GM: Current Fuel Economy Rules 'Not Technologically Feasible'

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
gm current fuel economy rules 8216 not technologically feasible

General Motors appeared to endorse the Trump administration’s fuel economy rollback, at least to some degree. In a federal filing made public on Monday, the largest U.S. automaker said Obama-era rules that targeted fleetwide fuel efficiency in excess of 50 miles per gallon by 2025 were “not technologically feasible or economically practicable.”

Interesting, considering GM CEO Mary Barra recently called for for the adoption of a national zero-emission vehicle strategy. However, the document also had GM saying it was “troubled” that the current administration appears so keen to abandon federal incentives on electric vehicles after the 2021 model year.

According to Reuters, America’s largest automaker has been lobbying Congress to lift the existing cap on electric vehicles that are eligible for a $7,500 tax credit, which gradually fizzles out over a 12-month period after an individual automaker sells 200,000 electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. General Motors also requested that the federal government establish a national building code that would require all new residential construction to support EV charging, and wants the government to increase spending on research and development in battery cell technologies.

If the government is taking requests like these, there’s an automotive writer working for this outlet that would love to get his hands on a brand new Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack for long-term review purposes and a year of free gas. Consider it a stimulus package.

It’s difficult to tell whose side automakers are on, but we can help. They are on their own side. It makes sense for GM to back California’s zero-emission mandate, especially if it intends to build more EVs while looking green in the process. However, most automakers badgered President Trump to roll back fuel mandates during his first week in office and General Motors was no exception.

That position was echoed in its comments filed to the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks. GM said that since 1980, vehicle fleets have improved its fuel efficiency at an average rate of 1 percent a year. While it did not specify whether that should remain the government-approved target, the Obama-era goals are substantially more aggressive.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Emineid Emineid on Oct 30, 2018

    We gotta stop pretending that it is still the 1970s. We no longer live in that world of perceived oil scarcity and air pollution from primitive engines. Current gas engines are orders of magnitude cleaner. Oil is no longer perceived to be scarce. The only reason Toyota cranked out Prius cars is because that was the cheapest way to meet the government regulations for clean cars. All this talk of EVs, hybrids, hydrogen, fuel cells, it is all just a way for major companies to lose the least amount of money while making the government happy. There is a major market distortion due to the mindset of still living in the 70s. Global warming is still the biggest swindle. CO2 level was as high as 4000 ppm half a billion years ago, as low as 180 ppm, and now we are bickering about whether we can keep it at 300 or 400 ppm, trivial. Earth survived just fine. Let's live in the 2010s and 2020s. The problem is not the pollution or oil scarcity. The problem is the horrendous traffic in any place where people want to live. We are born with limited number of waking hours. Make them count. Stop wasting human hours on dead end environmental projects. When we learn to count human hours as a precious, limited commodity, we will be able to make some rational decisions. The problem is that right now, the invisible hand of the market is the only calculation that takes into account human hours. And people hate the market because it is not fashionable.

    • See 2 previous
    • Vulpine Vulpine on Oct 31, 2018

      @emineid: My answer to you is that community in Michigan... a town that has NO clean water available for drinking and unsafe even for bathing. We're not talking 'parts per million' here, we're talking about water so dirty, so polluted, so full of lead and other chemicals that it is outright toxic! And their political representatives, town managers and state government have done almost nothing in over a year to correct the issue even AFTER it was made so vocally public.

  • TomLU86 TomLU86 on Oct 30, 2018

    I don't think we have an endless supply of oil. In my opinion, we are one mis-step (Iran or Saudi Arabia or something else) from disruption which would demonstrate that oil is not abundant. As far as global warming, I personally think both sides exaggerate. The world has been colder and warmer, long before the industrial revolution; at the same time, one cannot say that all the coal and oil burned, all the forests cleared in the last 150 years really 'haven't made a difference'. As for seventies safety standards, OK, perhaps that is too lax. But air bags and crashworthiness add cost and mass. How many people can afford a new car now? People need cars to survive. I'm simply advocating making driving more expensive for everyone by raising fuel prices, which will reduce miles driven, and at the same time, cushioning the blow by making cars more fuel-efficient and economical. Less cars driving fewer miles will mean less congestion and less wasted time. And wasted time is a fair form of taxation--a CEO or board member stuck in traffic in their Benz loses their grossly overpriced time, just like the Wal-Mart greeter who lost their old factory job. Their time is valued differently, so their lost time is worth different amounts. For all the excitement of the internet, wireless, computers, the fact is that today, collectively, the USA and its inhabitants are more dependent on cars than they were in 1973, when our Saudi "friends" turned off the tap, and when our Iranian "friend", the Shah, quadrupled the price. In 1973, Americans, grudgingly perhaps, were coming together as our role in the divisive (and misbegotten) Vietnam war was winding down, and as the more Americans were coming to terms with the wrongs of racial prejudice. Today we are going in the opposite direction. When the cheap oil ends, we will have bigger troubles than we did in the mid-70s. I like cars a lot--only my finances and lack of real estate limit my ambitions to own more of them, but in my lifetime the sprawl AND growth in size of cars has grown out of control! THe other afternoon I saw a mid-80s Mercedes 300D Turbodiesel--and it looked small next a Chevy Cruze, let alone all crossovers!! It's outta control.... I'm done now :)

    • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Oct 30, 2018

      @tomLU86: Thanks for a well thought out and well written post, that got me thinking. Although I do agree with much of what your wrote, perhaps you are a little too pessimistic. 1) The Alberta Tar/Oil Sands contain a massive amount of potential petroleum, perhaps enough to offset that from the Middle East. 2) Having spent many, many hours in seminars regarding the 'New Urbanism', and seeing the transformation of major cities, including the Greater Toronto Area, urban sprawl may be a thing of the past. The major North American cities are starting to resemble European cities in density, type of housing and reliance on public transit. It was recently predicted that within my lifespan more than 50% of all North Americans will live within the confines of the top 10 or 12 major urban centres. 3) In the vast majority of situations we do not need privately owned motor vehicles to survive. Public transit, bicycles, car sharing and taxis/Uber can replace these for most people or in most situations. 4) The planet's climate does change. However we also know that human activity can disrupt or exacerbate it. We can 'seed' clouds. Poor farming techniques led to 'dust bowls'. The area around ancient Carthage remained barren after being 'salted'. Coal fires created the 'pea soup London fogs'. We no longer have brown haze hanging over our cities during rush hours. Our buildings are no longer covered in soot. Acid rain has largely been eliminated and most urban rivers have been cleaned up and no longer 'catch fire'.

  • Lou_BC ERay? A southern model will be the BillyRay.
  • Lou_BC I've never used a car buying plan service. My Costco membership did get me 1,000 cash back on my last truck.
  • Jeff S I can understand 8 cars is a bit much unless you are a serious collector. I always loved the Challenger when it first came out and now. I don't need a car like this but I am glad it exists at least for 1 more year. If I had a choice between a Mustang, a Camaro, and a Challenger I would opt for a Challenger but probably with a V-6 since it has more than enough power for most and I don't need to be burning rubber. Challenger has the classic muscle car looks, more cabin room, and a decent size trunk which makes it very livable for day to day driving and for traveling. The base models of the Dodge Challenger has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that gives you 305 horsepower with 268 lb-ft torque. The car attains 60 mph from a standstill within just 6 seconds, which is quite fast. Even with their base engines, the Challenger and Camaro are lightning-fast. The Camaro reaches 165 mph, while the Challenger can go up to 11 mph faster!
  • Inside Looking Out I would avoid American cities if I can. European cities are created for humans and Americans for cars.
  • Inside Looking Out I used True car once in 2014 and got a great deal. The difference is that you do nothing but dealers call you. No haggling but you can get the same deal browsing inventories on dealers websites. It just matter of convenience, Rich people delegate job to someone else because time costs more.