The Obama administration is requiring carmakers to prod... The Obama administration is requiring carmakers to produce mush more fuel efficient vehicles by 2025 (GM).
President Obama unveiled an aggressive plan to raise fuel economy standards to an average of 54.5 mpg by 2025, nearly doubling current mileage rules.

Top executives from General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, BMW, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Volvo were on stage with the President when he made the announcement. Those companies make up 90% of U.S. car sales volume annually.

"This agreement on fuel standards represents the single most important step we've ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," Obama said. "Most of the companies here today were part of an agreement we reached two years ago to raise the fuel efficiency of their cars over the next five years. We've set an aggressive target and the companies are stepping up to the plate."

Officials from the state of California and from the United Auto Workers union were also on stage, showing the government had garnered support from the one state that has pushed fuel economy standards farther than any other U.S. power, and labor unions.

But consumers – who could end up spending $2,100 more per car to pay for the added fuel-saving technologies – weren't on hand. And it's unclear whether most people will be motivated to spend more to save gas, when the price of gas is still low compared with fuel costs around the world.

"While it seems that there is something in the proposal for each of the big, organized constituencies – environmentalists, domestic car companies, union labor – one group has been largely ignored – the American consumer," says Jack Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst at Kelley Blue Book."We have a hard time believing that the typical new-car customer will be happy about spending $2,000 more for his or her new car than they otherwise would."

The administration won't say how much extra vehicles will cost when the new rules go into effect. But a research report written while the government was studying the proposal said the cost could be around $2,100 per car. Administration officials talking on background Friday said they didn't want to say how much the standards will actually cost until they study the issue more.

See: AOL Autos Op-Ed: What Obama's New 54.5 MPG Standard Means For Our Rides.

But cost is a big issue: Customers often say they are in favor of higher fuel efficiency, but when it comes time to pay for it, many balk. A survey by LeaseTrader.com found 72% of the 1,100 people they talked to said they wanted more fuel-efficient cars.

But when they were told those efficiencies came with a $2,000 price tag, only 34.5% stayed in favor of increasing fuel economy mandates.

Pickup trucks won't face the same regulations as passenger cars, which could prompt automakers to start making many more pickup-truck like vehicles. Are we facing a future of Chevy El Caminos?

The mandate is still 13 years away from taking effect, and there is a provision to revisit the mandate in a few years if it doesn't seem to be working out. So it may be one of those things, like President Bush's 2004 mandate to send humans to Mars, that may never materialize.

Bottom line: While higher fuel efficiency standards sound good on paper, pushing it too hard, too soon could end up backfiring on consumers.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      lynette
      • 3 Years Ago
      If the government says it will cost $2000 guaranteed it will be closer to $5000. If pickups aren't included then for cost savings alone many new vehicle buyers will be buying pickups which will screw the people who need them for work. We'll be paying tax by the mile to replace the fuel tax so hope you all just love having big brother watching over your shoulder everywhere you go.
      vlady1000
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have an 18 year old Vette (with 100K miles) and I can get 31mpg at 75mph and up to 36mpg at 50-55mph. I made a couple simple engine mods that gave it about 10% better milage and a liitle more power than stock. Top speed over 165mph to boot. I will derive this anyday over a small 4 bagger that gets 2mpg better milage. Seems to me we have not made that much progress in 18 years.
      Juan Barnett
      • 3 Years Ago
      Great focus on the cost aspect of this. When I talked to some of the people in the executive branch I asked if they $1.7 trillion dollars in "savings to Americans" factored in the added cost to the vehicle and the potential for an alternative revenue generating program for the Highway Trust Fund. After all, if we stop using gas....and the roads are repaired with gas tax money, where is the money going to come from now? Pay-per-mile debate, coming soon to a talking head channel near you.
      joseph r
      • 3 Years Ago
      the cars need to be more efficient but with the price increases over the last 2 yrs if the other standards like the worthless tire pressure gauges we got stuck with that cost extra and increased tire service every time you have a flat anywhere from 5 to 30 dollars extra to have a flat fixed or get a new tire. and the multiple airbags, back up cameras i estimate a basic car like the focus size will be 40K and forget towing with the future suv and wee will see ever larger trucks because the small ones wont haul a newspaper
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not good for car buyers? You mean car buyers are not human beings? Human beings who depend (whether they value it or not) on clean air, water and land for life. Is it too much to ask for every single user of natural resources (be it soil or in this case oil) to pay the true cost AND to conserve our limited resources. Is it too much to ask that we all chip in to ensure that our environment is healthy so that we and our kids are too? The writer should do a self-analysis and determine what is a fair price.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Another thing you didn't consider, which is easy to miss as it is a very secondhand effect: Imagine how much money we are saving by decreasing our economic ties to the middle-east. Imagine how nice it would be if we were not so heavily dependent upon this region that we had to spend some trillions of taxpayer dollars on protecting our investments. Not trying to say that all of our middle-eastern wars are completely motivated by oil; that would be a fool's error. However, it is just as foolish to claim that oil has nothing to do with the manner in which we carry-out those wars. That manner is both ineffective and costly, something that this decreased dependence upon middle-eastern oil can economically alleviate.
      Aaron Gleason
      • 3 Years Ago
      Do your math. The 54.5MPG standard will end up saving over $8000 in gas money (assuming the price does NOT increase -- fat chance) over the life of a vehicle. I think that's worth paying an extra $2000 in advance.
        lynette
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Aaron Gleason
        To cover that $8000 you would have to drive that vehicle at least 131,274 miles just to recoup the the initial cost. That is almost 9 years for the average driver assumes that the vehicle incurs no maintenance costs other than normal services. In north east ohio driving on roads they put salt brine mixed with calcium chloride and magnesium chloride for ice control that vehicle won't have a body left by then.