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How We'll Get To 54.5 Mpg By 2025

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the check-the-tires dept.

Government 717

concealment writes "At the end of August this year, the US Department of Transport's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new standards to significantly improve the fuel economy of cars and light trucks by 2025. Last week, we took a look at a range of recent engine technologies that car companies have been deploying in aid of better fuel efficiency today. But what about the cars of tomorrow, or next week? What do Detroit, or Stuttgart, or Tokyo have waiting in the wings that will get to the Obama administration's target of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025?"

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717 comments

A Love Story (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585475)

Roses are red,
grass is greener.

When I read Slashdot,
I play with my weiner.

nothing new at all needed (5, Informative)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585519)

cars suitable for average daily use by more than half the people with that kind of fuel efficiency have been available for decades.

Re:nothing new at all needed (5, Interesting)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585693)

Spot on. I half intended to make a sarcastic post about how all we need is to get everyone to be willing to drive a plastic car with a 40 hp engine, but truly for a lot of people including me, a small (but safe) car is sufficient.

I actually sold cars briefly. One customer who stuck in my mind was a little old lady who really wanted an 8 cylinder engine. This was about 1990. She might have settled for a 6, but a 4 was no sale, no way. Blew my mind. My own 4 cylinder car sitting in the parking lot, barely out of econo-box class, would do 120 mph. What the hell did she think she needed an 8 cylinder engine for?!? She would not be swayed. A lot of us, me included, are not so different from that old lady.

Re:nothing new at all needed (5, Insightful)

locopuyo (1433631) | about a year and a half ago | (#41586023)

A poorly designed merge section from one highway to another is what convinced me I needed a quick car.
It isn't safe merging into 60+ MPH traffic at 30 MPH. Top speed typically isn't a problem but acceleration on cars with wimpy engines is.

2000 Honda Insight, Metros/Swifts, Honda CRX HFs.. (4, Insightful)

Bananatree3 (872975) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585879)

The 2000 Honda Insight came out 12 years ago and drivers regularly beat this standard. Geo Metros, Suzuki Swifts, Honda CRX HFs, VW Diesel Rabits, VW TDIs.... the list goes on and on.

The issue isn't making a fuel efficient car, it's making a Ford F150 get 54.5MPG

From a UK PoV its wrong to scoff (3, Interesting)

CdBee (742846) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585961)

I run a 2.0 litre 4-cyl Volvo V40 compact estate (station wagon), which is now 11 years old. Over my last 10,000 miles I have had an average fuel economy (brim to brim method) of 37.5mpg - in imperial gallons. So you might say my technologically crude car is pretty close and a little improvement such as start-stop, higher final gearing ratios, low-rolling-resistance tyres, maybe a mild hybrid system, and use of aluminium instead of steel for structures might get it there

BUT: That's about 31.2mpg in US gallons. I wonder how many Brits are reading this, thinking 'My diesel car does better than that' - and not realising that actually the Americans have set themselves a bar thats 20% higher than it appears to us as their gallons are smaller - 65mpg in fact.

A handful of cars do manage that - VW's Bluemotion range for instance, and equivalents from other makers. But a Prius doesn't and my Volvo never will (I'm planning to convert it to LPG instead)....

I'm no car expert.. (1, Insightful)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585529)

but if people would buy on fuel economy rather than power/torque we'd get a lot more bang for our oil buck.

__
ServersINseconds Australian web hosting [serversinseconds.com.au] .

Re:I'm no car expert.. (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585605)

Yeah, and if people stopped eating meat we'd need a lot less grain. And if people started keeping their thermostats at 55F, we'd need a lot less gas/electric/oil. If people would top watching TV, that would also save a lot of energy.

But people like to eat meat, they like to stay warm, they like to watch TV... and wait for it... they like fast cars.

Re:I'm no car expert.. (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585727)

No. You'll just get power/torque with better MPG.
Ford's 1lt EcoBoost Engine which produces 120PS @ 170Nm. Same as 1.6lt 4 cylinder Engine in Fiesta is proof that engineers can do so more when the market wants it. You are part of the problem.

Re:I'm no car expert.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585741)

If people would stop making more people, there would be a lot more to go around for those of us already stuck here!

Re:I'm no car expert.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585785)

You aren't stuck here. You CAN leave.

Re:I'm no car expert.. (2)

arpad1 (458649) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585751)

Yes, but those people must, quite properly, defer to their moral and intellectual superiors who know how much meat is allowable, if any and who know how warm you can be allowed to be in winter and who know whether you ought to be allowed to watch TV, how much and what programs and, well, pretty much everything.

Now, isn't it reasonable that the superior should advise the inferior and dictate to them if their inferiority prevents them from properly obeying?

Re:I'm no car expert.. (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585663)

OK. I'm down to 10mpg average when I really flog it. To get any lower I've got to start driving a 3 ton behemoth so outrageous it was banned by the demotion derby. Really ought to just be left to appreciate, but sense you insist I'll drive it (6mpg) more often.

Re:I'm no car expert.. (2)

caseih (160668) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585819)

As an aside I was talking to a truck driver as I loaded him up (45 tonnes of bulk) and he said with the new generation of big diesel rigs with scads of horsepower (600 is typical) and lots of torque (pulling along at 1500 rpm is easy) that he gets fantastic fuel economy. On flat roads while crusing, he gets about 6 mpg! That's amazing fuel economy for a big rig! Might be imperial gallons so not as amazing. But still we have come a long ways in fuel efficiency.

Despite our love of fast cars, we now drive cars now that are much more efficient, have much more power, and way more torque than before. But the main difference is they now weigh thousands of pounds more than they used to. If we put modern engine and transmissions in a compact car from the 70s or 80s, it'd likely get 50-60 mpg easily.

Re:I'm no car expert.. (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585763)

You're right! You are no car expert.

You wouldn't be captain obvious' sidekick would you?

Unless you force people to buy the higher efficiency vehicle there will always be those who will not. And of course if you forced them to purchase the efficient model no company would build the inefficient ones anymore because there would be no demand. Welcome to the U.S.S.R.

FYI - Some of the biggest advances in efficiency for ICE technology have come from trying to create the fastest/strongest engines.

Buy a diesel and get both ;) (2)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585767)

My diesel VW Golf as 140HP, 240ft-lbs of torque, and gets 45MPG on the highway.

Re:Buy a diesel and get both ;) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585995)

Diesels are only a partial solution. Diesel is one by-product of refining oil and as the process has improved, the amount of diesel left over has diminished. That's why it's not cheap anymore- it's no longer abundant. Putting more diesel cars on the road will lead to higher diesel prices and supply problems.

Re:Buy a diesel and get both ;) (1)

Krneki (1192201) | about a year and a half ago | (#41586071)

My Ducati V2 does 60mpg and it goes from 0-60(miles) in 4 sec. :) And it sounds way sexier then any diesel tractor or V8 truck.

Re:I'm no car expert.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585793)

that works except in places where there is bad winters.. How do they expect you to get around with a two wheel drive battery operated car that goes fifty miles on a sunny day in two feet of snow before the snow trucks hit? Businesses do not close for snow in most areas...

the easiest way (5, Informative)

Picardo85 (1408929) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585533)

Start importing cars made for the european market. We have loads of those cars here. [autoblog.com]

Re:the easiest way (4, Interesting)

Sez Zero (586611) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585647)

Start importing cars made for the european market. We have loads of those cars here. [autoblog.com]

Pretty much this. Later this year VW will release a 73 mpg Golf [autoblog.com] . They'll sell a lot of those, which will make room under the corporate umbrella for a whole bunch of 30 mpg cars.

Re:the easiest way (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585759)

Combined with redefinition. Unemployment is low and dropping because labor force participation rate is dropping even faster. Eventually none of us will have jobs, but as we stand in the soup lines we'll see unemployment has dropped to merely 5% and good times are right around the corner.

So we'll simply redefine such that the only "automobiles" on the road subject to the 60 mpg limit will be smart cars and Fiat Puntos (a real car, I rented and drove one in Ireland, and it was a fun and surprisingly comfortable little car). Tahoes Expeditions Escalades and the like will be redefined to be 4-wheeled motorcycles thus exempt from the 60 mpg regulation.

Re:the easiest way (1)

Webcommando (755831) | about a year and a half ago | (#41586133)

Combined with redefinition. Unemployment is low and dropping because labor force participation rate is dropping even faster. Eventually none of us will have jobs, but as we stand in the soup lines we'll see unemployment has dropped to merely 5% and good times are right around the corner.

You'll be fine as long as you keep listening to Manna's [marshallbrain.com] instructions or enjoy the good life in the Terrafoam housing.

Re:the easiest way (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585909)

I've never understood how oblivious most of America is to the car situation in Europe. Most petrol cars over here are already getting around 54mpg and the diesels are even better. I am constantly reading US-based articles looking for the technological leap required to attain (European-levels of) fuel efficiency. I won't buy that it is because all Americans need massive amounts of acceleration coupled with larger mass. What is keeping it this way?

Re:the easiest way (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#41586123)

Nope. Can't do. Americans will never drive cars with amber turn signals. Its ...... un-American!

Unicorns, of course! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585537)

But it won't matter, Obama has decreed it - in our own best interests, no less. So it must happen.

Ford makes the engin allready. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585541)

For produces the 3 cylinder turbo direct inject engine here in America. But due to tax regulations and big oil with their hand in every pot of the USA they are not allowed to sell them in the USA. Many German cars in there diesel versions in Europe can exceed the 60MPG mark due the necessity of their higher fuel prices than the US.

Re:Ford makes the engin allready. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585609)

As far as I know, there aren't ant european diesels than can pass our current emission standards, regardless of the milage.

Re:Ford makes the engin allready. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585797)

Our emission standards are flawed. They calculate emissions per gallon, but need to calculate the emissions per mile.

Re:Ford makes the engin allready. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585939)

Why is that? MPG can change for a variety if reasons, one the biggest being while towing. A unit of fuel doesn't change no matter how you drive it.

Re:Ford makes the engin allready. (5, Informative)

jo_ham (604554) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585919)

As far as I know, there aren't ant european diesels than can pass our current emission standards, regardless of the milage.

This is not true any more. Euro diesels since about 05 and above have exceeded the US emissions standards. The only thing holding it back now is misinformation and the stigma of diesel as something only for big rigs and tractors.

Re:Ford makes the engin allready. (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#41586073)

Emissions, Americans dislike of diesel engines, whatever. All good excuses.

We aren't getting diesels over here because the gov't needs to keep the commercial/military fuel market separated from that of the general public. When we go to war in the Middle East, that crude supply will be cut off. So the gov't just gets on the phone to the refineries, tells them to dial back gasoline output to zero (or enough to jack prices up and kill demand) and reserve the remaining crude for diesel production. Since passenger cars largely use gasoline here, this is an effective means of controlling segments of the market.

Re:Ford makes the engin allready. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585977)

That won't quite get us there. 60MPG with diesel is only about 53.9 MPG with gasoline. (Diesel fuel contains more energy per gallon, and requires more crude to produce - MPG is not directly comparable.)

Here's an idea (1, Troll)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585549)

We'll use European cars that already get that sort of milage! Not sure if Americans know, but cars in the US are stupidly large for no good reason. Might help the fuel bills to get a smaller, more practical car. Oh yeah, some people in the US are stupidly large, for no good reason either. Might help food bills...

Re:Here's an idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585607)

The trick to getting "stupidly large" is drinking cold beer. You should try it some time.

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

PragMalice (2036176) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585691)

While I suspect you were making a jab at waistlines, some of us are rather *tall* individuals. I can't speak for everyone else, but my legs are usually in need of medical attention after my business trips to London where I'm forced to cram myself into what amounts to a small suitcase on wheels for a week, all because my company doesn't want to fork over the cash for a proper sized "gas guzzler".

Re:Here's an idea (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585817)

We Dutch are the tallest people in the world, on average. Yet we have little trouble with cars. You can have both good MPG and a spacious interior.

Re:Here's an idea (4, Informative)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#41586079)

What a crock. I live in london , I'm over 6 foot and 210lbs and I've never had any trouble fitting in any car. Unless you're the height of a basket ball player or you're a 400 lb ball of sweaty lard because you can't leave off the donuts then there's no reason you can't either.

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

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585695)

cars in the US are stupidly large for no good reason.

Compensation for certain body part being smaller. Its pretty deeply ingrained culturally. This being /. no body knows but I had a female friend who swore that was true, I guess she saw enough to make a pretty good graph. I'm frankly embarrassed to be seen renting the giant home depot pickup truck, thinking that the ladies are looking at me and feeling sad for me because I must be so small I'm an "innie", you know like when its -20 F outside .. shrinkage.

Re:Here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585723)

Most of the diesel cars available in Europe are not available in the US. I think this is because of relatively "dirty"nature of diesel cars, due to the high particulate content in diesel exhaust.

But I do agree that people do buy stupidly large cars and trucks here for no apparent reason. Although we are seeing less of that with higher gas pricess, just like we saw in July of 2008.

Re:Here's an idea (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585729)

Cars in the US are stupidly large because that's the type of car people will buy. The manufacturers know the market, and produce that which they calculate will sell.

Re:Here's an idea (3, Insightful)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585877)

We'll use European cars that already get that sort of milage! Not sure if Americans know, but cars in the US are stupidly large for no good reason. Might help the fuel bills to get a smaller, more practical car. Oh yeah, some people in the US are stupidly large, for no good reason either. Might help food bills...

Tell you what, you can put those "more practical" Europoean cars at the dealerships right next to the "stupidly large" cars that are there now. We'll even mandate that each car will have affixed a sticker that details the predicted impact to one's fuel bills. Heck, we can even subsidize that small car and penalize [nhtsa.gov] the ones that don't meet efficiency targets.

Then we'll let the car buyer decide whether the double-extra cost of the larger vehicle, both from increased base cost and penalties, is worth it and my bet is still on the larger car because that's where the consumer preference lies. That's the bottom line -- that you are at variance with what people actually want to buy and the "fight" to sell more smaller vehicles is a fight against those desires.

[ Note, FWIW, when I had a car, I drove a small sedan because that's where my preference lay. I would pay no heed to belittling condescension that called my choice stupid irrespective of whether I drove that or a SUV. ]

[ Note2, There are a lot of neat smaller cars (Ford Fusion, VW Golf) that American consumers will buy. I assure you, however, none of them were sold on those cars by someone calling larger cars "stupid" or by insulting consumers. Instead, they actually made a positive contribution by designing a small car that consumers like. ]

Re:Here's an idea (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about a year and a half ago | (#41586065)

It is diminishing returns.

We looked a car that came in 4 cylinder that was anemic when you stepped on the gas or hit a hill, and we looked at the same car in a V6, lot more power.

The fuel cost difference? $800 per year @ $4 gas, 24mpg vrs 32mpg.

Even at 48mpg, we are talking $1600. 96mpg? $3200

You will have a hard time selling a car on the gas mileage alone, it has to be attractive in other ways. I drove the Focus, I am too tall for it, my head did not hit the ceiling, but that small front window made me lean over the wheel for the week I drove it.
The new Dodge Dart seems like a nice car tho, I kinda miss my Neon.

I will probably buy a 60mpg BMW 700gs for my next "car" and keep the 11 year old Suburu for truly nasty days out there.

Re:Here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41586107)

If you can't do it without subsidies, don't do it.

Re:Here's an idea (1)

SonnyDog09 (1500475) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585887)

Automakers have tried importing the small eurocars and Americans would not buy them. I remember Ford trying to sell the Ka here, and nobody bought them. We spend more time in our cars and drive more distance than Europeans do. Not only are Americans bigger than Europeans, but America is bigger than Europe. I drive 40+ miles to work each day. I am about to drive 250+ miles to meet with a customer. America is not as densely populated as Europe. Cars are how we travel. This is why we won't buy the small cars that are popular in Europe.

Re:Here's an idea (0)

pla (258480) | about a year and a half ago | (#41586039)

We'll use European cars that already get that sort of milage!

This. It pisses me off so much that I can't get a lightweight diesel-electric hybrid in the US. At all. They just don't exist here, and neither the manufacturers (in making them) nor the government (in approving European ones for import) seem the least bit interested in remedying that.

We could hit 54.5 MPG as a fleet average far, far sooner than 2025. As you point out, we just need lower powered and smaller hybrids, simple as that. You want over 120 horses or a curb weight over 3000lbs? Special license class. Done in one - Considering that most of my fellow Americans can't even perpendicular park for shit, any actual driving-skill based licensing requirement would instantly rule out a good 95% of the population.

/ Seriously? You need 160HP? I drive an 88HP hybrid and have no problem passing the slowpokes on my daily commute (even the "players" who speed up to try to block me from passing). No. You don't need 160HP.
// You need a 5500lbs SUV that seats ten for your daily commute? No. No you don't. It would cost you less to rent a minivan once a month, than to feed that beast on your daily commute. And if you really do drag nine kids to soccer every day, you should need a damned chauffeur's license for that!

My Civic CRX got 56 MPG in 1985 (2)

MpVpRb (1423381) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585577)

Why was it apparently so easy back then?

Re:My Civic CRX got 56 MPG in 1985 (3, Informative)

seinman (463076) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585623)

Safety standards, or lack thereof. Cars have to be heavy now to pass the government-required safety tests. Lighter materials don't hold up as well in an accident.

Re:My Civic CRX got 56 MPG in 1985 (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585641)

The car could be lighter back then, because they didn't need to throw in as much stuff as they do now. Much of the new weight comes from safety stuff: airbags, crumple zones, etc. But electronics get heavy. Before: the gas-pedal just pulled a thin cable that adjusted a valve. Now, all of that comes in the form of a big electronic box to calculate this-and-that.

The amount of "stuff" in cars today is a lot different than the amount of "stuff" in a car in the 1980s.

Re:My Civic CRX got 56 MPG in 1985 (4, Informative)

icebrain (944107) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585761)

Your 1985 Civic would probably fail today's crash tests and emissions checks (in the areas that require them), and likely lacked features most consumers prefer these days.

-Higher crash standards demand more structure and additional equipment like airbags
-Higher emissions standards dictate more additional equipment (catalytic converters, etc.) and different combustion profiles
-Consumer expectations for performance (acceleration/handling), size, and comfort (features, sound insulation, etc) have gone up

All of the above add weight to the vehicle (making for inefficiency) Oh, and the mandated use of ethanol reduces mileage even further.

Re:My Civic CRX got 56 MPG in 1985 (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year and a half ago | (#41586097)

It did really well in its day, when crash tested.

Today you add in things like ABS, airbags, carefully routed fuel injection controlled by sophisticated onboard computers, and the weight goes up. But it's really the engine technology and overall composite that allows for huge reductions in consumed fuels. The CRX was a fantastic car, and is highly desired in the used market. Unfortunately, it's perceived as flimsy (it's not) and plastic (it is).

Added alcohols aren't as bad for mileage as you might think. Yes, they do rot things. But they have a decent amount of energy if you don't need to go 0-60mph in under 5sec.

Sadly, fuel reformulations have become expensive, and you can use California as the posterboy for costs associated with fuel remixes.

Replace every tollbooth... (4, Funny)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585587)

A) Instead of building lots of new tollbooths (you know they will), replace each of 'em with a Taco Bell drive-through.

B) Build a methane-capture device into every driver's seat...

Campaign contributions (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585599)

What do Detroit, or Stuttgart, or Tokyo have waiting in the wings that will get to the Obama administration's target of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025?

Campaign contributions to get that bad boy dropped to about 8 MPG.

Followed by Sierra Club campaign contributions to raise it to 700000 MPG.

Followed by auto industry contributions to drop it back to 8 MPG

You get the idea. Very profitable, for campaign advertising directors, the legacy media platforms who get most of the ad budget, etc. For everyone else, we get screwed but thats business as usual.

All We Need is Legislation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585601)

We all know that human creativity and the laws of physics can easily be harnessed and controlled through legislation. The only reason why we don't have Hummers and Semi's getting 150mpg is because we don't have the courage to pass a law demanding it.

Re:All We Need is Legislation (4, Interesting)

geoskd (321194) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585999)

You speak with a certain amount of sarcasm, but the laws actually have an interesting effect, and do affect the gas mileage.

The way it works is this. Each company must keeps its CAFE above the legal limit. To do this, they may not (by law) sell cars that are below the CAFE if their corporate average is currently below the CAFE. So, that means that Ford cant sell trucks because they are below the limit, but can sell Fusions and Focus'. Then when they sell enough of the little jobs, and their average comes up a little, then they can sell a few SUVs. The end result is that law of supply and demand will drive the cost of those SUVs through he roof, but the little econ o-box will get cheaper and cheaper. In fact, car companies may be willing to take a small loss on the econ o-box just so it can sell one high margin SUV. For the average citizen, it will make the gas-guzzlers financially out of reach, which is the way it should be.

I know a guy who bought a pickup truck (16 MPG), and drives it 40 miles a day commute because he can only afford the one vehicle. He got the truck because twice a year he uses it to haul yard materials home from the garden store... I suggested he could just rent a u haul, but he said he didn't want to spend the $100 bucks for a u haul... Just goes to show that most Americans have the financial savvy of a 10 year old.

-=Geoskd

Bird in the hand syndrome (2)

CdBee (742846) | about a year and a half ago | (#41586153)

I'm the same, but with a less extreme difference: I'm a single guy, no large family to lug around, but I love camping, mountain biking and going on road trips with my friends. So I drive a compact estate car (Volvo V40) and take the economy hit for the practicality of having it always there, never having to worry about having too much stuff with me for the trip, etc. I know I should buy a Ka or Micra and borrow or rent larger vehicles as needed.. but the convenience of permanent ownership means a lot even though I know its silly.

Re:All We Need is Legislation (3, Informative)

akboss (823334) | about a year and a half ago | (#41586121)

The only reason why we don't have Hummers and Semi's getting 150mpg is because we don't have the courage to pass a law demanding it.

I take it your not a driver of a semi nor the O/O of one. They are already turbo charged, they already have to meet air quality standards that make the exhaust cleaner than the air the engine takes in. All of that pollution control makes for a 8 MPG vehicle when it is pulling 48,000 pounds of goods.

Demand that semi's get better mileage is admirable but really short sighted. Force the trucking companies and O/O to meet unrealistic goals just means they WILL pass that cost onto each and every bit of freight they haul

care for $10 pound ground beef? Milk costing $7 or $8 a gallon? That is what will happen if laws like that are passed.

And yes I am a truck driver hauling Cattle for your dinner

Lobbyists... (3, Insightful)

flatt (513465) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585615)

What do Detroit, or Stuttgart, or Tokyo have waiting in the wings that will get to the Obama administration's target of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025?"

Lots and lots of lobbyists who will get this number reduced before it goes into effect.

Not anti American (5, Insightful)

AdmV0rl0n (98366) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585619)

I'm a Brit. I understand the tradition, and history of US cars, and that this holds a place for many American people. But your business and political angles don't work well for you here. Most of the US car makers already make fuel efficient engines and models for other parts of the world. I don't know if its parts of the US car industry and some political levels that are messing around - but they should stop.

At some stage the US will face a fuel hit. It would be much better to have the things lined up than be caught out. Your citizens should not face that having mistakenly bought high fuel consumption models after being decieved or lied to by car makers or political fools. The car is central to life in the US. The fuel munching car has no real future in this.

Re:Not anti American (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585849)

+ insightful.
Ford make EcoBoost. It really is a good bit of kit from what i've read. They had to make it or fail as a company on the world stage as they had nothing to match Europe or Asia makers.

Re:Not anti American (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585947)

Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing.

After they've exhausted all other possibilities.

- W. Churchill

Top Gear already done this... (1)

djsmiley (752149) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585631)

Didn't Jeremy Clarkson get this in a Jag...

I'm sure the magic number was 50Miles per gallon or something equally crazy.

However the problem isn't that cars can't do it, its that OLD cars can't do it.

Re:Top Gear already done this... (5, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585881)

Didn't Jeremy Clarkson get this in a Jag...

No, he got it in a Jaaaaag.

Mitt Romney (4, Funny)

bryanbrunton (262081) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585643)

There will be no next Obama administration. Didn't you see that last presidential debate?

Obama is too stupid and lazy to be president.

Mitt knows that it isn't possible to "heal the planet", (insert Romney smirk here), or begin to slow the rise of the oceans.

So when Mittens is elected all of these silly MPG ratings will be rolled back once we achieve North American energy independence.

Re:Mitt Romney (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585927)

Yeah 'mittens' has no clue about how a car company should work. OH thats right his dad pioneered the fuel economy wave at AMC... Then got eaten alive by toyota and datsun in cost.

BTW just stop with the derogatory remarks. Ok you dont like the guy. But name calling already (mittens? really?)? What are you in grade school? I call out both sides when the do this btw...

Unfortunately Obama did not try for bipartisanship (like he said he would). Then instead went for 'do it my way or its not bipartisan'. What a wasted opportunity.

Too much f-ng cheerleading and not enough 'lets fix this'. Your 'mittens' remark does not help any more than 'obummer' does.

Both sides have good points. Both sides unfortunately have taken a 'we vs they' mentality. You are playing into it and it does not help. Stop being a cheerleader. Want to evoke real 'change' in our nation? Stop doing that one thing. Call out everyone who does it. It lets the people in charge divide you into small manageable groups of 'special interests'. It lets people who want to pass legislation dictate who to 'sell' it to. Instead of having to get past all of us we manage to let small tiny groups screw us all...

Re:Mitt Romney (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about a year and a half ago | (#41586029)

You cannot reach energy independence and still burn oil at greater rates. You have to:
  * Insulate your homes
  * Install better heating systems
  * Install renewable energy collectors
  * Use a more efficient way of public transport
  * increase the average population density to reduce travel distances
  * Decentralize offices so the average way from home to work is reduced
  * Switch to a less energy intensive food production system
  * And for the rest where you still need cars, use European or Japanese cars, which are much more fuel efficient

If you do all this you could reduce energy dependence. If you can convert from oil to electricity as energy source for public transportation, then you might read energy independence.

And it does not matter who you elect, it matters what your country does.

Cheating and/or paying through the nose (1)

srussia (884021) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585649)

Are the usual ways of complying with government-mandated "targets".

Re:Cheating and/or paying through the nose (1)

Scootin159 (557129) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585813)

They've already done this...

Many "crossovers" (which are just hatchback sedans with lift kits) are being classified as "light trucks" to both improve their passenger car average (by removing the less efficient vehicles from that spectrum), and improve their light truck average (as they are "ringers" in the truck mpg category). Additionally, cars have been getting slightly longer and wider on average, as increasing this footprint gives them the same gov't break as actually increasing the fuel economy, but is much easier to do.

A classic example of this is the PT Cruiser (which is just a 4 door Neon hatchback with some "retro" styling cues) is being classified as a light truck.

EV, obviously (1)

cdrguru (88047) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585661)

54 MPG for real-world drivers is almost certainly an imaginary number. How a car maker gets there is something like a lot of 27MPG cars and an equal number of infinite MPG electric-only cars.

Now, the electric only cars are impractical for any real distance and that does effect the marketability of these cars. However, with enough government-supplied (taxpayer provided) subsidies for buying an EV, many people can justify one in their driveway, the price just has to be right. As Chevy is finding out, $40,000 is not the right price.

There might be some huge improvement in battery technology, but something that would increase the range of an EV to 400 miles (the effective range of nearly all gas powered vehicles today) is unlikely. Similarly, it is unlikely any sort of extremely rapid charge (flat to full in 10 minutes) is unlikely. So that means we are talking about a marketing problem, not a technical one.

Would a future Congress and President decide to throw billions at the "EV problem" to allow a carmaker to meet the new mileage standard? Maybe, especially if it meant otherwise backing down from the standard completely.

No, a fleet of gasoline-powered cars that actually achieve 54MPG is unlikely in the US. Bringing high-mileage diesel cars to the US is equally unlikely. I think trying to convert the US car buyers over to micro-cars (like the Smart car) would be a much tougher sell than getting people to buy 200-mile range EVs that needed to charge overnight. So I would bet heavily on a government subsidized program pushing EVs.

The real question is going to be what that does to the electric grid. No way we are ready for even 10% of the cars to be EV today - we simply do not have the generation capacity. Oh, and such cars are going to charge at home at night, so any solar PV system is useless. I do not see suburbs putting up wind turbines between houses, so we are going to have a real electric supply problem.

Re:EV, obviously (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585851)

54 MPG for real-world drivers is almost certainly an imaginary number

Odd. I'm a real world driver. In a real world car and I get that.

Re:EV, obviously (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585991)

54 MPG for real-world drivers is almost certainly an imaginary number. .

The car sitting on my drive right now (new in 2003) gets 53 mpg (approx 44 mpg in US figures) and it's a minivan. The 05 model does about 60 mpg.

Will mpg still have mening by then? (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585671)

It's possible that in the next few years, we'll have a practical alternative to the internal combustion engine, and in 10 years, all new cars being designed will use whatever it is we come up with.

This is the timeframe in which either nothing or everything will change.

They won't need to (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585687)

While Obama will be re-elected, he will subsequently show himself again to be President Lawnchair and cave in on the requirement (even though it won't matter until long after he's out of office). It will become another thing that he said he would do, but ultimately caved on; just like closing Guantanamo, ending the wars, reforming health care, or ending Bush Administration economic policies.

Buy a scooter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585697)

Buy a scooter, 1 gallon will get you 70 miles. They're small, light, easy to park anywhere, I can edge between lanes of stationary traffic. You can carry the weekly shop easily, 2 people easily, big weekly shopping easy.

I pop to work on mine, I have a car, but finding parking is too difficult, and traffic is slow.

But 56mpg isn't much, modern diesel cars easily beat this. But for stop-start urban, a scooter will still beat this and get you through traffic quicker.

Re:Buy a scooter - and end up in A&E (0)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#41586157)

Everyone on 2 wheels crashes eventually and often its a bit of a mess. I'd sooner put up with worse mpg and being stuck in a jam than have a high risk of paralysis or even death to save 10 mins. You can be the best 2 wheeler in the world but if someone pulls out suddenly in front of you or opens their car door in your path or you don't spot the patch of oil before its too late then it won't make any difference - you're going down.

Sure, you can crash in a car too , but with a ton of steel surrounding you, a seatbelt and airbags its a LOT less serious for a given speed.

Simple grade-school engineering problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585721)

Build the highways with a down-ward slope.
Pulling hills uses more gas, duh.

Lower the standard (1)

what2123 (1116571) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585749)

We will get there by lowering the expectation. We expect that a Gallon will be equal to the set volume that it is currently at but in 13 years, a Gallon will represent nearly 2.5X the amount that it does today. This is still logically correct when discussing MPG's and there isn't a thing you can do about it. Now get off my math.

Autonomous Cars (5, Interesting)

Konowl (223655) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585757)

The answer to better mpg, traffic shaping, less accidents is - as much as I hate to say it - is autonomous cars.

They can drive at the best measured MPG zone, they don't get distracted, they have faster response times than human drivers. They don't hit the gas pedal stopping you from merging onto the highway or changing lanes, they don't pass illegally or drive recklessly. Numerous studies have shown that traffic jams are simply caused by people following too closely.

I don't know for sure, but I really think the next evolution of vehicle transport will be autonomous.

That's a dumb target..... (1)

who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585787)

54.5 Mpg is the target? Why is there such a fixation on gasoline, we should be more focused on alternative renewable fuels or electric cars.

Why is this the governments business? (3, Insightful)

judoguy (534886) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585829)

Seriously, why does the government get to dictate this to me? If I drive an inefficient pos, I pay more taxes.

Isn't that the dream of the Obamas of the world, people paying more and more taxes?

Re:Why is this the governments business? (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585969)

Here is why...

Cars and Car Parts cross state lines.
Anything that crosses state lines falls under the commerce clause
Anything that falls under the commerce clause can be regulated
Anything that can be regulated can be taxed and lobbied
Anything that can be taxed an lobbied will be.

The Aristocrats.

ridiculous (2)

anonieuweling (536832) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585921)

55 miles per gallon = 0.0427662879 l / kilometer says google.
1 liter per 23,382903897 per kilometer is nothing special and is done with normal cars TODAY.
So the goal of doing that by 2025 is quite ridiculous.
See the modern Volkswagens, maybe the Prius (although the hybrid stuff is debatable), etc.
Also do think about diesel instead of 'gas': it is way more easy to have high MPG with diesel.

European Ford Galaxy 7 Seater 56MPG @ 56MPH Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585985)

What more do you need to know folks?

2006 2.0l diesel

a target that will be easy to hit (2)

Zimluura (2543412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585993)

a few months ago on jay lenos garage they showed these things:
http://www.viamotors.com/powertrain/ [viamotors.com]

serial hybrids that get an epa rating of 100mpg, for huge suvs. but if you can charge them at your home outlets the number quickly becomes meaningless.

still to be overcome:
* gotta figure out a way to tax electrics fairly for the road wear that is normally covered by gas tax.
* used market will need expensive fresh batteries.

The ONLY way (1)

p51d007 (656414) | about a year and a half ago | (#41586003)

to achieve that fuel economy, is to strip out 99% of the metal, reduce the engine to 49cc, put a plastic or fiberglass shell around it, with 3 wheels, give it a 3 gallon tank of gas, and call that an automobile. Bunch of hippy types that run the EPA, and the administration will pass rules for the 99%, but, will exempt themselves from those rules.

Stupidly Simple Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41586025)

Next time a Republican is in office, this no longer matters, as it'll be overturned. The end.

Simple enough. (2)

jensend (71114) | about a year and a half ago | (#41586081)

1. Realize safety is one goal among many and that we have to deal with tradeoffs. Over the past 30 years it's been "the engineer giveth and the safety inspector taketh away" as overblown concerns about collision readiness have turned into absurd safety regulations and a curb weight arms race.

2. Raise the gas tax [washingtonpost.com] to reflect the real costs of driving- the tremendous spending on road construction and maintenance, the externalities associated with road congestion and pollution, etc. Everyone who's willing to be honest about the impact of different policies, from Greg Mankiw [blogspot.com] (former chairman of the CEA and an adviser to Romney) to Steven Chu (Obama's energy secretary), knows that this is the only realistic way forward.

Higher gas taxes would be much much less distortionary and harmful to the economy than simply mandating higher fuel standards. The gas tax is also a better way to raise revenue than most other taxes; a revenue-neutral bill raising the gas tax while lowering the taxes on labor and productivity (payroll, corporate, income, etc) would be a huge boon to the economy.

Of course, I don't expect either of these two things to happen, since political bickering and accusations ("you want to see more Americans dying on the highways! you want to put the pain on us every time we go to the pump!") will probably trump any kind of attempt to bring our policies back in contact with reality.

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