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It's easy to find examples of ways Americans disagree on politics (just turn on any cable news channel right now) but here's a curious case of the majority agreeing on one important point: 62 percent of Americans support an increase in the average fuel economy mandate in the U.S. to 60 miles per gallon by 2025.

That's aroung the level currently under loose discussion in Washington (which is 62 mpg), and the strong, bi-partisan support is the finding of a survey released today by the Consumer Federation of America, conducted by Opinion Research Corporation under commission. The current CAFE rules, announced in April 2010, require 35 mpg by 2016.

There is one group that's against the 60+ mpg level, though: automakers. As former GM vice chair Bob Lutz told us the other day when talking about a CAFE increase that wasn't quite 62 mpg, "Nobody knows how to do a full-line fleet with the equivalent of 42 miles per gallon. That's ain'tgonnahappen.com." More broadly, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents many major automakers, asked the Obama administration to not consider a 62 mpg standard until more studies on this level's impact on the industry are completed. It warned that such a high level might negatively affect safety, sales and jobs.

[Source: Detroit News, Car Connection, Automotive News 1, 2 – sub. req., Green Car Reports | Source Image: Oimax – C.C. License 2.0]


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  • 30 Comments
      Smith Jim
      • 4 Months Ago
      The average human is pretty damn stupid. They say they want 60 MPG vehicles but look at the cars they choose to drive. They choose to buy huge SUVs instead of more fuel efficient sedans. And it's not just conspiracy-believing conservatives who are the problem. I saw a huge 4-wheel-drive, V8 powered SUV with a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker on one side of the bumper and an Obama/Biden sticker on the other side of the bumper. I see this kind of thing ALL THE TIME! I know dozens of progressive Democrats who are in love with giant SUVs. The winners of the mainstream class of the Automotive X Prize were roundly criticized by environmentalists for using an internal combustion engine (ICE) instead of an electric drivetrain. This ICE car had lower CO2 emissions than EVERY electric car in the Automotive X Prize competition and half the CO2 emissions of a Toyota Prius. (Don't get me wrong. I'm not anti electric cars but I think CO2 reductions take priority over everything else) I don't believe the human race is intelligent enough to save us from ourselves. Future generations are doomed to suffer grave consequences. I would love to be proven wrong but I can't help being cynical right now.
        mylexicon
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Smith Jim
        Preach on. The average person wants a 60mpg vehicle, but they are too stupid and undisciplined to buy one so they make believe that CAFE standards will fix our problems. CAFE will actually create an entirely new problem, and the manufacturers will probably pass the fines of non-compliance to the customers anyway. Consumers don't want 60mpg. They want a 60mpg land yacht that can tow the 12,000lb boat they don't own. They want a 60mpg 5,000lb luxury sedan with a 6.0L V8 that doesn't make them look like a wimpy environmentalist. Who's going to break the news to them? Cars that are rated 60mpg by CAFE already exist, and they are infrequently among the nation's top sellers.
      • 4 Months Ago
      It would have been nice to if the author could have provided what 62 mpg CAFE would be in the current EPA window sticker mpg? There is a lot of difference between the CAFE rating and the current EPA mpg rating that make seemingly high CAFE numbers a lot easier to reach -- all of which seems dishonest to me. Gary
        Greg
        • 4 Months Ago
        Gary, CAFE 62 MPG is roughly 50 MPG sticker (20% reduction). If they include AC credits (which is not certain at this point) it could go as low as 45 MPG. The other issue is the fleet mix. It should be possible to get some vehicles at or above the target, but getting an average vehicle there is a whole other story. According to EPA/NHTSA, the generic fleet they created would have to have an average sticker of 49 to 55 MPG for cars and 33 to 39 MPG for trucks if AC credits were available. Without AC credits the average sticker would be 54 to 62 MPG for cars and 36 to 42 MPG for trucks. The range for each value is due to the different product mixes that they modeled. A higher target for cars would mean a lower target for trucks and so on. Keep in mind these are averages so some vehicles would have to be above the rating while others could be below. I think this is about as honest a set of numbers that you will ever get.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 4 Years Ago
      62mpg? And with modern crash safety weight? And with modern emissions controls? I am all for better MPG but all the low hanging fruit for fuel efficiency has been picked. This essentially forces automakers to produce electric cars by majority to increase their average. I think it is a bit too soon to be mandating this considering that electric cars aren't even profitable and are subsidized right now.
        Ford Future
        • 4 Months Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        No, I don't think the low hanging fruit has even been attempted to be picked. - Where's a smaller pickup truck, or diesel V6 or 4 cyl pickup, where's an affordable hybrid pickup? GM's making an investment in batteries, but what about FORD? A look at Honda's hybrid system shows a very simple design that saves money on day one. I can't see why pickup trucks don't have that system today. It's a simple concept, you go down hills and store the energy for the up hill trip.
          Marcopolo
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Ford Future
          Ford was the first US automaker to invest in EV technology.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Ford Future
          By low hanging fruit i also mean hybrids. Even the slippery Prius doesn't approach 62mpg average. A look at Honda's hybrid system shows a second rate design compared to Toyotas.. As for pickups, what makes a hybrid efficient is not just it's motor.. it's the aerodynamics, small tires, and motor that is either on the small size or verging on underpowered. Trucks do not fit into that mold very well and i think a hybrid system would reduce their useability / introduce too many design issues. GM is investing in the ability to make battery packs out of batteries that are made in Asia ( just like every other American company.. nobody produces lithium batteries here ). Ford uses the same LG Chem lipo cells.
        Tahama
        • 4 Months Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        honestly, your comment makes me think that it's your kind of mentality that holds this country back.
      Roy_H
      • 4 Years Ago
      it depends..... on how the CAFE mpg is calculated. If electric power is counted as zero and only petroleum is figured in, then with half the fleet being electric, it would be easy to meet the target. If on the other hand they calculate electric as mpge then it could be an unrealistic target.
      carney373
      • 4 Months Ago
      Stupidest. Story. EVER. People will tell pollsters what they think they are supposed to say; what they think makes them sound nice and virtuous. That's why polled reports of church attendance, exercise levels, racial tolerance, sexual behavior, etc. don't jive with actual behavior or what economists call revealed preference. Second, sure people want sky high mileage in their cars. But watch support plummet when you come clean that there's no free lunch in the real world and instead they have to live with an actual trade-off, as in, they'll have to pay a lot more for pricey hybrid features (that make their car look dinky); or suffer lower reliability and build quality as automakers scramble to obey politically imposed dictates (see Lutz, Bob); or be stuffed into humiliatingly tiny, weak, slow, fragile (UNSAFE) euro-toy cars. Third, people may well still support higher mileage standards with those negative effects, as long as OTHERS have to go through them. See The Onion's brilliant skewering of this sort of phenomenon: "98% of Americans Favor Mass Trasit - For Others" http://www.theonion.com/articles/report-98-percent-of-us-commuters-favor-public-tra,1434/
        Marcopolo
        • 4 Months Ago
        @carney373
        Very well put. A poll will aways achieve the result the poll designer intends achieve.
      Jim
      • 4 Months Ago
      Did this survey inform this "majority of Americans" that a 62 mpg fleet average would mean they'll have to pay a lot more money for significantly smaller vehicles? If not, then it's nigh useless. It's actually borderline stupid.
      Neil Blanchard
      • 4 Months Ago
      The Chevy Volt is rated on the EPA Combined at 93MPGe. The Nissan Leaf is rated on the EPA Combined at 99MPGe. The Edison2 Very Light Car (that won the X-Prize) is rated at EPA Combined 110MPGe. The Illuminati Motors Seven on the EPA Combined at 207MPGe. I am designing a 5 seat electric car called CarBEN EV that should have a 300-400 miles range, and it should be 200-300MPGe. Here's my blog post on the open source design: http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/2011/03/carben-ev-open-source-project-part-4.html Neil
      • 4 Months Ago
      This is totally B*llsh*t Bob Lutz.. Yeah, It'll go bankruptcy once again if GM follow its old and stupid path. Japanese, Korean, ...(and yes Chinese) cars will take over the whole auto-market. GM, please wake up, you're not one of the Big 3 -----> you're NOW one of the BIGGEST LOSER in the auto-market. If you don't learn, well there is no way American would save you from your future Bankruptcy.
        dellrio
        • 4 Months Ago
        Bob Lutz no longer works at GM. I think GM is more so one of the big 3 than Crysler.
      • 4 Months Ago
      Read my lips, Peak Oil and Global Warming are a liberal conspiracy to deprive Americans of their God given right to consume as much of the planet's resources as they want. The USA is an exceptional nation and it's citizens deserve the right to clad themselves in as much steel as they want to drive around in. After all who wants to drive around in the clown sized cars that are a common sight in cities elsewhere in the world or God forbid, those sub 700cc, death trap of a car, kei cars that the Japanese pretend to use to move around in, in their crowded cities. If any of these cars got in the way of cars(trucks) that real men drive, the behemoths would run right over them killing all the occupants. So lets just forget about CAFE and miles per gallon. Bring back buck a gallon gas, roll out the V8s and resurect the Hummer brand! Just kidding ;-)
      Joseph Brody
      • 4 Months Ago
      My car already gets 65 MPG +. WOOT!
      Marcopolo
      • 4 Months Ago
      Hmmmm, Out of 17 posts, 12 ranted on, to varying degrees, about how stupid the US people are, and how evil are the US car makers. This sort of article brings out the Noz's and other anti-American and anti-business ranters, yet not one has any real knowledge or can contribute any positive solutions. As Carney points out if this was a sample of the poll, look at the results.
      Michael
      • 4 Years Ago
      of course the automakers dont want to improve cafe standards they are tied to opec or the arabs will cry like babies .some thing needs to happen .why cant the dumb asses get together to get a few more fuel efficient diesels stateside only one out there that might be willing to do this is a foreign company that has a 35 percent stake in chrysler FIAT ford and chevy has the capability but they cant get there heads out of there assess but it might just be our government that is blowing smoke up all our asses and laughing all the way to the bank saying damn the us population is a bunch of suckers while they call prince saud to tell him his bank account is overflowing with our money .SUCKERSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
        Kai F. Lahmann
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Michael
        Also they don't want to invest into better engines - they just want to go on selling their constructions from the 1960s....
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