• Nov 24th 2009 at 7:50PM
  • 41
America's CAFE standards will climb to 35.5 mpg (42 mpg for cars, 26 mpg for light trucks) by 2016, thanks to the Obama Administration declaring not long after taking power how conflicting national and state (well, California) standards would be turned into one set or rules. But what comes after 2016? The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) says that 45 mpg is the new black and is pushing Obama to look long-term. CFA also believes that the technology to reach a 45 mpg average is available and just needs to be put to use. CFA's director of research, Mark Cooper, said in a statement that:

There is no question that the EPA should take the lead in developing the next generation of standards for the sake of the consumer and the industry. NHTSA not only has statutory limits that prevent long-term planning, but they have a history of close alignment with the domestic car companies, whose current financial woes stem from a lack of fuel efficient vehicles. If they were not in such bad shape, NHTSA could have set the 2016 standard at more than 38 mpg.

Read the CFA's statement here (PDF). The Administration will decide on it's final rules in April, and we can expect a lot more voices to weigh in before then.

[Source: Automotive News (subs req'd)]


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  • 41 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      How does it help consumers to force us to pay 4 or 5 figures extra for hybrid capability more or be crammed into small, fragile, slow, weak austerity-mobiles?

      I would note that CFA founder Ralph Nader has always wisely refused to travel in economy cars for safety reasons. But for the rest of us in the unwashed masses, I guess humiliating dangerous little euro-toys will be just fine.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you're stupid enough and wasteful enough to drive around in a tank or bus, then yes, I see your point.

        I find it incredibly stupid to sit in a 4000lb vehicle to transport 150lbs of mass around all day long. The stupidity of that is truly immense.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Someone want to convert the 45mpg CAFE number into the EPA equivalent for me? Without the conversion, the article has very little meaning.
        • 5 Years Ago
        45 comes out to about 35 mpg on the DOE test (the window sticker).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thanks. Maybe we can talk ABG into including that kind of info.

        Either that or we convert everything to CAFE before compare our mpg ratings to Europe's. ;)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Also add in the numbers fudging they can do around "E85-capable" engines, plus the craziness around rating hybrid or full electric vehicles.
      • 5 Years Ago
      How so?
        • 5 Years Ago
        That was meant to be a reply to another post...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I understand the sentiment here, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I would love to see the US have the efficient cars available to the rest of the world, but the fact is that we don't want them. With gas as cheap as it is, my wife's Suburban is awesome. And if they stop making them, I will keep this one on the road forever. Prices of new cars will go up quite a bit, and fewer and fewer people will be able to buy a new car.

      When they raise the gas tax to double the price (political suicide, I know) then my wife can drive something smaller.

      Regulating your way into efficiency is going to be a hard way to go. I don't know how it is going to work out, but the law of unintended consequences is sure to come into play bigtime here.

      Raising the gas tax and dumping the mileage requirements of CAFE would be vastly more effective here. It would make buying new cars far more desireable. Raising the efficiency of cars thus making them more expensive so we can save some (cheap) gas is the easy way out, politically-speaking. I wonder in what unintended ways these requirements are going to distort the market?

        • 5 Years Ago
        nozferrat said

        "What Americans want and don't want is of no consequence whatsoever when it comes the health of this planet "

        Really? Why bother with a representative government then, just anoint a monarch?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hi JoeV
        Raise taxes or eliminate subsidies - whatever - as long as the price of gas goes x2 then we'll see the kind of shift we need to see in this country. I sincerely wish we could drop the military adventurism - energy independence is a worthy goal for this end alone, not to mention the enviro benefits. We're trading blood for oil and it's a national discrace.

        I just don't see how we will regulate our way to getting people to buy more expensive and less capable & comfortable cars. It so seldom works as intended, and it seems the best lobbyists money can buy are the ones that actually write the laws anyway. I don't see it playing out well for John Q Public.

        The simple fact is that Greed is a far better (meaning more effective) motivator for the population as a whole than anything else. Compensating for bad regulation by creating other regulation just seems so nutty. Make it more expensive for people to drive the V8 on a 100 mile commute every day, and they will make better choices for themselves in their own self-interest - incidentally better choices for the enviro & nation as well.

        Hi Noz,
        Yes, you nailed it. 90% of the populace worry first about their comfort, which is why charging them for it is a more effective idea (gas tax). Otherwise you're jsut hammering the industry to build cars the buyers aren't asking for. The better approach is to get the buyers to ask for the more effecient cars.

        Polo,
        Raising the gas tax will make people want more efficient cars, yes? As opposed to making cars more expensive to own some other way? As far as the whole 'choke the economy' thing, the rest of the world seems to do fine with $5+ a gallon gas. Why would it cripple us? Getting people to consume less gas needs to be done, but how? Have lawmakers wave their mandate wand will make it happen, right? Ha! People need to start making different choices is how it will get done, seems to do well for the rest of the world.


        Frankly I'd like to see an Apollo-scale misssioin to make the US energy-independent. It can be a huge economic driver, and a massive enviro help. But it can be sold - and paid for - purely as a national security program. The securuty benefits alone make it worthwhile.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Raise taxes or eliminate subsidies - whatever - as long as the price of gas goes x2 then we'll see the kind of shift we need to see in this country."

        Yeah. Bread lines and bankrupt automakers.

        "Raising the gas tax will make people want more efficient cars, yes?"

        You'll be motivating the people most severely affected by $6 gas...these people will generally be less economically stable and more vulnerable to the inflation and job losses resulting from $6 gas, and less likely to be able to afford or even qualify for financing for more efficient cars, which would probably be selling at or above sticker price. The automakers would again see severe declines in overall sales as their efficient models still make up only a small portion of the cars they make. Got any more genius ideas?


        "As opposed to making cars more expensive to own some other way?"

        Thats an dead argument, muted by the 30 years of CAFE regulations which have yet to fill dealer lots with dead weight nobody can afford.


        "As far as the whole 'choke the economy' thing, the rest of the world seems to do fine with $5+ a gallon gas. Why would it cripple us?"

        and what were you doing all of 2008? slumped over in a coma or something?? the rest of the world has a heavily developed mass transit infrastructure, or they ride bikes. No comparison.

        "Getting people to consume less gas needs to be done, but how?"

        Gas consumption is already down, and has been in decline for the past 2 years. You can lower gas consumption more with rebates and low-cost loans for EVs and hybrids, and stronger CAFE efficiency standards. You don't reduce gas consumption by making sure people don't have a job to drive to.

        "Have lawmakers wave their mandate wand will make it happen, right?"

        And you'd rather have the honor system where automakers CHOOSE to make more efficient cars, as their profit margins dictate? HA!

        "People need to start making different choices is how it will get done, seems to do well for the rest of the world."

        Yeah..."different choices". Like artificially recreating the gas prices that almost collapsed the entire US financial system. You're the kinda guy that lights a birthday cake by burning down his entire house, aren't you?
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Raising the gas tax and dumping the mileage requirements of CAFE would be vastly more effective here."

        yeah..its more "effective"....if you own stocks in car companies. You'll choke off the economic recovery and kill jobs, just to sweeten the profit margins on efficient vehicles? If I jumped down a flight of stairs head-first just to knock out a loose tooth I guess you'd call that "effective" too?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Polo,

        You're the typical fear-mongering American who doesn't want to change anything that makes it inconvenient for you.

        Everything is based on fear...fear that the financial system will collapse...fear that people will starve to death, fear that we'll lose our freedom (whatever the fk that means), fear, fear, and more fear...

        When's it going to end? Seems to me people in other parts of the world manage to pay the real costs of life just fine...what makes you so special to not have to pay for the real cost of fuel instead of hiding behind a huge military force that's sucking the lifeblood out of this country?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes we see historically what it will do...it'll keep people from wasting and spending too much on crap they don't need. That's what it'll do.

        When you don't have to face the real costs and consequences of consumption, what you end up with is exactly what you have today - 5% of the world's population pissing away 25% of the worlds resources.

        • 5 Years Ago

        You're the typical fear-mongering American who doesn't want to change anything that makes it inconvenient for you.

        Nozferat, get over yourself. If you're going to suggest something as stupid as doubling the price of gas just so Volts look more attractive you're going to get called out for a very dumb, very destructive idea.

        Everything is based on fear...fear that the financial system will collapse...fear that people will starve to death, fear that we'll lose our freedom (whatever the fk that means), fear, fear, and more fear...

        No, not fear. Something call historical fact. We've already seen what nearly doubling the price of gas can do to the economy, and even now we're still living in its aftershocks. You want to ignore reality, and facts, and precedent, because they don't conform to your narrow view of how things should be. Likewise, since people don't conform your narrow view of how they should buy cars and drive, you want to put them in a financial headlock, till they give up in submission, and run out and drive what you feel they should be driving, and if not then they should suffer. If the economy takes another dive and unemployment goes from 10% to 15% or 20% who cares, as long the top selling cars are the ones Nozferat feels should be the top sellers. This kind of egomanical behavior does not belong in business board rooms or government policy boards.

        "When's it going to end? Seems to me people in other parts of the world manage to pay the real costs of life just fine..."

        And what does that mean exactly? You want to reduce the US's standard of living down to the level of some other country you feel we should be on par with? Seriously. Get over yourself.

        "what makes you so special to not have to pay for the real cost of fuel instead of hiding behind a huge military force that's sucking the lifeblood out of this country?"

        And whats the real cost of fuel? Whatever tax level makes you feel good inside? You could care less about gas, this is all about your ego trip and seeing other people forced down to a level you feel they should be at. Get over yourself.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's fast become not a matter what you want or don't want but what you need to do. What Americans want and don't want is of no consequence whatsoever when it comes the health of this planet and how we are pissing away precious resources by the bucket load.

        I don't understand such nearsightedness and utter vehement resistance to change for the better. Why are people so stupidly opposed to using less limited resources, polluting less, and being better guests on this planet?

        If you want to leave your children and future generations something to look forward to other than the current filth and pollution we are producing now, you better do your part.
        Is it that repulsive of a consideration?

        What it comes down to it seems is people don't want to give a damned thing for future generations. It's peoples' egos and selfishness that's the problem....nothing else.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No need to raise the gas tax.. just get rid of oil subsidies. Same thing... only that we take the money directly out of oil company hands instead of the pockets of taxpayers/drivers.

        "Regulating your way into efficiency is going to be a hard way to go" -miles

        But we have been "regulating our way to cheap gasoline for years....

        We use our military to ensure gas is cheap... and trust me, using our military isn't cheap. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, etc. all have the same military strategy. If threatened, call the U.S.
        Those countries don't really have standing armies, they have us.. and what do the do in return for protection.... cheaper fuel.

        Just look at European fuel costs... yeah they do tax more, but not that much.

        CAFE would not be necessary if we weren't so eager to trade America's finest resource to obtain more of the Middle East's finest resource. I guess that is unregulated capitalism for you.

        But alas, we live in a world where Corporatism not pure capitalism has been muddying up the system for decades now... and there is no going back by deregulation. All we can do is balance regulation from the other side...

        Gov't interferes to make gas cheap so nobody cares for high MPGs.... and Gov't regulates to makes automakers pay for not making MPGs high.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Because I'm talking about global problems NOT local problems. The problems we are facing aren't one of a specific country...we're all in it. In case you didn't notice, we live on a single planet...not the US of A.

        American egotism and self-centered-ness raising its ugly head I see.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "That's not a healthy climate for the introduction of cars that are MORE expensive and LESS capable"

      I don't understand why people believe that electric cars perform poorer. They are better than ICE's in every single way. All that has to be done is ramp up mass production so they can fairly compete with ICE's. That's what Nissan and Tesla are doing.

      Power / torque : EV's better

      Cost of energy: 4-5 times cheaper to drive

      Cost of maintenance: much less

      Resale value: will be much better than ICE once people realize how good EV's are and no one wants to buy an ICE again

      Cost of battery replacement: may be an issue unless the batteries are leased, as with Nissan Leaf

      Range: 100 to 200 miles, but not a real issue since high capacity 30 minute recharge stations will soon be popping up all over the place

      Cost of initial purchase: about 30% more than an equivalent ICE (eg Nissan Leaf), but mass production will close that gap over the next 5 years.

      Driving experience: much nicer

      In short, EV's are basically better in every way, and cheaper. Why do we need CAFE regulations? All we need is mass production to get them off the ground and people's wallet will dictate the change.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "I don't understand why people believe that electric cars perform poorer."

        Marc_BC, that wasn't the point of my post at all. Cars that must meet ever-stricter safety standards (like the new de facto 2.5x rollover standard -- if you don't meet it, your former 5-star car is, what, a 3-star car now?) will get heavier and/or more expensive; cars that must meet ever-stricter CAFE standards need to get lighter, thus either more exotic (even more expensive) or smaller. That means the next car most folks can afford to buy will be MORE expensive and LESS capable. That's not a great motivator to buy a new car.

        But since you want to crow about how electric cars are better than ICE's in every single way -- electric cars cost more and weigh more, and ramping up mass production won't close the cost and weight gap any time soon, no matter how much you wish it so.

        And as for those high capacity 30 minute recharge stations that "will soon be popping up all over the place" -- maybe between Santa Monica and Burbank, and between Berkeley and Marin, but otherwise not soon. And unless that recharge station is where you already need to park, it does you no good -- nobody can afford to sit around for 30 minutes waiting for a fill-up. --I'll believe "soon... all over the place" when I see it.

        Oh, and "driving experience: much nicer" -- that depends on the driving experience you seek, doesn't it? A heavier car is at a disadvantage at every change of direction or speed, period.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "This is my concern. Let's say I only exceed 100 miles one time a month. When I exceed 100 miles, I'm not likely to stay under 200 miles. I'm likely to go several hundred (sometimes more). An extra 30 minutes, every 100 miles, is that much of an inconvenience."

        If you're going that distance on highways (straight driving with no backwards driving) then go down to your local U-haul and rent a genset tailer in LA and drop it off at your destination in NY. We will see them available in a couple years once limited range EV's get out.

        "Not by any reasonable scale. We simply need better storage tech."

        I still don't understand why the rules of economics apply to every consumer item OTHER than batteries.

        "Good luck to them (quick recharge stations), but it's going to take a cultural change, not just Nissan working on it."

        All it will take is a demand for them (enough EV drivers on the highway), and then supply and demand will take care of the rest. It has nothing to do with culture.

        "I also think that eventually we will see transmissions in EVs."

        If we do then the performance of that transmission will by definition be better than the Tesla Roadster's single gear, otherwise they won't be introduced.

        "If we lift the non-plugin limitation, then I believe vehicles like the Volt are good transition vehicles. It offers many of the benefits of an EV and solves the major issues with EVs. It's not perfect (complicated). Hopefully the day will come when we can move past a transition vehicles, but I believe EREV is the next step"

        Agreed

        "So which would you rather do? Pay $130+ a month for gas, or $100 a month for a battery lease? Yes, that same 1000 miles will cost you about $30 a month worth of electricity (1000 miles / 4 miles per kWh x 12 cents per kWh = $30). So they come out about the same...AT TODAY'S PRICES."

        Totally agree, and your cost analysis is if anything conservative.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The high cost of batteries won't be solved by increasing volume. Technology needs to advance."

        Sure it will. Why wouldn't mass production bring down costs of batteries too? They are expected to soon drop to 3 or 4 hundred a kWh. Not to mention even incremental improvements in technology, or major innovations in new types of batteries, which will surely happen given the amount of research going on.

        "Cost of energy: 4-5 times cheaper to drive
        Highly debatable"

        Where I live, it's more like 6 or 7 times cheaper to drive. Factor in the expected (almost certain) future increases in the price of gas and it could go to 10 times or beyond. All you have to do is compare the mileages of EV's vs ICE's and those are numbers you get. Flat out driving on a highway doesn't have such an advantage but most people won't be doing that most of the time.

        "Never seen one (quick recharge station). Have no idea where to find one near me. Quick minute charging is extremely rough on most current EV batteries."

        Nissan is working with the cities it is pre-releasing the Leaf in to establish recharge stations. Expect them within 1 or 2 years. Most people will charge overnight, rarely needing a quick recharge. It's not THAT bad on the battery to do it every once in a while.

        "most ICE currently go 400 miles and require a 3 minute refill. "

        Well if it's that much of an inconvenience to wait an extra 1/2 hour, once a month (which is how often I'd go more than 100 miles), then yes, maybe and EV isn't for you. For 95% of commuters out there it won't even be an issue.

        "Driving experience: much nicer"
        Subjective"

        I guess if you prefer noisy, stinky cars with low torque at low rpm, with pain in the ass transmissions and lurchy gear changes, then stick with ICE's!!! Tesla owners are sure praising driving experience.

        "Even hybrids are borderline."

        That's because hybrids combine the worst of both worlds -- they aren't plugin (all their energy comes from gas), and they still have a gasoline engine connected to the wheels. In other words, they are more complex (and therefore more expensive) than either an ICE or an EV would be. The only reason the price is anywhere near competitive is because they have been mass produced for 12 years. Wait until EV's have had only 4 years of mass production behind them. No comparison.

        "Then the cost of a battery lease is an issue. Shifting a cost, doesn't make it disappear."

        This is your only valid point. I think this will work itself out as costs come down and battery life improves. As Ghosn has promised, the overall cost of ownership of a Leaf will be the same as or less than an ICE car. For me, it would be less because where I live electricity is cheap and gas is expensive.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Mark,
        I think NRB's last point is actually the least valid. Everyone keeps freaking out about leasing a battery. How much do you think we're all paying for gas every month?

        The average US consumer travels over 1000 miles a month. The national fleet average is just over 21mpg. So 1000/21 = 48 gallons a month. At today's price, about $2.70, that's 48 x $2.70 = $130 a month just for gasoline. Think that price might go up? :-)

        The Leaf has a 24kWh pack. Anyone can go buy Thundersky batteries off the internet, with no volume purchase at all, for about $350/kWh. So I'm willing to bet that Nissan can get their own batteries, with volumes for below $300/kWh by this time next year.

        $300x24 = $7200

        So lets say they give a 6 year lease...then you could easily end up with a lease at, or below, $100 a month for the battery pack (these are just back of the napkin numbers here obviously, but they're in the right ballpark)

        So which would you rather do? Pay $130+ a month for gas, or $100 a month for a battery lease? Yes, that same 1000 miles will cost you about $30 a month worth of electricity (1000 miles / 4 miles per kWh x 12 cents per kWh = $30). So they come out about the same...AT TODAY'S PRICES.

        I don't know about you guys, but I'd rather pay Nissan, who is at least building the cars here in the US, $100 a month for the battery lease and some US utility $30 a month for the electricity needed...RATHER than pay for oil at $130 a month. And I think we pay a lot more than that in hidden costs because our kids are over in Iraq and places like that fighting so we can keep that oil flowing.

        Anyone want to bet me that the price of that oil won't go up again? :-)
        Also, want to bet that the price of the batteries won't come down over time?

        I don't like the battery lease idea at first blush either guys...but aren't we really just paying to "lease energy" through oil to a bunch of people who don't really like us anyway and paying for it in other ways including blood of our soldiers and pollution?

        And these numbers are a WORST case for the EV. What happens if you're in another country where gas isn't so cheap? What happens when gas prices go back up here in the US?

        I'm willing to deal with the only real limitatoin I see which is the range. It is a problem for me once or twice a month, but I'll figure out a way to deal with it until charging stations become common in my area. Not everyone can do that and I'm not holding it against them. But for those of us who can deal with a little inconvenience occasionally we might want to at least consider it.


        Guys, what is the difference between leasing a battery for probably less than $100 a month or paying over
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Why wouldn't mass production bring down costs of batteries too?"

        Not by any reasonable scale. We simply need better storage tech.

        "Where I live, it's more like 6 or 7 times cheaper to drive."

        I seriously do not believe we have enough real world data to make that kind of determination, especially if all factors are included.

        "Nissan is working with the cities it is pre-releasing the Leaf in to establish recharge stations."

        Making "recharge stations will soon be popping up all over the place" conjecture. Good luck to them, but it's going to take a cultural change, not just Nissan working on it.

        "Well if it's that much of an inconvenience to wait an extra 1/2 hour, once a month (which is how often I'd go more than 100 miles), then yes, maybe and EV isn't for you."

        This is my concern. Let's say I only exceed 100 miles one time a month. When I exceed 100 miles, I'm not likely to stay under 200 miles. I'm likely to go several hundred (sometimes more). An extra 30 minutes, every 100 miles, is that much of an inconvenience.

        Heck, sometimes it's more than 100 miles between gas stations.

        "For 95% of commuters out there it won't even be an issue."

        If we limit the discussion to commuters, it's an entirely different ballgame.

        "I guess if you prefer noisy, stinky cars with low torque at low rpm, with pain in the ass transmissions and lurchy gear changes, then stick with ICE's!!!"

        I don't agree with all those complaints, but I actually do side with you. I like quiet cars. There are tons of people that would disagree with us, making it "subjective". I also think that eventually we will see transmissions in EVs. They might be two or three speed, rather than the six we're seeing in ICE vehicles, but I believe we will see them.

        "That's because hybrids combine the worst of both worlds -- they aren't plugin"

        If we lift the non-plugin limitation, then I believe vehicles like the Volt are good transition vehicles. It offers many of the benefits of an EV and solves the major issues with EVs. It's not perfect (complicated). Hopefully the day will come when we can move past a transition vehicles, but I believe EREV is the next step.

        "The only reason the price is anywhere near competitive is because they have been mass produced for 12 years."

        And they have relatively small batteries. :)

        "This is your only valid point."

        Thank you.

        "I think this will work itself out as costs come down and battery life improves."

        Agreed. It's simply a matter of how long it will take. You have more faith than I do.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "I don't understand why people believe that electric cars perform poorer. They are better than ICE's in every single way."

        Every single way? There is no technology that is better in every single way.

        "All that has to be done is ramp up mass production so they can fairly compete with ICE's. That's what Nissan and Tesla are doing."

        The high cost of batteries won't be solved by increasing volume. Technology needs to advance.

        "Power / torque : EV's better"

        In general, yes.

        "Cost of energy: 4-5 times cheaper to drive"

        Highly debatable

        "Cost of maintenance: much less"

        Has the potential to, but doesn't yet. Volume can solve this.

        "Resale value: will be much better than ICE once people realize how good EV's are and no one wants to buy an ICE again"

        Conjecture if I ever heard it.

        "Cost of battery replacement: may be an issue unless the batteries are leased, as with Nissan Leaf"

        Then the cost of a battery lease is an issue. Shifting a cost, doesn't make it disappear.

        "Range: 100 to 200 miles, but not a real issue since high capacity 30 minute recharge stations will soon be popping up all over the place"

        Never seen one. Have no idea where to find one near me. Quick minute charging is extremely rough on most current EV batteries.

        Not to mention, most ICE currently go 400 miles and require a 3 minute refill. Range is an issue.

        "Cost of initial purchase: about 30% more than an equivalent ICE (eg Nissan Leaf),"

        Before buying the battery!

        "Driving experience: much nicer"

        Subjective.

        "In short, EV's are basically better in every way,"

        I disagree with the "every way" part.

        "and cheaper."

        They are not. Right now there is an understandable premium.

        Don't think of me as an EV hater. I believe that eventually some form of an EV will be commonplace. I simply don't believe it's there yet. Even hybrids are borderline.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm skeptical of rapid adoption of charging stations - how do you persuade OEMs to use fast-charge (much more expensive) batteries?

      AFAIK, the fastest I'll be able to charge a Volt will be via whatever my dryer circuit can deliver (220V, 30A?)
      • 5 Years Ago
      The government cannot continue to ratchet up both CAFE and safety standards and expect that the auto industry will continue to succeed.

      Three decades ago, people bailed out of big cars and into downsized barely-running emissions-controlled vehicles because of a fuel scare: not just that it got more expensive, but it actually got SCARCE.

      The fuel price scare has faded in significance compared to the economic shrinkage scare. We're less afraid of increasing fuel prices than we are of losing our jobs. That's not a healthy climate for the introduction of cars that are MORE expensive and LESS capable. People are already inclined to hang on to what they already have.

      To drive change, abandon CAFE, freeze or better rationalize safety standards, freeze emissions standards, increase the gas-guzzler tax and use it to fund rebates on fuel-efficient new cars, and gradually increase the tax on gasoline (but not diesel).

      Our government's attempts to legislate progress without pain are backing us into another frigid economy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The government cannot continue to ratchet up both CAFE and safety standards and expect that the auto industry will continue to succeed."

        You're insinuating that there should be an absolute ceiling, completely ignorant of advances in tech and the global need to reduce carbon emissions. Yeah. Just allow efficiency standards to lag, so when the next oil price shock comes the automakers can risk bankruptcy again as they vested their entire business model on the gas hogs. At least their short-term profits will be great!
        • 5 Years Ago
        "You're insinuating that there should be an absolute ceiling, completely ignorant of advances in tech and the global need to reduce carbon emissions."

        No, I'm not. *burns polo's poorly-constructed straw man*

        The present course of CAFE and safety standards are at odds. Changes to safety standards need to be made with consideration for their likely impact on fuel efficiency as well as direct safety. To press automakers to squeeze through those competing agendas dictates higher technology (r&d, more exotic materials) which will increase the price of new cars. Combine that with still-cheap gas and people are motivated to keep what they have, pinching the auto industry and stalling the very progress CAFE and NHTSA are trying to foster.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Obama is running this country into the ground.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, I though he was trying to help us recover after the last guy ran it into the ground.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It was already six feet under by the time he got it thanks to that douche before him.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It should go to go even higher than this..About time, this is the only thing that will force the consumer into electrics.. we need to reserve our fossil fuels for 18 wheelers and government workers.

      What?.. you think FBI agents and the police are going to ride around in clown cars?
      • 5 Years Ago
      @Chet,
      I'm not sure that I agree with some of your assumptions.

      The EV doesn't have to be heavier. The Leaf has a battery pack that weighs 200kg and considering that you get to eliminate many traditional components like radiator, water pumps, lots of other moving parts, etc for a total EV, the weight will be similar to ICE cars of the same size. http://www.allcarselectric.com/blog/1033848_2011-nissan-leaf-batteries

      As for costing more, if they're in the $25-30,000 range then they could be in the same price range as other cars of this size and category (depending on amenities) of course...so we'll have to see about that. Also, subsidies might apply to bring this price down further???

      As for the cost of leasing, see my post above....I think it's going to be cheaper to lease than buying gas even at today's relatively low prices. And you know the price of gas will go up.

      So the real limitation/sacrifice here is the range. No there won't be quick recharge stations everywhere over night but Tennessee is one of the first places they are putting them so they'll do more than just the "California corridor".

      Some of us can't live with a 100 mile range so they shouldn't bother. Others can, and they should consider the whole picture before ruling out an EV like the Leaf.

        • 5 Years Ago
        @Chet
        There is a HUGE delusion that Americans (or Europeans or Asians) will not accept EVs because they cannot do EVERYTHING a gas car can do.

        There are MANY, MANY aspects of an automobile.. Range and fill up time are only two of a very long list. "Charging from home" is a positive aspect that balances the "fill up time" negative aspect. And yes, range remains an unbalanced negative.

        That means what? Long distances such as road trips will not be as convenient and will require addition fast chargers along the way. That will not even affect 90% of the driving in the U.S.

        Electric vehicles are 14 steps forward and 2 steps back. The bigger picture reveals this. But many are shortsightedly focusing on range anxiety. The problem is a want for perfection from the very start. That is the wrong way to make progress.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Listen to people justify their SUVs and pickups, which are driven solo 99% of the time. Everybody talks about those trips to Home Depot, or all the stuff they "have to" haul along for their toddlers. It has been and will be the same for EVs: people might not actually need range, but they can't imagine buying a car without it.

        And it's not just ignorance. Remember, the American automobile is not just transportation: it's freedom and empowerment. People will not give that up. Indeed, they're willing to pay dearly for it.

        In fact, some folks love the idea of EVs because they offer freedom from oil, which brings its own sense of empowerment. But energy still has to come from somewhere, and if you're away from home and you don't like the price posted on the quick-charging outlet or how the electricity's being generated, you're still going to be angry at an energy company...
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Chet, agreed about the range issue. But I don't think, or at least I hope, that this won't be an issue for the majority of Americans. At least it shouldn't be as the range continues to increase over the next couple of years and some recharging stations start to pop up.

        As Joe points out, there is already a huge electricity infrastructure and adding a fast charge point to existing gas stations, etc may cost less than $50K from what I've seen from some of the early units from Coulomb, etc.

        At that price, they will pay for themselves very quickly and be cheap to add incrementally as EV's begin to spread. This means that the usual chicken and egg problem may not be as severe because both sides can grow in small steps rather than requiring a huge one time investment.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Considering a charging station is not like a refueling stations that requires infrastructure, once people start driving EVs, they will be "popping up" everywhere.

        Several million dollars (depending on size), years of planning, land purchases, zoning, ground breaking, construction, obtaining the logistics of fuel delivery by trucks, employees and, of course, the many years of oil company profits.

        Electricity lines are already everywhere. Every commercial structure that has power running to it is a canditate to become a quick charger. They can be installed as quickly as over a weekend. Scaled as low as a single parking space, or as high as a whole garage (if demand was high enough). Coloumb Technology has individual medium chargers as cheap as $6000.

        As EVs hit the roads, a petition of as little as 12 EV drivers could get a fast charger in a desired location in as little as a week.
        • 5 Years Ago
        My comment wasn't specific to electric vehicles. (The subject here is an activist group pushing further increases in CAFE, remember?) Small cars have gotten 25%-50% heavier in the last twenty years. Think of all the wasted energy...

        But on the subject of electric vehicles vs. conventional ones, the Leaf sacrifices range to bring down weight (and cost) -- so while it's technically true that an electric vehicle doesn't have to be heavier, it does if it's going to satisfy the needs and wants of most buyers as well as a conventional vehicle. The gap will shrink with time, but there is definitely a gap today and there will be one for the foreseeable future.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Phew, safe. My car already meets the standard...
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