. This is just one more example of BHO abusing his authority via presidential fiat, and needs to be challenged by the leadership in Congress, perhaps via impeachment proceedings. Time for Boehner to grow a spine.
Secondly, the only way to meet these standards will be by making vehicles that are 1) unsafe, through size reduction and material lightening and 2) undesirable due to range restrictions (see Volt), size limitations and lack of performance.
If high mileage is such a laudable goal, let the market drive the movement toward higher MPG vehicles, not federal mandate. Does anyone in this country still understand the notion of Liberty, or are you all so anxious to turn over your decision making to the federal government?
I think it's funny when today's auto makers tout their 30 -32 MPG on TV adds. Back in 1999 we bought a Saturn SL-2, it had the big 4 cyclinder engine and a 5 speed manual transmission. We had the car until we practically ran the wheels off of it. (Over 200 K miles) It consistantly got over 30 MPG and we saw some times when it got as high as 36-7 MPG and we weren't loligaging around. I usually drive at speed limit +. Of course, GM decided to kill off the Saturn line!!
We did notice one problem though, as we got older it got harder and harder to get in and out of it. It the rush to make smaller more fuel efficent vehicles, I hope the manufacturers as they push toward the 54.5 MPG hurtle remember people have to be able to get into and out of them and sit comfortably. Not everybody only drives 10 -15 miles one way to work or visit relatives, etc.
As for EVs, nice idea but a bit of a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) technology as far as I am concerned. The EV owners buy one and feel "oh so good" 'cause they are not poluting THEIR air. The reality is, they have just moved THEIR polution to the backyard of the nearest electric power source, be it coal or oil fired generators, atomic or wind farms, etc. All of them have some negative impact on the environment and eco system somewhere!! You pays your money and you takes your choice!!
Whether 54.5 MPG is achieveable remains to be seen. What compromises are you willing to make??
Funny that a person touting the name "Common_Sense" doesn't use it. To Davek3gau, you fail to realize, that our eletricity (% depending on where you live) from the electric company is not all from coal. Do some research into your local power company (they probably send you a newsletter every month) and find out how much coal is actually used. Here in Florida, we get our energy from many clean and renewable sources, wind, solar, nuclear, natural gas... as a matter of fact, we get less than 6% of our power from coal. The largest source is natural gas. Florida is a leader in clean and renewable energy, a good example for the rest of the country. Please check your facts before spewing nonsense, or take your misinformation elsewhere, this is an engineering site and is read by people who know how to do research. To compare the environmental impact of wind and solar to that of coal and oil is ludacris.
Maybe in Florida that's the case, but we all don't live in Florida. Ever consider that Florida is closer to the source of much of the natural gas produced in this country? It would be expensive to rail all the coal down to you. In other areas of the country, coal is much closer to home and natural gas much further away although cheap gas is pushing pipelines ever further. Still, much of the electricity is this country is still produced from coal, in 2009 it was about 45%. Don't let your biases get in the way of facts.
J Williams: I apologize if you misunderstood my point, I was referring to another reader that did not seem to get the point that you mention. I also said to check you own local company, because everywhere IS different as you point out. There is no bias here. BTW: I am not a proponent of natural gas either, but that is what my company uses mainly for power, it is different elsewhere.
This is the same kind of "if we mandate it, it will come" thinking that led GM to pour millions into the EV1 in the 1990's, in response to the CA Air Resources Board mandate for fleet percentages of zero-emission vehicles ... while all but ignoring the more practical but non-ZEV hybrid approach.
The end result: Toyota takes the hybrid market, GM ends up giving away glorified golf carts to meet what's left of that mandate.
Ideology and wishful thinking does not trump physics and economics ... but it does create incentives to create politically-correct black holes into which the attention and resources of innovators are drawn ... at the expense of innovation that DOES respect physics and economics, and would actually produce solutions that will work over the long term.
This is kind of like the idea that we can keep borrowing 1.2 Trillion $$ every year to have money to waste on wind mills, it is stupid, it is unrealistic, it is not sustainable. The market has a wonderful way of working out what makes sense. 300 million little computers working away instead of one that is still operating on DOS. This is nothing but another environmentalist wet dream. While we are at it why stop at 55 mpg, just make it 300 mpg and we can save that much more oil. The cars will have to have pedals on them and only carry one person so they couldn't be that expensive, could they? We are living in an insane asylum, the crazies don't know they are crazy.
To think - I wasted all those years in school, work, and all that time on research projects to devolop new things; when all I had to do was mandate new technology. I could have saved countless dollars, blood, sweat, and tears.
Why didn't they just teach this in school?
Oh wait - I went to the college of engineering. If I had dropped 80 IQ points and hung across campus with the humanities/Poly Sci losers; I would have know.
There is a lot of useful engine technology out there that has been rejected out of hand by our bureaucratic industrial system. No one wants to stick their neck out again and commit another "Wankel". But, maybe now there will be money available to get a little bolder.
I agree, instead of spending millions fighting the regulations, companies should have long ago spent the money to improve their products to a point to where no regulations are needed.
Every time the federal government gets involved we lose. I just got the news that, even though my health is very good, under the new Obamacare rules, my health insurance rate will double next year which will cost me more than my morgage and provide way less coverage and will have higher deductibles. The smart move is to drop the coverage and just pay the penalty so I can support the freeloaders. Besides that, who wants to live a long time in a communist country anyway?
The cars will go the same way. They'll make it mandatory to drive these unsafe tiny vehicles that will be priced tripple what something sensible would cost. Truck licensing will require a "justification" that must be approved by a politically motivated committee of liberal pinheads.
Too many U.S. drivers want acceleration more than they want fuel economy. Here in Tucson, there are so many traffic lights and relatively low speed limits that burdening a vehicle with a gas-hungry engines is simply pandering to acceleration junkies who want to feel the thrill of accelerating to the next light. There are a few vehicles that have a hp/weight ratio that still gives a feeling of performance AND mpg in excess of 30, but are they safe enough? Light-weight cars only risk life and limb when tangling with a monster in a crash. Frankly the 54.5 mpg standard seems a technical stretch. Today only very small cars, motorcycles and hybrids don't average that much. Nevertheless, I have hope that changing motor technology will improve mpg. I only hope it doesn't drive the cost of new cars embodying such technology to the moon (or Mars) as it has with hybrids and EV's. I wonder if 54.5 is our preparation for gas costing $8/gal.
It is a stretch, no doubt about that. But the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, Law of Conservation of Energy and other trifling things are of no concern to the President and his administration. The goal is attainable if you are willing to sacrifice safety, economics, convenience, and utility. Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, . . . .
And J Wiliams, I've had 4 years of college physics and a masters in engineering and you sir are wrong on all counts. A diesil-electric hybrid can easily achieve these goals now and give you more acceleration than you can possibly use even in a drag race. Wake up and smell the roses you've been out in the Obama hating swamp too long.
Yep, There are several ways of getting there but weight reduction will be important to all of them. I'm just happy the discussion has not centered around the idiotic idea that safty is tied to big & heavy. Safety can be achieved through other means (intelligent hiway, crash avoiding sensors, etc) OK, I;m biased, I love lightweight cars.
If impact safety is the number one consideration and we can't get around it by better sensor technology, autopilot, impact adsorbing frames, elimination of alcohol and cell phones drivers (and passengers), and well, the list is long. The alternative would be a weight race where people would get heavier and heavier vehicles. The model progression might go like this: sport, coup, sedan, wagon, SUV, H2, RV, Monster Truck, BUS, 10 wheel dump truck, 18 wheeler timber hauling truck. Clearly an 18 wheeler timber hauling truck, loaded or not, will make a sports car dissapear in a collision with little damage to the truck. Clearly this race has limits such as garage space, ease of parking, manuverability, cost, appearance, and looking like a jerk. In my neighbor a man bought a H2 and became a jerk in the eyes of everyone in the neighborhood including his wife.
Herr Feierbach: I defer to your almighty qualifications. My goodness I didn't realize how wrong I could be. I guess the Second Law of Thermodynamics plays no part in the Carnot cycle. And who would have thought the Law of Conservation of Energy could possibly play a role? I will just sit down and shut up and let legions of bureaucrats run roughshod over the Constitution and the citizens of this country. How dare us exercise our First Amendment rights?
Herr Feierbach: You do understand this fiat is for an AVERAGE of 54.5 MPG, ja? That means there will have to be significant numbers vehicles with MPG much higher than 54.5 so we can still have vehicles to do useful things than simply transport one or two people from point A to point B? By the way, I regularly drive a vehicle that gets 65 MPG. I also have some vehicles that get mileage in the low teens around town. Different vehicles for different reasons. I don't use my Suburban or F-150 to commute to work for obvious reasons. What ticks me off is some politician who will effectively restrict my choices in vehicles due to an arbitrary mark on the wall. Our country was founded on the concept of liberty. When someone tries to erode our liberties, I will do everything I can to help preserve them.
It would seem to me that rather than mandate fuel economy standards and require manufacturers to meet new guidelines with possibly expensive solutions, we should more fully open our markets to manufacturers and that have been faced with high-priced fuel markets for years.
During the oil crisis of the '70s, the Japanese introduced our market to affordable and even sporty cars that got great fuel mileage and were of high enough quality that many are still on the road today.
So why don't we have access to the full portfolio of International vehicles (some manufactured by US companies) that are getting 40+ MPG today? There were emission and safety regulation differences in the '70s and 80's that restricted access to European vehicles for instance, but I don't believe that those are impediments now. In fact I believe that the EU requirements on emissions are much more stringent than ours and are tied to fuel economy requirements which outpace US CAFE requirements through 2020.
We save US manufacturers the cost of reinventing the wheel for the local market and we let consumers define how they want to balance power, efficiency, and cost by choosing from a more complete international menu of driving options.
If the aim is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and reduce emissions then the government might consider taxing fuel to reach that goal. Incentives are not always positive but the right ones are effective.
I am David Wofsey, the inventor of the Sonic Spark Plug, US Pat 5,610,470. Todays present objective in the Automobile Market is Gas Mileage that I am continually quized. Unfortuneately, very few people, including government, and industry understand combustion in the automotive cylinder. Therefore, an Oportunist Market has developed. The major problem is to extensively increase mileage, energy is developed by the splitting of the Nitrogen Molecule through the process of Lean Burn. Mainly, Turbo Chargers, Computor Chips, and resetting of the Oxygen Sensor Reference. Combustion in the automotive closed cylinder is Ozone with the translation of Oxygen to a higher energy level resuting from increase of temperature and pressure. The Automotive Engine would not function if this translation did not take place.. When Ozone reacts with a split Nitrogen Molecule, 226,000 calories per mole are released, and the NOX product, NO3 which is the Nitrogen Ion that is chemically active, and could form Nitric Acid. In its release to the atmosphere, it can effect the Hemoglobin of the Blood in high concentration.
My major concern is the effect on Photosynthesis. There are two Potosynthesis Cell Centers. System II breaks the water molecule to release Oxygen. Also, Hydrogen Ions are carried over to System I to capture Carbon-di-Oxide through its Somatoes to be processed by the RuBisCO Enzymes for the formation of starches, sugars, protiens, fruits, and etc. The Stomatoes of the leaves are controled by Guard Cells that are sensitive to environmental stimuli: temperature, humidity, and pollutants. Carbnon-di-Oxide is the basic food of plants, and trees.
In our quest for 54.5 MPG, are we risking damage to the Agricultural System?
Interesting, Everyone argues if this is good or not. No one asks how can Obama assume the power to designate this standard. Not one of our elected Senate or Congressional Rep. voted for or against it. Transformation complete! Welcome to the United Socialized States and thank you for complying.
54.5 is the top, not the average. The required MPG rating is based on the vehicles footprint. (look it up if you don't believe me)
Now think about it. Make the vehicle bigger, and your MPG requirements decrease.
BRILLIANT. So they've just mandated that vehicles increase in size - again.
Earlier CAFE standards birthed the sport truck and FUV (aka: SUV).
Now if I really wanted to save the planet by using less fuel (and dastardly CO2), I have to risk my life in a sea of larger and larger yahoos talking on their cell phones, texting, and watching their 17" screens while driving in their monster-mobiles.
Govment is, , , - yeah we need another change fer sure.
I offer the fact that it is difficult to force people to purchase cars that they don't like and don't want. Also, it will be quite a challenge to make people drive cars that don't provide any of the comforts and conveniences that they are used to.
I really don't think that the auto companies are stupid, not at all. They do market research, and try to provide the cars that people will want to buy. Sometimes they are a bit behind the curve, when fads change to rapidly, but mostly they deliver what people want, or fairly close to it.
The problem seems to be that the 55MPG car does not seem to be the sort of vehicle that most folks would choose, unless it winds up also costing a lot less. I might buy a very small car with much less power and performance if it were a lot cheaper than a normal car, but I absolutely refuse to consider buying one for the same price as my current vehicle, which is comfortable and reasonably fuel efficient. So the real challenge will be to find a way to force people to drive cars that they don't want to drive, or even purchase, without appearing to be taking away their freedoms.
Of course, if there were some compromises made on some of the other mandatory feature that we have now, the cost could be less. but I don't see any willingness to compromise on any of the current mandates.
You have thoroughly read Article I of the Constitution.
You also need to read Article II of the Constitution.
The EPA and DOT are part of the executive branch and are therefore "managed" by the President. This isn't the first President to set CAFE standards and he won't be the last. This has been going on since President Nixon dealt with the original Arab Oil Crisis in 1973. The Congress voted to create the EPA and DOT. After that, the President's job is to determine executive policy.
Most of the commentary on this article does "cost payoff" analysis by assuming the price of gas is around $4-$5/gallon. Unofortunately this is a taking very constrained view. (When engineers learn to solve problems in school, are they ever taught to "look at the whole system?") The US imports around 600 to 800 million barrels of oil annually from the Persian Gulf. That works out to 2.5 x 10^10 gallons/year. Much of our Defense Dept budget goes to guaranteeing access to this oil. So, let's suppose that we moved half of the DOD budget from the income tax to the gas tax. That works out to raising $3 x 10^11 /year via the gas tax. In addition, let's put the $1 Trillion (1 x 10^12) cost of the Second Iraq War onto the gas tax, paying the war off in 10 years. That adds another $1x10^11/yr that needs to be raised to pay for our gasoline. In other words, to tax individuals according to benefits received, the Federal gas tax should raise $4 x 10^11/year. Annual gasoline consumption in the US is around 1.3 x 10^11 gal/year. So, the cost-benefit discussions should be using a price of around $7-$8/gallon, not $4-$5/gallon.
Even $7-$8 is too cheap when you consider that we're at global Peak Oil.
For what it's worth, a couple of years ago I worked on a project to turn a standard 18-wheeler into a full hybrid. Fuel economy improved by 30% in city driving, with a payoff time of around 5 years. In grad school (1975-1976) I worked to convert a Ford Pinto into a "flywheel" hybrid. It got 57 mpg on an EPA city cycle. (I'm glad that today's hybrids use batteries instead of flywheels!) So this newly announced fuel standard is quite achievable, and will provide a nice payoff if we can reduce our dependence on Persian Gulf oil.
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.
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.
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