Tiny Engines Have a Home in Chevrolet Vehicles, Regardless of What the EPA Decides
As it stands, the only Chevrolet vehicles not offered with available four-cylinder power are the Suburban, Tahoe, and Silverado lines of full-size trucks. Everywhere else, from the diminutive Spark hatch to the Camaro sports coupe and the full-size Impala sedan, and from the Equinox and Traverse crossovers to the Colorado pickup, you’ll find at least the option of a gasoline four-banger displacing no more than 2.5 liters.
Even if you choose a V6 or V8, there’s a good chance it’ll also run on four cylinders under light loads.
Now that the legislation that expedited the engine downsizing trend is poised to disappear, the brand says it’s not changing course. Chevrolet will pretend there’s still an Obama in the Oval Office and that its hide depends on making steady fuel economy gains.
As reported by Motor Trend, Steve Majoros, Chevrolet’s head of cars and crossovers, told assembled media that the looming rollback of corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) requirements by the EPA won’t change the brand’s product strategy.
“The commitments that we’ve made and the statements that we’ve made about our future portfolio remain,” Majoros said. “You know, we’re very proud of all the things we’ve done from a fuel efficiency standpoint. Whether it’s increased fuel efficiency, you know, stop/start technology, more transmissions, lightweighting, diesels, all the things we’re doing are just one part of a broader commitment that we’ve got. Nothing’s going to change based on that. We’ve got future plans.”
Under the Obama-era fuel economy rules, fleetwide light-duty fuel consumption was pegged at 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. While automakers did a good job adapting their lineups to the standards through use of the technologies mentioned above, the 2022-2025 period was cause for worry. That last sprint towards the finish line stood to cost manufacturers big. To reach the goal, large investments in (and widespread adoption of) electrification would be required. Naturally, lobby groups had a field day.
One of the groups seeking a reversal of Obama’s pledge, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, represented GM. Some of the demands weren’t quite as contentious as “let us build gas guzzlers with impunity.” Automakers hoped to gain extra credit for the installation of stop/start systems, nor did they want the upstream emissions from power plants to count against their electric vehicles.
At this early stage, no one knows where exactly the new MPG target will land. Should gasoline prices soar, the automaker with the least thirsty fleet stands to gain extra customers, so there’s an incentive in continuing the push towards fuel-saving technologies. While there’ll always be a well-monied clientele in the market for 5.3- and 6.2-liter body-on-frame SUVs, keeping a turbo four under the hood of its top-selling crossovers seems like a good way for GM to hedge its bets.
Even if gas prices stay low, many customers still shop with MPGs in mind.
“If you look at things like Equinox, the latest products we’ve brought out, our fuel economy’s going up anywhere from three to five miles per gallon whether it’s highway, city, combined,” said Majoros. “So we have a number of things in place to make sure that we continue on that journey, and nothing’s going to change fundamentally from that.”
[Image: General Motors]
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