• Apr 1, 2010

We knew it was coming. Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency jointly released new federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) fuel mileage and greenhouse gas emissions requirements that will cover the 2012 through 2016 model years. The estimated fleet-wide fuel economy standard has been set at 34.1 miles per gallon by 2016, though improvements in air conditioning systems will bring that number up to around 35 mpg. That equals a standard of roughly 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile.

The overall fleet fuel mileage requirement will be an average between both passenger cars and light trucks, and NHTSA is predicting that the 2012 numbers will be 33.3 for cars and 25.4 for trucks in 2012, rising to 37.8 for cars and 28.8 for trucks by 2016. As before, credits will be dished out for vehicles that can run on E85 (ethanol), though automakers will need to prove their cars are running on the alcohol fuel by 2015 to continue earning those credits.

Smaller volume automakers that sold fewer that 400,000 cars in 2009 will get a break on the requirements while "specialty automakers" such as BMW and Porsche will reportedly get longer lead-in times. Automakers will also get some sort of incentive for the first 200,000 plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles built by 2016. These standards are said to be equivalent to taking 58 million cars off our nation's roads for a year, representing a savings of 1.8 billion barrels of oil.

Naturally, all of this is going to cost some extra dough. If the Feds are right, automakers will spend $51.5 billion over the next five years putting the standards into effect and the average price of a new car will rise by $985 by 2016. Savings, though, are expected to be even greater, with the average consumer will net an extra $3,000 in their wallets per in fuel savings over the life of the vehicle.

[Source: The Detroit News | Image: Tim Boyle/Getty]


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  • 61 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hope MB gets the same break BMW is for some reason getting. Will be a sad day when the perfect 6.2L AMG V8 goes bye bye.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Pick ups that get that kind of MPG won't be able to haul anything more than groceries.
      They need to set a more reasonable requirement for light trucks.
        • 4 Years Ago
        My bet is the F-150 will get that with a V-6. If they built it a little less capable, (tucks today are overcapable) it could hit that on the hwy easy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree, however...
        I think that small SUVs/CUVs are considered light trucks here in the states.

        Someone correct me if i'm wrong... but that would bring down the average.
        I think it's attainable with Diesel and a balance of having more small trucks and less big ones.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The light trucks don't get it easier because of what happened the last time they took it easy on light trucks. Automakers built everything on light truck platforms to get around the standards. Not to mention the people in many south and southwestern states that are driving F-150s and Silverados as a daily driver to the office, with no actual need for a truck, and bypassing the whole intent of CAFE.
      • 4 Years Ago
      As long as GM keeps building the Volt, they can keep the ZO6s, ZR1s and Vees.
      • 4 Years Ago
      God I hate corn-subsidized ethanol. Inefficient, expensive, utterly pointless.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not to mention it takes away food production that could reduce starvation around the world to power a SUV. There are only two gas station in the whole of Canada where you can by E85.
      • 4 Years Ago
      CAFE is utter nonsense. Back in 1975, CAFE was created as a knee-jerk reaction to the 73/74 Arab oil embargo. CAFE failed then and it will fail in the future (that is why we are still talking about it). By the way, gas prices hit $9 a gallon in Europe in 2008. Why don't we see ultra-high-mileage vehicles coming out of Europe?
        • 4 Years Ago
        You got that right.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Does seem unrealistic.

      Also, is the Obama (or whomever is in office then) administration going to have to offer "bail outs" to everyone who is seriously upside down in their car because the resale value has dropped off the cliff because of comparatively low fuel economy vs. these "new" wave of high mpg cars?

      Or, will people hold off buying "current" new cars (just what the auto industry needs) once realizing comparable but notably higher mpg cars will be available soon? IF that is indeed the case.
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, new cars aren't investments. But resales and equity in cars are important to a lot of people. Look at the impact $4+/gallon gas prices had on resale values and sales of gas guzzling vehicles like large SUVs. This effect could be far worse when car classes across the board are seeing notably improved mpg. Resale values and sales of lower mpg (yet average by today's standards) cars are going to be hurt. Hesitant buyers waiting for those "high mpg" vehicles and/or those too far upside down in their current car to trade are not something the auto industry needs especially right now.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Can you name one person who isn't upside down on their car loan?

        It's a car, not an investment. Yeesh.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I understand the desire to reduce oil consumption but why not let people decide what they want to buy and how much they want to pay for gas and cars? Did not the consumption of fuel efficient cars go up when the price of gas went up to $4? Are not the companies themselves taking the initiative to have more efficient cars? Did not Hyundai just release a turbo Sonata almost as fuel efficient as the base model and vastly more powerful? Did not Ford invest a ton of money on their EcoBoost line? Did not Audi stop selling V6 A4s in the US because the consumer stopped buying them? Did not Acura decide not to produce a V6 RDX but rather a turbo inline 4 to try and keep the consumption down?
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's what we're doing right now and it's not working.
        Half the cars on the road are SUVs and peak oil is not far off.

        I knew plenty of people in LA who were still driving alone to work in a v8 SUV when gas was $5/gal...

        Never underestimate the stubbornness and expendable income of the American public :P
      • 4 Years Ago
      You do. They're called diesel cars. Not totally uncommon to find small diesel cars getting 55-60mpg in Europe. And even the sporty cars are coming diesel these days with great performance. In Europe, 66% of cars sold by BMW have diesel engines according to their website. You can actually buy one of them over here: the 335d - 250hp, 425lb-ft of torque, 0-60 in 6 seconds and 38mpg...

      If more people in North America could get over their diesel aversion and start buying more diesels now we could have the 2016 goals beat by 2012..
      • 4 Years Ago
      Will it be the Malaise era all over again?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Am I the only one that thinks 10mpg by 2016 is completely unrealistic? I think this is going to cost us a whole lot more than $1000 per car to meet these numbers because everything will have to go hybrid to get these numbers. The only non-hybrid cars that hit this number currently are Corrolla's and the like...and I've owned a corrolla, it's no fun at all to drive and I don't want another one. So in order to keep cars around that us enthusiast actually WANT to purchase that means the eco-cars will have to do much better than a Corolla to offset the cars we really want in order to keep the "fun" cars in the market.
      Last I checked a hybrid is about $5k more than an equivilent gas powered car and all the electric cars are going to be a rediculous $40,000. So how is this only going to cost us $1000? My Corolla was $15k brand new...are these new cars that get us +10mpg going to be $16k? I think not! I call BS!!
      I'm really worried this could be a huge fun-car killer and pretty soon we'll all be driving crappy little eco cars that cost $40k and suck every bit of joy out of driving. Unless the automakers have some super advanced technology they have not revealed yet this is going to cost us a hell of a lot more than $1000 per car to implement by 2016.
        • 4 Years Ago
        neptronix
        I'm very excited for the new DI and turbo'd 4 bangers that are coming out, I think they could make a very fun eco car in a Mazda3 or even better something with RWD. These cars will be able to meet this new standard, but they will not exceed it by very much which means the elec and hybrids will have to make up for the V8's and trucks to stay around. I can't wait for Ford to drop the new V6 'stang motor into an F150 and see it get 24mpg. Going to be an interesting 5 years. I'm more interested in motorcycles right now anyway...40mpg and grinning ear to ear every ride!
        • 4 Years Ago
        BTW if you want a fun eco car, look at GM's turbo 1.4, Ford's upcoming 2.0 DI powertrain and the ecoboost 1.6.. i doubt they will lack in excitement!

        I'd take one as it would be as fast or faster as my 6 cylinder car with a little tuning.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, i'm super excited about them myself and they have me seriously thinking of putting the BMW up for sale. I haven't seen this kind of MPG to performance ratio in cars since early 90's Hondas and that's really exciting.

        Yeah, i wonder if the 3.7 ti-vct will make it's way across Ford's lineup. That could make for one hell of a truck. That motor puts out more hp AND torque than their 2 valve 4.6 v8 for christ's sake... I mean, maybe it's lacking 20 torque at 1000rpm, but that's a small price to pay :)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hybrids are getting notably cheaper and much more fun to drive.
        Hybrid and Electric cars will bring down CAFE averages for manufacturers by a big chunk.
        Most hybrids already meet these standards and a few of them are in the $20k range.

        Also there are plenty of loopholes the automakers can exploit so don't worry about it too much :P .... Domestic manufacturers get away with big, old tech v8's in a lot of cars by making them e85 compatible.

        Hybrids will come down in price as volume increases.. Turbo DI cars are gonna be affordable too.

        It's not the end of the world!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Most likely the additional 10mpg is going to come from direct injection and lean burn. As long as they get the NOX emission under control with new technology like urea injection or generation. On top of that we all need serious weight reduction in today's car, they are all bloated pig compare to the last decade.
        • 4 Years Ago
        it's called turbocharging and direct injection. Look at the new cruze coming out, that is the direction small cars will be heading. Or look at the new V6 engines in the camaro and mustang, 300+ HP and nearly 30 mpg.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "and all the electric cars are going to be a rediculous $40,000"

        Did you miss the memo about the Nissan Leaf? :-)

        It's all about averages. For every two Fiestas or Cruzes they sell they can sell one car that gets only 25mpg. By the end of 2012, the subcompact car segment will be full of cars that get 40mpg. By 2016 I'm expecting that number to be even higher. There will still be room for sports cars. Oh, and full sized trucks for all of the "contractors" out there.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I hope this is some type of sick April Fool's joke.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It IS April, and we're talking about a bunch of fools, but unfortunately I don't think they're joking...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why BMW???? They make bloated luxury sedans..... They dropped 4 cylinders in the USA bout 10 years ago.... The pigs can suffer.....
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Mr. Urchan

        Cadillac is part of GM... They will share their CAFE with the whole....
        • 4 Years Ago
        As a big BMW fan, i totally agree with you.
        The German horsepower wars have gotta stop. Everyone else is cutting v8's & v6's from their lineups... meanwhile these guys get away with 4000-5000lb twin turbo v8 sedans and outrageously porky SUVs.. not cool.

        As for the ethanol loophole, that's not cool either. That's how American companies get away with putting hemis and oversized, under-teched v8's in things.

        It's progress, but the loopholes are not cool at all.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agree, Cadillac is also a specialty automaker in Europe, i bet they make sure it complies with all their regulations. Otherwise we'd be hearing that Americans want to pollute Europe.

        Make all these small European companies comply with our laws, because it seems like average Joe has to buy a car that follows CAFE, but a Hollywood celebrity on his 7 series doesn't.

        Also, these specialty car makers will be able to make their cars as powerful as they want, which is the name of the game in luxury performance sedan segment.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This should apply to everyone the same.

        It is funny how none of the media outlets in the US are mentioning one of the big pluses to this announcement today. It was done in harmony with the Canadian Government. So for the first time ever we will have an across the board emissions standard for both countries. That should simplify life for automakers and save them a bit of money.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They're getting away with it because people here are dumb enough to buy them.

        This stuff feeds directly into the huge ego voids people have here and fills that need. Just look at some idiots on these forums as case in point.

        The Germans are simply playing on peoples' insecurities and lack of self-confidence and are making products (at the expense of our environment) that cater directly to these types who need attention, who want to feel big, bad, and bold.
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