By on August 29, 2012

Fuel economy standards for the year 2025 have now been set, as the government released the finalized CAFE regulations, in a massive tome totaling 1,994 pages in PDF form

The full document is available here. I’d be lying if I said I had come anywhere close to completing it…think of the longest novel you’ve ever read and extract all the amazing prose, gripping scenes and moving themes, and that’s basically the CAFE regulation, with another 1,000 pages thrown on top of that. Anyone who has taken a peak is more than welcome to comment. In the mean time, I’ll be in my study…

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

91 Comments on “CAFE Standards For 2025 Released, Totaling 1,994 Pages...”


  • avatar
    raded

    Cliff notes: more small, complicated engines with turbos. Also 3 cylinder engines.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      I’m thinking almost universal use of hybrid technology.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        I hoping for a final say on diesel myself.

      • 0 avatar
        raded

        Would love to see an increased use of diesel. With highway-heavy commuting, hybrids are silly and diesels are underutilized.

        With super-efficient NA engines barely getting 40mpg on compact cars, I just don’t understand how the mpg numbers are going to keep going up without a heavy reliance on electric technology which I doubt will be good enough for mainstream use by 2025.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “With highway-heavy commuting”

        Is this really true of commuters? You may do 90% of your commute on Georgia 400, the LIE or the 405 and it’s all highway. But, you’ll be making a lot of use of regenerative braking.

        I guess I’d be interested to hear the breakdown of folks who are doing smooth sailing 65mph commutes vs those spending most of their highway commute in stop and go.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Diesel isn’t the answer because the world is already using it all and idiotic environmental regulations are forcing shipping to switch to using it. A barrel of oil isn’t completely homogeneous. Crude oil separates itself by gravity. Various gravities of crude produce various grades of fuels. When we refine oil in the US, we export our extra diesel to nations where diesel is subsidized. Those same nations ship us their extra refined gasoline. If cretins didn’t manipulate markets, we could spare the planet the cost of shipping different fuel grades around. Europeans could have as many gasoline powered cars as needed to burn their gas and we could have as many diesels as needed to burn the diesel that our oil refining produces. Unfortunately, monsters think they’re smarter than reality, or they’re just having fun until they achieve the real population reductions they’ve agreed to under the UN’s Agenda 21.

      • 0 avatar

        In other words: the pussification of American automobiles.

        I remember the days when the luxury symbol on the back of a car wasn’t a “V6″ badge.

        The government is out of control,ridiculous and ever trying to justify it’s growing size with more legislation that stifles the economy and hurts businesses. These ridiculous laws are UNACHIEVABLE in an America that prides itself on its obesity when the free market itself would give rise to energy efficient cars.

        This is nothing more than a TAX on the auto industry.

      • 0 avatar
        lurker

        bigtruck, great comment, but that’s “its” not “it’s” thank you very much.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Malaise II

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Malaise I was not due to CAFE, it was due to completely separate non-CO2 emissions standards. They were responsible for 500 cubic inch 120 HP cars.

      CAFE does suck. What it did in the past is switch people from large wagons to worse SUVs, and kill the domestic RWD industry for a generation.

      The emissions standards that caused Malaise I, on the other hand, have been great in the long run. The massive HP direct injection beasts that we have today are only possible because of emissions standards finally forced the industry off carbs.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    The Obama jobs plan: full employment for lawyers, food stamps for everyone else. Too bad lawyers don’t grow food.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      Not sure how new CAFE standards will do that, but its got to be better than the plan to keep the 1% fat, rich, and happy. Too bad trolls don;t live under bridges.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        CAFE will keep lawyers busy because it is a new 2,000 page regulatory burden on Americans. Who do you think has to read it for every manufacturer doing business in the US? Lawyers. Who do you think is qualified to lobby for changes due to it being written by idiotic campus radicals? Lawyers. Who will represent the regime in hearings seeking to revise it? Lawyers.

      • 0 avatar

        The “rich, fat and happy”? You mean public employees?

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @Ronnie:
        I just moved from public service (academic technical staffer) to the private sector. I’m doing the same work for 30% more money with the same benefits. In my experience (literally), public sector employees are not rich, and not particularly happy – and exactly as fat as the rest of the USA. They do get out of bed every morning feeling like their work matters despite all, though, and that’s something.

        Keep in mind that the average public employee is a public schoolteacher – there are just a lot of them, and it’s an incredibly valuable job that I’m just not cut out for at this point in my life. There are a lot of other jobs in the public sector, too, the picture is just more complex than your glib little comment suggests. Your comment isn’t going to change the minds of anyone who actually understandsands parts of the public sector, because it doesn’t really have anything to do with what we do and see all day. Yup, you’re unhappy with something and would like to pay less taxes, got it – we knew that already, but it doesn’t really shed any light on the situation or suggest a workable solution.

        Anyway, it’s time to go to work and rake in some of that private sector money! I’m not solving the world’s problems, but I am making life easier for my wife and son – and that’s something, too.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @CJSD: “Too bad lawyers don’t grow food.”

      What about Oliver Wendell Douglas?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Wendell_Douglas

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Liberal policies always generate the exact opposite of their stated intent.

    In this case, the UAW/CAW trucks built by the Big Three will see slowing sales and higher prices, while econocars built by the Transplants gain ground and remain price competitive.

    Fuel consumption will remain the same, and the air won’t get any cleaner because we’re already down to asymptotic incremental improvements.

    Cash for Clunkers will revive, because you have to get rid of the dirty, inefficient cars built in 2012 and hasten sales of new ones.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      They should either stop incentivizing big trucks or raise the gas tax. Raising the gas tax would have the added benefit of taxing the fuel-inefficient vehicles that are already on the road.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        +100000

        Supply-side tinkering is stupid. You can make the automakers build all the 50mpg unicorn-fart mobiles that they can build, but if the general public wants to commute in 18mpg trucks it does no good. Raise the price of gas for the general consumer to European levels and everyone will be clamoring for 50mpg cars, just like in Europe. No CAFE required. This is just the worst of all possible worlds, with a side of subtle protectionism for the Detroit 2.x.

        And before the cries of “but what about the cost of EVERYTHING”, rebate the tax back to businesses if need be. But they can certainly invest in more efficient transport as well – the railroad situation in this country is shameful.

      • 0 avatar
        01 ZX3

        Why should the government influence the market like that at all?

        Bureaucracy sucks. If we cut down the size of our military, the amount of oil saved would probably be the same or larger than with the idiotic laws.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        “Raise the price of gas for the general consumer to European levels and everyone will be clamoring for 50mpg cars, just like in Europe.”

        No they won’t, they’ll be burning legislators in effigy on the National Mall. The UK has a fuel tax (once you do the unit conversions) of $3.47 per US gallon. I can’t think of a single thing that would be greater political suicide than a massive spike in the federal gas tax like that. You’d have more voters nodding and saying “good idea” for repealing the 21st Amendment than for raising the gas tax by three bucks. People would be more likely to put up with the TSA instituting a mandatory cavity search for all airline passengers than to have the price of gas suddenly jump by $3.47/gallon.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        Raise the gasoline tax to European level and respect for the government that tries to collect that tax will collapse. The price spread between taxed fuel and untaxed fuel would support a huge black market that would dwarf the current one for recreational drugs. Active citizen assistance with law breaking would be at levels not seen since the 55 mph speed limit.

        CAFE sort of works to nudge manufacturers towards offering vehicles that do better on the government test, but cost more. Without CAFE I wouldn’t be able to buy a pickup truck with an 8 speed automatic transmission, for example. The problem is each 10% increment of fuel economy improvement saves less gasoline than the last 10% and eventually you run out of relatively affordable improvements. The fear is CAFE applied too aggressively forces everyone to buy either a joyless hybrid transportation appliance or a used car.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        In order to sell the small cars, the carmakers will jack up the price on the larger ones to subsidize them. There is no quota on how many of a given type of car you can sell, only a sliding formula of how big a penalty you have to pay for not making your numbers. This will be calculated and factored into the cost of the car. So DC gets the taxes indirectly with a lot less political fuss than doing something regressive like raising the gas tax.

        Unfortunately, the carmakers lack the cojones to throw this in the public’s face with a line item for “Federal MPG Tax” on the window sticker.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      ” the UAW/CAW trucks built by the Big Three will see slowing sales ”

      The typical right wing complaint is that the CAFE standards lets domestic trucks off easy. Now you are saying the opposite- that it will be tough on domestic trucks. So are you saying the new regulation will put the squeeze on full size SUV’s and trucks?

      “Fuel consumption will remain the same”

      If truck sales are going down as you allege- wouldn’t fuel consumption go down too?

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      @gslippy “In this case, the UAW/CAW trucks built by the Big Three will see slowing sales and higher prices, while econocars built by the Transplants gain ground and remain price competitive.”

      The UAW/CAEW put together what they’re given. If the engineers, bean-counters and most importantly the Board Members give them poop to assemble, then poop will roll out. The standards are set as a bar, a goal for the car manufacturers to innovate and achieve. Sometimes you gotta prompt people to do want they don’t want to, but know they need to. It’s also, so far ahead that the car industry should be able to meet them.

      “Fuel consumption will remain the same, and the air won’t get any cleaner because we’re already down to asymptotic incremental improvements.”

      You really don’t think well of technology, eh? I believe in the coming years that designers and engineers can come up with some rather interesting solutions as they have in the past. Think positive.

      “Cash for Clunkers will revive, because you have to get rid of the dirty, inefficient cars built in 2012 and hasten sales of new ones.”

      I hope so. I see a lot less of the gasping, rusting cars of the last century churning along nowadays.

      @segfault, raising the gas tax would not do much for fuel-efficiency. That’s been argued ad nauseum on TTAC for years.

    • 0 avatar
      MarkP

      @gslippy – This is quite obviously not true. Air pollution requirements significantly reduced air pollution. Water pollution requirements significantly reduced water pollution. Safety standards significantly increased vehicle safety. Regulations on ozone-depleting chemical use significantly reduced ozone depletion. All of these policies did exactly what they were intended to do. QED.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Air pollution requirements are covered by the Clean Air Act, not CAFE. All vehicles within a regulatory class are required to meet the same standards under the Clean Air Act, regardless of how much gasoline they use.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        @MarkP:

        This study published just last week says that car pollution in LA has dropped 98% since 1960. I agree that such regulation has worked, but what will be the cost to eek out the last 2%?

        http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/transportation/stories/study-cleaner-cars-have-reduced-some-los-angeles-air-pollution-lev

        It also notes that gasoline usage in LA has been steadily increasing, and this in spite of increased CAFE standards.

        Yet, LA still has a pollution problem, but it’s due to other sources.

        So if further reducing pollution or gasoline usage via onerous CAFE standards is the goal, it won’t work. What it will do is produce a drag on the economy through higher-priced vehicles.

  • avatar
    JK43123

    My old 1991 Dakota got 31 mpg…manual trans, no air, manual steering, 4 cylinder. I can’t imagine how they could make this get anywhere near 50 mpg let along one with automatic, air, etc.

    John

    • 0 avatar

      I am working on this story, but apparently CAFE makes it advantageous to build full-size trucks and detrimental to build mid-size trucks, regardless of how efficient they are. Stay tuned.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        Derek- look for footprint, i.e. wheelbase X track width, related rules as the culprit. I don’t know the details, but think that is the issue.

      • 0 avatar
        icemilkcoffee

        Doc Ols is right. The new standard is based on the footprint of the car. So nobody is discouraging anyone from building a truck with a smaller footprint.

        The only thing this legislation will discourage is small sportscars with huge horsepower. So something like a Lotus Evora or Porsche 911 turbo would definitely fail! They probably fail even today- most of the exotic cars are subject to gas guzzler penalties anyways. So nothing is different there.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        that footprint rule was a gift to Detroit. if you are going do this, do it right. this does not look like thr correct way. I get a second standard for trucks as a beast of burden needs functionality first and foremost but all this scheming renders the concept suspect.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        This is likely the real reason compact pickups like the Ranger get killed off. Ford could likely have had a hit with a new Ranger with an Ecoboost V6, but their numbers come out better with the same engine in an F150. Probably the same reason they love those extended cab 4-door monsters as well.

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in the bill.

  • avatar
    alan996

    If you’ve been waiting around to buy a new car, better hurry up. If Obama gets his way, the only car you will be able to buy will be a small hybrid cube and will cost more than you can afford.

    The Obama administration has finalized new fuel economy rules that will require the fleet-wide average of new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. to double over the next 13 years. The average fuel economy must reach 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, up from 28.6 mpg at the end of last year.

    The Center for Automotive Research estimated that an earlier lower mileage increase would increase the cost of a car by $11,000. A 54.5 mpg increase could bring costs up to $15,000 extra per vehicle.

    That might not be such a big deal for Obama, but for millions of American workers and small business owners who depend on their car to get to work and to earn a living, this will mean the difference between being able to feed their families and not being able to feed their families.

    The National Automobile Dealers Association Chairman Bill Underriner warned, “This increase shuts almost 7 million people out of the new car market entirely and prevents many millions more from being able to afford new vehicles that meet their needs.”

    The NADA Chairman further warned that the increase would actually force people to continue driving old cars which would lower car sales and keep mileage standards law. The only way to fix that will be with another Cash for Clunkers program.

    President Barack Obama said the new fuel standards “represent the single most important step” his administration has taken to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

    Actually Obama’s war on domestic drilling has dramatically increased American dependence on foreign oil. And now an administration that boasts of having saved the American automobile industry, appears determined to make its products inaccessible to Americans.

    Herbert Hoover promised Americans, “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” For now you can still get the chicken, but I wouldn’t count on being able to get the car.

    http://frontpagemag.com/2012/dgreenfield/why-you-will-never-buy-a-car-again/

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Boy- you really have pretty much everything wrong.
      First of all- the 54.5 mpg is based on the ‘old’ EPA ratings. Going by the new post 2008 EPA ratings, that would only be in the mid 40′s.
      Secondly that is a FLEET average. You can still buy gas guzzlers that get substantially less than that because the manufcaturer will sell plenty of Elantras and Sonics to cover for your Malibu/ Genesis.
      Thirdly this is the passenger car standard. The light truck standard is around 33mpg
      Forthly, the 54.5mpg number is a guesstimate arrived at by the EPA. The actual standard is not a fixed number. It is a flexible number based on the footprint of the car. A Honda Fit sized car would have to average 61mpg. A mid sized Fusion class car would have to average 54.9mpg, and a large Chrysler 300 would have to achieve 48mpg
      Fifth- The hue and cry from NADA is just nonsense. 13 of the major manufacturers have all endorsed this plan. Don’t you think the manufacturers know more about their capabilities than the whiny car dealers? Have you ever met a car dealer who even knows anything about the cars they are selling?
      Sixth- Under Obama- domestic oil production has actually been going up year over year, where they had been declining under Bush. Under the first 3 years of Obama, the US produced more oil than the last 3 years of Bush. Oil imports have similarly been going down under Obama. Oil consumption has also been going down. Oil refining capacity have been so good that we’ve become a gasoline exporter.
      Seventh- Herbert Hoover was very successful businessman, and a republican who believed in the hands-off, let the free market fix itself approach. We all know how that turned out.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        In fact, Hoover pushed the country, probably the world, into recession by intervening in the economy, not by keeping hands off. FDR lengthend and deepened the Depression by continuned meddling only to have WWII finally pull us out.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        icemilkcoffee: Secondly that is a FLEET average. You can still buy gas guzzlers that get substantially less than that because the manufcaturer will sell plenty of Elantras and Sonics to cover for your Malibu/ Genesis.

        That is the THEORY. Over the years, manufacturers, more often than not, have been faced with the fact that customers wanted more large vehicles than small ones, which would throw their fleet averages out of whack, and thus put them in danger being assessed fines under CAFE.

        icemilkcoffee: Seventh- Herbert Hoover was very successful businessman, and a republican who believed in the hands-off, let the free market fix itself approach. We all know how that turned out.

        Completely wrong. President Hoover was nicknamed the “Great Engineer” because of his profession (he was an engineer by trade) and his belief that government could manage the economy to avoid depressions and recessions. In response to the Crash of 1929, he encouraged government to prop up failing companies through the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and signed the Hawley Smoot Tariff, which sparked a disastrous trade war. This trade war decimated an already ailing agricultural sector. He also ordered the Federal Reserve to throttle the money supply, based on fears of inflation, when the real problem was deflation. Finally, he pushed through a record federal tax increase for 1932.

        The result was 25 percent unemployment by 1933.

        He was anything BUT a strong follower of the laissez-faire philosophy.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “In fact, Hoover pushed the country, probably the world, into recession by intervening in the economy, not by keeping hands off. FDR lengthend and deepened the Depression by continuned meddling ”

        All the wishing in the world won’t make that statement true.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        jmo: All the wishing in the world won’t make that statement true.

        Sorry, but it is. For example, the unemployment rate in 1940, the last full year before our entry into World War II, was 14 percent, compared 4.2 percent in 1928, the last full year before the Great Crash.

        The 1940 rate was with an accelerating amount of defense work sparking the economy (and employment). That hardly sounds like a recovery to me.

        President Hoover’s activities in the wake of the Crash of 1929 are well-documented. He did anything BUT sit around and wait for the economy to correct itself. Roosevelt’s failure to get the economy moving again is also well documented. His own party was rebelling against him by 1939, and he had pretty much given up on the New Deal by that point. What saved his legacy was World War II.

      • 0 avatar
        Advance_92

        What was WWII but government spending on an even greater scale? If anything it’s an argument for intervention.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        In World War II the government was the consumer of a very large percentage of the industrial output (several products, including cars, where either restricted in availability to civilians, or simply not available at all). Of course companies will run their facilities flat out, and employ the people to do it, if they have a guaranteed customer paying a fixed price for what they produce.

        That can only work for so long. At any rate, the country was seriously in debt by the end of World War II.

        What helped us was that, after the war, we were the only major power with an intact industrial base. We virtually had the market to ourselves for many major goods.

        The entire scenario is not applicable to today, unless you are planning to bomb Europe and Japan flat.

        Also note that, in 2012, you’ll have to figure out a way to level Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Korea and Taiwan, just to name a few.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        Look at the data. What I wrote is absolutely true. What are you going to do, believe the spin from the pols or believe your own eyes when you actually look at the progression of events and metrics such as unemployment an DJI averages.

    • 0 avatar
      Conslaw

      We have to work to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. Take a look at the change in the Arctic icecap.

      http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/08/120828-arctic-sea-ice-global-warming-record-environment-science/

      I personally think an increased gas tax is better than high CAFE numbers, but the CAFE numbers are better than nothing.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        CAFE only gave us a minimum floor that the automakers made by razor slim margins and gaming the system. I agree with Conslaw that trimming fossil fuel use is critical. But I’d rather not do it with a fuel tax. Such a tax penalizes all drivers, irrespective of what they choose to drive. Of course less consumption means less tax paid, but even a hypermiler driving a hybrid still gets the penalty. The idea should be (my opinion) structured to encourage the more efficient choice, not penalize it, and still allow the freedom to ignore economy if they so desire. All that could be achieved with a registration tax or credit. Once a set of thresholds are established, there would be a credit for exceeding a certain EPA combined score, no credit/tax for a middling score, and a surcharge for falling below a threshold. Pickups, because of their intended use, would follow the same idea, just at lower thresholds. CAFE and gas guzzler taxes could then be abolished. This would reward the choice of buying efficient machines, and place the burden of excessive consumption on those who actually have the higher consumption. It would also eliminate short supply/high pricing of guzzlers as is the case with average based models such as CAFE. It was not uncommon for carmakers to jack up the price of the less efficient models when it found itself too close to failing CAFE. The credit/penalty structure could even be set up to be revenue neutral so as to squelch those who say it is just for the money. IMHO this concept is far better than CAFE. Too bad no politician has the balls to think outside the box.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    We already see CAFE in action- in the number of 40mpg cars that have hit the showrooms in the last 2 years as a direct result of the CAFE standards enacted for the 2012-2016 model years, back in 2010. So if you are enjoying your 40mpg car, you know whom to thank!

    I look forward to more and stronger CAFE action. The ‘sky-is-falling’ crowd have said that about every single legislation from airbags to catalytic converters. We can safely ignore those people.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      And “every regulation is great!” crowd enthusiastically supported the 5-mph bumper rule, speedometers limited to 85 mph and the 55- and 65-mph speed limits.

      And they breathlessly predicted death and destruction when they were repealed.

      One can only hope and pray that one is clueless enough in 2012 to still think that were good ideas.

      Judging by the sales figures, the 40 mpg cars are not really a significant chunk of the market. They are second or third cars, at best.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        5 mph bumpers saved money by protecting your car. The weaker standard resulted in more damage and higher costs to repair the said damage. Don’t use the argument that they added weight and hurt mileage. Just look at the bloat of today’s cars…all the result of a static mileage standard.

        Nobody said all regulation is great. You can add to your list seat belt interlocks, motorized seatbelts*** and pedestrian standards. But be honest. Your car is safer and cleaner, and somewhat more efficient because regulation forced it to happen. Ever go boating? Tie up with a few and spend a few hours in the sun? The stink of gasoline fumes and exhaust is unbearable. And boats are that way for one reason only: Nobody is forcing the clean up, so it doesn’t happen. Free market forces work remarkably well in some cases, and poorly in others. It is quite obvious where they don’t work.

        ***Actually, motorized belts were the result of manufactures being cheap and not wanting to install airbags. Passive restraint regs were technologically neutral as they should be. The industry should be allowed to comply with whatever method they choose. The motorized belts were what happened when the beancounters made the choice. Thanks to Lee Iacocca, the airbag became standard….

      • 0 avatar
        01 ZX3

        Ever increasing safety regulations are at least partially at fault in regards to the “bloat”.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        golden2husky: 5 mph bumpers saved money by protecting your car. The weaker standard resulted in more damage and higher costs to repair the said damage.

        The 5-mph bumpers cost twice as much to repair in accidents OVER 5-mph than the “standard” bumpers. Your argument only holds if all accidents occur at 5-mph or less. In the long run, they didn’t save any money.

        golden2huskey: Don’t use the argument that they added weight and hurt mileage. Just look at the bloat of today’s cars…all the result of a static mileage standard.

        They did add weight and hurt mileage. Compare the weight of a 1974 car to its 1972 counterpart.

        The “bloat” of today’s cars is partially the result of tougher safety standards. Numerous air bags and a stiffer structure add weight. Making all bumpers withstand a 5-mph impact would only worsen the “problem.”

        Another reason for the weight gain is that buyers, since the mid-1990s, have been demanding greater refinement (meaning, less noise, vibration and harshness) in their vehicles. This requires a stiffer, stronger structure.

        MY choice – which is the one that matters, since I’m the one paying for the car in the first place – is for greater refinement and performance capabilities over 5 mph bumpers (I’m not too dumb to park a car properly) and greater gas mileage.

        I remember those “high mileage” cars of the early 1980s. They were awful – tinny, loud and slow. Thanks, but no thanks.

        golden2husky: Actually, motorized belts were the result of manufactures being cheap and not wanting to install airbags.

        That’s not what happened.

        In the 1970s and 1980s, Ralph Nader and Joan Claybrook wanted air bags to be the PRIMARY restraint system. Why? Because they argued that people were not wearing safety belts, and automakers needed to install air bags to protect them in crashes.

        That automakers argued that air bags were dangerous for small children and small, unbelted occupants. They were rightly concerned over being blamed for any resulting deaths from air bags. The automakers wanted states to pass mandatory safety belts laws, and lobbied for that effort in the 1980s (my friend represented the automakers at the state level on that effort).

        Turns out the automakers were correct. Air bags ARE dangerous for small children and unbelted, small occupants. (How many people drive with small children or infants in the front passenger seat today? That’s because air bags are dangerous for children – even if they are wearing safety belts.) They only work in conjunction with safety belts, and we needed mandatory safety belt laws to get people to buckle up. The motorized belts were a compromise measure.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Geeber:

        Of course adding structure to a car adds weight. As does safety equipment. But so does adding features and options. Early crash protection was achieved primarily by adding steel. But that was then, this is now. Today’s crash performance is made in a far more intelligent manner by using software to model structural performance, high strength materials, etc. So the overall weight gain today has come more from senseless marketing and the moronic American mantra of bigger is always better.

        Regarding 5 MPH bumpers, I am not sure where you get the double the cost repair figure (link?) but according to Consumer Reports, the dropping of the 5 MPH standard caused a dramatic increase in the cost of repairing cars after crashes, and more expensive low speed crashes as well. They were very clear: dropping the higher standard cost consumers far more in repair than could ever be realized by the fractional improvement in mileage that was realized by the Reynolds Wrap bumpers that became the norm. This was just a Reagan era bone tossed to Detroit, pure and simple.

        While neither one of us will be changing their opinion, it is safe to say (no pun intended) that despite some implementation hiccups, safety and emission regulations have resulted in clean and safe cars. Had mileage standards not stagnated, we would have notably better mileage as well. While I realize that there are limits to everything, my boat example (and history) makes clear what happens when these things are left up to the market alone to decide.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Lost in the fog of memory is the reason for all of this in the first place. It seems like this is a classic example of the abiding principle of government: “if some regulation is good, then more is better.”

    Not only that, it’s a sham. Because of the “light truck” loophole, people are hauling their families around in SUVs, CUVS and minivans which get around 20 mpg on the highway, or the same mileage as my dad’s 1963 Chevrolet Biscayne sedan with a 3-speed manual and the “Blue Flame” six-cylinder engine.

    To be sure, my dad’s Chevy dumped far more unburned hydrocarbons and other smog-forming nasty stuff into the air than today’s SUV, which is good progress. I spent a summer in Los Angeles in 1969 and experienced the smog up close and personal . . . and it was not nice.

    My own personal hypothesis is that, if people in the 1980s and 1990s had actually been forced to drive around in nothing but Chrysler K-Cars, Honda Accord wagons and Ford Granadas as the “family car” for trips & such, everyone would have puked and called their Congressman.

    This certainly will keep a lot of lawyers and lobbyists busy, especially, as is likely — attainment of these standards will come at considerable cost in vehicle occupant safety and/or purchase price.

    It is interesting that among the new vehicles with “money on the hood” is the newly-introduced Fiat 500 (probably excepting the Abarth) . . . the point being that Chrysler/Fiat has discovered the point of US consumer resistance to increasingly smaller vehicles, and it’s somewhere larger than the Fiat 500. (Don’t talk to me about the MINI COOPER; it’s a niche vehicle and, if you haven’t noticed, they keep getting bigger (see, Countryman).

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Actually light truck also fell under CAFE purvey. They had a lower standard- but a standard nonetheless. Only the med. trucks with GVWR of 8500lb+ were exempt. Very few SUVs fall into this category- like the Hummer H2 and the Excursion.

      Back in the 80′s, the best selling car for a few years in a row was the Ford Escort. The Honda Civic was the best selling import at the time. And the VW Beetle was the best selling import back in the 60′s. So it is a myth that americans only like big cars. Back in the 60′s the best selling body style was the 2 door coupe. So that tells you how consumer taste changes over the years. None of it rational neither.

      And the Fiat 500 is hardly the only car with incentives. Lots of cars of every size offer cash on the hood. In fact large SUVs probably offer more cash on the hood if anything. You can go on Edmunds and check- the Ford Expedition has a $4000 incentive available to all, vs just a $500 rebate for servicemen in the case of the Fiat.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        The best-selling VEHICLE since 1981 has been the Ford F-Series.

        The best-selling vehicle in the 1960s – for every year – was the full-size Chevrolet, with the full-size Ford at number two.

        The most popular vehicles in this country have always been relatively large vehicles.

        Vehicles the size of the Sonic/Fiesta/Fit/Yaris are basically a sideshow in this country.

      • 0 avatar
        icemilkcoffee

        Geeber- I did say best selling CAR. We all know the Ford pickup truck has been the best selling vehicle around.

        The fact that cars like the original Ford Escort and the miniscule Honda Civic were once the most popular domestic cars, should tell you that small cars were definitely NOT sideshows. The old VW Beetle was smaller inside than the modern Yaris. And that car was the best selling import for a decade.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Touting sales of the Escort, while ignoring the much larger sales of the F-series, gives a distorted picture of what Americans were really buying.

        The Escort only topped the charts during the recession of the early 1980s. When the economy recovered in 1983-84, so did sales of larger cars. The Honda Civic was never the most popular car for the entire year…if I recall correctly, it was never even the most popular imported car (when we made that distinction).

        The original VW Beetle was a “fun” car…it was never a serious alternative to the domestic full-size and intermediate cars of that time.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    Folks- you don’t have to go and read the 1200 page ruling. There is a easy to understand summary right here:

    http://epa.gov/otaq/climate/documents/420f12051.pdf

    It will clear up a lot of misunderstandings. Unless, of course, you prefer to be ignorant. It’s certainly more fun that way.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      I wonder how many people are going to forget that the CAFE gas mileage number is done on a different scale than the EPA window sticker gas mileage number, so the “59.5 MPG” is actually forty-someodd in the numbers everyone recognizes?

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      I’m sure all EPA summaries are nothing but virtuous and objective. Self interest, in the form of an ever increasing regulatory state, is not an issue.
      They are pure as unicorns and puppies and kittens…

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    Usually any uptick in CAFE standards brings howls of the damned from the big 3. This time relative silence. With a law clocking in at almost 2,000 pages, I’m guessing several hundred of them are dedicated to exceptions and loopholes.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    Even under the regulations of 5 years ago, GM was projecting that none of the trucks and only 1/8 of the cars would have conventional naturally aspirated engines. I can’t imagine what these new regs will require. They may get good mileage but they will cost so much more, consumers will suffer a net lose.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    Oh good…..another piece of garbage legislation to repeal in November.

    CAFE standards are so shortsighted it’s laughable.

    All it’s going to do is RAISE the price of cars and RAISE the price of gasoline.

    So, as is ALWAYS the case with this administration…..we, the little guys LOSES big time.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Raise the price of cars? CAFE has been in force for over 35 years. Cars are still prety affordable. Where’s the dreaded price increase?

      As a result of the CAFE rules adopted in 2010- we now have a bumper crop of 40mpg cars. Can you tell me how this causes the ‘little guys’ to lose?

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        Yeah…a 50K Taurus, a 30K+ Focus, a fusion that comes close to 40K.

        When my truck was new in 2006, it was $37K. That got you a crew cab, leather, dual power seats, dual zone climate control, BOSE audio, moonroof, heated seats, auto-dimming rearview and left outside mirror, keyless entry, etc.

        It was very close to having every option…now, today, that same truck would cost me $45K or more.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        And you are saying that the price increase in your truck is all due to regulation? Really? Can you back that up?

      • 0 avatar
        ihatetrees

        >Cars are still plenty affordable.<

        They'd be MORE affordable with less regulation. And what's wrong with FALLING car prices? Most cars are essentially commodities these days. SHOULDN'T prices be falling for a base model car?

        But no, most car prices cannot fall. The government hammers of ever changing cafe standards, rollover standards, multi-airbag standards all increase costs for new cars. They mandate re-design. (They also make it much more likely that a mildly used vehicle is totaled in a minor wreck).

        Thought Experiment: If a value car maker (let's say Honda), had been allowed to keep making 2000 Accord today for 70% of the price of a 2012 Accord, would consumers buy?
        My guess is yes – although the % may need tweaking.

        But of course, such a choice is verboten by regulatory fiat.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        ……Thought Experiment: If a value car maker (let’s say Honda), had been allowed to keep making 2000 Accord today for 70% of the price of a 2012 Accord, would consumers buy?
        My guess is yes – although the % may need tweaking……

        You are correct, people would buy it. But at what cost? Well, it probably would not make much difference from an emission standpoint, and mileage difference is moot, too. But how about safety? Is the cost for improved safety worth the lives saved and injuries prevented?

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      I’d agree with you if the next time gas prices spike you can convince the public that they should just suffer in silence. they should not demand the government do something about it. If people buy a F250 for commuting and gas goes to $12 they should just suffer in silence.

      If you can ensure that happens, I’m all for it.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        There is no reason for gasoline to be as high as it is now…regardless of shortsighted CAFE standards. There is more oil on this planet (and in this country) than ever before.

        And the last time gas was this expensive, oil was around 145 a barrel. Now it’s around 95.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      Back in the 50s-60s, the US auto companies predicted that the universe would end because the Feds forced them to build cars with safety glass, seat belts, side impact rails, padded dash boards, etc. During the 70s-80′s the car companies suggested that Washington was taken over by commies when the Feds insisted on cars that didn’t spew Zyklon-B out the tailpipes. And they were right! Every new car on the market cost elventy billion dollars and can only be purchased by the 8 richest kings of Europe.

      Here’s the reality:

      In 1965, a base six cylinder mustang (rated at 101hp gross) cost about $18K in today’s money. A new base six cylinder Mustang (rated at 305hp net) costs about $22k. Ah hah! $4K more today! See, Romney is right! See how regulations drive up costs! Yeah, I’m sure we could get those cost down if only we could legalize slavery and child labor, like Romney would like, but getting back to my original point. Let’s see what you get for your money today, compared to back in the 1965.

      1965 — 4 wheel manual drum brakes standard.

      2012 — 4 wheel antilock disc standard.

      1965 — 2 point seat belts standard.

      2012 — 3 point belts and airbags standard.

      1965 — A/C extra cost option.

      2012 — A/C standard

      1965 — Power steering extra cost option

      2012 — Power steering standard

      1965 — Power windows/door locks/seats not available

      2012 — Power everything standard

      See where I’m going with this? In terms of power, safety, performance, reliability, creature comforts etc, you get much more today than you did years ago, for the same, or nearly the same, money as years ago. Don’t believe what Rush and his android, Mittens are telling you.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        The Republican party was formed on an anti-slavery platform. Where has Romney advocated child labor? Brakes and three-point safety belts are, well safety upgrades. AC, power steering, and power everything are appreciated but not necessary. The add cost and complexity to a vehicle that most consumers pay for. Yes, Americans somehow survived w/o AC or power steering.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        skor…go back to the huffington puffington post and take your drivel with you.

        Or can you back this up with anything substantial:

        if only we could legalize slavery and child labor, like Romney would like”

      • 0 avatar
        E46M3_333

        Gee skor, noting that a product that involves a lot of technology has improved since the 1950s. Your a friggin’ genius. You want to discuss televisions, computers, cell phones, etc?

        Cars should be better than they were in 1965.

        This foreign oil meme is a canard. Has Europe’s confiscatory taxes on gasoline reduced their dependency on foreign oil? No.

        And please, spare us the snarky political comments.
        .
        .

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Skor, your points are all valid, but by adding all the negative political comments, you open yourself up for attack. Your factual points – all true – would have spoken well enough to get your point which is 100 percent correct, through.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        Also, the modern Mustang will have a reliable service life that is probably 1.5-2x that of the 1965 version; while requiring significantly less servicing and repair.

        Even if the rest of the car’s content is identical, a >150,000 mile car for $26k is a much better bargain than a <100,000 mile car for $22k just based on cost per unit mile traveled.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    The way current cafe standards are implemented based on “vehicle footprint” are RIDICULOUS, There is only so much you can do for a full size truck or minivan to reduce the drag coefficient, which is the most significant factor for highway milage. You can’t reduce the frontal area and expect to keep the utility for these types of vehicles.

    However, there is a lot that can be done to re-capture wasted energy from city driving, and there are still some basic steps that car manufacturers have ignored for generations. For example, Mazda’s new 6 has underbody cladding that significantly reduces drag (.26 C_d!), and the i-eloop that helps recapture energy–that’s the type of engineering led decisions I love to see. Another shout-out goes to the prius/volt basic shape and tail that tapers in and promotes clean air separation off the back of the car, also significantly reducing drag. There’s also the trend towards lighter cars and more efficient transmissions which are LONG over-due. 3, 4, and 5 (manual) speeds were the dominant choices for near 40 years, which as the new CVT, 8, and soon to be 9 speeds are showing, are a joke in hindsight.

    We need to re-think CAFE regulations as currently implement across fleet averages which give some manufacturers unfair advantages over other manufacturers, cause manufacturers to create token vehicles in order to meet CAFE, and instead focus on specific MPG requirements per vehicle class.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    Regulation or no regulation, there’s something wasteful about having a CUV/SUV that doubles as a mobile storage room, which is pretty much how every young family rolls in my neighborhood.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      And they pay with every gallon of fuel they use.

      I wonder what habits you have that they would find wasteful?

      • 0 avatar
        stuntmonkey

        > I wonder what habits you have that they would find wasteful?

        Keyword “habit”… it’s not a habit or a moral failing. It’s because the cost of fuel is too cheap, and doesn’t price in the externalities. So what is ostensibly wasteful behavior makes sense giving the economic circumstances. Whether you want less regulation or more, you can’t get away from price as signaling factor for scarcity… you can have cheap gas or you can increase conservation, but there is no means to have both.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      The convenience, time saved (loading / unloading), and perceived safety make it more than worth the fuel cost to have a SUV/CUV over a Civic/Focus.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    2000 pages of what, exactly? Does this replace the current CAFE, or is this in addition to it?

    Any idea who authored this?

    How much carbon was burned in the effort to add 2000 pages to an existing law? Was Al Gore notified?

    Seems like another government agency attempting to justify its existence.

    • 0 avatar
      22_RE_Speedwagon

      It’s 1993 pages of complex equations that consider the future price of oil, expected improvements in aerodynamics, new tire technology, regenerative braking, regenerative steering, 49-speed transmissions, extra-stiff “Eco-pedals” and new, extra-tight “Eco-gas caps”, teflon clear coats, fart harnessing, and mandatory Tornado Fuel Savers. Loaded vehicle weights consider expected decreases in average family size vs. increases in BMI, and are tempered with bone mineral density predictions based on projected bisphosphonate use. Some of it is just data used the predictions — for instance, 100-odd years of hemline lengths are used as a training set for determining the road rage constant, G(sub)rr. Of course, this is all balanced with an accurate assessment of the global macroeconomic environment in 2025, considering even the political, economic, and entertainment ramifications of the Clown Riots of 2019 and resultant ascendancy of the Seltzer Party.

      and the last page: “=54.5 mpg”.

  • avatar
    Mike Kelley

    Gee, and the Antarctic, with 80% of the world’s ice, has unusually high levels of the frozen stuff:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/27/sea-ice-news-volume-3-number-11-part-2-other-sources-show-no-record-low/#more-70029

  • avatar
    MarkP

    There is a tremendous ampunt of ignorance displayed on the Internet. But I repeat myself

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    This is just more worthless legislation by worthless politicians that will never go into effect.

    Does anyone really believe in 13 years, the average new car is going to get over 50 miles per gallon? Of course not, but boy, these politicians look good trying to save the world!

    Some other President will have to clean up this mess unless everyone wants to drive around in mopeds. Hollywood greenies will scream that big oil kept fuel efficient vehicles off the road as they ride off in their stretched limousine.

    • 0 avatar
      GusTurbo

      This isn’t legislation. This is regulation, which was created by an administrative agency and published in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and not the U.S. Code (or, what bills become part of when they are passed and signed by the President). CAFE was originally created through legislation, but this is not a new law, just a new iteration.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Derek, that 1,994 page document was the health care bill; the reference to “54″ was the cutoff age for any expensive treatment that the government might have to pay for. Sorry for the confusion, easy mistake.

  • avatar
    ant

    I’d just like to note that there are things about new cars today that appear to me to help their CAFE ratings, but are not so great after the car has been driven off the lot.

    my 2012 sedan has a very small battery, crappy electronic power steering, and came with sub par tires.

    My two older cars have very poor night visibility due to poor quality plastic lenses over the headlights. When did they stop making these out of glass? The plastic is awful.

    Another thing I will note, is that better fuel economy can often just translate into more miles driven, and an equal or higher amount of FF burnt and relied upon.

    Also too, do a search on youtube for traffic in ho chi minh city to get an idea of what the future will look like in terms of transportation choices in the absence of electric trains.

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    What about the 6000 lb elephant in the room?

    I’m talking about the really “big iron”, the F250, etc. These will be much, much less regulated for a couple of reasons. First they are the only pure big3 market left, Toyo does not sell Nimitz-class trucks here. Second they are profitable. Finally you can’t apply this level of stupidity to a working vehicle (well you could, this would be to much for now).

    So many urban-cowboys who bought 5000 lb F150′s are going to buy good ole 65000 lb F350′s. You’ll see many more giant trucks on road simply because they are going to be much less regulated. You’ll also see many more very old trucks on the road. Who wants a $50,000 aluminum, complex F150?

    In recent WSJ they talked about Ford plans to make new F150 with much aluminum, they mentioned the F250, 350 will still be steel. Hmmm . . . and much cheaper . . . and better real-world vehicles.

    The car driving public? We’ll be forced into ever more expensive, smaller, complex, vehicles. But that big iron aint going away, we might see more of it. From safety point of view this is worrisome. I don’t believe simple heavier=safer, but in car-car collisions these cars will be at even bigger disadvantage against giant trucks.

    There was discussion before about how this law accounts for vehicle footprint. This will certainly discourage smaller trucks, by taking cost incentive away: With simpler law automaker would have incentive to substitute a simpler smaller vehicle (ranger) for a larger more complex vehicle (new F150 will have lots of Aluminum). Under this law you have to apply lots of money and complexity to *any* size vehicle, no more small, simple cars. You’ll have choice between small, expensive, complex cars and really-small, expensive, complex cars.

    From economic standpoint this law is crazy. What is economic advantage of going from 40 to 50 mpg car?!


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India