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The automaker formerly known as DaimlerChrysler isn't finished making headlines yet. The NHTSA, which levies fines for manufacturers not meeting CAFE standards, has issued its largest penalty to any automaker, ever, by giving DaimlerChrysler a bill for $30,357.635.50.

The fine is for the carmaker's entire fleet, which includes Mercedes models produced here and overseas. According to the NHTSA, "The penalty for failing to meet CAFE standards recently increased from $5.00 to $5.50 per tenth of a mile per gallon for each tenth under the target value times the total volume of those vehicles manufactured for a given model year."

To be fair, it's only the biggest by a (relatively) small margin, seeing that BMW paid $27,985,925.00 in 2001 -- especially if you consider the drop in the dollar in that time. If you're wondering where part of that European car premium goes -- after it goes into the treasury -- CAFE fines seem to be something Europeans specialize in. Of the more than half a billion dollars in civil CAFE fines, not a cent has been contributed by domestic or Asian automakers. Yet.

[Source: NHTSA via The Truth About Cars]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago

      LOL is that a number or an IP address.
      • 7 Years Ago
      +1, w/ carguy - CAFE will do nothing to diminish the consumption of gasoline; it'll only serve to enrich the treasury - and soon to be levied on domestic makers too, with the recently-signed increase.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Daimler Chrysler sold 2,087,000 vehicles in the US in 2006. So this bill amounts to about $15 per vehicle.

      IOW, BFD.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Domestic automakers (esp. GM) have built up a lot of credits by building/selling cars more efficient than required over the last few years. Even if their fleet averages do fall short with the rising standards (which cannot really be termed "soon" due to the long timeframe) they'll just continue to use up credits for a while.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Looks like a European tax to me
      • 7 Years Ago
      CAFE is a lame supply side attempt at regulating fuel economy. If the feds want to tax gas consumption they should do it at the pump.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The point is to tax the automakers, not the consumers. (Yes, I know it doesn't work...)
        • 7 Years Ago
        But that'll never happen; people would storm the Capitol building if they had to pay more for something they gobble up like gluttons.

        But what about Detroit? Nobody likes Detroit, let's screw with them and make ourselves look good.

      • 7 Years Ago
      I wonder if the use of more diesel engine could be a hidden ace or a "joker card" against the Cafe? I saw at Diesel Power magazine blog, this interesting rant about "Diesel muscle-cars" http://blogs.dieselpowermag.com/6224641/diesel-news/musclecars-of-the-future-diesel-powered/index.html
        • 7 Years Ago
        I look forward to the responses from DOHC / VTEC fanboys who think every sports car should rev to 8000+ rpm.
        • 7 Years Ago
        a modern turbodiesel is the only way i'd spend my hard earned cash on a retro-mobile. put the 4.5L duramax into anything it fits in!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Now before you read any further, these numbers are JUST ESTIMATES, OK? Thanks.

      The calculations are for Chevrolet, Honda and Toyota branded vehicles only and are averaged for all trim/transmission/engine combos since no one provides that sales data for each.

      Based on the data I could pull Chevrolet is running at about 27.29 CAFE for their cars and 18.47 for their trucks based on EPA numbers and production for last month.

      Toyota is running 31.80 for cars and 18.92 for trucks for last month. The interesting part is if we remove the Prius and Toyota is at 28.53 for cars.

      Factor in that Toyota is not selling any Commercial vehicles nor do they have a Corvette class car dragging averages down and the picture gets very complex.

      Even Honda with half the production of Chevrolet or Toyota has numbers of 27.57 for cars and 20.95 for Truck-like vehicles. The new Accord and Civic really hit the UberGreen Honda mpg averages.

      Overall, no maker is ready for 35mpg anytime soon - Toyota is still closest - worse, all have truck fleets that are way off the mark of 25mpg. Chevrolet and Honda have zero cars that get 35mpg+ combined and Toyota only has one.

      The next few years look to be pretty exciting, as the Volt comes out for Chevy, the Malibu makes inroads and the Hybrid SUV drive train is made for more than just the Tahoe. Honda will have the FCX and has sub Fit cars ready. Toyota will answer with more small cars and a plug in Prius but how will both address their truck production mpg? Time will tell...
        • 7 Years Ago
        Solo: I left Lexus and Scion out with the thinking they would mostly cancel each other out, kinda :)

        Bill: Actually according to my numbers, the Corvette gets less than 20mpg combined - which is like a SUV or Truck - and accounts for 5% of Chevrolet's monthly car sales. Overall the Impala accounting for 44% of Chevy's monthly sales and only getting 23mpg combined is what drags down the average. With no small car volume (the Corolla and Civic get similar mpg to the Cobalt but each outsell it 2:1 and the Aveo only gets .5mpg more!) to offset the bigger sedans, Chevy has a uphill climb for sure.

        Dave: No, I did not include the E85 calculations since I couldn't find the CAFE credit value for E85 engines. Would be interesting to see how that affects the numbers.

        Thanks for the feedback!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Do your estimates include the advantageous e85 calculations?
        • 7 Years Ago
        i dont think the vette really hurts GM that much. the base and z06 aren't sold with a gas guzzler tax, the ZR1 will but thats not out yet. i THINK the vette gets better mpg then a mustang and Ford sells way more stangs then GM sells Vettes
        • 7 Years Ago
        "Factor in that Toyota is not selling any Commercial vehicles nor do they have a Corvette class car dragging averages down and the picture gets very complex."

        Nice work!

        One question: When you ran Toyota's numbers did you include Lexus and Scion? CAFE is by manufacturing entity, not brand. Of course volume of each model is important because that's the way it works, and it allows for Corvettes, Vipers, IS F, etc. At least for now.

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