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The End of the Gas Guzzler

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the you-overestimate-us dept.

Transportation 897

Hugh Pickens writes "Michael Grunwald reports that President Obama will announce today a near-doubling of fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, and the Big Three automakers — GM, Ford and Chrysler — will support it in a final deal that will require vehicle fleets to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, which will reduce fuel consumption by 40% and carbon emissions by 50%. Although environmentalists had pushed for 60 mpg and the White House had floated a compromise of 56.2, 54.5 is pretty close, considering that last year's standards were only 28.3. 'I might point out that the same auto industry that ran attack ads about how 56.2 would destroy their businesses and force everyone to drive electric cars has embraced 54.5 as an achievable target,' writes Grunwald. 'It almost makes you wonder if the automakers may have exaggerated the costs of compliance, the way they always do.'"

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Duh. (1)

morari (1080535) | about 3 years ago | (#36922524)

It almost makes you wonder if the automakers may have exaggerated the costs of compliance, the way they always do.

I mean really. Was there ever anyone who actually thought that 25mpg was really the best a small sedan could muster?

Re:Duh. (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#36922574)

its the same reason the failed in the first place, totally out of touch and out of their mind

Re:Duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922582)

I mean really. Was there ever anyone who actually thought that 25mpg was the sedan number when that is below the current fleet average?

Re:Duh. (1, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 years ago | (#36922630)

Yes, I've met those people. The way I understand it, the easiest way to get that level of efficiency is to make cars out of carbon fiber instead of metal. The problem currently holding such a proposal back is that there aren't any mass-manufacturing technologies for fiber parts, like there is metal. There's no fast-and-easy smelt, mold, weld way to make pieces and stick them together. We'll see how that goes.

Re:Duh. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#36922756)

Aluminum would beg to differ. It also does not rust.

Re:Duh. (4, Interesting)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about 3 years ago | (#36922818)

Uhm, techniques like resin transfer molding using pre-laid or pre-woven fiber structures are scaling well lately - from what I hear out of the business, several German car makers are scaling it for mass production right now. They've been researching the topic like mad in the last couple of years.

Re:Duh. (2)

Guspaz (556486) | about 3 years ago | (#36922872)

I seem to remember some mass market minivan that had a fibreglass body... It's not an insurmountable problem.

Yes, they'll need to spend money to do it, but how is that different from any other R&D to advance your product? There are also other ways to improve efficiency, although they may not necessarily be cheaper. Hybrids, for example. There are also different kinds of hybrids. I believe some pickup truck models were using mechanical storage to recover energy from breaking or going downhill to improve mileage without the large cost of a battery-powered system.

And since this isn't even about improving the efficiency of any one car, but the average of the fleet, the average can be bumped up by discontinuing some of the lowest mileage vehicles. Phasing out huge SUVs like the hummer series helped, for example.

Re:Duh. (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | about 3 years ago | (#36922650)

I mean really. Was there ever anyone who actually thought that 25mpg was really the best a small sedan could muster?

No, probably not. But this isn't a mandate for small sedans to get 50+ MPG; it's a mandate for the vehicle fleet to have an average MPG of 50+ MPG. Depending on how "vehicle fleet" is defined, that could be more challenging. IIRC there's a specific exemption for pickup trucks, I don't know about SUVs.

Re:Duh. (3, Funny)

Narnie (1349029) | about 3 years ago | (#36922674)

More importantly, look at the deadline: 2025. Plenty of time to repeal or reduce the fleet average to a more approachable target, like 24mpg.

Re:Duh. (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 3 years ago | (#36922688)

New 300 HP luxury sedans are getting 29 MPG now. 54 MPG in 10 years should not be that hard.

The thing to realize is that going from 10 MPG to 20 MPG saves twice as much as going from 20 to 40.


Re:Duh. (1)

alta (1263) | about 3 years ago | (#36922984)

Can you explain that one again for me? I've read that before and it all made sense, but now it's not adding up in my thick head.

It is clear that going from 10-20 is twice as much as going 20-30....
But in my head 20-40 also seems like twice as much.

Re:Duh. (3, Interesting)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | about 3 years ago | (#36922802)

It almost makes you wonder if the automakers may have exaggerated the costs of compliance, the way they always do.

I mean really. Was there ever anyone who actually thought that 25mpg was really the best a small sedan could muster?

In 1978, the American roads were filled with a little car, that did 50 EMPG. The Datsun B-210. []

In 1984, I rode in the back of one with three other passengers, knees-under chin. We went 425 miles to San Francisco, well under a single-tank. Our actual MPG was better than 55, with all that load.

Re:Duh. (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | about 3 years ago | (#36922948)

I have an 81 Datsun 720 diesel pickup, gets ~40mpg. To be fair, it doesn't have any modern heavy safety features, and it is woefully underpowered.

I would love to buy a modern efficient small pickup, but there hasn't been one available for decades.

Re:Duh. (1)

alta (1263) | about 3 years ago | (#36922932)

require vehicle fleets to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025

The key words here are FLEET and AVERAGE. None of the car companies are saying they have a problem with 25mpg on a 4cyl econocrap. What they are having a problem with is having a F150, F250 and F350 also average in to that FLEET with that 35mpg focus, and still keep the average up. Sure, not everyone needs and SUV, but many business do need an F250 to pull some heavy equipment.

And companies like nissan have proven you don't have to get 12mpg to get a car to go 0-60 in under 6 seconds.

Re:Duh. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 3 years ago | (#36922990)

Was there ever anyone who actually thought that 25mpg was really the best a small sedan could muster?

Maybe, but that's not what we are talking about here. We are talking fleet average, which includes powerful sports cars and minivans - and depending on the day that you look at the legislation - SUVs.

I mean, I used to own a Saturn that got 39 with it's massive 99 HP engine. It sucked, but it certainly proved that 25 was no problem for a small sedan.

How many... (1)

kenh (9056) | about 3 years ago | (#36922530)

Chevy Volts will GM have to sell per Suburban to remain within the new CAFE standard?

Re:How many... (1)

plopez (54068) | about 3 years ago | (#36922744)

too bad they killed the EV-1

Re:How many... (1)

kenh (9056) | about 3 years ago | (#36922838)

And their hydrogen-fueled cars...

Re:How many... (5, Informative)

plopez (54068) | about 3 years ago | (#36922942)

The "Hydrogen Economy" is a scam. The cheapest way to make hydrogen is via hydrocarbon fractionation. Both green houses gasses will not be affected or reliance on fossil fuels.

Re:How many... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922868)

My EV gets 160mpge. For every EV they make they can have 2-3 SUVs that get under 20mpg.

Re:How many... (1)

schwit1 (797399) | about 3 years ago | (#36922994)

Unfortunately Volt sales have been abysmal [] .

Hand that feeds you (0)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 3 years ago | (#36922532)

It almost makes you wonder if the automakers may have exaggerated the costs of compliance, the way they always do.

I think it is more don't buy the hand that feeds you.

Re:Hand that feeds you (2)

chispito (1870390) | about 3 years ago | (#36922652)

I think it is more don't buy the hand that feeds you.

But buying the hand that feeds you is how politics works.

Sheeesh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922556)

If it's the way they always do, why does Grunwald wonder?

How stupid. (-1, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | about 3 years ago | (#36922568)

How amazingly stupid it is, that the government on one hand subsidizes the auto-industry with the roads and even bailing out the bank that GM was (you didn't think they were a car manufacturer, did you?) and now they are setting quotas on mileage, completely disregarding the market that exists for large cars. Yeah, large cars. Cars that are big. Cars that are huge. Cars that people want.

If people want small cars, cars that consume less fuel, they always could buy those smaller vehicles. But this regulation would actually punish the automakers for making and selling cars that their MARKET wants from them. So if their market wants to buy large cars that take more gas, the auto-makers will be punished for this! Great stuff. Wonderful. Why not, punish the producer, as always, punish the employer for employing people, for producing products that people want.

Unless there will be massive subsidies and massive excise taxes, the European and Asian auto-makers will come out on top of this, they already produce huge numbers of small vehicles. But this is just retarded, and I am sure there will be plenty of apologists for yet another way the government is taking over your lives here and destroying the market in the process.

Re:How stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922700)

You might want to reread that summary chief. They aren't requiring all cars to meet x mpg, they are requiring a manufacturers fleet to average at least x mpg. You can still buy a big car but now it's going to be more efficient. I can't possibly guess why anyone would complain about that.

Re:How stupid. (3, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | about 3 years ago | (#36922702)

I don't understand what you're saying.

You say that the government is punishing automakers that make large cars and got into significant financial trouble because they lost their market, then you say that the market wants large cars. Then you say that foreign car makers will clean our clocks because they already make lots of small cars...

From my perspective, American automakers got drunk on selling cheap-to-make vehicles expensively. Trucks, classically, cost less than cars. There also were no luxury trucks, as they were designed for utility , not luxury. Granted, a one-ton truck would cost more than a 3/4, and that would cost more than a 1/2, and it's even possible that the heavier-rated trucks would cost a little more than the cheapest cars, but by and large, a half-ton truck was not expensive, until the domestic automakers decided to gussy up their trucks and engage in a clever marketing strategy.

Unfortunately, gas prices caught up with them and the market never recovered, but they still haven't lowered the prices of trucks. Consequently, people now are willing to look at what other countries would consider to be mid-size cars, which we consider small.

Re:How stupid. (1)

MindStalker (22827) | about 3 years ago | (#36922704)

On the other hand you can certainly make an argument that
1) Low MPG vehicles hurt our national defense.
2) Pollution in general leads to false externalization that has to be paid for in some manor.
3) There currently aren't 56 mpg cars that was reasonably prices, if automakers are agreeing to this, they know that in the future they will be able to do and produce enough cars over that mark to average with the large cars under that mark, that they can appeal to all requirements.

Also new automated driving that will be here soon, will significantly increase the MPG that the typical person can achieve.

Re:How stupid. (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | about 3 years ago | (#36922752)

Why would the Eurasian automakers benefit if, as you say, consumers don't want the small cars they make? If there was a market for vials of mercury that people wanted to dump into waterways, would you support that?

Re:How stupid. (1)

kenh (9056) | about 3 years ago | (#36922812)

"Massive subsidies and massive excise taxes"? Seriously?! Who do you think is in charge in Washington?

Re:How stupid. (1)

Demarche (963386) | about 3 years ago | (#36922814)

I just need to say that a fuel efficient vehicle doesn't have to be a small vehicle. Science can solve that problem. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see a resurgence of big cars as we switch over to electric vehicles. After all, a bigger car means more room for batteries. Its only during these awkward transition periods, when the technology is still immature, that we have this bizarre need to sacrifice what we want to achieve what we must. Frankly I look forward to driving around an electric monster truck sans the expense or stigma that I would have to endure now.

Re:How stupid. (1)

ryanov (193048) | about 3 years ago | (#36922962)

Won't you just be moving the energy inefficiency to a new fuel? Electricity has to come from someplace after all (unless you can get it all from the sun).

Re:How stupid. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922836)

Ever hear of market failure and externalities? I guess the market is right next to God in its omniscient reckoning of true value. When Jesus upset the moneylenders in the temple, he was interfering with legitimate market demand and economy driving job creation. That must be why he is idolized as the retarded market-destroying son of God.

The market does not pay the real cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922904)

The market does noes not pay the real cost. In economics, the term is externals. When you buy gasoline, you don't pay the cost of cleaning up the CO2 and NOx produced by the car. You also don't pay the price to send troops to Irag to get the gasoline. If you did, the price of gasoline would be a lot higher. The problem is the government is paying these costs and society will pay these costs. By legislating higher fuel efficiency, the government is trying to reduce the cost problem.

Obama is also looking ahead and trying to advert a problem before it happens and cost the US economy even more. As gas gets more expensive, the demand for more efficient vehicles goes up. The Big Three are not responding, When gas prices last spiked, the market for gas guzzles plumeted and the big three took a big hit. This hurt the US economy. Now that gas prices have dropped these automakers don't see a point in making efficient vehicles. If they keep looking at the next quarter, they won't see a point in make efficient vehicles until it is too late. Gas prices will rise as China nd India use more gas, demand for gas guzzlers will drop as people cannot afford to drive them, the big three will not have a sellable product, and the US economy will take another nose dive.

Punishment for enjoying speed? (1, Flamebait)

SeeSp0tRun (1270464) | about 3 years ago | (#36922572)

I have voiced this before, but what about those of us who have, enjoy, and can afford vehicles that don't get great fuel econ, go fast as hell, and are generally fun to drive? I can afford my premium fuel, I only get ~20mpg, and my car does what I like my car to do: handle well and go fast.

Why should I be forced into an EV, which takes a month and a half to hit 60mph? It kind of reminds me of iRobot, where he has the bike kept in a storage unit, and the girl is confused because it runs on... wait for it... gas!

Re:Punishment for enjoying speed? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922654)

So, you are one of those f****** a******** that tries to kiss my car's ass? F*** Y**!

Re:Punishment for enjoying speed? (1)

doconnor (134648) | about 3 years ago | (#36922690)

Because of that whole destroying the planet and killing millions with that global warming thing?

Re:Punishment for enjoying speed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922794)

Prove that Global Warming will kill millions.

Re:Punishment for enjoying speed? (1)

ryanov (193048) | about 3 years ago | (#36923016)

Prove that it won't.

Re:Punishment for enjoying speed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922770)

I couldn't agree more. I'm not going to pay $35K+ for an electric vehicle that is only good for commuting and never for trips. Plus there's the hidden cost of replacing the Lithium ION batteries. That's like a major overhaul. And I'm also not going to try to stuff my already screwed up spine into something the size of a so-called "Smart Car"

Not to mention that cars have gotten ugly as sin. Wind tunnels and Congress have done their part for that.

Sorry, but know what? I'll keep my nice, comfortable, mid-20s MPG Jeep Wrangler. It's almost paid for and the government and auto industry can go to hell! I vote with my dollars.

Re:Punishment for enjoying speed? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922786)

Well, since your behavior is punitive to those who can't afford those cars, perhaps you should suffer the consequences?

After all, your behavior is driving the cost of gas up for everyone, not just you. You're overconsuming a limited resource, to the detriment of others who are also dependent on that same resource, but can't afford it as readily as you can.

Is this really that hard to understand?

Of course, the alternative is just to raise the cost of gas. Folks who buy cheaper cars that do better on gas will benefit. You'll feel the pinch, which you should... perhaps not least of which for being a self-absorbed prick.

Re:Punishment for enjoying speed? (0)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | about 3 years ago | (#36922808)

It's a punishment for pollution, did you miss the parts about carbon emissions and environmentalists? Why should those of us who want to end global warming and breath clean air be forced to deal with your pollution? It goes both ways, and one way is obviously better for everyone.

Re:Punishment for enjoying speed? (0)

jandrese (485) | about 3 years ago | (#36922810)

You're not being punished for enjoying speed, you're being punished for destroying the environment.

Re:Punishment for enjoying speed? (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 3 years ago | (#36922888)

I don't recall anything about a gas-powered bike in I, Robot....

Oh, you mean the filmed raping of Asimov's legacy? Please drop your geek card in the shredder on the way out.

Re:Punishment for enjoying speed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922936)

You're toy is doing measurable damage to public property (the air and water everyone breathes and drinks).

Until such time as you are personally paying for the cleanup and repair of said damage you are not acting actually "affording" that vehicle, but rather leaving the externalities to be payed by society at large.

Re:Punishment for enjoying speed? (1)

Jeng (926980) | about 3 years ago | (#36922986)

Why should I be forced into an EV, which takes a month and a half to hit 60mph?

Yes, of course, cause after all the Tesla is a slug and in the next 14 years or so there will be no other sporty EV's cause all EV's suck right?

I have voiced this before, but what about those of us who have, enjoy, and can afford vehicles that don't get great fuel econ, go fast as hell, and are generally fun to drive?

Much like horses ICE's will continue to be used for sport purposes even after they are no longer the primary mode of travel.

Make it 100MPG (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922600)

It won't reduce consumption. People will just drive more and we'll still use the same amount of fuel. All-be-it with more drivers.

Here's an idea (4, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#36922624)

Maybe you could, you know, let people buy the vehicles they want to buy and then if gas is expensive most won't buy gas guzzlers?

In this case I'm guessing the auto makers are salivating at the prospect of being 'forced' to load up cars with hybrid crap that will allow them to push up prices and make more profit.

Re:Here's an idea (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 years ago | (#36922778)

Maybe you could, you know, let people buy the vehicles they want to buy and then if gas is expensive most won't buy gas guzzlers?

Gasoline is a limited natural resource, so people who use a lot drive up the price for everybody else. This efficiency standard will do far more to relieve gas prices than drilling in ANWR ever would.

Re:Here's an idea (2)

demonlapin (527802) | about 3 years ago | (#36923032)

... and so people will continue to use the hell out of it. If you want people to do less of something, tax it. Those who have no reasonable substitute will continue to pay for it, and those who can substitute will do so. This kind of meddling is far worse than just raising gas taxes.

Re:Here's an idea (5, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | about 3 years ago | (#36922842)

except that the change is not quick. If suddenly the price of gas jumps it may be months or years before a person can afford to buy a better car. Not to mention the time it takes for the car companies to tool up to meet demand for fuel efficient cars. Buying a car is not like buying laundry detergent. You just can't switch over to a new car rapidly enough to adapt to rapid changes in the price of fuel.

  Yet another situation where the failures of market economics is laid bare. This is a situation where only government has the ability to do the correct thing for the public good.

Re:Here's an idea (2)

demonlapin (527802) | about 3 years ago | (#36923050)

Gosh, because we've never phased taxes in before. Who could imagine such a thing?

Re:Here's an idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922882)

That's not actually true.

Hybrids are still a luxury good/statement item. The extra $10,000 comes from the fact that the people buying them have cash to burn to look like they care.

If hybrid tech is in everything, they won't be able to charge that premium since it won't be a differentiator, and market pressures (the mass of people that can't afford the surcharge) will force the prices to come back down.

Nobody is "forced" to buy a car, even in Los Angeles. If one can't afford a car in they either leave for a city with public transit options, or move closer to their job. Market forces will force this to happen as well.

Re:Here's an idea (1, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 3 years ago | (#36922910)

That would be fine - if cars were required to provide zero pollution. I always hate the idiots that try to cheat by ignoring the costs that OTHER people pay for your purchases.

Re:Here's an idea (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 3 years ago | (#36922938)

Bull-fucking-shit. If it was that simple I wouldn't be seeing mommy SUVs speeding down the highway anymore, because gas is so expensive.

See also: commons, tragedy of the.

Re:Here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922944)

Read between the lines. GM, Ford and Chrysler have PATENTS on hybrid crap cars which will make it difficult for foreign automakers to meet the required AMERICAN fuel efficiency standards. This is how you revive the American economy.

Re:Here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36923010)

For that to work you'd have to first eliminate the subsidies the federal government is providing to oil companies.
Second, you'd have to close the loophole that lets SUVs qualify under the much more lax industrial/farm use truck safety requirements (which is what created the SUV market in the first place).

Then, when people are truly faced with the costs of their decisions, they would be welcome to choose however they like.

The other problem with your thought is that it basically equates wealth with right: you can drive the largest, most polluting rig on the road as long as you can pay for it. The wider implications of that ideology bear thinking about.

Re:Here's an idea (1)

QBasicer (781745) | about 3 years ago | (#36923018)

Problem is that will push the cost of shipping up extremely high, rising the price of products (massive inflation), people will demand greater wages to afford things like bread. I'm really sceptical as to whether that would actually work in the long term. I think forcing people to become more energy efficient is a much better solution because it actually fixes the direct problem, rather than trying to outsmart people and working around it.

Re:Here's an idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36923030)

Maybe you could, you know, let people buy the vehicles they want to buy and then if gas is expensive most won't buy gas guzzlers?

Oh, people did.

That's why the US automakers lost market share and went bankrupt: they had so few globally competitive products (except, tellingly, Ford) and were dependent on US buyers. Whenever fuel prices in the US go up, US automakers' sales fall.

Which is why the US government ended up bailing them out.

Which is why they're not arguing about the regulations this time around.

Right.... (1)

JTD121 (950855) | about 3 years ago | (#36922628)

I like that this is the direction we are headed; gov't telling private companies how it's done......

However, I would like to point out a glaring omission. These new 'rules' reports tend to forget that these numbers are for NEW vehicles. Not necessarily including vehicles already manufactured, selling, and being used day-to-day by people.

So that means the 'average' of 54.5MPG will not be reached by including the vehicles already on the road, even in 2025, most likely. They will only count the ones that are made from a certain arbitrary date, and average out certain classes of vehicle, etc, etc.

Just like now, the current 28.3MPG is only for new vehicles, though I do not know the details of that set of standards; whether they apply only to new cars, or to the whole 'fleet' of cars by auto maker x......

Re:Right.... (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | about 3 years ago | (#36922728)

I like that this is the direction we are headed; gov't telling private companies how it's done......

What do you mean "we are headed"? The government has been doing this for decades. In case you didn't realize it, the CAFE standards were first enacted 36 years ago.

Will Consumers Pay? (2, Insightful)

bstory (89087) | about 3 years ago | (#36922660)

The real question is will the market bear the new regulations? Americans as a nation have obviously NOT demanded higher MPG ratings from their cars or there would be no need for the regulation. How much more will each vehicle cost to use the higher technology needed to achieve the standards? By setting the standards the government may have artificially increased the market price and will thus affect supply and demand. I'm all for environmental policies, but outside of the academic towers, the real world still intervenes and economics will affect well intentioned government mandates.

Re:Will Consumers Pay? (4, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | about 3 years ago | (#36922768)

Consumers have been demanding better milage. Just look at how well the Prius did for proof. American car makers however have maintained that good milage was fiscally impossible. That is until they where forced into it via regulation. Now they all proclame how great they are for having gas milage that matches the rest of the world.

Re:Will Consumers Pay? (1)

bstory (89087) | about 3 years ago | (#36922890)

Consumers have demanded higher MPG, but not beyond niche groups. The average American consumer when faced with the choice of spending $2-4K more on a car like a Prius (not to mention the added maintenance costs for the batteries) have chosen to pass. This is apparent by the tax credits that the government has implemented to prop up the market for cars like the Prius and other hybrids.

Re:Will Consumers Pay? (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 3 years ago | (#36922848)

I would predict that a slew of crappy little unsafe cars. As this include light trucks we might see a hybrid truck, they have the potential to be great for a lot of towing (electric is great for getting it going) but I realy wonder if you can make a truck that can tow 6 tons lighter than the current 2.5 tons and/or more fuel efficient when empty while retaining durability. Using a hybrid truck as a gen set on site looks rather interesting, inverter off the battery and float charge the batteries when/if needed after all running a compressor, a chop box, skill saw and a battery charger/radio is mostly spike loads but you need a 2kw generator to run them all.

Re:Will Consumers Pay? (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 3 years ago | (#36922858)

You mean, would they pay the price of a Prius? They're on back order.

Re:Will Consumers Pay? (1)

Espresso2xshot (2416248) | about 3 years ago | (#36923044)

You mean, would they pay the price of a Prius? They're on back order.

Which has nothing to do with the recent tragedy in Japan. (insert sarcasm here)

exceptions for trucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922666)

"The White House originally pushed for a 56.2-mpg standard, but automakers demanded a carve-out for pickup trucks"

Just a game (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922668)

This doesn't mean that you'll actually see cars that get 50-60mpg sold in the U.S. The automakers get credits on mpg for adding things that have nothing to do with fuel efficiency (like LED headlights and crap). So you might have a vehicle with a bunch of addons that only gets 35mpg, but the automaker gets credit for a vehicle that gets 50mpg (because they get 15mpg worth of fuel efficiency credits). Not to mention it's an average. If the automaker sells one vehicle that gets 20mpg for $25,000 and one vehicle that gets 100mpg for $60,000, they have a fleet average of 60mpg. It doesn't matter that they sell 10,000 of the 20mpg units and only 500 of the 100mpg units. And trucks get completely different (and drastically lower) standards than cars. It's amazing what you can classify as a "truck" these days.

CAFE is a joke.

This ain't about you or what you want (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 years ago | (#36922676)

This ain't about environment. This ain't about using fewer resources.

This is about "what standards can our manufacturers meet while the Chinese can't and we can keep them from flooding our market with dirt cheap cars".

Or did you think the safety requirements are there because anyone cares whether you eat your steering wheel when you hit a truck?

Re:This ain't about you or what you want (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about 3 years ago | (#36922956)

The way the US dollar [] is going, you won't be able to afford "cheap" cars from China anyway. Yeah Bernanke harps on about how good a weak dollar is for exports. The US has always consumed more than it produces [] and the reality [] of the situation is that even Chinese crap is becoming expensive.

Traitorous administration (1, Troll)

LaissezFaire (582924) | about 3 years ago | (#36922712)

I can't believe the Obama administration think there remains some economic trade off with CAFE standards. They should just mandate a 100 MPG CAFE standard for 2013. Heck, that gives car manufacturers over a year to invent new technology and implement it, or just stop selling gasoline cars and sell electrical ones, and overload the electrical grid. (And if you think I'm trolling, you didn't read the post summary.)

gas guzzling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922714)

The big problem i see is weight the more ya got the more the fuel you use, hence this means there's gonna be a lot of very lite cars on the road, when it's 5 below 0 F,8" of snow how's an electric car weighing under 2,000 gonna handel the weather? Pray it doesn't meat a loaded 18 wheeler , because all the air bags in the world will not help.
Who believes auto makers, ask the UAW as they try to collect their pensions.

Re:gas guzzling (1)

Scott64 (1181495) | about 3 years ago | (#36922958)

Thinner tires (within reason...I'm not talking 'bicycle' thin) in the winter help a bit with getting to the bottom of the snow.

-5F and 8" of snow would be a dream compared to some of the snow we see up north :)

Just one question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922730)

Since Obama is doing this and all the tree huggers want it, how is this screwing me?

And while they're at it - they should... (2, Insightful)

JRHelgeson (576325) | about 3 years ago | (#36922740)

Why doesn't Obama require Intel to release the 10 GHz Chip? Apparently the only thing stopping progress is there isn't any legislation mandating it, right? So why stop at 60mpg? Why not 1000 mpg? We should also mandate flying cars and a PONY for EVERYONE!!!
What is up with this imaginary thinking?
Do people really believe everything they think?

Re:And while they're at it - they should... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922946)

Seems to me you're the one with the imaginary thinking. Believe it or not, the free market is not perfect, and does not immediately correct for all problems in the most effective manner. This gas standard is a reasonable one that helps all the actors in the market work on level ground, and not let some take advantage of the external factors while the true innovators are screwed.

See, that's the difference between computers and cars, they're just not operating on the same terms.


Re:And while they're at it - they should... (4, Informative)

deadhammer (576762) | about 3 years ago | (#36922960)

Clearly you must think that the continent of Europe is a mystical fantasy land that doesn't actually exist. The Europeans manage to regularly sell vehicles with fuel economies in the high 40s/low 50s of MPG. No flying cars or mandatory ponies. Oh wait, Europe is a commie pinko dystopia, so the laws of physics must work differently over there.

Also notice how GM, Ford and Chrystler are the ones who recommended 54.5 mpg as opposed to the 56.2 that the administration wanted and the 60 that environmentalists wanted. Oh wait, that must mean that GM, Ford and Chrystler are part of the hated Obama administration! Source of all evil! The truth is out there, man!

Re:And while they're at it - they should... (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 years ago | (#36922966)

That's not entirely the case. The various utilities commissions exist because companies are too lazy and interested in maintaining the status quo to improve things. We once relied on competition to get companies to improve the things they do. But somewhere along the line, some people realized that they could just as easily (more easily actually) compete in a race to the bottom. The result is that progress sits idle and even moves backward without some other reason to move forward.

I understand you don't like the idea of government telling business how to do business, but you have to consider other things. Firstly, government is charged with defending and preserving the environment and if they didn't we would all be living in the toxic waste generated by the very business interests you seek to defend. Next, while I am sure you think it's wrong for government to tell business and individuals what to do and how to live, are you then okay with business telling government what to do? That's the way things are today, more and more often... and recently, we have witnessed the outrageous use of the DOJ at Cisco's request to unjustly jail a man for a year on false accusations. (And if no one at Cisco gets charged with a crime for this, we will see a LOT more of it soon.)

The government needs to get behind the interests of the people and when that happens on occasion, you get upset. Are you American or are you something else? We already know the consequences of business activity going unchecked and unregulated. Every time regulation has been removed, bad things have happened. So I wonder why people are so convinced that regulating business is bad?

Re:And while they're at it - they should... (1)

plopez (54068) | about 3 years ago | (#36923004)

apples and oranges. They don't equate. different technology. We are not talking about the hypothetical "widget" used in Business Management 101 Economics 101 courses to make basic concepts accessible to Freshman.

Re:And while they're at it - they should... (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 3 years ago | (#36923040)

Because for some reason, people hate the gas tax even more than CAFE standards. I never understand why.

So you want to get 60 mpg. (1)

bobs666 (146801) | about 3 years ago | (#36922754)

Re:So you want to get 60 mpg. (2)

plopez (54068) | about 3 years ago | (#36923022)

Which are great in some areas. But in other places, like the Great American Fly Over I live in they don't work in January.

Obama announces what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922758)

...Obama will announce today...
Obama will announce what? How about he stop being the biggest dbag on the planet and start being pro-U.S. Start by making a public pledge to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America; his past actions and words show otherwise. Then stop being so irresponsible with this more credit and consumption mentality, it won't solve this economic crisis. Kicking the can down the road will make the collapse MUCH worse. Raising the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion is a record, total and percentage wise, and will last ~18 months, just enough until the 2012 Presidential Election occurs. How convenient, Obama wants to be elected, at the expense of many American lives. Time to impeach!

what about how MUCH you drive? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922796)

My AWD vehicle only gets about 28 MPG, but I drive it just one day per week for 15 miles round trip, and bicycle the rest of the time. So yes it gets shitty mileage, but overall I'm using less gas that that Prius driver who drives 10X as much as I do.

Better Late Than Never I Guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922798)

Why wasn't this done *before* giving GM billions of dollars to build all those 6 MPG THUNDRAS?

CAFE is the gutless choice (5, Insightful)

s122604 (1018036) | about 3 years ago | (#36922800)

The real way to tackle this problem is with gas taxes. Raise the cost of gas up to 6 dollars a gallon, and the fleet average will go up, from consumer demand.

Re:CAFE is the gutless choice (3, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | about 3 years ago | (#36923038)

and/or stop subsidizing the oil companies. But that initiative just failed in the House a few months ago.

oil in 2025? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922806)

If I recall we were going to be off oil by 2015 or somthing like that. Wonderful

Too little. too slow. (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 3 years ago | (#36922820)

Owing to the rate at which the number of automobiles is increasing, they could reach this goal of lower emissions and better fuel economy, and we'd still be polluting more and using more fuel than we are now.

Granted, it's better that than no improvements at all, but if kept the same end-goal requirements, but shortened that vision to... oh, say 2015 or so... then they might have a chance at actually really helping... otherwise, it's just postponing the inevitable.

This may not end the "gas guzzler" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922826)

But it sure as shit means we'll be asked to bailout the auto makers again when our champagne wishes and caviar dreams don't match with what buyers are willing to pay for an auto.

Better mileage (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 3 years ago | (#36922918)

With the various new technology like better hybrids and fully electric vehicles this doesn't seem unreasonable. Even a fully gasoline powered vehicle that seats 4 could do this. There is a cost to consider in achieving this such that vehicles will need to be much lighter or more all electrics. Both of these cost more than you standard steel framed and skinned standard gasoline engine. Apart from making vehicles lighter you could also make them less powerful but people like zippy cars. Another thing that could be done is increasing the engine efficiency such as by using the Atkinson cycle [] increasing the compression (this would make it so people would need to use 89 or 91 octane instead of 87), or surface coatings [] to decrease internal friction. Additionally people are going to have to get use to seeing and using 0 weight oils (I have heard discussions of going to negative weight oil as well) instead of the standard 5w30. I am sure we are going to see some postings here about the magic devices that Detroit is sitting on that would produce 100+MPG on a big pig car [] , crap that is similar to fuel line magnets [] , or the infamous water power car [] .

This is about hydrocarbon depletion and thinking. (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 3 years ago | (#36922940)

Thinking ahead that is. Something capitalist enterprises have shown themselves ill-equipped to accomplish. Everything in life is not about what's going on at this moment in time. That's the thinking of a cat, or bacteria, or an executive or CEO thinking about their bonus. Thinking ahead is what's needed here.

Plenty of time for Republicans to repeal it (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 3 years ago | (#36922968)

which is why I think a somewhat lesser goal set for a shorter timeframe, then ramping up to this in 2025, would have been better.

Why did they wait so long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922974)

The technology for atomization of the fuel prior to mixing it with air and prior to ignition has been known for more than three decades. For one man driving a Lincoln Contenental back in the late 70s or early 80s (you can research this) who made this modification, it meant 80mpg for his savings. Why has the industry been dragging their asses so long?

reasonable final compromise (1, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | about 3 years ago | (#36922998)

The difference between 54.5mph and 60mpg really was not worth fighting over. The Obama Administration would've been idiots to go to the mat over that. Sure, when you're talking about badly designed tanks that get 20mpg, another 5.5mpg is a substantial difference, but once you start getting up to actually efficient numbers like these standards are talking about, that difference doesn't make that big a deal.

As my main vehicle, I ride a motorbike that gets 90mpg. I started fretting about it when it wasn't running quite so well and it was getting 80mpg or less, but then I did the math and realized how little difference that meant. I still got it fixed (some basic maintenance was all it needed), but that was because I also wasn't getting the speed I wanted.

The real way it will be achieved (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 3 years ago | (#36923000)

When you buy your gas-guzzling SUV, it'll come with an EV, so the average of the two makes 55mpg. Maybe the SUV will even be able to launch the EV.Think the original Optimus Prime and Roller.

A Good Start. (1)

trum4n (982031) | about 3 years ago | (#36923002)

Now if only i could get some inverters for my soon-to-be electric car company.

Over population, anybody? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36923024)

Meanwhile, the Zionists in Congress (and their shills) will keep the borders open, and keep the third worlders flooding in, just so that they can try to keep their fractional reserve ponzi scheme afloat for a bit longer, thus completely destroying your country.

Too many people is the problem. If we stopped all the SCUM from reproducing, the planet would only have one tenth of the people it currently has, and we wouldn't have to worry about MPG.

America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36923036)

It just means everyone who wants a vehicle with balls will buy something not covered by CAFE.

It also means that sports cars will do tricky things like take off in 6th, just to post good EPA numbers. Or, you'll have two keys, like the Laguna Seca mustang, and the red key wakes the car up.

I got 12mpg on my way to work today. Deal with it. If I'm willing to pay the price of fuel, let me decide. If I want to save money and move to something more efficient, let me decide. This is America.

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