CAFE For Free

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
cafe for free

On April 1, new federal fuel economy CAFE standards went into effect. By 2016, new cars should get 35 mpg or thereabouts. The true number remains an exercise in abstract algebra. Says Consumer Reports: “The new standards require different fuel economy averages for each manufacturer and for each type of vehicle (such as small, midsized, and large sedans or SUVs).” There are plenty of loopholes and offsets. Extra credit for cars that take E85 Ethanol, for instance. And here is another huge loophole:

“The first 200,000 fuel-cell, plug-in hybrid, or pure electric cars will count as causing zero grams of CO2 emissions,” writes Edmunds. That’s 200,000 per manufacturer. Carmakers that build more than 25,000 such vehicles in 2012 will receive an even loftier ceiling of 300,000. Once the 200,000 or 300,000 car allotment is used up, the smokestack emissions of power plants must be taken into consideration. The EPA is currently at a loss when it comes to putting a true CO2 figure on the power created to charge your car, but they are unconcerned. They expect the allotment to last for a long time.

Thanks to the EPA algebra, supposedly zero emission cars ( which would immediately called illegal in the UK) can be used as a momentous offset that enables the automaker to go on and continue selling fuel oinkers. Come on: Unless all power is created by windmills or water turbines, negating the emissions of power plants is and remains a con game. Consider yourself conned.

According to Reuters, “the Obama administration said the initial rating was an incentive to produce electric vehicles, but automakers like General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co, and Chrysler had pushed for an unlimited zero rating.” Honda even suggested that fuel-cell vehicles, such as its Clarity model, should count as 16 zero-emission cars. Boys, listen to the EPA, it will be a while until the 200K or 300K allotment is used up. And push comes to shove, things can always be relegislated.

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  • Reclusive_in_nature Reclusive_in_nature on Apr 03, 2010

    For those of you complaining about politicians not being "brave" enough to put a tax on something the majority doesn't want a tax on, I'm pretty sure that was our forefathers intent. Liberty isn't so much about having freedom, but politicians being scared shitless of what would happen if they tried imposing their idea of 'the common good' on a majority that doesn't want it. Call me, and all those like me, all the names you want (after all isn't that what the internet is for: calling people names while hiding behind a computer?), but that will always be the way it is here in this GREAT (I always think so anway) country.

  • Niky Niky on Apr 04, 2010

    @reclusive_in_nature: Actually... it's entirely possible to do this. You can have a "power mode" activated by a dashboard switch, and you will only have to test economy in "standard mode". It's likely the Prius was tested for the EPA in "standard mode" instead of "eco-mode" or "ev-mode", both of which can make a total hash of the stated EPA numbers. As for the credits? 300k? So if I sell one electric vehicle per year for the next 300,000 years, I get a "get out of jail free" card in terms of emissions till then? Sweet.

  • Lou_BC "15mpg EPA" The 2023 ZR2 Colorado is supposed to be 16 mpg
  • ToolGuy "The more aerodynamic, organic shape of the Mark VIII meant ride height was slightly lower than before at 53.6 inches, over 54.2” for the Mark VII."• I am not sure that ride height means what you think it means.Elaboration: There is some possible disagreement about what "ride height" refers to. Some say ground clearance, some say H point (without calling it that), some say something else. But none of those people would use a number of over 4 feet for a stock Mark anything.Then you go on to use it correctly ("A notable advancement in the Mark VIII’s suspension was programming to lower the ride height slightly at high speeds, which assisted fuel economy via improved aerodynamics.") so what do I know. Plus, I ended a sentence with a preposition. 🙂
  • ToolGuy The dealer knows best. 🙂
  • ToolGuy Cool.
  • ToolGuy This truck is the perfect size, and the fuel economy is very impressive.-This post sponsored by ExxonMobil