Speaking at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress, a yearly meeting where current and new technology is discussed and revealed, former vice chairman of General Motors Bob Lutz offered a dire prediction and a few suggestions.
According to The Detroit News, Lutz believes that aggressive federal fuel economy regulations will increase the cost of new cars in 2025 — when manufacturers face the biggest mileage hurdles — far more than the government's estimate of $1,800. Lutz suggested that the real price boost will be more like $5,000 per vehicle, most of which will get passed along to the customer.
Lutz also suggested the best way to encourage people to change their auto purchase choices is not to punish automakers by requiring a certain number of vehicles produced to be hybrids, electrics or hypermilers; instead he recommends giving consumers an incentive to purchase fuel-sipping vehicles. By placing a 25-cent tax on each gallon of fuel sold in the U.S. for the next 10 years, he said, the government could easily guide buyers to more "fuel independent" choices. Likewise, he said, the government could use the extra funds to fix potholes and crumbling bridges, and to clean up "the infrastructure mess that is currently an absolute embarrassment" to the U.S.