Lobbyists Estimate Billions in Fines If New Fuel Economy Rules Adopted

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

A letter from talking heads at an outfit called the American Automotive Policy Council outlines what it estimates billions of dollars in fines could be levied at companies like General Motors and Stellantis if a government proposal to hike fuel economy standards through 2032 is adopted.


Reuters is reporting the concerns were sent to the U.S. Energy Department last week, citing “alarming” expected penalties for companies not meeting proposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements. In a nutshell, the DOE is seeking to revise how it calculates petroleum-equivalent fuel economy ratings for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids under CAFE. Currently known as MPGe, efficiency numbers for these machines use a byzantine morass of values for national electricity, petroleum generation, distribution efficiency, and even driving patterns.


Proposed rules would change these calculations and likely saddle EVs and PHEVs with MPGe values far below the digits they garner today. Examples cited by Reuters suggest machines like the Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid could fall from 88.2 MPGe to 59.5 MPGe, potentially putting companies in a bind if they are relying on these vehicles to boost fleet numbers. Automakers tend to buy credits or pay fines if they cannot meet CAFE requirements.


Without delving into too much of their math, the American Automotive Policy Council is suggesting GM could be on the hook for $6.5 billion under the new rules, while the bill at Stellantis would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.0 billion. Companies like Ford and VW could also get dinged for about a billion bucks, apparently.


If you’re wondering, the AAPC bills itself as AAPC is an association based in Washington, D.C. which helps American Automakers deliver on commitments by representing Ford, GM, and Stellantis on “common public policy interests” at the federal and international levels. In broader terms, going to bat for them when the gubmint wants to change something. Matt Blunt is the group’s president and a former governor of Missouri.


[Image: Siripatv/Shutterstock]


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Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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6 of 19 comments
  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Oct 03, 2023

    Meanwhile, the Automotive Alliance for Innovation, that represents the Big 3, blasted NHTSA's CAFE proposal, stating it "exceeds maximum feasibility", and will cost the automakers $14b in fines between 2027 and 2032.


    NHTSA's reaction: Lol, just build more EVs, you silly gooses.


    What happens if consumers revolt, won't buy EVs, and hold on to their old cars instead?

    • See 3 previous
    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Oct 05, 2023

      @Lou

      Too early to tell, but Ford may not make it based on it's current BEV missteps.


      "Oh and science just stopped functioning?"

      That happened in 2020, did someone turn it back on?


  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Oct 05, 2023

    "Reuters is reporting the concerns were sent to the U.S. Energy Department last week, citing “alarming” expected penalties for companies not meeting proposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements. In a nutshell, the DOE is seeking to revise how it calculates petroleum-equivalent fuel economy ratings for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids under CAFE. Currently known as MPGe, efficiency numbers for these machines use a byzantine morass of values for national electricity, petroleum generation, distribution efficiency, and even driving patterns."


    Its hard to keep track but didn't some unelected technocracy already decree the CAFE standards for 2024ish to be 49mpg? So now we're going to go full retard for 2030ish and tinker with our CAFE formula while simultaneously going to I think 58mpg? I have a better plan, you're all fired.

  • VoGhost Fantastic work by Honda design. When I first saw the pictures, I thought "Is that a second gen Acura NSX?"
  • V16 2025 VW GLI...or 2025 Honda Civic SI? Same target audience, similar price points. Both are rays of sun in the gray world of SUV'S.
  • FreedMike Said this before and I'll say it again: I'm not that exercised about this whole "pay for a subscription" thing, as long as the deal's reasonable. And here's how you make it reasonable: offer it a monthly charge. Let's say that adaptive headlights are a $500 option on this vehicle, and the subscription is $15 a month, or $540 over a three year lease. So you try the feature for a month, and if you like it, you keep it; if you don't, then you discontinue it, like a Netflix subscription. In any case, you didn't get charged $500 up front the feature. That's not a bad deal.In my case, let's say VW offers an over the air chip reflash that gives me another 25 hp. The total price of the upgrade is $1,000 (which is what a reflash would cost you in the aftermarket). If they offered me a one time monthly subscription for $50 to try it out, I'd take it. In other words, maybe the news isn't all bad.
  • 2ACL A good car, but - at least in this configuration -not one that should command a premium. Its qualities just aren't as enduring as those of Honda's contemporary sports cars. For better or worse, this is a formula they remain able to replicate.
  • Jalop1991 I just read that Tesla's profits are WAY down "as the electric vehicle company has faced both more EV competition from established automakers and a slowing of overall EV sales growth." This Cadillac wouldn't help Tesla at all, but the slowing market of EV sales overall means this should be a halo/boutique car. Regardless, yes, they should make it.
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