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With strict CAFE standards set at 34.1 miles per gallon by 2016, automakers have a long, tough road ahead of them. If you compare recent fuel economy increases over the past five years, the task that lies ahead is downright daunting.
Edmunds.com analysts compiled a list of fuel economy numbers for five of the most popular groups of vehicles sold in 2005. Then they put together an identical list for the vehicle groups sold in 2010. The results show that progress has definitely been made, but a lot of work lies ahead.

Here's a breakdown of some of the numbers: In 2005, compact cars achieved an average combined mpg of 23, by 2010 the number had climbed to 25.6. Large trucks went from 14.5 to 16, while mid-size cars climbed from 21.1 to 22. The remaining categories underwent a similar increase in efficiency, but all groups are still far below the target numbers. The increases may seem sacrificial, but they are more significant when percentages are factored in. For example, large truck efficiency increased 10 percent in five years and mid-size SUVs increased a remarkable 27.4 percent.

Progress has definitely been made, but it has taken a significant amount of time to realize relatively small increase in efficiency. Meeting new CAFE standards will require some car categories to basically double in efficiency in less than six years and, while doable, the task amounts to the largest effort towards increased fuel economy that automakers have ever undertaken. Good luck!

[Source: Green Car Advisor]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      • 3 Months Ago
      The low-hanging fruit in efficiency has been picked long ago; the easy and obvious steps have been taken. At this point, no matter how much political pressure is exerted, engineers looking to squeeze more blood from a stone have two choices:

      1. Add hybrid technology and thus add thousands, or tens of thousands, to the price of a given model;

      or

      2. Make a car cramped, fragile, slow, and weak.

      And all for nothing. Increased efficiency does not lead to reduced consumption; even the eye-popping 13 to 20 MPG gain from 1976-1990 coincided with a INCREASED consumption from 89 to 103 billion gallons in the same timeframe. And with India and China industrializing and hundreds of millions of net additional fuel tanks being added to the world inventory, any painfully imposed efficiency gains will be overwhelmed by massive growth in world fuel demand.

      Even if we could somehow reduce world fuel use, OPEC would just cut production, spike the per-unit price, and make just as much as before on reduced sales volume - so the flow of wealth to nuclear weapons programs, death-cult indoctrination, and terrorism would be totally unaffected.

      The key issue is NOT how much fuel you use, but WHAT FUEL, and WHOM IS ENRICHED BY IT.

      Alcohol fuel requires more volume per unit of distance, a cardinal sin among the efficiency-obsessed, but in every other way is far more desirable: non smog or acid rain producing, non water polluting, cartel-resistant, non terrorist funding, and, if derived from biomass, both renewable and much better from a carbon perspective.
      harlanx6
      • 3 Months Ago
      Dan is right. They have a plan "B" and a plan "C" in the wings anticipating government interference and consumer demand. They are likely working on a 20 year plan. If they aren't, what the hell are the stockholders paying them for? They knew this was coming. The facts are they knew they would have to exceed any CAFE standards just to stay competitve in this cutthroat car market. The wild card is fuel price, and it is behaving like it should, reflecting the increasing costs of developing new oil sources. Just to demonstrate, remember the Honda CRX? I think I remember owners bragging about 50 MPG. Wasn't that back in the 80s? It was a naturally asperated 1500cc gasoline engine (if my memery serves me) on a very slick (literally) little car. It looked a lot like the new CRZ, but do you think Honda doesn't have anything in their playbook that is more efficient than their mid 80s CRX? Come on! As I have always said, CAFE makes a good soundbite, but it is totally irrelevent.
      • 3 Months Ago
      And oil prices are up by some 50%. We need to do better to protect the economy.
      • 3 Months Ago
      they could be at 60mpg average by 2016 without a problem.
      • 3 Months Ago
      Apples and oranges fuel economy standards. The actual standard used by CAFE rates 2009 cars at 32.6 miles per gallon (it was 30.3 mpg in 2005)- exceeding the standard by a significant margin. Getting a couple more miles per gallon to reach the new margin is less of an increase in the next 5 years than the natural increase (without a CAFE standard increase) in the past 5 years and should be easily doable using existing technology (lower rolling resistance tires, higher final drive ratio, etc.)

      http://www.bts.gov/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_04_23.html
        • 3 Months Ago
        I think they do it on purpose..
        • 3 Months Ago
        I feel like we've all been waging a long hard battle to make the writers at ABG understand the difference between EPA and NHTSA fuel economy ratings, then they get a new writer, and we have to begin again.

        Geesh.
      • 3 Months Ago
      Isn't it wonderful that many posters recognize the difference between the EPA window stickers and CAFE ratings. Cars will make it; trucks have an impossible task. So in the end, the CAFE task for trucks will be modified.

      In the real world, the unexpected cleanup fo the Otto cycle ICE is completely ignored. Isn't it wonderful and worth trumpeting that the car is no longer a polluter, even before the advent of significant numbers of EVs.

      Meanwhile there still seems to be a group of leftists who are Conspiracy buffs, really believing that the automakers around the world could easily triple their gasoline fuel economy. The automakers collectively conspire, and choose not to do so, because they are just E-V-I-L.
      • 3 Months Ago
      Isn't it wonderful that many posters recognize the difference between the EPA window stickers and CAFE ratings. Cars will make it; trucks have an impossible task. So in the end, the CAFE task for trucks will be modified.

      In the real world, the unexpected cleanup fo the Otto cycle ICE is completely ignored. Isn't it wonderful and worth trumpeting that the car is no longer a polluter, even before the advent of significant numbers of EVs.

      Meanwhile there still seems to be a group of leftists who are Conspiracy buffs, really believing that the automakers around the world could easily triple their gasoline fuel economy. The automakers collectively conspire, and choose not to do so, because they are just E-V-I-L.