By on October 15, 2012

Automakers looking for a bit of a break with CAFE compliance can now get a 2 for 1 special on EVs.

Automotive News describes the loophole succinctly

In the 2017 through 2019 model years, regulators will count each EV produced as two when calculating whether automakers are meeting new fuel-economy standards for light vehicles.

How about that? Build a low-volume, compliance-special EV like the Toyota RAV4 EV or the Fiat 500 EV and even if you make 500, it counts as 1000 units. Plug-in hybrids will also count as 1.6 vehcles instead of two. And no surprise, there are over 40 new plug-in and electric vehicles ready go on sale in 2015. This is in addition to

“…the myriad ways to earn credits, such as using certain air-conditioning technologies to reduce emissions and building large numbers of hybrid trucks.”

And remember folks, those credits mentioned can be traded, sold or used to help meet compliance goals in later years.

We’ve already delved into some of the reasons why CAFE is a complete f***ing scam, but did you also know that two-wheel drive crossovers count as car and four-wheel drive versions count as light trucks(requiring them to meet less stringent fuel economy targets)? Yes folks, CAFE is a bigger rip-off than Starbucks. And there’s more to come. It’s too bad there isn’t a simple formula that can act as a consumption tax on emissions (thereby creating a de facto incentive for greater fuel efficiency). Oh, wait a minute…

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19 Comments on “2 For 1 EV Specials At CAFE...”

  • avatar

    Good reporting.

  • avatar

    Don’t those emmissions correlate almost precisely with fuel burn?

  • avatar

    There are some things about this model that would make it unsuitable for the premium segment, which Mister Dykes pointed out, but its powertrain performance is formidable and would make a great foundation for, say, a Lexus RX EV. I’m not sure whether or not there is any direct profit in these RAV4 EV’s, but a Lexus iteration could subsidize costs at a reasonable price in the mid $60K range…

  • avatar

    In principle that seems wrong; in practice it won’t matter since volumes will still be quite low.

    It will also be subject to change under new management, either in 2013 or 2017.

  • avatar
    old fart

    Regarding the comment “consumption tax on emissions ” if it’s only on new cars that will work , but if it’s a yearly tax on all the cars on the road it will affect those who can least afford it. Most of all the old high emission cars are driven by the poor , and before you say mass transit you should personally use it in the inner city for a month. Also there are those who can’t walk to a bus stop or tolerate the inclement weather and have no one to take them places.

    • 0 avatar

      From what I see the poor often drive high emission vehicles by choice, not necessity. (Rich people too.)

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed. A lot of people drive them by choice. Very little prevents them from getting a more fuel efficient car most of the time. They just think they “need” the higher emissions car.

      • 0 avatar


        ‘From what I see the poor often drive high emission vehicles by choice, not necessity. (Rich people too.)’

        There is an old adage i’ve said for years, ‘there is but one commonality between the very rich and very poor; they very rarely earn what they have, and have never had to really earn a living wage’.

        Hence, you see ’01ish Acura MDX and Caddy STS running around, usually with one spare tire and misfiring. The income and or socio-economic standing of the driver is irrelevant.

        Again, the ‘47%’ have more in common with the ‘1%’ that ‘we’ hear so much about. Cash for Clunkers would’ve been MUCH more effective if we (as TAXPAYERS!?) had simply given everyone who wanted one a $20k/per car voucher for a new ride. But instead, our Dear Leader in concert with Chancellor Merkel decided the bureaucratic route. For shame.

        FWIW, an ’87 Buick GNX was destroyed under Cash for ‘Clunkers’. One of 147 built. Disgusting.

        And the most bought vehicle under C4C was…wait for it…the 2009 Ford F-150. All trim levels. So, as much as I was/AM! against the automaker bailouts, Ford got some gravy………….!

    • 0 avatar

      You could take care of the poor people buy giving a reasonable credit against the tax based on income. I agree mass transit sucks, but $4+ gasoline has gotten many more people to ride it. The more people that are on it, the better it will run.

      Of course, giving a credit to poor people would complicate the tax code. Everyone’s against complicated the tax code except when it’s for their own benefit. We only have tax credits, deductions, and exemptions because you the people and corporations ask for them.

      Most people who say they want an uncomplicated tax code are lying, and not surprisingly, most politicians who say so are lying too — they just want their favored groups to get tax breaks, and everyone else can suck it.

      “Also there are those who can’t walk to a bus stop or tolerate the inclement weather and have no one to take them places.”

      Are you talking about disabled folks? Pretty much everywhere I’ve lived has a municipal service to take disabled folks door-to-door if they would like, at no charge.

  • avatar

    The government bribing manufacturers to build more green energy vehicles people dont want to buy. This will end well.

  • avatar

    So, in 5 years, when the ILX Hybrid isn’t selling (like it isn’t now), JapanInc (Copyright I don’t remember :) will just blame the CAFE standards?

    Hence why ILX exists…:)

  • avatar

    I like this well deserved anger directed at bad public policy.

  • avatar

    Look, I’m not a huge fan of CAFE (gas tax or emissions tax would be better), but there’s another reason for the age of the CUV and the demise of the wagon. I posted this in the Verano thread, and it bears repeating in a CAFE-related thread — slightly edited:

    I don’t completely understand the CUV hate here. I get that TTAC has a lot of: (a) people who want a manual diesel wagon; (b) “get off my lawn” types who want a car with crank windows and vinyl seats that was engineered in 1976. I fall in camp (a), but don’t hate CUVs.

    CUVs are much better for what people actually do vs. the BOF SUV that people used to get. Not that long ago, a Ford Expedition/Excursion or Suburban (Tahoe didn’t have one in 1st gen) was the only choice if you wanted a non-minivan with a third row, although later BOF mid-sizes like the old Explorers and Pathfinders started adding third rows. CUVs have more space than BOF SUVs, better gas mileage, better handling, better acceleration. Most people need at best a roof-top carrier, and not massive amounts of towing.

    That third row is important for car seats. The reality is that wagons don’t quite meet the needs of a lot of people with kids any more. You need a 7-seater now for 3 kids or for 2 kids + friends because of car seats. Ye olde rear-facing third row seat (which I loved as a kid) doesn’t cut it for this purpose.

    I don’t know the laws in other states, but California says kids have to be in a car seat or booster (depending age/weight) until age 8 or 80 lbs. Many cars don’t have back seats wide enough for 3 car seats, and in other cars, only certain brands of car seats will fit 3-across.

    Minivans work too, and plenty of people who want to pay less money have minivans instead of CUVs/SUVs for this purpose. That said, minivans are still pretty expensive these days (someone said $44K for a loaded Odyssey and $46K for a loaded Sienna in another thread the other day).

    It used to be that no one cared if your baby was crawling across the dash while you drove. That’s not the case any more.

    • 0 avatar
      Brendon from Canada

      I’ve mentioned a few times over the past several years that the 3 across car seat argument doesn’t make much sense. It sounds to me that this is more a justification for buying a particular vehicle type. The reality is there are car seats that fit three across in virtually any NA vehicle that provides 3 across seating – my personal favorite is the Sunshine Kids Radian (actually, I think they’ve now been bought out by a different company), which fits 3 across in a 2001 BMW 3 series coupe!

      While these seats often cost an extra $100 (or more!) over regular car seats, they also provide infant through 80lbs weight limits… and more importantly they don’t require a new car purchase to fit three across.

      As a disclaimer, our family does have a 7 seat Land Rover SUV, but only because we wanted one, not because we needed one.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, I’m familiar with the now-Diono Radian. It does fit very snugly 3-across in certain mid-size cars. That’s not to say that it’s comfortable and getting kids in and out is still quite difficult, but it’s doable if you need to in a pinch.

        In a smaller car than a mid-size, you can find smaller seats that fit 3-across, but they won’t work once your kids are beyond infant stage (the 8/80lb rule in CA will require a bigger car).

        However, isn’t a 3-series coupe a 4-seater, not a 5-seater? We have a 7-seater because we want one too (certainly not necessary yet), but my point still stands. If you have a Corolla, 3-across is quite hard when your kids are no longer infants, if not impossible, especially since many car seat manufacturers keep making wider seats for side-impact protection (and for cup holders — not joking, it’s insane).

  • avatar

    Any wonder why there is such hostility toward CAFE? If this was going to be the standard used to ensure a minimum efficiency standard, it should have been about two pages long. One for cars an SUVs and one for pickups. Period. No footprint bs, no credits for different fuels, etc. I’d still skip this method for a registration tax/surcharge based on EPA combined mileage but that would make too much sense..

  • avatar

    Europe is not like the US. Going with their rules would kill the domestic truck industry. Don’t act like that is the solution because we all know that it isn’t.

    Now, I am not saying that CAFE is good either. Too many loopholes, what else do you expect from the gov’t.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    I must be extremely dense. TTAC thinks EVs are the devil and it turns out that CAFE regs have a loophole that lets automakers build half as many as they were originally supposed to, increasing the amount of internal-combustion-powered vehicles that they can build and sell. But somehow this is a bad thing.

    You’d think they renamed this site to

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, you can’t make people happy one way or the other sometimes. See the thread where an Elantra-driver asked for a new $15K RWD 150 hp car that gets 35-40mpg that simply doesn’t exist short of Mercedes engineering the Smart car to have 150 hp and cheapening its components a lot further. If GM made such a car on the Alpha platform, people would refer to the ATS as the neo-Cimarron. People are asking for unicorns on this site sometimes and aren’t even happy when they get what they want.

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