• Oct 1st 2010 at 2:41PM
  • 87
A CAFE standard of 62 miles per gallon by 2025 might indeed come to pass. The Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency today released a "Notice of Intent to Improve Fuel Economy and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions for 2017-2025" (PDF) that includes, as one possibility, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by six percent a year for the years in question. A drop that steep would put us on track for 62 mpg, but the agencies are also looking at three, four and five percent decreases (where three percent equals a 47 mpg level by 2025).

Why does the administration think higher CAFE standards are important? Two reasons: the environment (of course) and the economy. The Notice of Intent says:
The automotive market is becoming increasingly global. The U.S. auto companies produce and sell automobiles around the world, and foreign auto companies produce and sell in the U.S. As a result, the industry has become increasingly competitive. Staying at the cutting edge of automotive technology, while maintaining profitability and consumer acceptance, has become increasingly important for the sustainability of auto companies. Trends in the world automotive market suggest that investments in improved fuel economy and advanced technology vehicles are a necessary component for maintaining competitiveness in coming years.
Nothing has been decided just yet, and we are not in a comment period. The 62 mpg level got a big pile of support from the governors of eight states – New York, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Washington – and other early voices are in favor of the go-big-or-go-home proposal. The governors write:
We urge you to set ambitious new standards for passenger vehicles. We have seen the automakers meet goals time and time again, and we are confident that technological improvements, including the plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles that they are rolling out, will increase efficiency and affordability further and will make 60 miles per gallon commonplace.
Some, though, are urging for a slow process. Dave McCurdy, president of the Auto Alliance, said in a statement that the automakers he represents want to work with the agencies on the new standard and that:
EPA and DOT should now engage a broad range of independent experts to undertake a thorough analysis and balance the technological opportunities to improve vehicle and fleet fuel economy with the economic challenges they present – for automakers and American consumers.
The government plans to issue its proposal next September and won't make a final rule until July 2012. You can read today's official government release here (PDF) and read related press releases after the jump. For more on the higher CAFE targets, read this.

[Sources: DOT, Detroit News, Auto Alliance]
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EPA and DOT Announce Next Steps toward Tighter Tailpipe and Fuel Economy Standards for Passenger Cars and Trucks

Move should save consumers money, reduce dependence on oil

WASHINGTON - In keeping with President Obama's vision to reduce greenhouse gases and increase fuel efficiency, the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced they will begin the process of developing tougher greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards for passenger cars and trucks built in model years 2017 through 2025. This will build on the success of the first phase of the national program covering cars from model years 2012-2016.

The program is a key part of the administration's energy and climate security goals, which call for the increased domestic production and use of existing, advanced, and emerging technologies to strengthen the auto industry and enhance job creation in the United States. Continuing the national program will help make it possible for manufacturers to build a single national fleet of cars and light trucks that satisfies all federal and California standards, while ensuring that consumers have a full range of vehicle choices.

"Continuing the successful clean cars program will accelerate the environmental benefits, health protections and clean technology advances over the long-term. In addition to protecting our air and cutting fuel consumption, a clear path forward will give American automakers the certainty they need to make the right investments and promote innovations," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "We will continue to work with automakers, environmentalists and other stakeholders to encourage standards that reduce our addiction to foreign oil, save money for American drivers, and clean up the air we breathe."

"We must, and we will, keep the momentum going to make sure that all motor vehicles sold in America are realizing the best fuel economy and greenhouse gas reductions possible," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Continuing the national program would help create a more secure energy future by reducing the nation's dependence on oil, which has been a national objective since the first oil price shocks in the 1970s."

In a May 21, 2010 memorandum, President Obama directed EPA and DOT issue a Notice of Intent (NOI) that would lay out a coordinated plan, to propose regulations to extend the national program and to coordinate with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in developing a technical assessment to inform the NOI and subsequent rulemaking process.

Consistent with the Presidential Memorandum, the NOI includes an initial assessment for a potential national program for the 2025 model year and outlines next steps for additional work the agencies will undertake. Next steps include issuing a supplemental NOI that would include an updated analysis of possible future standards by November 30, 2010. As part of that process, the agencies will conduct additional study and meet with stakeholders to better determine what level of standards might be appropriate. The agencies aim to propose actual standards within a year.

The national program is intended to save consumers money by cutting down on fuel costs, improve our nation's energy security by reducing dependence on petroleum, and protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas pollution that leads to climate change. Climate change is the single greatest long-term global environmental challenge. Cars, SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks are responsible for 57 percent of U.S. transportation petroleum use and almost 60 percent of all transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.

The results of the interim technical assessment are summarized in the NOI and presented in a separate document, which NHTSA, EPA and CARB are also jointly releasing today. To achieve further annual greenhouse gas reductions, the automotive industry could choose from a variety of advanced technologies.

The assessment also considers the costs and effectiveness of applicable technologies, compliance flexibilities available to manufacturers, potential impacts on auto industry jobs, and the infrastructure needed to support advanced technology vehicles. This assessment was developed through extensive dialogue with automobile manufacturers and suppliers, non-governmental organizations, state and local governments, and labor unions.

More information on the NOI, the technical assessment, and submitting
comments: http://www.nhtsa.gov/fuel-economy and http://www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regulations.htm

Statement of Dave McCurdy on the Notice of Intent to Improve Fuel Economy and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions for 2017-2025

The Alliance remains convinced that a single national program to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions is the best approach for the environment, our customers, and our economy.

As the agencies acknowledge, the assumptions in the Notice of Intent – and the potential ranges of improvements that they imply – are based on very preliminary and incomplete data at this point, and inevitably will change as more information is brought to the process.

In the coming weeks, we will carefully review the technical assessment's assumptions regarding factors that will impact vehicle fuel economy increases over this time period. These include vehicle technologies and technology costs, the cost of gasoline, development of low-carbon fuels, and development of infrastructure to charge plug-in hybrids and battery electrics.

EPA and DOT should now engage a broad range of independent experts to undertake a thorough analysis and balance the technological opportunities to improve vehicle and fleet fuel economy with the economic challenges they present – for automakers and American consumers.

The Alliance is committed to working collaboratively with EPA, NHTSA and California to achieve these goals in a way that allows consumers to choose and afford vehicles that fit their needs.

The Alliance is a trade association of twelve car and light truck manufacturers including BMW Group, Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.

Rules allow full range of cars, SUVs, and pickups

John German, an engineer who worked in the auto industry under Chrysler and Honda for 21 years and is now senior fellow and Program Director at the International Council for Clean Transportation, released the following statement to help clarify the scaled nature of the government's proposed fuel economy standards, which grade vehicles "on the curve":

"Pushing the fleet to a 60 mpg standard will not push consumers into small cars. The technology exists to dramatically increase the fuel economy of all cars, from the smallest to the largest, without any change in the size and performance of the vehicles bought by consumers. And the law is designed to encourage improvement across the fleet - selling additional small cars does not help a manufacturer comply with the standards."

Calls for 60 mpg

Washington, DC - The Obama Administration announced this morning its intent to set new fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light trucks in model years 2017 to 2025. Mark Cooper is Director of Research for the Consumer Federation of America, an association of nearly 300 nonprofit consumer organizations. He issued the following statement in response to today's Notice of Intent on the next round of fuel economy standards:

"A fuel economy standard of 60 mpg by 2025 would be a big win for American consumers. It will give them what they want - clean, fuel efficient cars that take them farther on a dollar and curb our appetite for expensive oil that often comes from countries that don't like us.

"For too long, weak fuel economy standards have cost consumers billions of dollars in savings. By setting a 60 mpg standard, the Obama Administration can help put those billions back in the pockets of consumers."

"Sixty miles per gallon falls at the high end of the range of future standards contemplated by the Notice of Intent. We look forward to convincing the agencies that 60 mpg is technically feasible and economically practicable, as well as good for consumers and the nation."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      One day all vehicles will be 666mpg.
      • 4 Years Ago
      CAFE is too easy to skirt. They should do an individual vehicle mandate, and they should do something fun with it. Give people a $250 per combined mpg over 35 or tax them $250 for every mpg below. If your car is rated at 55mpg combined, you get a $5,000 tax credit (max). If your vehicle is 15mpg combined, you pay $5,000 tax. Same for diesels but at different thresholds. Unlike a fuel tax, most consumers can completely avoid this tax without spending more money.

      You can almost foresee a situation where people in highly congested areas buy K-cars with weak hybrid systems b/c it reduces the price of the vehicle by nearly half. The point of reducing oil consumption is not to save the planet (although it will help)--the point is to improve our balance of trade.

      The rich don't feel it. The rural folk don't get hit too badly. The intelligent and the thrifty get rewarded, but fun is not killed. CAFE is not that great b/c some companies cheat it and some companies try to follow the spirit of the standard. Individual vehicle mandate is a lot better, imo.

      No more special tax credits just for hybrids either. Hybrid SUVs aren't doing anyone any favors.
      • 4 Years Ago
      And pretty soon we'll all be legislated onto bicycles if we don't want to drive an amorphous blob powered by a golf cart motor.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Then we will have to use CO2 meters on our mouths... To control CO2 emissions by the excessive use of man power.


      • 4 Years Ago
      Kiss gasoline-based fun goodbye.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Toyota plans to roll out a full sized fuel cell vehicle for under $50,000 In 2015. Hyundai says they can undercut that price.

        By 2025, all or nearly all of the major OEMs will be able to produce fuel cell drivetrains for less than $100 per kw.

        This CAFE increase is part of the hydrogen support that GM and other OEMs are asking for:

        " 'Without a "consistent policy" toward infrastructure, America will fall far behind countries such as German, Japan and South Korea that are aggressively pursuing development of fuel cell vehicles and national hydrogen fueling networks to support them', Freese said."

        • 4 Years Ago
        "Why? These numbers are pretty doable if you consider that plug-ins will basically have crazy high numbers that'll make a 62mpg fleet average pretty doable."

        CAFE is based on a harmonic (look it up) mean, not an arithmetic mean.

        It will take a bunch of EVs to make up for one 30 mpg vehicle.

        And, in fact, an EV is no better in lifetime emmissions than a 62 mpg gas vehicle.
        • 4 Years Ago
        • 4 Years Ago
        Why? These numbers are pretty doable if you consider that plug-ins will basically have crazy high numbers that'll make a 62mpg fleet average pretty doable. It just means that there'll have to be a lot of Leafs and Volts to help offset the cars that do burn gas.
        And anyways, CAFE or not the number of extra cars that are going to be on the road in China and India that also need gasoline pretty much mean that everyone has to get more efficient by 2025 or we just wouldn't have enough gasoline for everyone. So we either have your average car get more efficient or we'll all be paying $10 per gallon for gas.
        If all the countries in the world can bump their fuel efficiency to 62mpg then we'd be able to support twice as many vehicles on the road at the same fuel production levels. Sounds good to me.
      • 4 Years Ago
      PURE DAMN MANIPULATION to encourage cars like the fit hybrid, and junk like that, and remove other choices, because government knows better than you, what you should drive.

      crappy little bland econo-boxes, with expensive redundant drivetrain parts, and costly to make and re-use, limited lifetime batteries.

      No fun, more expense, you'll take it, and you'll like it.

      The government will legislate any other kind of cars out of feasibility (not making them directly illegal, just pushing them into insolvency), and regulate old cars out of eligibility, with things like Cash4Clunkers, again, or making them prohibitively expensive to support and continue to register for the road.

      This isn't freedom. The government should have nothing to do with this other than setting standard weights and measures, and prosecuting fraudulent producers. Any producer that produces an honest product should be able to bring it to market, and persuade the people directly to buy it, or fail to do so.

      All you activists who want governments to mandate everything, why don't you leave the government out of it, and just try to convince people on the merits of more expensive, less practical, less fun cars like hybrids.

      Because the only ones who buy that stuff, buy it for emotional reasons, usually related to a desire for elitism, not a practical cost/benefit analysis.

      If you like eco-elitism, buy what you want. But how dare people get the government to push that on other people who want utilitarian trucks, or people like me who want sporty fun vehicles more than ultimate fuel economy trade-offs, by way of regulation under the force of law.
        • 4 Years Ago
        the eco problem is for everyone to solve ... what you say is impossible.

        if the americans wouldn't be that fat ars lazy ... they would know that a
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is there any doubt now about why they chose the emblem they did. The Jackass as a Logo, fits them all to a T.

      Did you also notice that the losers are proposing to do this by fiat? And rules issued by Jackass bureaucrats?

      No inconvenient things like Congress or Voters. They know what you ought to drive, and you will knuckle under and ...vill Like It!

      Did you also note there is absolutely no discussion of technology or methods to achieve the desired mileage? Nor any discussion about affordability of any possible complying car.

      Like the proverbial King, they can just order the Tides not to come in. If they snap their fingers the Universe will repeal any inconvenient Law that stands in their way on a convenient schedule of 3 or 4 or 6% a year. Lets lower the Law of Gravity, that would help. Lets alter Maxwell's Laws, that would help.

      If you can't afford it, ride mass transit, or walk. It's good for you.

      Besides it will get you out of the way on the highways for their government furnished (ie, "free") Black, stretch, 5-ton,amoured, Limouisines.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Any politician with any sense of self-preservation would NEVER even whisper the prospect of increasing the gas tax. Even though everyone knows it would be the most effective measure to promote conservation.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I got it!

      We'll make everyone skinny by only selling skinny clothes!
        • 4 Years Ago
        And stop subsidizing the corn industry! ...

        Same argument. We create inefficient cars with cheap gas.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ha! Exactly! Brilliant plan, huh?
      • 4 Years Ago
      How about instead of upping CAFE standards look to relax some other regulations to allow some, most, all the gas/deisel sipping engines that they have over in EU? Why not work with other nations and countries to set up a world standard for emissions so as to help companies make one vehicle instead of one for this country but a different one for this other one due to this or that regulation.

      While yes 62mpg is a great idea we are just now entering a age were 35mpg on a sedan is the norm. Aim for say 45-50 mpg and I'd say ok but to up it by that much is a bit much.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The government is not the solution to the problem. The government is the problem - Ronald Reagan.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How about eliminated CAFE all together, government should stay out of our business.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What Oklahoma are you from, sir? We don't have nearly the smog problems of Delhi/LA, etc. and i agree with you that vehicle emission are not the only blame (note even the biggest part the the pollution/emissions pie but we're regularly being issued ozone alerts during the summer months. I'm not sure of how much this is caused specifically by the absence of catalytic converters on peoples cars but the fact that 1. some million people are driving over the hugh @$$ OKC metro area each day does a number on air quality. And this is in one of the lowest population dense major cities..it only gets worse when you look at cities with higher densities, which is how most of the U.S./world is in comparison to our metro areas here.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oklahoma's population density is well below the national average. So that example would only count for people in Oklahoma, if a car manufacturer ONLY catered to Oklahoma, they'd be broke.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Here in Oklahoma there are no laws on having catalytic converters and there air here is pretty damn clean. If the air quality goes down I would be for regulation but right now I enjoy my straight pipe mustang. Places like New Delhi are not like that solely because of car emissions
        • 4 Years Ago
        Drive around in Mexico City or New Delhi for a few years and we'll see if you still want the government to stay out of emmissions control
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can't comment about the other states mentioned,but the governor of Pennsylvania in January 2011 will not be included in this group.Thankfully our current governor ("Fast Eddie")will be leaving after helping to bankrupt the state even though he raised taxes starting with year one of his administration.
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