By on August 30, 2016

pumping gas

Whoa, slow down a minute. That’s the message from three Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is reviewing fuel economy targets set out for automakers.

The members want more time for car companies to respond to a key report about the 54.5 mile per gallon corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) target, The Detroit Free Press reports.

The midterm review looks at whether the 2025 mileage target is realistic and achievable. Already, the process has yielded a technical assessment report that heaped praise on automakers for installing fuel-saving technology on their vehicles. Three key regulators concluded that the industry will see a light vehicle average of 50 and 52.6 miles per gallon by 2025, if things stay on the current path.

The review process is ongoing, but the regulators (Environmental Protection Agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and California Air Resources Board) seem to be leaning towards keeping the target in place. A final recommendation won’t come until 2018.

Automakers were given 60 days to respond to the July report. Now, three members want the comment period extended. Chairman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), Ed Whitfield (R-Kentucky), and Michael Burgess (R-Texas) are seeking an extra 60 days. Why? The report is too damn long, it appears.

“We assert that the current comment period does not provide the necessary time for an adequate public review,” the members wrote in a letter dated yesterday. “The draft (technical assessment report) exceeds 1,000 pages in length, contains extensive technical information, and references a large number of supporting documents.”

They added that some of the supporting documents weren’t available at the beginning of the public comment period, which runs out on September 26. The regulators responded by saying they’d review the request.

The 2025 target was signed into law in 2012, covering both fuel economy and tailpipe emissions levels. In the draft TAR, regulators were encouraged by the use of turbocharging, gasoline direct injection, electrification and other technologies to raise fleet-wide fuel economy.

Some groups aren’t happy with the 54.5 mpg target. The largest backlash is from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which claims that fuel-saving technology adds excessive costs to a new vehicle.

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57 Comments on “Three Lawmakers Want Regulators to Pump the Brakes on Fuel Economy Review...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “The regulators responded by saying they’d review the request.”

    How have we reached the point where LAWMAKERS have to beg regulators for more time to review far-reaching regulatory documents?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Comedian Mort Sahl used to joke in the 1960s that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, in charge since 1935, viewed presidents as transients. Now the entire executive branch acts that way. Congress takes too long to impeach and remove agency heads, when they act at all. Federal agencies jump only for the President, since he can remove agency heads at will, without cause.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      No, what happened was lawmakers set the original standards. The EPA and others work with those standards, remember the new 54.5 was signed into law under Bush and CAFE rules were changed.

      These 3 knob-heads are trying to score political points with their constituents without understanding the laws. If they want to really dictate new terms, pass a law, get it through the house, and get it pass the president’s veto.

      When you set things in motion and ask regulators to carry them out you need to make new laws to supplant the original law. Stop confusing the concepts, I know you know better and if you don’t I now informed you.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        I don’t remember that at all. Bush signed a law saying new standards should be explored. Obama pulled 54.5 out of his vile…hat. It is worth noting that Bush did start this in motion and directed the country’s security apparatus not to vet Obama. The two party system is an illusion.

        • 0 avatar
          Erikstrawn

          I’m too lazy to google it right now, but I believe Todd’s correct. The only thing Bush ever did as far as an energy policy was to elongate daylight savings time.

          I’m a gearheaded V8 junkie, and I’m all for a 54.5 mpg CAFE target. I remember shopping for a replacement car for my wife’s Accord and almost everything on the market with a V6 got 18-20mpg. Now they’re all pushing 30mpg, with even more horsepower. How is this not a good thing?

          As far as manufacturers saying it adds too much to the bottom line? Bullcrap. They’re all trying to get out of B-spec cars anyways. They WANT markup. Finance the extra cost into the 84-month loan and the customer will never know the difference.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @Xeranar: I have to agree; this is clearly a political move. I’d prefer if it was a bi-partisan action. Either way, they now have to sleep in the bed they made.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        A couple of you need to work on your research skills.

        The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 was supported by the Bush White House. Among other things, EISA increased the CAFE standard to 35 mpg by 2020, and expanded fuel economy mandates to include medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

        In 2011, the Obama administration expanded on this, with a 54.5 mpg standard by 2025. The Obama phase-in was also more aggressive, with Bush’s 35 mpg by 2020 increased to 41.7.

        Both administrations can claim credit for the new CAFE standards. The footprint formula and a lot of the other changes came from Bush, while Obama did more to increase the MPG requirements.

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          Thanks, PCH, this was my first time back to correct them. Bush started this initial CAFE movement, I remember it quite well. Obama moved it up but again, it was Hyundai who broke rank and declared they could get it done without a problem because basically, they can. Dragging their feet and marginal improvement is a cheap way to market your products rather than concede you can make large scale changes with some minor difficulties but radically enhance the lives of citizens.

          That being said, the 54.5 isn’t actually ‘pulled out of’ anywhere. It was a statistical number came up with by scientists at the EPA along side researchers. I wish people on the right would stop with this pretentious notion that somehow it’s all a scam…..

          As for SCE – Bi-partisanship is dead. It shall remain dead as long as the two parties have very little overlap. This is the intent of the government and I have no problem when Republicans get into office and run things into the ground, I don’t demand bipartisanship, I just hunker down and plan to win it all back.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            He was correcting you. You were wrong. That’s what it means when you write one thing and the opposite is true. Did Bush ‘sign 54.5 into law’? Nope. What sort of environment do you exist in that you can deceive yourself so thoroughly without repercussions?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I was correcting both of you.

            The Bush administration did not merely sign “a law saying new standards should be explored.” The Bush administration raised the standards, implemented the new footprint system and created new fuel economy standards for larger trucks.

            On the other hand, the 54.5 mpg standard came out of the Obama administration, not from Bush.

            It should be noted that 54.5 is really closer to 40, and it’s not a specific target that everyone will be required to meet. CAFE is also subject to ongoing reinterpretation and industry haggling, so chances are pretty good that we’ll never get to the 40 mpg, anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            Whatever gets you off, Todd. I was incorrect that 54.5 was set during Bush’s term but that Bush raised it initially. It’s really irrelevant given it’s a forum on TTAC and not an issue of major repercussions….Please try again.

  • avatar

    Legislators have only themselves to blame when they pass unrealistic regulations into law. The LEGISLATORS could fix this by modifying or repealing that 2012 law. Will that happen? That is hard to say because common sense is an EXTREMELY rare commodity inside the DC beltway.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I won’t be satisfied until an F150 gets a real 50 mpg. Screw the manufacturers. They signed up for this with the expectation that the Republican dominated Congress would bail them out.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      You ready to pay $86,000 for a 50 mpg F-150?

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        As opposed to an $86K 18MPG F-150?
        Yes.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          Please post a link to this mythical 86k F150 (and not some aftermarket job, I mean as built by Ford). Can you even spec a Raptor at 86 Grand? I paid 36k and I am over 20.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          Yep…Just built a platinum. If you pay full MSRP, then check every option and then buy every official dealer option for it you can just kiss 70 grand. Looks like the Raptor starts at less than the Platinum. So if you want to pay MSRP (not sure who does for a fullsized truck nowadays), clean out the parts department, and tip your sales guy over 15 grand you can have the truck you describe. That truck has the 3.5 so 18 mpg might be optimistic. I average over 20 but mine is a 2.7. I have driven a 3.5 and I doubt I could drive it “gingerly”.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Somewhat ironically (or maybe not?) a Platinum can cost more than the higher-trim Limited, because the Limited is literally just that, and has very few options.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            I don’t know…I cant get a Platinum over 68k

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Okay, nvm, I got a Platinum up to $63,121 and a Limited up to $70,385 with all those awful dealer accessories ticked. Forget my earlier comment.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The F-150 will be required 23 mpg by 2025, EPA window sticker, or a “CAFE” of 30 mpg. That’s not totally unimaginable, throwing all current/existing technology at it, including a 10-speed, diesel, stop/start, cylinder deactivation, etc. Except that’s based on the Super cab F-150 with the 8ft bed, so figure about a 25 EPA and 32 CAFE for the most common F-150s.

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Average_Fuel_Economy

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I won’t be satisfied until an F150 gets a real 50 mpg. crew the manufacturers. They signed up for this with the expectation that the Republican dominated Congress would bail them out.

  • avatar
    GoHuskers

    Once again the paid stooges in Congress put corporate interests over everything else.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      @gohuskers

      I didn’t know that cars being affordable to most people was only in the interest of car company’s.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Cars continue to get more affordable AND continue to get better mileage. What a pity those facts don’t support your politics.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        This assumes two things: Fuel economy is related to MSRP and that raising said Fuel economy that much higher would drive MSRP out of the hands of average citizens.

        This appears aggressively untrue at this point. As it stands our cars are more fuel efficient and while costing more seem to have risen mostly due to the nature of luxury options now being standard.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          I’ve milked 20.4 mpg out of my 2010 5.4 F150 over 500 miles on several occasions. My 1990 F250 with 5.0 could get 15 on the same trip. My 2010 is a lot bigger and more powerful than the 1990. The inflation calculator I used means that 1990 reg cab truck would be around 36k out the door today. Crew cab 4×4’s sell for that price so I’m having a hard time seeing the negatives of tougher mpg limits. I’ve seen a 27% improvement in mpg and at least 37% more HP.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    How do you fill 1000 pages about this subject? 24pt font? It seems as if you could tell the entire history of the automobile in 1000 pages.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      The old adage about aircraft not being ready to fly until the paper documentation had more mass than the vehicle probably holds for cars.

      Except that it’s electronic, now. But the engineering still generates a lot of data and documentation.

  • avatar
    Duaney

    Overlooked is the increased death rate happening right now, I think I read 35,000 last year. This, with air bags and seat belts in almost all vehicles. When manufacturer’s reduce the weight, (mass), further to achieve these ridiculously high MPG figures, how many more lives will we lose, what will be the cost to the nation from the hospitalizations, life long disabilities, loss of life, due to putting everyone in a 1000 lb car? If they come up with a little nuclear engine maybe it could be done?

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      As long as everybody else is riding around in a 1000 pound car its not too bad. Its when the 1000 pound cars take on the 5000 pound cars that things get dicey.

      I know your 1000 pound car is hyperbole but if say they actually reached say a sub 1 ton mid-sized vehicle it would still be required to pass increasingly tougher safety mandates as well so its crash worthiness probably wouldn’t be a huge factor.

      I cant imagine the government would tell automakers that in order to meet increasingly stringent fuel economy numbers they would get a free pass on safety.

      • 0 avatar
        Duaney

        There is already, established evidence that smaller, lightweight cars have contributed to highway deaths, so yes, the government has pushed for higher MPG in spite of the increase in fatalities. MPG has taken precedence over safety. There have been many attempts to build a safety car, most of the examples were not practical because they were too big and heavy. A similar example is the rush to end producing energy with coal, but no consideration given to the poor, who won’t be able to afford their utility bill that has went “green”, and doubled in the amount, so those people will freeze to death.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      um, seriously? It’s the vast increase in high-weight SUVs and trucks combined with dramatically different sight lines that are arguably the main reason for any increase in accidents technology wise. The majority of our increase in accidents is economic recoveries increase people on the roads, more people on the roads have more accidents.

      Try again.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I have to side with Xeranar on this one.
        On the size matters front: Anyone ever see the crash test between a 2009 Chevy Malibu vs 1959 Bel Air?
        Cars have gotten progressively safer and are we seeing more small cars on the road?
        Statistics would indicate a shift to SUV/CUV’s which are larger.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          Science wept.

        • 0 avatar
          operagost

          The crash test was amusing, and the ’59 would have lost regardless, but it’s not fair to pit a rusty old car against a new one. You could see the cloud of rust. Unfortunately, no one’s going to purposely destroy a show-quality vehicle for a YouTube video.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            Oh please, this the same argument every whiny old fart uses. That 1959 was structurally sound. Go pull up crash photos of Jayne Mansfield’s car or James Dean. They are absolutely DEMOLISHED. Just search ‘1950s car crashes’ and the results are stunning (and graphic). Cars just crumpled in on themselves. Until the late 1980s cars were largely death traps waiting to happen. Once we developed crumple zones and the like they became less dangerous.

            So please stop claiming rust, it was the car.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            I’m amazed that you’re smart enough for your cells to function. James Dean was driving a 1,300 lb aluminum and magnesium Porsche that made a dent in Donald Turnupseed’s 3,500 lb Ford. Turnupseed died in 1995, having spent over another 39 years on the planet without teaching you anything about physics.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            Wow, Todd who knew you were such a goob…Not a single word about EVERYTHING ELSE. Please, just stop…you’re not winning the argument.

          • 0 avatar
            N8iveVA

            Rust or not, the X frame on those models were known to be inferior even back then.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Xeraner thinks he is winning an argument against physics. Perfect.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    _35_ MPG in a half ton , short bed pickup with AC would get me to consider buying a new truck .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Do you mean “half-ton” as in a pickup that could haul half a ton in the bed, or a Class 2a full-size pickup? And is a “short bed” a 5/5.5′ or 6/6.5′ bed?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Just cut a deal with these politicians.

    Tell them “we’ll remove fuel FE requirements for a hefty increase in fuel tax”.

    See how much they really want to change what’s going on.

    They are populists politicians, like Donnie Dump the Real Estate mongrel.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    Lawmakers are given 60 days (during the summer) to comment on a 1000+ page report and ask for more time.

    That’s basically the story in a nutshell. Not really all that earth-shattering or unreasonable. Especially when we’re talking about 2025 targets with final recommendations due in 2 years.

  • avatar
    redapple

    55 MPG CAFE is STUPID, Slow, lazy way to save fuel.

    TAX it like Europe does.

    Washington cowards like to hide behind CAFE s stupid autocratic edicts.

    A$$hats.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “55 MPG CAFE is STUPID”

      Ask the Expert!

    • 0 avatar
      Duaney

      We already know what happens when they tax everything in sight, destruction of the economy, especially the tourist industry, massive loss of jobs, hello Socialism! How’s that working out for you Venezuela?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      32% of the current pump price ($2.25) in Pennsylvania is taxes – the highest in the country.

      What tax rate do you suggest would reduce truck sales to the point where the CAFE rule is achieved without technical advances?

      Should we raise the price to $4.50? Well, at that not-long-ago price, the F-150 was still the best-selling vehicle.

      Gasoline demand in the US is very price-inelastic over long periods of time, which is a unique cultural phenomenon. I suspect that we’d see the F-150 outselling other vehicles even with $9 gas.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    There’s always a reason why car companies can’t do something. It started with seat belts. Too expensive and nobody will use them anyway. Air bags. You’re kidding, they’d cost a fortune. Now you can get a six-pack in the cheapest cars. It never ends. All these bogus claims were never about what was claimed. The manufacturers had their own interests at heart, not yours. So will they kindly explain why my $28,000 GTI doesn’t even have a back-up camera. Probably too expensive, right? Soon, no doubt, every vehicle will have one and it will add beans to the cost.

    • 0 avatar
      True_Blue

      In 2018, they’ll be federally mandated, per the NHSTA.
      http://blog.caranddriver.com/backup-cameras-coming-to-all-new-cars-in-2018/

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      It’s more marketing gimmicks, keeping the good stuff for ‘luxury cars’ then trickling it down when it’s found to be a true safety feature.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s an untruth to say that car companies have been uninterested in safety. Bela Barenyi at Mercedes-Benz invented crush zones and safety cells. Nils Bohlin invented the three point seat/shoulder belt for Volvo (which gave away the patent). Ford first offered seat belts in 1956. GM, Ford and Chrysler all worked on developing airbags. The first practical airbags were developed by Eaton and offered on FoMoCo products in the early 1970s. As it happened, consumers weren’t interested and Eaton got out of the business.

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/automotive-archaeology-where-eaton-crash-tested-the-first-practical-airbags/

      • 0 avatar
        Duaney

        In addition, the 1951 Kaiser was promoted as the safety first car, with such features as better visibility, pop out front and rear glass, recessed knobs, right hand emergency brake handle, and the 1948 Tucker had many safety features as well, pop out windows, safety crash cell under the dash, rotating cyclops head light. Of course today we know seat belts are a better way than the pop out windows, but at least they tried and cared.

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