New Energy Bill CAFE Regs: Huh?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
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new energy bill cafe regs huh

OK, so, I called up the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers to chase-up a few loose ends regarding the new Energy Bill headed for the President's John Hancock. Wayde Newton sent over a pdf. I'm bushed (so to speak), so if TTAC's best and brightest can give the Energy Bill the once-over and report their major and minor findings below, I'd consider it an important demonstration of the power of citizen journalism and a bloody great weight off my shoulders. Anyway and meanwhile, Wayde gave me some important insights. It seems the actual calculations that will determine what any given manufacturer's car or truck must achieve mpg-wise is STILL up in the air, headed over to The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) for their boffins to unravel (ravel?). Truth to tell, I was wrong about two key points. First, the bumper sticker– 35mpg by 2020– refers to the entire U.S. auto industry's annual output of both cars and trucks combined. No one manufacturer has to hit that target. They all have to do it together. Second, the new regs will NOT be footprint based. They'll be based on a range of potential "attributes" as determined by NHTSA, that could include engine size, torque, payload, four wheel-drive, towing ability, etc. In other words, the regs will vary by both manufacturer AND vehicle type. And that means that the Energy Bill fuel economy provisions are a nightmare for NHTSA's hard-working bureaucrats and a bit of a con for the average citizen.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Captain Tungsten Captain Tungsten on Dec 18, 2007

    Robert: Thanks, this is a service and an opportunity for the assembled to "give back" Just a quick perusal of the (11 page) Table of Contents yields a few interesting nuggets: Looks like the farm lobby got their licks in....lots of incentives for biofuel and ethanol R&D and production. Title VI discloses R&D incentives for the solar, geothermal, marine hydrokinetic (wave power?) and energy storage (batteries and capacitors) industries. Who did the wind power and nuclear industries piss off? Title IX deserves a read....looks like we will be "assisting" developing countries in implementing "clean and efficient energy technology". What's up with that? Looks like there are grants avaiable for "advanced technology locomotives" That sounds like a fun project, even as a kid i liked playing with trains...

  • EJ_San_Fran EJ_San_Fran on Dec 18, 2007

    Okay, so the government will set different MPG targets for trucks and cars. The part that I find iffy is that the government will have to estimate in advance how many trucks and cars will be sold, to be able to get to an overall 35 MPG average. That's difficult. And then they will have to scramble with adjustments to the regulations when they get it wrong.

  • EJ_San_Fran EJ_San_Fran on Dec 18, 2007

    This bill has a mechanism for trading of MPG credits. Say GM can only reach 30 MPG and Toyota can reach 40 MPG, then Toyota can sell GM credits so that the average reaches 35 MPG for both. This could bring some nice profits to the best manufacturers.

  • David Thomas David Thomas on Dec 20, 2007

    I think Car Shark is right. But so is Farago. IT isn't industry wide it clearly says by manufacturer for the fleet economy. What you would gather though by the use of the credit sharing/buying is that the entire industry would achieve the needed average. That's my guess. I don't see where it says industry wide though. Have a section or page #? why the NHTSA is coming up with mileage rules when the EPA is finally doing a good job with it is way way beyond me.