• May 26th 2010 at 2:29PM
  • 11
President Obama recently announced plans to define fuel economy regulations beyond 2016. He briefly outlined a new plan that would regulate the mileage requirements of cars and light trucks through 2025 and medium- and heavy-duty trucks through 2018. The overall goal of his plan is quite simple: create a national, long-term standard for fuel economy and emissions.

Despite complaints over previous CAFE regulations, automakers appear to be on-board with Obama this time around. By creating a long-term standard, automakers have ample time to tool-up and develop the technology necessary to meet the stringent regulations. In addition, automakers are thrilled to hear that a single standard will govern the entire nation. To automakers, national standards will spell the end to special California-emissions models, which will undoubtedly reduce development costs and simplify the entire process for automakers.

Perhaps more importantly though, standards for future products will be laid out well in advance, allowing manufacturers to determine what vehicles to produce and what technologies to employ to meet those goals. It's no longer a guessing game of whether or not new standards will roll in, forcing automakers to change or cancel products mid-cycle, as has happened in the past.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req. | Image: Geocam20000 - C.C. License 2.0]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Planning for the future is such a weird thing for a president to do.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Of course they agree! They have plans on the table now for vehicles that far exceed the stupid CAFE (which I have said all along is no longer relevant). In order to be competitive in this global market with India and China coming online, they must produce cars with efficiency as good or better than the other car makers or they will die a slow and painful corporate death, whether the governments throw taxpayer money at them or not. By the way, this competition also squeezes out labor unions. To be competitive car makers can no longer afford unions like the UAW whose chief function is to raise the cost of production. With government hanging over all aspects of employment and labor relations now, the original function of unions is redundant.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Terrible. A giant waste of time, money, political momentum, and mind-share that could have had a dramatically more effective and positive impact had it been directed elsewhere. Either the auto company executives did not have the personal courage to do the right thing by their stockholders and push back hard against this, or they calculated that the battle was against destructive stupidity was unwinnable and the only rational action was to mitigate the damage.

      Increasing fuel mileage is futile. As I tirelessly remind ABG readers, our average fuel economy went up sharply from 13 to 20 between 1976 and 1990, but despite being able to travel the same distance on much less fuel our fuel usage went UP from 89 to 103 billion gallons. Economic growth and population growth create so much demand for more fuel that even the most dramatic efficiency gains can't keep up, let alone outpace demand.

      The real goal then is not to try to reduce fuel consumption but to switch fuels, to a fuel that is clean-burning, renewable, emits carbon that would have returned to the air on its own anyway (rather than carbon that had been sequestered underground if left undisturbed), cannot have its market "cornered" by a price-spiking, economy-crushing cartel, and does not fund terrorism and related extremism.

      The cheapest, most practical, and easy-to-transition-to alternative is alcohol fuel.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Are you done with that soapbox? I think Dan Fredriksen has something to say about Fiberglass monocoque.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Posterboy, it most certainly does hurt us to try to dictate technical reality to engineers. Money and time are finite. Forcing automakers to increase gas mileage necessarily carries an opportunity cost - this comes at the direct expense of something else.

        The low-hanging fruit on mileage has already been picked; the obvious and easy steps have been taken long ago. Now the only way to squeeze more blood from the stone is to make cars into hybrids (adding four or even five figures to the cost), or make them slower, weaker, flimsier, and smaller/more cramped.

        And all for no environmental, economic, or geo-strategic benefit whatsoever, as I explained above.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Raising the milage standard is hardly a terrible idea Carney. There is no reason that we shouldn't raise the standard for gasoline IN ADDITION TO other projects like encouraging switching fuels, to alcohol based or electricity for example. My personal belief is that it doesn't matter what standard we set for gasoline for the 2025 model year, as we will have long since stopped being able to produce enough oil to keep all of our gas ICE engines running long before then. Regardless, although its not a solution, it certainly isn't going to hurt us any to raise the mileage standards.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Long term standards are great - Ford and Carters original CAFEs standards had long term standards 40 MPG by 2000 . The problem is realpolitic in 1983 with the oil industry in trouble Reagan suspended CAFE standards and we treaded water ever since
      • 5 Years Ago
        • 5 Years Ago
        OR ELSE! I guess that when you own 2/3 of the auto industry, these things happen.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why not go along?
      With normal cycles there is a good bet the right will regain the white house by then and then chances are high they won't have to worry about this stuff.
      So why not just avoid the P.R. hassle and all nod along and slap backs for the moment?

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