U.S. Carmakers Launch Fresh Assault on CAFE Regs

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
u s carmakers launch fresh assault on cafe regs

New Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards are enshrined in federal law. It's 35mpg by 2020, or a 4.5 percent annual increase. So why would The Big 2.8, Toyota and Porsche renew their efforts to raise the bar? Especially as someone might be looking for federal loan guarantees… As mob boss Carl Rojeck said in "My Favorite Year," "the fighting is in rounds." Now that the The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) writing the fine print, the kvetching starts afresh. To switch movie references, "Can you squeal like a pig?" The Detroit News reports that The Big 2.8 have filed paperwork urging NHTSA's pen pushers to "roll back proposed 4.5 percent annual increases in fuel efficiency requirements between 2011-15." Apparently, "the new rules will force them to slow the rollout of some advanced vehicles." Huh? Wouldn't it make them speed-up? Go figure. GM: We can't build enough Volts [more on that in a separate post]. Toyota: the 2011 requirements are "too aggressive." Ford: the proposal "seems to impose a disproportionate share of the burden on domestic manufacturers." Chrysler: ""It will cost Chrysler LLC thousands of dollars per vehicle in additional technology, not hundreds of dollars." Porsche: We might have to "leave the U.S. market until such time they develop new vehicles with advanced propulsion systems." Hyundai: bring it on!

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  • AJ AJ on Jul 10, 2008
    Sherman Lin Says: July 10th, 2008 at 9:56 am CAFE is rather meaningless at this point as higher fuel prices are changing consumer preference anyway but I do find this amusing. I can only assume they are trying to keep truck and SUV sales at their current lower level versus at complete zero. I totally agree. The used truck/ SUV market has tanked, but if the level is zero due to CAFE, then the used truck/ SUV market will certainly rebound.

  • Y2kdcar Y2kdcar on Jul 10, 2008

    NICKNICK Says: Socialists: “We need CAFE because people will choose SUVs and use up all the gas!” Libertarians: “Allow people to choose for themselves. Demand will dictate gasoline prices which will drive vehicle selection.” 2008: Gas prices go up, SUV sales tank regardless of CAFE. For some reason we’re wasting more time on more CAFE… Yes, the recent run-up in gasoline prices has underscored the fact that CAFE is ineffective public policy with an unblemished 30-year record of failure. Higher prices -- brought to us through the free market rather than through European-style fuel taxes -- have done what years of regulation didn't do. What a pity that our politicians are too dense to learn from their mistakes and jettison CAFE.

  • M1EK M1EK on Jul 10, 2008

    Another way to look at it is that if CAFE had been allowed to go up in the last 15 years, automakers would have been forced by now to build small cars that didn't betray a loathing for the very existence of their buyers. Count me as a guy who'd much rather have a big fuel tax too - but those of you who say now you'd rather have done it that way are being disingenuous - the same reactionary rhetoric you're using against CAFE would very quickly be applied against this 'new tax'.

  • Jerome10 Jerome10 on Jul 10, 2008

    Again, people go attacking Detroit, because of the popularity (well not so much anymore) of their trucks makes it harder for them to meet CAFE. And they point to Honda or Toyota as being able to attack and meet these regs. Ok, fine. However, without super expensive materials and powertrains, almost nothing on the road today meets these standards, not to mention the averages can't be met either. 2010 and 2011 models are already in various stages of development, you can't just flip a switch and make it work. But the gov't seems to think you can. Think about it, even if we all drove Yaris, MINI's, Fits, Civics, Corollas and Prius' we still wouldn't hit these numbers. And the bread and butter cars american's love (sedans)? Not even close. I just think its funny how people say the Japanese are out there making it happen. Fact is, no car company that I know of (at least producing a full lineup) can meet these standards.