Over the last few days we’ve been discussing the implications of the growing gap between global oil demand and production, looking at the responses of a global automaker, a radical startup and the oil industry itself. And make no mistake, it’s an uncertain future out there… unless you’re selling cars in the US. In that case, your future just arrived, planned all the way through 2025. That is, if you think this proposed rule will survive four presidential elections and one industry-government “mid-term review.” Want to familiarize yourself with this pre-planned fuel economy future? All 893 pages await your perusal, in PDF format here. Or, hit the jump for a few broad strokes.
So, what does this mean for specific classes of cars? According to an EPA factsheet (PDF here), this is how cars in the year 2025 will have to perform:How about trucks?
Now that may seems scary, but you have to remember that these numbers are not comparable to the EPA’s “window sticker” numbers. For inexplicable reasons, probably having to do with the political benefits to both industry and politicians of making the number seem higher than it is, NHTSA’s CAFE fuel economy uses a different test than the EPA. Edmunds Autoobservercovered this issue well a few years back, but the upshot is that a 2025 full-size pickup will be required to get a window sticker of around 25 MPG combined, not 33 MPG. Still tough, but considering that full-sizers are getting over 20 MPG on the freeway already, this does not seem like a hill that can’t be climbed in a decade or so. Especially when you can slap a hybrid drivetrain in there and get a 20 grams of CO2 per mile credit.
Of course these standards will cost consumers. The EPA estimates that the proposed rule will add some $2,000 to the price of each vehicle on average, but insists
Those consumers who drive their MY 2025 vehicle for its entire lifetime will save, on average, $5200 to $66003 (7 and 3 percent discount rates, respectively) in fuel savings, for a net lifetime savings of $3000 to 44004 — assuming gasoline prices remain at essentially current levels. For those consumers who purchase their new MY 2025 vehicle with cash, the discounted fuel savings will offset the higher vehicle cost in less than 4 years, and fuel savings will continue for as long as the consumer owns the vehicle.
Of course if gas prices aren’t kind enough to “remain at essentially current levels,” those fuel savings could be wiped out… but then, if gas prices rise too precipitously, this entire rule could become moot. The future is notoriously resistant to our mortal plans…