By on May 11, 2011

As the graph above [via NHTSA's latest CAFE data, in PDF here]  shows, passenger car fleet economy has actually leveled off after a brief spike in recent years. Possibly even more surprising is the fact that imports spent a portion of the last decade actually beating the imports in passenger car economy after a 20+ year slide in import CAFE performance [more long-term fuel economy charts here]. These trends illustrate that the sides in the emerging “Battle of 62 MPG” may not as easy to characterize as you might think… as does a new hint from NHTSA about the shape of future CAFE increases. According to the Detroit News, NHTSA is signaling that

it is researching the impact of raising fuel efficiency in the 2 percent to 7 percent annual range.

The agency said it has “tentatively concluded” that 7 percent annual increases is the maximum that is technically feasible.

Before it sets a requirement, NHTSA must take into account a number of factors, including the costs of the regulation and safety impacts.

NHTSA and the Environmental Protection Agency said previously they are working together on 3 percent to 6 percent annual increases.

The high end of that range would result in the much-discussed 62 MPG by 2025 standard, an achievement the government insists would only cost as much as $3,500 per vehicle. The industry points to cost estimates closer to $10,000 per vehicle for that level of CAFE increase. The battle continues…

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9 Comments on “Feds Call For 2%-7% Efficiency Improvements For 2017-2025...”

  • avatar

    “Possibly even more surprising is the fact that imports spent a portion of the last decade actually beating the imports in passenger car economy after a 20+ year slide….”

    Should that read “that domestics spent a portion of the last decade actually beating the imports”…?

  • avatar

    With MPG’s being the inverse of fuel consumption per mile, doesn’t it give misleading slopes to graphs plotting improvements in MPG and also make discussions about a percentage increase in MPG not accurate?

  • avatar

    Ed – the latest data is for 2010, is that model year? I ask because there have been many 2011 and 2012 models released have have significant fuel efficiency improvements (Elantra, Sonata, Cruze Eco, Focus SFE etc)

  • avatar

    More math?


    Did I ever mention my Hewlett-Packard 10B calculator purchased back around 1985 still has the original three Panasonic LR44 button batteries with nary a hint of corrosion and the death-defying unit starts and stops when activated/deactivated without a single hiccup after all these years?

    If not I shoulda’.

    In high school we all used slide rules.

    A most basic electronic calculator was well over 400 bucks in 1970 dollars and that was worth a heckuva lot more than 400 clams is worth nowadays.

    The future Silicon Valley was over the hill.

    I should bought a few thousand acres of the then common empty land but the paper route budget precluded that.

    Anybody playing with the above statistics yet?

    If so, you gotta’ use your own calculator.

    I don’t share mine with the possibly eternally-lasting batteries.

    Nyah nah nah nah nah.

  • avatar

    What is the penalty for non-compliance? If it is no different than today, then these higher efficiency targets are just going to mean a few hundred dollars “tax” per vehicle.

  • avatar

    The biggest losers in this game could be Chrysler and Ford (time for the EcoBoost to become what its name implies), and the biggest winner could be Hyundai, whose large vehicles don’t sell enough to hurt them.

    Maybe the much-lamented small pickup will make a comeback after all.

  • avatar

    Does the MPG drop in imports after 1980 coincide with the average weight/engine size of imports going up? I’m wondering if this reflects the mix of Hondas, Toyotas, VWs and such changing from smaller cars to somewhat larger cars. Just curious, I don’t have the data to validate.

  • avatar

    I’d love it if there were increased standards for commercial vehicles. The amount of soot and stink that is spewed out of these trucks is really out of hand. It would be a much more impactful change than focusing on non-commercial vehicles.

  • avatar

    Yes there is. Since 2007 emissions regs have been DPF forcing (deals with the “soot”) and earlier this year EPA announced a CO2 reg (when you see CO2 read fuel economy) which i believe takes effect 2015 or 2016

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