• Aug 27, 2007
The U.S. Congress isn't the only ruling body proposing new measures to curb the nation's reliance on foreign oil. The EPA is currently in the process of writing up new rules that it hopes will limit fuel consumption, and is currently gathering 75 regulators to help implement George Bush's '20-in-10' plan, which would see fuel consumption drop 20% in ten years.

Such a move would have the setting of fuel economy standards move from traditional transportation officials to the environmental regulators, and has only come about because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The EPA has been in charge of regulating auto emissions for years, but this would be the first time its policies would have an effect on the levels of fuel consumption.

Under the stipulations of Bush's original 20-in-10 plan, manufacturers would have to improve the mileage of cars by 4 a year for trucks between 2012 and 2017. As expected, automakers consider such a proposal as being too harsh, citing the fact that cars would have to average 32 mpg in just 10 years ,when today's average is just 24mpg.

[Source: Automotive News - Subs. Req'd]


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  • 22 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Funny enough, the EPA is free to to enact a CO2 limit, if they see fit. Ironically enough, CO2 emissions is the main thing used to calculate fuel consumption. Limit CO2 emissions, and you sort-cut right past fuel economy. Not that this is a good approach, by any means.
      • 7 Years Ago
      America continues to get it backwards. You want to reduce oil consumption, you start with curbing demand, not forcing the car companies to build more efficient vehicles. Since a lot of people here seem to want to emulate the European model, that's what they do. They don't have CAFE, they have high gasoline taxes.

      Raise the gasoline tax progressively, say, 10-15 cents a gallon annually until it reaches European levels, will encourage drivers to 1) drive less, 2) buy a more efficient car, 3) all of the above. Instead, we opt for the less politically painful route and continually try to shove efficiency onto the automakers when it has been clear that, until recently, buyers just weren't interested in the smallest, most efficient cars.

      Suppose the most draconian CAFE standards were enacted (all models must average 34 mpg, including SUVs and trucks), and to achieve such numbers all automakers were forced to use aluminum, magnesium, and carbon fiber to get the weight down, as well as use hybrid or turbodiesel drivetrains -- the bottom line meaning an increase in price from $7,500 and up. This is ON TOP of the current $23-25,000 average cost of a new car.

      Even though people want the mpg, they can't make the purchase price, so they keep their old wheels and stick with Plan A (driving less), so that wonderfully high CAFE number instead means fewer sales of more efficient vehicles -- and we continue to consume.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Agreed.
        Instead of paying the ExxonMobile Price Gouging Tax and making Gas Company CEO's RICH, we should have a 5 or 10 cent Annual Increase in the Gas Tax to go to making us Energy Independent.

        We could pay for: Solar and Wind projects,
        Mass transit, to help lighten road congestion, rebuild our roads and bridges. All of these projects would help pay for Working Class Jobs. But, the CEO's would have a harder time Price Gouging us, so, they will fight it to the death. But, currently, with these kind of prices AMERICAN's would actually be better of with higher Gas Taxes.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't think its the cure to the problem. currently I use my car less cuz of the amount of gas I spend, If i get more mpg I would use my car more. At the end of the day im still consuming the same amount of gas maybe even more. Plus consumers don't have guns to their heads being forced to buy trucks that get 12 mpg. The consumer will get what he/she wants regardless of the mpg or other factors granted excluding the "tree huggers". I think resources should be devoted on alternate fuels...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Dear Everyone,

      I love how everyone thinks it's the big oil companies that are sticking it to Joe Consumer. Do any of you know that when you buy a gallon of gasoline that about 50 cents goes towards state and federal taxes and excises?

      So, the government is already effectively taxing gasoline at the rate of about 20%.

      Oil companies spend billions (millions to drill single wells) to ensure that we have a constant energy supply so we can get in the car and drive when and where we want to. The record profits lately are more a direct result of the high price of oil. The oil companies are not "gouging" you like so many of you like to believe. With the rising cost of oil, it costs more to drill wells, to run logs, to get people to work the wells, etc. But, the price lately has been high enough to allow the record profits. This isn't due to gouging, but instead more to geopolitical tensions and an increasing amount of the world population having automobiles (see China and India).

      It constantly amazes me how people trash-talk the oil companies and think that there are rich oil barons running them. That is an archaic notion of the oil industry. Picture your life for a week without the use of any petrochemical products, and you will realize how valuable these companies are. The people that are truly getting filthy rich are the Sheikhs, not the oil company CEO's. Considering the work these CEO's do and the pressure they are under, they are likely paid what the market dictates.

      I think people don't really dislike the oil companies, rather they dislike how much they rely on oil to live the standard of life they are accustomed to living. But, instead of admitting this reliance, they project it onto some idea of "Big Bad Oil Company" or they lose all powers of rationality and start to believe in some sort of "right" to oil (see Nationalization, Chavez, etc.) With as valuable as oil is to our global economy, someone is going to get rich off of it. I would much rather it be a bunch of educated, hard-working engineers, geologists, etc. than dictators, sheikhs, and politicians (which is really the only other alternative).
      • 7 Years Ago
      as Christobevii3 points out, car are getting heavier because of safety features (which we might or might not need, no thanks to IIHS, showing all those crashes to scare people).

      The fact is that car are getting bigger. Take the "mid size" Honda accord for example, the latest model is huge. If they would go back to the size of the origianl accord, which equal to today's civic, they would have no problem getting 32MPG.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Bush...hehehehe...sorry, couldn't help it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why not just produce more vehicles with the entry-level powertrain? Automakers could charge a significantly higher premium for the large engine options, and the fuel economy average for that model would go up. Everyone wins (except for people who want to accelerate quickly).
      • 7 Years Ago
      I just saw on the telivison commershill that Chevy done got a bunch of cars that get 30mpg or more and Dodge is got the highest gas mileage ever in it historie. These guy are alomost there, man. They just got to get a couple more mpg and they'll beat this here regulation thing. And all thes new 7 seater CUV things got to get better mile-age than my ol' wagon. right? Come on boys. Git er done.

      ;-)

        • 7 Years Ago
        50 mpg cars are possible now. They are doing better, but, not by much. The new Sebring for example doesn't get much better gas mileage then an SUV.

        The problem is how they sell cars.
        There is a small segment that buys horsepower, and one that can't afford horsepower, but, there's also an Efficiency Market. This is the one U.S. car companies are ignoring. And Honda and Toyota are marketing to. This is a big market segment to ignore. Anywhere from 5 to 25% of the market, and this is where GM and Ford are getting clobbered.

      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm a little perplexed that you chose to use a Corvette (Euro-spec, at that) as your image on a story about our reliance on foreign oil.

      Contrary to what most believe, the Corvette gets 18/28 mpg and is not subject to the gas guzzler tax. Even the 505hp Z06 gets 16/26 mpg.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If I buy the damn gas, I should be able to pour it out on the ground and light it on fire, giving me 0mpg. Its MY gas, I'll do what I like with it. Its like penalizing drunks because they drink more than everyone around them - its their choice, we don't stop them, why should we stop people who BUY the gas from USING the gas? I can use 1 gallon, but you're going to stop me from using two? Get bent. This is the kind of shit that made our founding fathers kill British soldiers. Why do we lie down and accept it?

      And 4% a year - you can tell how Bush's science education went. Modern engines are INCREDIBLY efficient. Think about a gallon of gas - we're pissed that one gallon of liquid moves us 30 miles, in a 3,300 pound conveyance! Put a modern gas motor into a carriage, I'll bet you'd get wicked MPG. Think about gas that way, then maybe they'd realize how awesome that is.

      About emissions: You know that modern PZEV's in a city like, say, Mexico city, emit air from the exhaust thats actually cleaner than the environment air, right? This is just ridiculous. PEOPLE MAKE TRASH. They require carbon to be burned. If we're all smart, and keep our cats on our cars and keep science moving, we'll have an even better solution soon, and then a better one after that. But to say, "Science will give us 4% by next year" - has that EVER worked for science? Or engineering, math? Not the way it goes.

      Bureaucrats trying to legislate science and technology. Its like when that one senator referred to the internet as a 'Series of tubes...' - these guys are so clueless. They don't even listen to their own science advisors! They listen to movie stars though. Can you believe this? BONO gets to talk to congress. I have more science education than that tool (how do I know this? Listen to U2's lyrics, he's an idiot). But I don't get to try to convince these old duffies. Oh yeah, many of them don't 'believe' in evolution. Backwards much?

      I hate these stupid, uneducated hippies so much. Come on. Its like when people argue for ethanol without understanding the energy content of an alcohol fuel. Everyone, do me a favor: Kick a hippie. They don't fight back anyway.

      /Rant. Sorry.
        • 7 Years Ago
        right on travis

        political cowardice leads to bad policy, anyone with half a brain can understand that a gas tax is the only way to curb our consumption of fuel.

        if advances in technology went like these idiots want to push it, instead of the internet we really would have a series of tubes.

        somone explain exactally how a car that uses no gas (volt) would factor in to cafe. if GM sells one car that gets infinte mpg, do they get to ignore cafe then?

        the greenpeace types are starting to come around on some issues. neuclear power for example. but they are stuck in the midset that its automakes fault that cars get bad milage.

        if there is one organization at fault it is the highway safty board. efficient, nice, safe. pick 2. since safe is mandatory and a car has to be nice to sell... ITS GM's FAULT!!!

        if you really want to save the earth, write your congressman and tell him/her that you are willing to sacarifice and want a gas tax. anything less than that is talk talk talk
        • 7 Years Ago
        You sound like a real prick.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Dang straight.

        Let's dump gas into Boston Harbor and ride our horses to work! Yee haw!

        Don't take it so personally Travis. Chill - I know where you're coming from. Just step back and realize that the goal for most of us "hippies" is to make the world better, not your life worse.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think we need to take a step back and determine where we are at this current time. Our society (US) is built on the gasoline automobile. What would happen if OPEC decided to not sell crude to the US, just like in 1973? Most of us don't remember, but in 1973, the US was a MAJOR oil producer. On par or even exceeding the top mid-east producer. Now our needs dwarf our domestic production.

      Unfortunately business lives in Quarterly cycles and innovation is expensive. I think we all agree something is needed to reduce our consumption of oil. I personally would like to see the market force a change in our behavior, but at the same time I'm very nervous. When world oil production peaks, and it will peak, we are in for a world of hurt. Will Ford/GM/Chrysler -- Toyota be able to produce a vehicle that will meet the need of the time? I would like to see us reduce our oil needs but also invest in new technology areas -- Solar for the grid, batteries for autos come to mind, This is where we really need the government. This is why we need an environmental and business policy that ride hand in hand. Forced CAFE is a step in one direction, but more of an off balanced hop.

      Push hard for new standards, grow with technology.

      Dave
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why would that be so hard for them to do?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Mr. Oak

        I found that on my morning commute - when I lived in a city like NYC with train transportation - that my legs never got tired from clutching. I was able to read the morning paper without worrying about drifting into the next lane or slamming into the car ahead. And the exercise I got from walking from the station to the office kept me fit and trim.

        Ah, those were the days.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "It is funny how most cars would gain that 4% though if people would just drive a stick shift."

        Not sure this is true anymore. A stick often gets only 1 mpg better than a typical auto.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Civic automatic-manual is not a good comparison.
        The top gear of the stick shift civic is geared to equate to the 4th gear of the automatic.
        The gearing of the 5 speed stick is like a 6 speed stick, but without the top gear.
        The automatic has very tall gearing, perfect for the 2 liter version of the 1.8
        • 7 Years Ago
        Actually, cars coming out now get better mpg with automatics than with sticks. Automatics finally caught up on the number of ratios provided, and the stick versions typically have lower final drives, increasing RPMs at all speeds.
        • 7 Years Ago
        It is hard because the average weight of the car has gone up so much. A honda accord 14 years ago was like 2400lbs, now they are like 3400lbs. Throw in to be competitive you have to have 280hp in a v6, side air bags to meet high safety standards, and have a thick enough roof to handle 5 rolls from a crash; you get a heavy car.

        It is hard to have all the added "safety" and meet consumer needs and fuel mileage standards. I bet a large portion of people would rather pay $1500 fuel taxes on a new car than have that 120hp inline 4...

        It is funny how most cars would gain that 4% though if people would just drive a stick shift.
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