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Auto Mileage Standards Raised to 35 mpg

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the change-of-pacing dept.

Transportation 746

Ponca City, We Love You writes "The Senate just passed a bill that will increase auto mileage standards for the first time in three decades. The auto industry's fleet of new cars, sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and vans will have to average 35 mpg by 2020, a significant increase over the 2008 requirement of 27.5 mpg average. For consumers, the legislation will mean that over the next dozen years auto companies will likely build more diesel-powered SUVs and gas-electric hybrid cars as well as vehicles that can run on 85 percent ethanol. Automakers had vehemently opposed legislation in June that contained the same mileage requirements and Fortune magazine reported that American automakers were starting the miles-per-gallon race far behind Japan and that the new standards could doom US automakers. At the time, Chrysler officially put the cost of meeting the proposed rules at $6,700 per vehicle. The White House announced the President will sign the bill if it comes to his desk."

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It's about damn time (3, Insightful)

MadUndergrad (950779) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706882)

I'm glad they're finally getting to this. As for Detroit, they'd have been better off if they hadn't had to be dragged kicking and screaming into this if the bill gets signed. Although given that the deadline is 2020 it seems like they have more than enough time to do this. Between nutating and gerotor engines it seems like the technology is just waiting to be taken seriously by an industry stuck in the 1960's.

Re:It's about damn time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21706998)

American and Japanese cars are built for different purposes.

American cars are built to be rebuilt and last damn near forever. If you're going to be cranking a lot of miles onto a car, you buy a Ford or a GMC truck.

Japanese cars are built to die after 15-20 years of very inexpensive and reliable use and pollute junkyards.

Re:It's about damn time (2, Informative)

_merlin (160982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707140)

That's absolute rubbish. Japanese cars are more reliable than anything coming out of the US. It's far more common to see a twenty year old Toyota than a Ford from the same year. American cars are built to look impressive, but that's about as far as it goes. The build quality is atrocious, and they aren't efficient or practical, either.

Re:It's about damn time (1)

ishmaelflood (643277) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707016)

Well that sounds jolly techie. Nutating and gerotor engines? Not a chance in hell for sound engineering reasons.

Re:It's about damn time (1)

MadUndergrad (950779) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707032)

Care to elaborate on these sound engineering reasons?

Re:It's about damn time (1)

ishmaelflood (643277) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707074)

Gerotor motors need complex seals. see Wankel. They have high surface area/volume ratios. see Wankel.

Nutating motors need very complex seals. They provide high power to weight ratios, but suffer from similar surface area to volume ratio problems as gerotors, so causing high emissions and low efficiency.

I see no evidence that the traditional piston and crankshaft, poppet valve, type of mechanism is going to be replaced by a new IC engine.

Re:It's about damn time (2, Interesting)

MadUndergrad (950779) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707100)

The Wankel is old news. http://www.starrotor.com/ [starrotor.com]

They get around the seal issue by not having one. By making the rotors with tight tolerances, and by using the Brayton cycle rather than the Otto cycle, thus allowing lower compression ratios, they reduce leakage to a negligible level with no seals to deal with. I've got my eye on this company for the next few years. As for nutating engines, the seal issue probably will get the best of them, but it's still a neat concept that may see limited use.

Re:It's about damn time (1)

ishmaelflood (643277) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707170)

Well, how are those critical thinking skills working out for you? Do you pay attention in your engineering lectures?

How does the weasel word count in http://www.starrotor.com/Engine.htm [starrotor.com] strike you?

It's about PDF time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21707304)

You might want to read the Darpa paper at the very end. Now the paper is dated 2004, so he needs to update with his progress. But his engine isn't pseudoscience.

It's about damn time-Engine spread. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21707212)

"Gerotor motors need complex seals. see Wankel. They have high surface area/volume ratios. see Wankel."

Or you could realize that technology advances and that Mazda is still making Wankel powered cars (RX-8).

"I see no evidence that the traditional piston and crankshaft, poppet valve, type of mechanism is going to be replaced by a new IC engine."

That's assuming those are the only two contenders.

Only 35? (2, Funny)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706890)

Since Big Oil has decided to raise the prices to triple what it was 5 years ago, I see no reason why I can't expect my auto manufacturer to attempt at least double my MPG from 5 years ago.


Re:Only 35? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21706918)

...because the people who sell you oil are somehow the same people who built your car???

Re:Only 35? (1)

DavidShor (928926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706928)

Why does the government need to mandate standards? Just buy some of the multiple Japanese Hybrids. There is no need for you to force your preferences on other people.

And to preempt a flood of angry responses, I believe in Global Warming and Emissions control. But MPG and carbon tailpipe emissions are only weakly correlated. Instead of wasting large amounts of money on improving MPG, we could focus these resources on CO2 control.

Re:Only 35? (0, Troll)

Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706936)

less gas burnt, less co2 pumped into atmosphere. isn't that how it works? or am I missing something?

Re:Only 35? (-1)

DavidShor (928926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706984)

Yes, but that is rather simplistic. Different engines have drastically different amounts of CO2/Gallon emissions. Instead of researching how to decrease gas burnt, which the market is already frantic to do because of oil prices, it would be best to focus attention to CO2 emission reduction technology.

They are weakly correlated to be sure, but regulating global warming by dealing with Gasoline policy is a bit like decreasing drug usage by changing TV schedules.

Re:Only 35? (5, Informative)

ishmaelflood (643277) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707040)

"Different engines have drastically different amounts of CO2/Gallon emissions"

No they don't. All the carbon in the fuel ends up as carbon, carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide. CO is oxidised to CO2 in the cat, and C will be oxidised in the cats of 2010 diesel engines. C (soot) is not a problem in current gasoline engines.

"They are weakly correlated to be sure"

They are strongly correlated. >>0.9

Stop talking out your arse.

Re:Only 35? (4, Insightful)

Oscar_Wilde (170568) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707186)

Different engines have drastically different amounts of CO2/Gallon emissions.
 
This would of course be because some engines use the CO2 to produce pixie dust rather than releasing it into the air, yes?
 
Burning a gallon of gas will produce the same amount of CO2 regardless of what type of engine you do it in. It's not like some engines have a magical device for transmuting the carbon in their fuel carbon another element.

Re:Only 35? (1)

Oscar_Wilde (170568) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707190)

transmuting the carbon in their fuel carbon another element.
 
How the hell did I do that?... Obviously, the word into was converted into carbon. Perhaps this is where the magical engines are storing it all.

Re:Only 35? (1)

DavidShor (928926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707238)

"Burning a gallon of gas will produce the same amount of CO2 regardless of what type of engine you do it in."

No, the same amount of Carbon, not the same amount of Carbon Dioxide.

Re:Only 35? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21707380)

Correct, but practically all of it is turned into carbon dioxide, and that's what you WANT it to be.
Or would you prefer more soot and carbon monoxide?

Finally. (3, Interesting)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706892)

I own a Ford Escort from the turn of the century. It may not be very pretty, or very fast, but gets roughly 40 MPG. I can't understand how people are content with their goddamn SUVs getting 25 or less miles to the gallon. Oh well.

Re:Finally. (-1, Troll)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706968)

Well here I will help you , you see here in the Northeast , we get hit by storms a lot and it has become so expensive to live we need to work every day just to break even. So we buy these monsters to get to work every day !

Now me I used to drive a big honking Dodge Ram with 4x4 so I never got stuck , but 18 miles on the highway when it hit almost $4 a gallon was crazy. traded it for a car then realized once Snow hit , I need a suv with 4x4 , i am considered a crucial staff member and if I get snowed in I have to stay , and if it's snowing I have to be there. So I bought a Honda AWD Cr-V and now laugh at the folks in the bigger SUV's when they pay $60 to get 3/4 of a tank. I feel bad but i remember paying $160 every day for fuel for work. And i don't ever want to go back to that.

Hmm maybe I need a new job ?

Re:Finally. (5, Interesting)

vidarh (309115) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707088)

I come from Norway. We drive normal cars, including lots of Japanese compacts, even when the snow is meter high, because we've actually heard of things like ploughs, and winter-tyres, combined with chains for the wheels if things get extreme. Somehow it's never a problem, so that's a pitiful excuse.

Re:Finally. (1)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707164)

No kidding. I'm from Western Oregon; we have a ten-month rainy season. I've got chains if I need 'em, but mostly I just keep my tires full and use antifreeze as needed.

Re:Finally. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21707120)

I can't understand why people care how much mileage MY car is getting.

Of course the answer will be "global warming" but since man-made global warming is a big lie that's not a good reason.

Re:Finally. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21707202)

Saw that mod coming, why I posted AC. Of course it's not flamebait, the mod just can't give a reason and modded me instead.

Re:Finally. (1)

cammoblammo (774120) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707256)

How is calling a generally accepted idea a lie without reason or evidence not flamebait?

Damn, feeding the trolls again...

Re:Finally. (1)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707302)

Global climate change is real. Deny it until you are blue in the face, but it is real.

And now, as the world hits peak oil with countries like China and India radically increasing their energy consumption (and CO2 emissions), all of the people wasting energy (i.e. gas) in their big-assed SUVs and trucks are helping to push the price of oil and gas to record highs.

Discount global warming if you really need to clear your conscience, but you are also driving up the price for everyone else.

Re:Finally. (1)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707370)

The argument that people using a lot of gas and therefore driving up prices is at least a valid argument (unlike global warming concerns), though I don't think the effect is nearly big enough to get worried about.

Re:Finally. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21707224)

One problem I think with selling cars like that is that they are not built well.One time I had a job interview at a car factory and the guy giving the interview said they take suggestions ,but don't even ask to make it easier on the mechanics.What does this have to do with gas mileage? Practicality. It improves the value to me anyway. Making them not break down is very important ,but everything mechanical will eventually break. But I don't matter because I buy used cars. Does Cadillac make a four cylinder? I remember my dad had a Fiero in the 80's .It had a four cylinder I think .And it was a sharp looking car.Yes, monster trucks are awesome too but we can't all drive them.

Ugh (4, Interesting)

DavidShor (928926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706898)

Why exactly is Corn Ethanol a good thing? Haven't we caused enough food riots and inflation worldwide with this policy?

And I'm not really thrilled with the other provisions of the bill, namely requiring 15% of every utility's power from every state to come from non-renewable sources. This is going to draw a lot of capital away from Nuclear energy, and in the states without wind or clear skies, will likely prompt a lot of wasteful programs(Apparently, burning Forests for energy counts as renewable energy).

And the CAFE standards? I don't care enough to fight about it(mainly since it seems the market is heading that way anyway), but I would prefer more specific mandates that don't smack of populism. CO2 emissions are pretty poorly tied to gasoline consumption, and regulation on tail-pipe CO2 emission would make a lot more environmental sense(And cost a lot less money), at least until a carbon credit scheme is implemented.

The funny thing, is that nobody is even considering implementing CAFE standards for the military and other government agencies. The Government's massive purchase of fuel inefficient cars, since agencies have very little incentive to save on gas costs, has a surprisingly discretionary effect on the production decisions of American Car Makers. We've all seen police drive around in SUVs.

Instead of saddling American consumers with extra costs, why don't we mandate that all agencies that receive money from Congress must not use cars with a MPG below 35? This includes charities, police departments, the Military, and even foreign governments.

Except that this was left out of the Senate Bill (2, Interesting)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706958)

And I'm not really thrilled with the other provisions of the bill, namely requiring 15% of every utility's power from every state to come from non-renewable sources.
I'm going to assume the 'non-' was a typo... but since that whole section of the bill was dropped from the Senate version anyway, it's a moot point. I will agree, though, that passenger-sized vehicles owned by the government should adhere to the same standards as passenger-sized vehicles sold to individuals. There's no reason for anything from a police car to an government-owned sedan to be more of a gas hog than a new Mustang. (Since military vehicles are usually a bit larger, I can see them going by the standards for commercial vehicles, such as buses and tractor-trailers.)

Re:Except that this was left out of the Senate Bil (1)

DavidShor (928926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706996)

"I'm going to assume the 'non-' was a typo... but since that whole section of the bill was dropped from the Senate version anyway, it's a moot point."

Sorry, it was indeed a type. I'm glad to hear that provision was dropped from the bill after all, thanks for brightening my day a bit.

And indeed, I guess you could justify military vehicles as commercial vehicles.

Re:Ugh (1)

soupforare (542403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707234)

Corn lobby is pretty big, they're probably worried about people trying to avoid HFCS and started looking for other revenue streams.
I'm extremely confused why this is at all an issue. The Big Three all have current diesel tech or connections with companies with diesel engines. Japanese and European manufacturers almost universally offer diesels outside of the US. There would be no need to retool infrastructure or build a new fuel distribution system.
Why aren't we all driving diesels or small displacement turbo petrol cars? It seems to work everywhere else.

by 2020... (4, Insightful)

sethawoolley (1005201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706902)

35 mpg average, not including all the except vehicles in their fleet, like the Hummer.

Seriously, why else do you think Bush is going to sign it -- it looks like a good thing when it isn't.

Legislation that's just good enough to keep pace with the status quo is exactly what the auto industry wanted. They know that if they completely succeeded in opposing the legislation, that they'd face consumer revolt. And as long as everybody else has to keep up with the status quo -- the most cost-effective manner for them -- then they don't have to worry too much about being undercut by companies in Korea and China that don't have emission controls. Instead, they only have to worry about Japanese and European cars, which they'll likely never be able to beat.

All in all, it's a good deal for the auto industry, and a bad deal for the customer, as we'll never get an incoming Democratic administration to support higher CAFE standards in the future. Last time they were raise significantly was during Reagan. His administration also introduced the catalytic converter as a requirement, too. *sigh*

Re:by 2020... (1, Insightful)

DavidShor (928926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706950)

How exactly is it a *gain* to the consumer to mandate higher prices in cars? Sometimes, higher fixed costs, and resulting better mileage, are outweighed by lower operating(gasoline) costs. In fact, higher oil prices make this situation much more common.

Car makers, wishing to capitalize on this demand to increase sales, then proceed to produce fuel efficient models for this subgroup of consumers, while continuing sales of less efficient but cheaper cars to other consumers.

Where does the government come into this?

Re:by 2020... (1)

bit01 (644603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707334)

Where does the government come into this?

Marginally reducing the carbon emission (global warming) and urban air pollution externalities.

Markets frequently fail on everything from fraud to pollution to violence and external group mechanisms like government are needed to correct them.

---

It's market failure whenever any one player has more than 50% of the market power.

Re:by 2020... (1)

DavidShor (928926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707366)

The correct way to correct Carbon emissions are a carbon credit scheme, ditto for urban pollution.

Please explain how CAFE standards are relevant, or efficient here.

Re:by 2020... (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707360)

Agreed. Surely $90/barrel oil prices will provide enough incentive for consumers to buy fuel-efficient vehicles. Let the market sort it out. If there are externalities such as global warming which aren't fairly reflected in the price, then tax gasoline or require the purchase of carbon credits to cap CO2 emissions at an agreed safe level.

But of course such a move would be politically unpopular, so we get this instead, which looks like it affects only the car industry and not 'American families' etc.

Re:by 2020... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21706962)

All in all, it's a good deal for the ... industry, and a bad deal for the customer
Business as usual in American politics then?

1:14 isn't much (1)

j_sp_r (656354) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706906)

It's quite common for normal cars to get to that kind of mileage. Yet, it's a good step to force that kind of emissions. And $6700 isn't much as the dollar isn't worth that much any more, and maybe people will buy a car one size smaller, so extra benefits!

Re:1:14 isn't much (1)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707138)

Great to hear that $6,700 isn't worth that much to you! I'll expect a check in the mail.

That's more than I paid for my current gas-guzzling SUV. And why do you care what other people drive? I don't understand why people feel the need to tell other people what to do when it's not hurting anyone.

Re:1:14 isn't much (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707390)

Air pollution isn't hurting anyone? Interesting viewpoint.

Very optimistic (3, Insightful)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706908)

By 2020 the world may very much on the other side of the peak. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Very optimistic (0, Troll)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707154)

Anyone who believes something like that has no grasp whatsoever on fundamental economics, not to mention any sort of understanding of the global oil supply. For one thing, any sort of "abrupt peak" and resulting fuel shortages is ridiculous. As the supply decreases, the price will increase, lowering demand...not difficult to understand. Also, oil is not something sitting in a big bucket, and once we pump what's there, that's it. Oil is everywhere, and as the price increases, new sources are becoming economically viable all the time.

I remember about two years ago a bunch of people (on /. and elsewhere) were saying we were hitting peak oil. I think that was even the cover story on National Geographic or something. How shocked those people must be that global oil production has continued to increase! They must now have realized that they were wrong about peak oil. Oh wait, no, they just pretend like that never happened, and say that peak oil is just around the corner again.

Re:Very optimistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21707292)

The market is good at regulating a permanent supply (e.g.: gold) but bad at regulating a diminishing one (e.g.: water bottles during a storm/catastrophe). Oil is of the later category. Yes we do have reserves in terms of supply that isn't yet cost effective to drill, but if we move to alternative sources of energy before the price of oil goes high, we can save ourselves the cost of buying that more expensive oil. The transition is expensive but unavoidable. By applying a little government pressure, we can be at the forefront of new energy technology. Otherwise, we'll end up paying higher prices for oil while also being dependent on the countries that beat us to the new tech.

Re:Very optimistic (1)

DavidShor (928926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707314)

"The market is good at regulating a permanent supply (e.g.: gold) but bad at regulating a diminishing one (e.g.: water bottles during a storm/catastrophe)."

That is nonsense. As long as it is not decreasing fast enough to cause a breakdown in infrastructure(like in storms), Markets work much better for diminishing resources than any other mechanism I can think of.

Re:Very optimistic (1)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707346)

When it is cheaper to use alternative sources, we will move to alternative sources. Until then, efforts like this do nothing but hurt the overall economy.

peak oil (5, Informative)

hitchhacker (122525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707296)

Oil - proved reserves for the world (billion barrels):
1,312,000,000,000 bbl
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2178rank.html [cia.gov]
(notice Canada's oil shale is second to Saudi Arabia)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_shale [wikipedia.org]

Oil - consumption for the world (bbl per day):
82,590,000 bbl/day
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2174rank.html [cia.gov]

I agree that, even now, we will be seeing an exponential increase in the price of oil. That doesn't diminish the fact that Hubbert's "peak oil" is real, and will occur on a global scale in a matter of decades if not already.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil#Conservative_predictions_of_future_oil_production [wikipedia.org]

I work in the oil exploration industry.. Oil isn't so easy to find, you know.

-metric

Re:Very optimistic (1)

hitchhacker (122525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707342)

For one thing, any sort of "abrupt peak" and resulting fuel shortages is ridiculous. As the supply decreases, the price will increase, lowering demand...not difficult to understand.
I already replied to your statement, but I forgot your main argument. I'm not going to say that peak oil will happen abruptly or not, because I don't know. What I do know is that the US government knows about it and has been "propping up" the supply of oil by leveraging OPEC. I don't see why it isn't possible that an "abrupt" supply shortage isn't possible in the near future. You are economically correct up to the point where you assume that the free market is controlling oil prices. It simply isn't so, and by artificially tampering with it we could seriously be screwing ourselves.

-metric

Re:Very optimistic (1)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707358)

My understanding was that OPEC limits the production of their member countries to keep the price of oil higher than the free market would if these countries were competing as opposed to colluding.

35mpg isn't great... (2, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706930)

... but it's a start. If my car (big old 80s thing) was getting through that much fuel I'd check that it wasn't on fire.

Why aren't they doing this /anyway/? (5, Insightful)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706944)

The whole idea of engine design and track testing is to get the most out of your pint of gasoline. I's called cash economy. If a car maker isn't prepared to do their homework and give me an engine that will pull the maximum mileage out of my hydrocarbons then I'm not going to apologise for going elsewhere. I mean, /just what exactly is the point/ of building a car that does 150-200mph, when the only place you can open up to that kind of speed is on a racetrack??

Two things need to happen here for the automakers to get their fingers out of their arses or die like the dinosaurs of the 1970's.

1. Tell the automakers they have zero time to build a car that complies wit hthe /old/ standards, and /two years/ to build one that complies with the /new/ standards. Then cry open season on the local market for the foreign makers who are /already there/ with their ecobugs. That's right, drop the insane tariffs on foreign cars and give people real choice: SUV that pulls 8 to the gallon or the Honda that does 60.

2. Give the people incentive to choose the ecobug. Hike gas prices to come in line with eg the UK. We're paying the equivalent of /ten Dollars US/ per gallon of gasoline! So, DAMN RIGHT we're preferring economical cars. Not all of us can afford a £55 bill every time we fill up, particularly considering the forty five minutes each of us spend commuting to and from work /every single day/. Just waiting in the queues burns petrol, and most people I know if they get stuck in standing traffic will turn the engine off. Just to save money.

Re:Why aren't they doing this /anyway/? (0)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706988)

Performance cars are safer because they have better brakes, better acceleration (and talk to any safety expert and accelerating out of a problem is often more useful than trying to stop), better handling, and so on. A 150MPH car is safer to drive at 70MPH than an 80MPH car.

What I would like to see is our government actually spending some of that 85 pence in the pound on sorting out public transport.

Re:Why aren't they doing this /anyway/? (1)

ndg123 (801212) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707248)

They're safer until you are in a collision. Often performance cars are built without some of the heavier materials and construction features which are put into standard cars. Clearly they comply with the minimal regulations, but they are minimal.
Another aspect is that whilst you can move faster and stop quicker in a little sports car, that can actually confuse other drivers who are unable to judge your acceleration/decelleration.
One area which is possibly safer is when mature & experienced drivers of performance cars are on the road, because they are able to control their vehicles better due to experience on the track etc. Doesn't necessarily mean they can cope with heavy traffic though.

Re:Why aren't they doing this /anyway/? (1)

DavidShor (928926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707010)

"Not all of us can afford a £55 bill every time we fill up"

You complain about prices, yet want them pushed higher?

I don't support Gasoline taxes precisely because they harm the poor. Gasoline is highly price inelastic, and so prices have to be hiked enormously in order to decrease demand. This takes away money that consumers could have spent on other things.

If we want to control Global Warming, that is another issue entirely, that can be dealt with by controlling tail-pipe emissions. But with a Gasoline tax, companies don't have any financial incentive to research Carbon reducing technologies, only MPG increasing ones.

Re:Why aren't they doing this /anyway/? (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707058)

"You complain about prices, yet want them pushed higher?" I complained about gas prices in the UK. The US are paying /too little/. Read the comment again, all the way through.

Re:Why aren't they doing this /anyway/? (1)

Windom Earle (1200137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707254)

The US are paying /too little/.

You're welcome to send whatever extra money you think the Big Oil companies are entitled to yourself. Please stop trying to make the rest of us do it.

Re:Why aren't they doing this /anyway/? (5, Informative)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707406)

You obviously don't know why people in the UK pay so much extra, the government levies a tax on the fuel a "fuel tax" if you will. This fuel tax is then spent on maintaining the roads, public transport and other road related things. Alot of americans argue they have poor public transport, a gradually increased fuel tax would allow your government to improve such services and the quality of your roads. A fuel tax theoretically provides a buffer against rising oil costs as well.

There's the knock on effects as well, my performance motorcycle does 60MPG, my last motorcycle did 110MPG, my parents car does 54MPG on average, my various work mates cars all do 40+MPG. When I needed to get to a neighbouring town 6/7 miles away I had the choice of various buses and a train (it actually took as long to get there by train/bus as it normally does by car.)

The *high* fuel costs in america are already getting people to consider better performing cars why not capatilise on this and use it to improve your infrastructure as well.

Re:Why aren't they doing this /anyway/? (2)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707106)

Higher gas prices don't have to harm the poor. It means the poor drive to work in cars with smaller engines. Big deal. They aren't exactly suffering major quality of life reductions because they cant do 0-60 in the same time as the next guy, and for the vast majority of commuters, the vast majority of the time they are trundling along so slow that the cars performance is irrelevant.

Regulating emissions from cars might help climate change, but it doesn't help people get to work quicker or find a parking space when they go shopping. The only solutions to that I can see are:
Public transport
Car pooling
Staggered work hours.
I don't understand why there are not big economic advantages through tax incentives to allow wide ranging flexitime. Most roads near me are jam packed at 9am and 5pm and totally deserted at 11am. That's just insane inefficiency. There is veyr little reason for the majority of office workers to all start and finish at the same time.

Re:Why aren't they doing this /anyway/? (1)

DavidShor (928926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707218)

"Higher gas prices don't have to harm the poor. It means the poor drive to work in cars with smaller engines."

If driving a smaller car would have decreased costs by so much, and wouldn't have affected performance because of traffic, why haven't they done so already? Why have they not taken the resulting surplus and plowed it into other things?

"Regulating emissions from cars might help climate change, but it doesn't help people get to work quicker or find a parking space when they go shopping. The only solutions to that I can see are:"

How about road pricing? With GPS, we could automaticly raise prices in traffic heavy areas and lower them in empty areas. With the proper Algorithm, that would be much more efficient than any of the measures you mentioned.

Re:Why aren't they doing this /anyway/? (0, Troll)

Windom Earle (1200137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707280)

With GPS, we could automaticly raise prices in traffic heavy areas and lower them in empty areas.

That would promote 'sprawl' which is characterized as a 'bad thing' by the people who like large powerful governments. They instead promote the idea that the population should be crowded into high-rise apartment buildings along light-rail corridors.

Really. That's what the 'progressives' promote.

Re:Why aren't they doing this /anyway/? (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707018)

That is fine in dense urban areas , or places that don't get much snow , but it don't work in the heartland of the us or the northeast , even the south some times gets flooded and the need for bigger vehicles that can go through water is needed. The average suburban person doesn't need an urban assault vehicle painted to match thier bag , like is what is common these days , thanks to the hollywood pin heads who make it popular.

Re:Why aren't they doing this /anyway/? (2, Interesting)

vidarh (309115) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707110)

People in Norway manage fine with small cars. People in the Northern parts of Russia manage fine with small cars. Snow really is no excuse for large cars unless you are actually going to drive off road or your local government can't do their job properly and keep the roads clear.

Re:Why aren't they doing this /anyway/? (2, Informative)

ChangeOnInstall (589099) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707220)

People in Norway manage fine with small cars. People in the Northern parts of Russia manage fine with small cars. Snow really is no excuse for large cars unless you are actually going to drive off road or your local government can't do their job properly and keep the roads clear.
It's a culture thing.

In the cities, Americans don't have any problem driving small cars (or no cars at all), just like folks in other countries.

But whether you like it or not, this country has a tremendous amount of suburban population. When density is lower, it takes quite a bit more time to clear the snow. The suburbs also require a vehicle to get anywhere (little to nothing is in walking distance) and there is no worthwhile public transportation. Add to this the fact that American culture is not a fan of waiting on its government to fix things.

Re:Why aren't they doing this /anyway/? (1, Troll)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707160)

Buy what you want! If you want to pay an extra $6,000+ dollars so you can save $100/year on gasoline, by all means feel free! But don't tell me that I must do the same, because you feel guilty about raping Gaea.

Why aren't they doing this /anyway/?-Outrunning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21707350)

"I mean, /just what exactly is the point/ of building a car that does 150-200mph, when the only place you can open up to that kind of speed is on a racetrack??"

You'll need that for the coming revolution someone on slashdot is always prophesizing.

Bad headline -- a bill is not a law (1)

telso (924323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706954)

Headline: "Auto Mileage Standards Raised to 35 mpg"

First sentence of summary: "The Senate just passed a bill that will increase auto mileage standards for the first time in three decades."

Of course, given the current state of affairs, it seems unlikely this bill won't become law (considering Democrats can force it through the House even if it doesn't get support from Republicans and Bush says he'll sign it). But it's still a bill, not law.

Then again, given the current state of affairs, it would seem unlikely that Slashdot editors would actually read the first sentence of a summary (let alone a story, or even the headline of a story).

Remember US gallons are smaller... (4, Informative)

megla (859600) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706972)

...so before all us Brits start going on about how our cars perform so much better, you need to multiply US MPG figures by 1.2 to make them equivilant to UK MPG figures, as an Imperial gallon > US gallon.

Re:Remember US gallons are smaller... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21707158)

I thought the brits had already joined the rest of the world in buying their petrol in metric units?

Re:Remember US gallons are smaller... (1)

duguk (589689) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707168)

Also remember that US Petrol costs around 38p a litre (roughly, please correct if I've worked this out wrong) compared to over 100p a litre in the UK. Still, my 1997 Ford Escort gets around 35mpg (I do about 60-100 miles a day).

On a full tank, thats about £22 vs. £60 (thats $46 vs. $122!)

Yeah. We brits get a great deal!

Re:Remember US gallons are smaller... (2, Funny)

MadMidnightBomber (894759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707298)

That's right - when you order a pint of Bud in the US, you're in for a double disappointment.

BS threats by auto industry (2, Interesting)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706980)

There were cars getting better than that average in the late 70s and all that took was the threat of people refusing to buy gas guzzlers because of the oil shortage. The problem is they just spent 15 years convincing people they needed to drive tanks and now they have to figure out either how to make the tanks get good gas mileage or convince people they no longer need SUVs. With hybrids I'm sure they can reach those standards. The real problem is trying to figure out what the mileage is on a rechargeable hybrid. They'll either try to overstate the mileage to offset the gas sucking giants or they won't want to produce them unless they get to take additional credit for the extra mileage potential. I can't see they not trying to use it as a barginning chip. Unless it directly benifits profits or numbers of cars sold the auto industry has a history of resisting change.

destroy the US automakers ? (5, Interesting)

savuporo (658486) | more than 6 years ago | (#21706982)

I dont think US automakers like Tesla Motors [teslamotors.com] or Phoenix Motorcars [phoenixmotorcars.com] will cry much about this. They are aiming for complete zero emissions vehicles anyway.
Look, the crying from automakers is silly, like the DaimlerChrysler announcement that "we cant make it". Well, tough luck. Innovate or die. Its a market and competition, you dont have any birthright to sit there and dictate things.
Auto industry is long overdue for some serious shakeup, and the ones that get with the future sooner will likely survive.

Re:destroy the US automakers ? (1)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707174)

It's not a free market if the government tells you what to do. Which is exactly the end goal of legislation like this.

Re:destroy the US automakers ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21707320)

It's not a free market if the government tells you what to do. Which is exactly the end goal of legislation like this.
Well it's my environment too, so stop polluting it.

Or to say it as an economist: don't forget that free markets have externalities and are thus not ideal.

Re:destroy the US automakers ? (1)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707336)

This is not about limiting pollutants. CO2 is not a pollutant.

Re:destroy the US automakers ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21707388)

It's not a free market..
The parent didn't say that this would create a free market. They did say that it would be a market, and it most certainly will be.

Re:destroy the US automakers ? (1)

Windom Earle (1200137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707288)

Its a market and competition, you dont have any birthright to sit there and dictate things.

You've got a weird way of promoting government mandates.

Too little too late (4, Insightful)

Doug Neal (195160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707002)

And by 2020 the rest of the world will be on 70mpg. And then there's electric cars. The Tesla Roadster has proven that the technology is viable - by 2020 there will surely be a wider and affordable range of electric vehicles.

The smart thing for the American manufacturers to do would be to start using Japanese or European engines and start achieving 30-40mpg now, while they develop their own technology.

Ethanol and diesel (3, Insightful)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707024)

I was looking for alternative fuel to my self back in the early 1990s. I commuted to work, and fuel at $1.00/gal was an expense, a legit expense but regardless. My first choice for a retrofit was Natural Gas as your typical carbonated vehicle, which was normal at the time requires very little modification. Just shut off the petrol supply and add an air air mixer, adjust the timing and poof. The ONLY reason I didn't shell out the couple of grand to do the conversion was the simple fact that there was NO place with in 30 miles I could fuel up.

Ethanol looks attractive, more so now that fuel is in excess of $3.00/gal. Brazil tried switching in the 1980s IIRC and last I checked continued to promote the use of the sugar beet surplus to make Ethanol.

Turbo diesel engines on the other hand look even more attractive. Diesel makes MORE sense for SUVs and trucks than petrol or Ethanol, and AFAIK is are much more flexable as far as the fuel medium due to the very high compression ratio and fuel injection at the top of the stroke cycle.

Methane, while not as practical to store as fuels which are liquid at standard pressures, is another form of fossil / renewable we should look into as well. We produce a ton of waste, some is converted to tegro, a form of fertilizer made from human waste.

But regardless of the path America decides to go as far as fuel, we NEED good public transportation.

Re:Ethanol and diesel (1)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707150)

Diesel is primarily used in heavier vehicles as it has a higher energy density than compared with petrol (especially US petrol). The engines are also 'simpler' devices as they only use the compression they generate to ignite the fuel (no spark plugs). Also diesel engines produce more torque than petrol which is useful in heavier cars.

Re:Ethanol and diesel (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707178)

I was looking for alternative fuel to my self back in the early 1990s. I commuted to work, and fuel at $1.00/gal was an expense, a legit expense but regardless. My first choice for a retrofit was Natural Gas as your typical carbonated vehicle, which was normal at the time requires very little modification. Just shut off the petrol supply and add an air air mixer, adjust the timing and poof. The ONLY reason I didn't shell out the couple of grand to do the conversion was the simple fact that there was NO place with in 30 miles I could fuel up.

I assume you mean "carbureted" [wikipedia.org] , not "carbonated" [wikipedia.org] , and in the early 90s carburetion definitely was not the norm. By the mid-80s, nearly all new cars were fuel injected, though there were a few new models with carburetors up until the 90s (the last carbureted car in the US was in 90, the last truck was in 94). Of course you could easily buy older (mid-80s or earlier) cars that used carburetors rather than fuel injection.

Ethanol looks attractive, more so now that fuel is in excess of $3.00/gal. Brazil tried switching in the 1980s IIRC and last I checked continued to promote the use of the sugar beet surplus to make Ethanol.

Ethanol is tricky, but not because of the reasons most people bring up like redirecting food crops for fuel or causing food prices to increase. Ethanol contains less energy per gallon than gasoline (meaning you'll actually see your mpg go down if you switch to E85), and unless engines are specifically built for ethanol it can actually damage the engine (ethanol can damage bare rubber, magnesium, and aluminum parts, and is electrically conductive where gasolone is not). The changes required to use a mostly-ethanol mix like E85 are expensive.

As far as food vs. fuel goes, I have no concerns here. Right now the US government actually pays farmers to leave a percentage of their land fallow. With an increase in demand for corn crops (where the US is expecting to get most of its ethanol, though it can come from many places such as sugar beats, sugar cane, and even hemp), we would no longer need government subsidies for fallow land. In fact, simply by putting to use all of that fallow land right now we could increase production by 30% or more. Beyond that, I'm sure we can find ways to increase yields, up to and including GMOs (if it's for fuel and the crop is well-controlled to avoid cross-pollination, there's no health concerns at all).

Turbo diesel engines on the other hand look even more attractive. Diesel makes MORE sense for SUVs and trucks than petrol or Ethanol, and AFAIK is are much more flexable as far as the fuel medium due to the very high compression ratio and fuel injection at the top of the stroke cycle.

Europe has learned this well, as many of their vehicles are diesel rather than petrol (the fact that diesel is cheaper there doesn't hurt). There are two big issues for diesel vehicles in the US today. First and foremost is a perception problem. Most people have only experience diesel engines in connection with trucks and other large vehicles (busses, tractors, construction vehicles, etc), which are usually load and smelly. The few attempts US car manufacturers have made at using diesel never really refined the engines to the extent of what Euro manufacturers have done. The second problem is availability. Good luck finding any of VW's excellent TDI products, and many manufacturers don't or won't offer their TDI products here (Mercedes, BMW, VW/Audi, Porsche, and more all have excellent TDI engines, but good luck finding a Cayenne or E-class with a TDI here). This is a bit of a chicken and egg problem: people won't buy diesel cars because all they know are the older, loud, smelly diesels, so manufacturers won't bring over their refined TDI systems. With no refined TDI cars for people to experience, they'll never realize how smooth a diesel engine can be.

But regardless of the path America decides to go as far as fuel, we NEED good public transportation.

This won't help in sparsely-populated areas. People forget how spread out most of the US is. Mass transit works great in large cities like New York City and Chicago. It doesn't work out so well in central Kansas or Montana.

Fuel Efficiency and E85 (1)

dlevitan (132062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707054)

The summary points out E85 as a possible alternative to gasoline that lowers emissions. From what I have read it appears that E85 is not something that will reduce emissions. Looking at Wikipedia's E85 entry [wikipedia.org] and today's NY Times article [nytimes.com] , it appears that E85 will lower fuel efficiency up to 20-30% (depending on the car). From Wikipdia's Ethanol Fuel article [wikipedia.org] it appears that comparing to gasoline, CO2 emissions are the same, CO emissions are lower, but more ozone is produced. I'm not sure if these numbers are for an equivalent amount of gas vs. ethanol or whether they take into account that you need more ethanol/mile.

I understand if people want to push E85 as a gasoline replacement to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. But it definitely does not seem to be something that can easily lower our emissions.

Re:Fuel Efficiency and E85 (4, Insightful)

tm2b (42473) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707136)

The thing is, the CO2 is not from carbon being pulled out of the ground but instead from carbon dioxide being scrubbed by crops from the atmosphere, so it's atmospheric CO2-neutral regardless of the efficiency.

Re:Fuel Efficiency and E85 (3, Informative)

Osty (16825) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707196)

The thing is, the CO2 is not from carbon being pulled out of the ground but instead from carbon dioxide being scrubbed by crops from the atmosphere, so it's atmospheric CO2-neutral regardless of the efficiency.

Beyond that, the original poster missed this from the E85 article:

Depending on composition and source, E85 has an octane rating of 100 to 105 compared to regular gasoline's typical rating of 87 for regular and 93 for premium. This allows it to be used in higher compression engines, which can lower emissions.
In other words, in a flex-fuel engine you're probably not going to see better emissions since cylinder compression will be set to the fuel with the lowest requirement. In an E85-only engine, you can run a higher compression and burn your fuel more efficiently, thus creating fewer emissions.

Confusing units... (4, Interesting)

bdraschk (664148) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707082)

At least for me as a German reader, i had to read TFA to get an idea what "mpg" means in the first place, than had to use google and xcalc to compute the unit we use to measure how much cars spend. 35 mpg is about 6.7l/100km, which does sound pretty good to me.

But still do not know under which circumstances these 6.7l shall be attained. City traffic, highway, or total mix? I have trouble keeping my moderately motorized car on 7l/100km in city traffic, it can do much better on the autobahn (if i don't push it too hard).

Re:Confusing units... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21707144)

Heh
Its worse in the UK where we commonly measure distances in miles but buy fuel in litres (not gallons).

Yet for some reason people still insist in measuring fuel efficiencey in miles per gallon, not miles per litre.

Re:Confusing units... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21707146)

Note that "units" supports mpg out of the box:

$ units -v
2438 units, 71 prefixes, 32 nonlinear units

You have: 35 mpg
You want: l/100km
reciprocal conversion
1 / 35 mpg = 6.7204167 l/100km
1 / 35 mpg = (1 / 0.1488003) l/100km

Good for now, crappy for future (3, Insightful)

Iloinen Lohikrme (880747) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707198)

Actually 6,7 L/100KM is moderate for now, but in 2020 that should be considered more or less crap. In example new BMW 3-series with 3 liter diesel gets 6,1 L/100 KM and the 2 liter version gets 4,8 L/100KM. Even X3 with 2 liter diesel gets 6,5 L/100 KM. So in that sense that todays cars can get to that standard easily, it's really abysmal to set the standard for the future on the level what can be achieved in today.

In my opinion the standards should be set so that they make the car industry to invent and make innovations in order to stay in business. Actually in developed markets, I would say that it's actually a good way to protect own car industry by setting the standards higher as then the low cost low R&D manufacturers from developing countries can be easily closed from the markets. Thought as the US car industry really hasn't spend any money to R&D in the last 20 years, maybe in the point of view of US administration, that wouldn't be so good idea.

A normal EU car already has this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21707132)

And even more. My car drives 1 on 20 km/l (that is almost 50 mpg). It's a normal car, well suitable for all purposes from Subaru/Toyota/Daihatsu.

LIES, and Numbers are all garbage (1, Funny)

myspace-cn (1094627) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707250)

You want to know what OIL costs? http://www.bloomberg.com/energy/ [bloomberg.com] Or any of the other market quote sites. OPEC is full of shit, they might conspire to change price on some level at the beginning, but(OUR PRICE) is dictated on Wall Street. They will be happy to watch it go to $100 and way over. Next for the peak oil psychopaths. Which of you out there can PROVE that OIL comes from FOSSILS? Until then, I'm sorry buddy but there is no such thing as "fossil fuel" because fuel does not come from fossils. Whenever you hear fossil fuel, think, "I am being subliminally manipulated." Say, someone is spreading misinformation again, and I really need to scrutinize what's being said, is it just the entity saying it that is misled or is it from the beginning of the myth in the first place. Next for the vehicle manufactures "change or die" argument. Perhaps it's time you die, if you can't change to using hydrogen. Just as long as when you die, the taxpayer don't have to bail your ass out again. And finally for the proposed 35MPG and the timetable 2020. What pure bullshit. 35MPG is way too low. And 2020 is way too late. This isn't even worth wasting our government's time. We already fucking have cars that get 35MPG!! The dirty little secret is that since the 1970's (you know back when 1GAL regular gas was a quarter) they pushed this energy crisis crap on the people. Some of you reading are actually old enough to remember the fist fights in the filling station parking lots, got scary for a while there, and if that happens again expect the public to react the same way. Anyway, some inventors got concerned (Stan Meyer)did make a water powered car. (There have been others since then.) All the current "electrolysis takes too much energy" naysayers can go back up and join with the peak oil/fossil fuel disinformation crowd. a.) you haven't tried to BURN STEAM in PLASMA on the fly. b.) even if you were storing the hydrogen on the vehicle in tanks (A bad idea) you could still make the stuff off the grid. c.) Either method would burn cleaner solving this pollution problem. But what will happen is our corrupt corporate government will bring back nuke plants and all the crap pollution that goes with that. I just can't wait until all that wonderful nuclear waste has some accident that makes it impossible to live, how about you? Wouldn't you like to have it stored in an earthquake fault zone right near your home? Your children's, children's ... children's, children's won't be living there for hundreds of thousands of year. We can't even protect something for 1000 years let alone 100,000. Give me a break. It's going to take the underground to modify their cars, and stop buying fuel. You can find the information out there if you look, you can avoid the naysayers when they flap their lips, and you can refuse to do business with the same. We don't need this corporate crap anymore, it's destroyed everything now, all at the expense of profit. If you got a god you should probably pray to it, whatever that might be. Pray for the voting machines that tabulate votes electronically to be destroyed, pray that the oath breakers get tossed in prison. Pray that we get some real leaders (like our original founders) that can solve these problems and restore our constitution. Pray that a law get's passed to stop the abuse of power from ever happening again. Pray that our children fighting in IRAQ, AFGANISTAN, and BUSHSHITISTAN all are brought home asap. Pray that our most secret agencies go through a security background check and those that are corrupt are prisoned. Pray that McCarthyism version 2.0 isn't rolled out in your own face before you finally get it.

Re:LIES, and Numbers are all garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21707316)

I just can't wait until all that wonderful nuclear waste has some accident that makes it impossible to live, how about you?
Yes, I'd hate to be living in bizarro world where all the numerous safeguards to protect nuclear waste and a bunch of as-radioactive-as-soil used hazmat suits end up a mile outside their original burial sites. All those people believing in BIG OIL's LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS are MISGUIDED FOOLS. Ron Paul & Zombie Founding Fathers 08!

Re:LIES, and Numbers are all garbage (4, Insightful)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707368)

Dear sir, please complete the following before posting on Slashdot again:

1. Finish your drug bender.
2. Look into grouping sentences which share a theme into seperate blocks (commonly called "paragraphs"), why this is a good idea, and how to do this on Slashdot.
3. Try to focus on one or a few topics when writing your post; Incoherently stumbling through a dozen or so makes for a poor reception.

Although without a basic understanding of geology, thermodynamics, and governance your post will still be devoid of meaningful content, at least it can be devoid in style. Okay? Cheers!

The sky is falling! (1)

Slartibartfast (3395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707258)

Dear Lord, folks -- or, at least, those of you who seem almost mad that the gov't has passed this -- wake up! Detroit is obviously immune to reality, and dragging them, kicking and screaming, into the 90's is a really, really good idea. Why? Well, for a moment, let's even set aside the question of whether or not this will impact the environment, and let's look at economics, instead: Detroit, through its arrogance, is rapidly trying to win a Darwin award. Their sales continue to sag, layoffs continue to mount, and yet they seem to delude themselves as to whether or not people are voting with their pocketbook. People WANT better gas mileage, for the most simple and selfish of reasons: it saves them money at the gas station. And their increased procurement of Japanese and Korean vehicles proves this.

Detroit's response? FUD commercials claiming that increasing mileage would remove the consumer's ability to choose. I have never seen such a clear case of head-in-sand than today's American car manufacturers. As for the $6,700 price tag increase, that sounds an awful lot like 1998 Microsoft claming that removing IE from Windows would cause performance issues. If Japan can -- and has -- done it, for comparable money, so can America. And if Detroit doesn't do it, they WILL eventually become irrelevant, and go under. So, yeah, as much as I believe in a free market, it's time for the gov't to proactively save their collective (and oh, so sorry) a**es.

I'm just sad it wasn't 40 MPG -- specifically what my Saturn used to get before GM re-Borg'd them.

I predict! (1)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707276)

I predict that by 2020 the USA will be consuming about 15 million Barrels of Oil Per Day (MBOPD).

At present the consumption is about 20 MBOPD. So this will be a 25% reduction.

I also predict that Mathew Simmons prediction of Oil costing most than $300 per barrel will also be correct.

The short of it is that this is too little too late and I will not be surprised to see gas rationing within the next 10 years.

Bold eh? Or should I just look out my window and look at the footsteps in the snow with regard to the Canadian Oil industry? The latest? PetroCanada enters into a deal with Libya. PetroCanada pick up 75% of the cost for 25% of the results. Tell me... Why would ANY company enter into a deal like this? Its just more of the footsteps in the snow.

Mazda 626 1988 running 45% ethanol no problems (2, Interesting)

superswede (729509) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707300)

"For consumers, the legislation will mean that over the next dozen years auto companies will likely build [...] vehicles that can run on 85 percent ethanol."

Bah, in Sweden I've got a Mazda 626 from 1988 and that run perfectly well on a mix of 50% gas (==95% petrol and 5% ethanol) and 50% "E85" (==85% ethanol and 15% petrol), that is, effectively 55% petrol and 45% ethanol.

In Sweden, almost all gas already got 5% ethanol mixed in, and I think old as well as new cars handles that perfectly well. So, next *dozen* years, sounds like a really slow progress in order to reach a 15% mix in.

Catching up? Finally? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21707312)

Good thing, since you guys have some catching up to do [house.gov] . Seriously.

Some numbers (5, Insightful)

Aaron Isotton (958761) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707352)

Disclaimer: I'm a European and am not familiar with the US Auto Mileage Standards regulation, or the US in general. Still, as most Europeans, I find the American love for big cars a bit funny.

I somehow think that the $6700 extra per car is highly exaggerated. Your average European or Japanese car is already there, and they're not more expensive than the American cars (at least not in Europe, if you exclude the luxury cars). I mean, you can get an *entire new car* for about $9000 (not a very big one, though). On the other hand the current development of the Euro and the US Dollar will probably make European cars less and less attractive for US residents. I don't know about the Japanese ones, though.

Assuming that the average car does 100k miles in its lifetime, the new regulations imply that it'll use 100k/35 = 2857 gallons instead of 100k/27.5 = 3636 gallons. That's 779 gallons saved. At a price of $4 per gallon that's $3116 saved. Which is less than $6700.

Assuming that it does 200k miles that's $6232. Still less than $6700, but much closer.

At European gas prices (I'm taking $7/gallon) the saved costs would be $5453 and $10906.

Assuming that gas prices in the US go up another bit, that the $6700 are exaggerated and that your car will run 150k miles, I don't see the big deal. The costs are about the same, with the additional benefit of wasting less fuel. If you don't buy a bigger car than what you actually need, you might even save some money.

I certainly hope "gallon" is well-defined (1)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21707410)

35 miles per gallon of what exactly? Diesel? Gasoline? Ethanol? The energy density (or lack thereof) of ethanol basically means you have to make adjustments, as there is only about 3/4 the energy in a gallon of ethanol as there is in a gallon of gasoline -- and diesel is richer still. Let's hope that mandating a higher MPG doesn't simultaneously doom fuels that can't possibly meet it.

If the bill is written in a "gallon is a gallon is a gallon" sense, we may well be facing the next generation of cars being diesel-electric serial hybrids because all other fuels are squeezed out by economy mandates -- unless there is major advocacy for butanol [wikipedia.org] as a fuel. Ethanol's primary advantages are that the technology for making it is very mature, and it's not particularly toxic. A straight substitute for gasoline, it isn't.

Mal-2

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  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>