• Nov 17th 2008 at 7:29PM
  • 54
"Thick and fast." That's the phrase that describes the opinions, pleas, advice, denunciations, and WTF? going on around the U.S. auto industry right now. Enter Congress, which is trying to figure out how to give Detroit automakers the $25 billion they were promised a few months ago. Congressmen are sounding off almost daily on what kinds of stipulations they want to attach to the loan/bailout/whatever you want to call it -- and that's just the ones who would vote for it at all.
Next up is Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida democrat, who wants U.S. automakers to achieve a fleet average of 50 mpg by 2020. Right now, the CAFE target is 35 mpg by 2020 -- a goal agreed upon only after a huge amount of jockeying in and out of Congress. Nelson asked, "Why should we be pouring taxpayer money into an automobile industry that has continued to resist higher miles per gallon, which has led us in part to the problems we're in?"

While that might sound like a great idea to some, it would cost a terrific sum of money to achieve. The Detroit Three need the money they're asking for just to get to Q2 of 2009, not to create a range of cars that would represent magnificent advances -- based on where we are right now -- in 11 years. There's a good chance nothing will be decided until the president-elect takes office, and by then, who knows what other requests Congress will have.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      More people that don't realize the fact that engines only get so efficient and gas only has so much energy.

      Not to mention that, until gas hit $4 a gallon, small cars which would be required to hit any kind of MPG mandate could barely be sold at a profit.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why don't we just grant the automakers a 2 year window to import cars as is from Europe, that way we can come close to increasing the # of fuel efficent models here in the US, and allow them to bring in cars that already meet higher EU standards. That makes sense to me, and in the mean time we can retool our plants here to manufacture, and produce some of these models for their next updated product cycles.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Senator Nelson is ANOTHER democrat! Why am I the ONLY one who notices this? Another wacko liberal idea.

      50mpg by 2020? Bill if you know that much about cars than why don't you start your own car company? Oh that's right, your a P.O.S. politician.

      The implications of this 50mpg are staggering. I doubt this idiot has the brain power to even begin to understand what he is suggesting.

      This is not the time to be making unreasonable requests, help them SURVIVE first you stupid moron!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm all for efficiency but when will these legislators quit pulling numbers out of their rear end with no data or real feasibility studies to support such outlandish requests? 60% of these people have law degrees. What do they know about science or engineering? Nothing. Hillary Clinton was doing the same thing during the primaries.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It isnt that hard to make a car get that great of gas mileage! Look at European just normal petrol cars. Some are in the mid 40's and low 50's. Its just that Americans dont like taking 17 seconds to get from 0-60
      • 6 Years Ago
      Emissions have changed since 97. Government cuts emission regulations and they could easily get 50 MPG. They need to make it reasonable, lets say 30 MPG in 2010 and slowly ramp it up, lets say 5 MPG per 5 years without making emissions stricter. Most of us agree with you that diesel and hybrids are coming, so it only makes sense to ask for better gas mileage over time, which gives these car companies a reason to produce hybridelectric cars.

      Pick up your paper and look at average MPG, highest bragging (gas) cars are at about 35 MPG and that is highway. They want 15 MPG improvement over next 12 years when gas mileage has gone down, even on small cars. Your 1997 is a fine example of that.

      What happened to the Skoda, that was a fine example of a quality car with good gas mileage, but only made for 6 or 7 years?
      • 6 Years Ago
      The CAFE standard is the wrong way to go. If MPG do rise, what do you think people will do? They will drive more, increase emissions and diminish the marginal value of reducing emissions (what CAFE is trying to accomplish). Why is gas so expensive in Europe? Because its heavily taxed. Why? So demand would be low. Low demand = less emissions = more efficient cars = more innovation. What do you think will happen if gas remains at low levels for the next 3 months? Morons will go out and buy more SUV's. So greedy and lazy US Automakers will produce more SUV because SUV are cheap to produce (they are trucks), no innovation needed to change the way they look. So you have essentially the same vehicle sold as 'new' for years w/o investing in any major R&D. Why do you think Chrysler's fleet at one time consisted of 80% SUV? That's where the money is....no major R&D = major profits. I blame it on the automakers and also the morons that are American consumers for not knowing any better.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Do they realize how this will effect things outside of fuel economy. Now, I haven't put the pencil to the paper, but I think this would absolutely kill residual values. If people buy a new or newer car every 5 years, then their 2015 model that gets 35mpg (avg. and a guess) will be worthless when everything else coming out is getting over a 50 mpg average. Financing will be a mess. No one will have equity in their cars...and considering that vehicles are the second largest purchases that most Americans make in their lifetime, that's not a good thing. Plus, to get there, the cost of vehicles is going to skyrocket. So people will be paying more money for something that will possibly loose it's value faster....thank you Mr. Senator
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sorry, i was trying to say that things 5 years later (2020) would be getting 50mpg...in case that isn't clear
      • 6 Years Ago
      And of course this requirement will only apply to the domestic industry, since they are getting the bailout. Foreign manufacturers will be able to sell whatever they want then, so if the price of gas is cheap, the consumers can just keep buying pick-ups, suv's sedans, etc while GM, Ford, Chrysler will be only able to sell high mpg cars, regardless of demand. Yeah that makes a lot of ****** sense.
      • 6 Years Ago
      He and Neil Young must be hitting the same bong.

      I'm all for higher standards...but it's not realistic with current safety standards. Now if that somehow factors in partial electric-only running...well then create new standards to accurately reflect that, etc. Enough with pie-in-the-sky demands though.
        • 6 Years Ago
        European fuel economy standards are not the same as US. Mazdaspeed3 gets 24 MPG in Europe and 20 MPG here. They're the same vehicle.
        Also Europeans use diesels. That's about 50% more expensive than gasoline right now. It's about 20% more fuel efficient, but it also has a higher energy content and spews out more pollutants than regular gasoline. Technology has made it cleaner than gasoline, but there are still pollution disadvantages.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Give me a break. Automakers in Europe have easily shattered the 50-mpg mark without a tax payer dime ( http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17344368/ ). If Detroit wants our hard earned cash they better be ready to actually innovate for a change
        • 6 Years Ago
        All Detroit needs and needed is to move to diesel!
        Get rid of most gasoline engines and sub with diesel.
        the cars will average, without hybridization, 30+ mpg. Add hybridization and the average is easily 40+! And for those who still want gasoline engines, they will be put inside compact and sub compact mainly.
        The unions and low level management HAVE TO agree to reduction of 20% in their salary, upper management 60%, and middle management 35%. If they all agree to such terms than bankruptcy ch.11 can be avoided. If they don't, ch 11 is the solution!
        • 6 Years Ago
        John D,

        1) Europe uses Imperial Gallons, not US Gallons (1 imperial gallon = 1.2 US gallon). Do the math.
        2) You are siting individual models to compare whereas CAFE pertains to the whole fleet. 50 mpg CAFE would mean econo boxes would probably need > 75 mpg to balance out all the trucks necessary for the construction trade, etc.
        3) Europe has less stringent pollution standards for diesel engines. Why do you think there are so few diesel options here? Conspiracy?
        4) Europe's EPA equivalent uses different methodology than our EPA. You are comparing apples to oranges.

        It asinine to believe that we can legislate 50 mpg and it will be so.
        • 6 Years Ago
        While I don't neccessarily think 50MPG (especially under the new EPA measurements) is really a realistic goal for 2020, to be fair it's taxpayer money so Congress can put whatever stipulations they want on it since the money is at least theoretically supposed to go towards new R&D and not merely to pay their existing bills.
        The senator does have a point though about the carmakers being so resistant to mileage mandates through the years-they probably wouldn't have been hit so badly by $4 a gallon gas if they had agreed to more hardcore fuel standards years ago, they would have had to make a lot more small and fuel efficient cars instead of the huge suvs they got stuck not being able to sell.
        But 50MPG by 2020 is just not something Detroit is really capable of. Maybe by 2030 they could pull it off but seriously, if GM can't even get the Cruze here until 2011 how are they going to get to 50MPG by 2020?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Hey John, that's corporate AVERAGE fuel economy not one model per manufacturer.

        I do agree with you to this point; if gas were $8 a gallon here every manufacturer would have at least one model that gets avg 40-50mpg. But it doesn't, so we don't care, so we don't.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If we want Detroit to pay us back. We need to forget piling on rules and regulations.
      • 6 Years Ago
      50 MPG US is nothing special I can get that mark no problem with my 97 Skoda Felicia with a 1.9D VW engine on a full tank of diesel.

      50 MPG US is only about 4.704L/100KM. On highway with newer diesel engines like for example the Ford Focus SW 1.6 TDCi ECOnetic (to name a American one) gets 65MPG (80-100 km/h) and 54MPG (120-140 km/h) and there are so many other examples.

      There are a lots of options of cars doing around 50MPG US and yes they are all diesel.

      So again 50MPG-US big deal, give me a 80MPG or over car with a VW Golf size now we are talking!

      For the future what I want is a diesel/electric plugin hybrid.
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