EPA's CAFE Targets Could Be Reevaluated

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By Tim Esterdahl

Changing consumer behavior, less demand for electric vehicles, and the growth in pickup truck and SUV sales could lead the way to lowering the EPA's 2025 corporate average fuel economy requirements, agency officials recently said. That means the race to 54.5 mpg could be over.

During the 2015 Automotive World's Megatrends USA conference on March 17 in Dearborn, Mich., federal officials and industry experts came together to share their insights on the changing automotive marketplace. The current 2022-25 fuel economy regulations were discussed at length, and federal officials may have to change these targets. Why? According to officials, lower gas prices, slow sales of electric vehicles, and growing sales of more efficient pickups and SUVs warrant a review of CAFE targets.

These are new dynamics that weren't factored into the regulations when they were proposed in 2012 by President Barack Obama. Then, consumer behavior analysis from 2008-10 model years showed rising gas prices causing consumers to buy smaller cars and eschew less efficient pickups and full-size SUVs.

While striking down the CAFE requirements isn't likely, a review by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration CAFE Program Office is underway according to The Detroit News.

Another factor affecting CAFE regulations is consumer behavior. While the regulations may force automakers to manufacture certain vehicles, like the built-for-California-only Fiat 500e, the fact is any vehicle has to be bought by consumers to have an impact. Unfortunately for the government, buyers are opting for full-size, luxury-filled pickups, and sales of electric vehicles still play just a small role in the marketplace. So EPA officials say it is time to review the policy.

Michael Olechiw, EPA director of light-duty vehicle and small engine center, told The Detroit News his organization is willing to work with all concerned parties to figure out if automakers are having trouble meeting the 2022-25 regulations. Obviously, a relaxed reassessment of the coming CAFE targets (which some have described as aggressive) would make automakers happy.

The midterm review will consist of a technical assessment report for public comment by June 2016, and the EPA issuing a final ruling on whether to raise, lower or keep standards the same by April 2018.

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Comments

I could see this coming from miles away. Why? Because 54mpg is not doable. The Prius struggles to get that, and that is about the most efficient non-electric vehicle.

Not everyone is going to drive Priuses though, so that fact points to CAFE being a big farce. Like it or not, a large part of the US economy is based on those who depend on pickup trucks for a living. They can't get rid of trucks and that is one of the biggest factor in lowering a automakers CAFE.

I love the pic on the dash, 27 mpg after 27 miles,LOL after 300 miles it will be down at 18.6

I am amused by the fact that they finally realized that most companies are consumer driven. If the customer isn't buying it they ain't gonna sell it, though some companies have tired. Like you said DenverPike, the mpg requirements may be a little too outrageous. But, I would imagine they could make fuels cleaner than they are now. They just made a cleaner diesel that is selling in northern California. I imagine fuels have a lot to offer.

Why is it that I read an article this morning, Slashgear (http://www.slashgear.com/jeep-is-considering-a-pickup-truck-version-of-its-wrangler-19374502/), that covered the Jeep vehicles going to the Jeep Jamboree? In that article, Jeep created a "hummerized" [my word] looking Jeep Wrangler Pickup Truck. I would expect a site that specializes on trucks to be the first or at least on par with any and all news related to Pickups or the possibility of ... They had another Jeep, hardtop, with a 2.8 Diesel installed. I honestly thing THIS is what readers in this forum would like to read about.
So disappointed

OK. Here is the other article I read. C&D http://blog.caranddriver.com/jeep-red-rock-responder-concept-a-wrangler-with-serious-junk-in-the-trunk/
This is the one with the diesel
http://blog.caranddriver.com/jeep-wrangler-africa-concept-built-to-safari/

Speaking of the EPA... According to Autoline Network Ford is developing a 3.0 V-6 diesel for possible use in 2017. I believe that's the start of even more restrictive emission standards for diesels. I still can't see the economic argument for 1/2 ton diesels from the consumer point of view. It will help the manufacturers though with their fleet averages however. If Ford tunes the diesel for economy and not max power combined with the 10 speed they could easily break 30MPG hiway. Interesting concept if nothing else.

Ford should be able to sue after spending billions to satisfy future CAFE requirements.

Just move full size light duty vehicles into the hd category so there not required to meet fleet fuel economy average.

Al.

The U.S. already has fuel tax on federal and state level on a per gallon bases. If you buy more fuel you pay more in taxes. I like the fact that the U.S. mandates fuel economy guide lines on tha manufacture.... Without out those mandates and incentives you wouldn't have such things as tesla motors, a lot of these electrics and hybrids. The tech in eu and Asia really isn't anything other then diesels but those diesels won't make US emissions requirements with out expensive emissions equipment that make them unreliable.

The only reason you have Tesla and hybrid and other plug ins, is due to the government gifting the manufacturers money to develop them. The only reason hybrids sold in any large number was due to tax breaks. If a company product cannot support its own development or needs federal incentives for buyers to even purchase it, that is a big problem. If the vehicles were actually in demand by buyers, they would sell with no federal subsides and the companies would not need federal hand outs to stay afloat.


While the concept of CAFE is nobel, the execution is off based in my opinion.

The execution is "off" since credits in fuel milge are given for items of things that are enviromentally correct which may not direclty impact milage.

Additionally since these uneven focus on corporations and not on the vehicles themselves. These CAFE standards promote upcomming auto makers into the american market; which typically conflicts with safety since any upstart enters with small cars typicaly from other parket with lesser safety standards. Just think if Tata wanted to enter the US market introducing the Nano...you get good MPG but it isn't safe. ( I know Tata ownsJLR--just trying to illustrate.)

Why not dump the mileage standards and go back to 10 mpg trucks. Then I can hear all you complain about why the manufacturers are not required to manufacture trucks that get better mileage. You dummies would kick a gift horse in the mouth. Where the hell does your logic come from?

The failure of the EPA's approach begins by supposing that the guy who lives in Timbuktu (or Idaho) needs the same car or truck as a guy who lives in Los Angeles. Idiots!

Ford can lie again and say their F-150 gets 54 MPG the same way they lied to you in 2011 when they introduced the eco-boost gas mileage.
Then you guys will be dumb enough to believe it!
Then you eco-boost owners can get together with a party and watch those You Tube videos showing the dash display getting 30 MPG.

My truck gets 19 MPH

OH YEA? WELL,,, MY ECO-BOOST GETS 28 MPG !

What vehicle is the us currently missing out on? In the us you can buy big honking 850ft/lbs of torque diesels to pull our 40 ft toy haulers around, we can buy gas powered 1/2 tons to pull our 11000 lbs trailers, we can buy numerous 400 hp cars, even 700 hp cars, you can buy 40 mpg cars all day, you can even buy cars that you never need to put gas in. Our fuel is taxed enough currently to cover our needs in our infrastructure. Our trouble is finding politicians that use those funds appropriately.

We are not missing out on any auto technologies in the us that currently that they have in Europe or Asia.

Big Al thinks that we don't have choices because we don't have the T6 Ranger/ Mazda equivalent or Diesel engines in our small trucks even though the colorado is supposed to be getting one in the next year or so, we all know that Diesel trucks get better FE but at the cost of more expensive drive trains. If Ford thought that the T6 ranger would be worth the investment in getting certified epa while and imported into the US market they would, It is Sold along side the F150 in South America and the Middle East. Also cars int he US typically cost less than the same models do overseas.

I think the EPA is starting to realize that the fleet average fuel economy thing really hurts the American Automakers GM and Ford who make higher percentages of Trucks and BoF SUVs than say Hyundai who makes none. GM would have to sell more volts a year than they sell Silverado/Sierras and Suburbans/Tahoes/Yukons/Escalades combined. The Volt only sold 20,428 in 2014 compared to 996,166 trucks an SUVs Assuming the volt is measured at 98MPGe and the Trucks average 20MPG combined Gm's average Fleet fuel economy would be 59 MPG if they sold one Volt for every GM Truck. In Short GM would need a 4776% increase in Volt Sales to meet CAFE Targets. ( And I know that these calculations are simplistic and don't take into account the footprint formula or how e85 optioned engines improve vehicles in the eyes of CAFE)

Ford adds job to sterling axle plant as part of the f150 production tells me they are building more as well as between ford 2 truck plant capability of build 750k trucks which is more they had the capability before. Out of fords 2 f150 plants they have to meet the global demand, ford doesn't just sell in the f150 in the us... They are the best sellers in Canada as well. Mexico production comes from the kc f150 plant. All fleet sales come from kc which also builds the transit van which moved its production to kc. So fleets haven't been able to get there f150's that they really want with kc down for upgrades. Lima and clevand have added people to keep up with demand for the ecoboost. Fords medium duty moved to the U.S. from Mexico. Of course ford is adding jobs. They are so popular. If they weren't ford wouldn't have added jobs to its axle plant if they weren't popular. These 2 plants have to meet world demand of the f150 and it's going to take s bit to get the inventory the world needs.

PUTC can you delete the off topic comments about banks and health care, as they serve absolutely no purpose on a pickup truck website.
Thanks

When are they going to go with CVT Transmissions on trucks?
CVT will increase gas mileage.
Just about every new car has a CVT
My ATV has a CVT.
Some CVT's can tow 5000 lbs
CVT's are so wonderful, just ask Subaru and Nissan Owners

oh? Ford and GM is going with a 10 speed transmission?
but wouldn't a CVT be better cause it has unlimited speeds?

I understand you like driving that new 2015 F-150 with the 2.7 Ecoboost with the 6 speed transmission so you can feel the "CLUNK" "CLUNK" "CLUNK" everytime it shifts.

Oh! That new ecoboost engine is sooooo wonderful we are getting 17 MPG "clunk-clunk-clunk-clunk-clunk-clunk, now I am up to the speed limit, UT-OH ! got to slow down heavy traffic, just take my foot off the gas, its down shifting "clunk-clunk-clunk-clunk-clunk-clunk, traffic speeding up again, lets stomp this baby "clunk-clunk-clunk-clunk-clunk-clunk now I am cruising in 6th gear, wow now I am getting the good gas mileage.
Oh gee! I just love my new 2.7 ecoboost!

I have a great idea to increase gas mileage on trucks!
Install 2 (TWO) inline 4 cyl engines!
Where you can control it by either running one or both engines at the same time!

Look at me! I am driving on a flat road, no hills, no load in the bed, not towing anything and I am doing well above the speed limit running one small engine!
UT Oh! I can see a Ram Hemi coming up fast behind me!
NO WAY I am not going to allow him to pass me! I'll show him!

Watch this! I am going to turn the knob and run BOTH engines to increase power!

"click" VAAAROOM ! WOW! that quick acceleration took my breath away!

ha ha ha! that Ram Hemi can't catch me now!
I bet that Ram Hemi guy is really impressed, maybe I can wave him down so we can both stop at the next exit so I can show him my truck, I bet he will be sooo impressed!

I was just reading Yahoo News and the new 2015 Ford Ranger is sold in Mexico, but NOT sold here in the U.S.
Do you think Ford is going to bring the Ranger back or should I forget it and go out and buy a new Colorado instead?
I don't want to be stuck with the Colorado then soon after something better comes along!
When will Ford wake up and figure out nobody wants their high priced aluminum F-150?

THE RANGER WILL GET BETTER MPG THAN THE F-150

@Tom 3

Ten years ago Ford made a nice Ranger they sold here called the Sport Trac.

Crew Cab, six or V8. Six speed auto. Independent rears suspension. Four wheel disc brakes.

Did not sell.

You can find a really clean 2005 V8 Limited Sport Trac here in Florida for about 15k. Two for 30k. Three for the price of a loaded F150.

Why are you waiting?

Yes higher fuel taxes is the answer to solve all problems. Taxes solve all problems... right? When a single worker makes 42k a year and at the end of the year after taxes is left with 28,400 of it BEFORE paying property taxes, utilities, food , clothing, auto insurance, home insurance and now a new "health insurance' that booted me from my job plan... a higher fuel tax is just icing on the cake.

A fuel tax is double sided. Not only will you pay for it at the pump in your vehicle you will also pay the added fuel cost at the grocery store and other services that use fuel... UPS, FedEx ect ect.

It looks like the U.S. and North America has prolly the best selection of pickups available for purchase compared to the rest of the world. Looks like many places in the world are very limited on what they can buy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pickup_trucks

"". That means the race to 54.5 mpg could be over. ""

God I hope so.

It's an asinine goal and to meet it would be incredibly expensive.

Lowering those standards would be a knee-jerk reaction to a VERY temporary situation. Sure, gasoline prices are down now and just as before, it has spawned a spate of big-truck buying. But those fuel prices are already on the rise again and appear headed for previous or even record highs almost as quickly as they came down. Those people buying the big trucks today will absolutely regret their purchase before this time next year; I'm almost betting on it.

I personally like the fact that my most recent car purchase costs me less than half as much at the pump to travel the same distance as my former F-150. Using premium gasoline, no less.

You believe in government more than you believe in human genius and creativity! Good luck with that.

That thinking has led to the worst calamities of the 20th Century.

And what of the 18th century and before? Nearly every real technology was spawned by a governmental need, not individual ones. We would still be riding horses without stirrups were it not for a governmental need. We would not be communicating over computers today were it not for a governmental need. Human creativity and genius requires a perceived NEED before it can be utilized to its fullest extent.

Now, maybe... just maybe... the world would be a better place were we not to learn about other peoples' problems so quickly. If it took us a year or longer to even hear what's happening in Europe, Asia , etc., what effects would that have on today's world view? I'll tell you what effect it would have. "That's not my problem," is what we'd be saying.


Ford should be able to sue after spending billions to satisfy future CAFE requirements.


Posted by: Tom | Mar 20, 2015 12:11:27 PM

Good point, have Ford sue the US Governement???? Gotta love this type of thinking, not to swift, the taxpayer is the governement (your gonna pay.......)

"That means the race to 54.5 mpg could be over."

That is highly misleading.

CAFE numbers tend to be considerably higher than the number on the window sticker. It can be 25% off. That still means a high of 40.9 mpg when adjusted to your window sticker. It is also Corporate Averages.

We already have pickups getting close to 30 mpg.

We aren't that far off in mpg BUT people ARE sensitive to the price of fuel. We've already seen a shift back to larger less fuel efficient vehicles with lower fuel prices. People are also driving more.

Hydrocarbon based fuels are NOT infinite but as we have seen, as prices climb it becomes profitable to get into high extraction cost reserves.

I don't want to see CAFE standards softened because we get the benefit of powerful vehicles and decent mpg. The price of vehicles climb as technology advances but if one factors in inflation, we aren't paying much more for the excellent pickups we currently have.

Marc, the taxpayer is the governement(your spelling). Don't tell me you're(correct usage, not your) considered swift. You're about 100 years behind.

I agree Lou, they shouldn't adjust the cafe regs because some can't meet it. They have the fines in place for those that can't meet it which can be passed onto the consumer. Our products we can get are getting better and cleaner, foreign and domestic.

A plug in hybrid in an aluminum body pickup will get darn close to the cafe requirements needed by 2025 imo or they can just ditch the compact market and make there truck lineups all with 3/4 ton capacity so as not to require an EPA rating

I do believe that CAFE will change. It has no option since the price of fuel has dropped.

As I had wrote and the comment was removed fuel tax is probably the easiest way to manage fuel usage.

The problem in the US now lies in the reliance of automakers that are conforming to CAFE regulations. Tens of billions of dollars has been spent in vehicle technology to suit CAFE.

Ford with the new aluminium F-150 will be the hardest hit of the pickup manufacturers.

Also, you have the US attempting to create an free trade agreement with the Pacific rim nations.

The Asians don't like the US regime of regulatory controls and tariffs protecting it's truck market.

I do see a gradual change in CAFE, not just due to cheap oil, as the price of oil will rise sooner than we think.

If oil remains low for another year or two many who are buying these larger vehicles will wish they hadn't.

If I was the US manufacturers I would be worried on several fronts.

1. The drop in fuel prices vs the resources spent developing FE efficient vehicles.

2. The changing face of free trade agreements.

3. The US governments willingness to change regulations.

Pickups and SUVs do rake in the profit for the manufacturers in NAFTA. Car not so. Cars will be the vehicles that suffer, because outside of the US there are very few countries where the vehicle markets are expanding enough to take up the slack.

I do see Ford in particular being very annoyed, especially after spending billions on the new F-150.

Ford created a nice pickup that might not be worth much after all. The other pickup manufacturers can just keep on using steel.

Gas prices are not going to stay down. They've already risen almost 50¢ from their low back in November. They only need to rise another dollar to reach last year's average.

In another moment of breathtaking insight, Roadwhale says, in so many words, that our crappy economy will drive consumer support for higher gasoline prices to last year's average (...or higher?) Eventually we'll all be driving the same kind of subcompacts that Roadie loves (not!).

Memo: most commodity prices (including oil) worldwide have been pulled back by two factors during the last 5 years or so:


1. weak economies
2. stronger currencies (beginning summer 2011 when gold made its high against the greenback)


The popularity of pickups and SUVs is fairly constant. Americans are big people and have big appetites. We want big cars. We want big trucks. We want cheap fuel.

@Lou_BC--I agree keep the current standards. If we had no standards then the manufacturers would have little incentive to change. Oil is a finite resource and the new larger discoveries are harder to get and more expensive--below a certain price it does not pay to explore and produce. The price of oil will go up and stabilize at a certain price that is higher enough to give incentives for further exploration and production.

@DT

you were doing so well, but your comment about "foreign oils" lets you done.

If there was any lesson learned in the 1970s it's that we pull up to the fuel pump to buy gas--AND NO ONE EVER ONCE SAID--I won't buy the gas unless it came from Texas (or fill in the name of your favorite place).

My truck doesn't care where gas comes from. I don't either. If my truck DID care, I'd get a new truck!!!

The whole riff about foreign oil is stupid.

As regards CAFE, it's another idiotic hubristic idea about trying to force people to do things they don't want to do.
The very same people who voted for CAFE (and its various CAFE extensions) are sitting in the White House or Congress while their hired chauffeur and the 6200 pound bulletproof Suburban idles out in the driveway in case they needed the AC on before heading out for an appointment or drinks or golf.

They should be embarrassed but that would require them to have a conscience.

You asked, I delivered.


@papa jim--Good point about the bullet proof Suburbans--"Elected Royalty".

@Dave B.
Nice again to see a new face on PUTC;)

Your comments are interesting, I do concur with your belief that CAFE is a poor management instrument. But, remember it's selection for use in aid of the energy crisis in the 1970 was in a different time.

The evolution of CAFE originally targeted cars and not trucks (CUV/SUV/Vans/pickups/etc).

I do think the comment regarding the number of road fatalities in the US can't be attributed to CAFE alone. There are a number of variables that impacted the US vehicle market which also contributed to the higher than normal number of deaths on US roads in when judged against other comparable nations.

The same that speeding doesn't kill, it's the difference in speed that kills is the same regarding the mass of vehicles. The difference in mass in vehicles kill, ie large trucks vs small car, even at relatively low speeds.

The US with it's protection of its truck market and the use of CAFE to reduce the average vehicle size has had a major contributing factor.

Unfortunately the US auto manufacturers, UAW, government and other parties with a vested interest kept alive the ever larger vehicles in the truck market.

As for energy, I do think you find that the US now doesn't require the energy security it once considered essential. If push came to shove the US has the capacity to generate enough energy to sate it's demand of energy from within the country.

The best possible instrument for the US to influence the use of fuel is fuel tax. This will also allow for vehicle size to harmonise with each other, ie the difference in vehicle mass will become closer.

This will still allow for V8 pickups if you want one.

This and other restrictive instruments used to regulate and control the US truck market must be changed along with CAFE.

These changes or necessary restructure will accommodate a more liberal US vehicle market and also encourage better free trade amongst the US'es potential trading partners.

If you look at the 2.5 litre Colorado it is nearly as big as a pickup of 20 years ago or so and yet it is lighter and it's FE is quite good. Far superior to any full size 1/2 ton pickup of that era. This does counter some of your arguments. Many vehicles in fact have grown in mass/size.

As I had mentioned your comments are interesting, but also porous as an argument. They appear to be based on agenda and not transparency and accuracy.

By and large the data is good, but overall it is the use of the data.

I do detect some spin.

Originally the fuel efficiency standards were more to reduce dependency on imported oil. The Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 and the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1979 had more influence on the EPA efficiency standards than clean air. It is doubtful that the EPA will go away but instead of increasing mileage standards it would be better to use market place incentives along with the current standards. Instead of giving loans for electric cars give the manufacturers and individual consumers tax credits for replacing old less efficient vehicles with newer more efficient vehicles. Allow manufacturers with lower fleet efficiency standards like Chrysler to buy credits in order to give them additional time to comply with mileage standards. Instead of the one time Cash for Clunkers have a permanent system that allows both manufacturers and individuals to get credits without giving out loans or money. Individuals could apply this credit directly against their income tax liability but do not make this a refundable credit. These are just some ideas but their needs to be market place incentives besides regulations--more incentives and less regulations.

@Jeff S,
I can see some merit in what you proposed.

But I do think using credits is as useful a tool as CAFE. It will ultimately fail.

Credits requires the taxpayer/consumer to fund the scheme, which is counter productive to what is wanted. Also a team of civil servants would be needed to manage and regulate it. Which again is one regulation replacing another.

I do believe if a commodity like oil is considered too cheap and its use is viewed to high the only way to affect supply and demand is to increase the cost of the commodity to curb it's use, increased taxation at what ever level is suitable to produce the desired outcome.

The problem is if fuel is being used in to large a quantity for what ever reason, motor vehicles are not the conduit to use to lower fuel usage. Fuel is a far easier consumer product to control than the complexities of vehicle design, manufacture and distribution and all of the industrial welfare/protection/etc that goes with the management of these models.

Fuel is the problem, not the vehicles. The price of fuel will determine the vehicle makeup that is economically viable in a nation.

Irrespective of what nation this idea is put to, the general populace would be upset. Wanting cheap energy isn't just a US issue.

I do know within PUTC community many consider it their right to use as much fuel as they want, with no limitations. I understand their views as an increase in fuel tax goes against their want for a large V8 pickup.

I also see using tax would be the cheapest model and most effective model. There would be many civil servant positions removed from the EPA who manage CAFE and all the government grants (subsidies) that goes into propping up artificially different vehicle segments, whether it be EV, pickups, etc. There would be less government backed research into technology into pie in the sky ventures.

This would free up more tax dollars to pay down the nations debt or use the money in better ways that is more beneficial to the economy.

Also, money would be made available to invest back into transport infrastructure.

As for regulatory controls. I do think regulatory controls are a necessity in some instances, ie, emissions, safety, etc.

All regulatory controls must be in place to not disadvantage the consumer.

If we protect the individual/consumer there will always be a viable industry. Industrial welfare is worse than social welfare.

@PapaJim: Just don't say I didn't warn you. The only reason oil prices are down right now is because ONE NATION chose to sell at historically low rates in opposition to OPEC--and that one nation was not the United States.

@DT: I agree that CAFE has caused a lot of problems, but it is not all due to what is said but more to the loopholes they left in it of which every OEM selling in the US is attempting to take advantage. Simple is the best way to create such rules but with our regulators on average being lawyers don't know how to make things simple. Had they made a rule like, "Manufacturer fleetwide average needs to achieve 50mpg regardless of vehicle type," would have achieved far more effective changes than trying to detail exclusions and exemptions that would be abused. If it had more fully defined the fleet as, "vehicles with two axles and a minimum of four wheels" that would cover every vehicle from the smallest sub-compact to the largest 'light duty' pickup truck. At a maximum end they might even include, "With maximum gross weight no more than 7,000#". That would help exclude the HD and SD trucks, but would also have kept said trucks from blowing up like balloons and looking as obese as their weight makes them.

So yes, I agree that CAFE itself was the cause of many of today's problems, but more because of the efforts to bypass its rules rather than adhere to them.

WhoooooEE! Now there's some real conspiracy theory going on up there! It certainly doesn't help when you realize the sources of the vast majority of those opinion pieces (which is all they are).

@papajim,
The reality is the unfettered use of fossil fuels, which I might add isn't an indefinite resource is bad for any nation.

To produce and maintain a country using the most efficient means should be the goal.

The reality is the US can and will survive as a modern and wealthy economy if fuel tax was used as a form of raising revenue.

Just look at infrastructure in the US, it's in needs or maintenance and replacement.

Look at business tax, for the US to be competitive it needs to be lowered.

Look at the cost of the protection offered to the US vehicle market overall. This having a larger negative impact on the US economy. The removal of costly red tape, subsidies, tariffs, etc would in fact make it cheaper in the longer term for the nation.

Everytime a new or existing anti competitive regulatory control is managed the use of other controls and subsidies is required to offset the negative impact of existing controls and protection. This create an unnecessarily complex web of regulations, controls, etc to manage. Management, especially by government is costly, not to mention to money that the US auto industry must invest to work within a uncompetitive model.

Increasing fuel tax and removing protection will save the US motor vehicle consumer over $3 000 per vehicle built in the US.

Now remove at least this $3 000, plus lower company tax, plus allowing for more competition will allow the price of vehicles in the US to drop much greater than the $3 000.

If an additional fuel tax of 50c per gallon was added to offset and maintain the reduction in the overall reliance/usage of fuel then it would in fact be cheaper to buy and operate a vehicle over the vehicles life.

If a person on average drives 15 000 miles a year, and the end result is the person is driving a vehicle (pickup) averaging 25mpg, then how miles would have to be driven to overshoot the additional cost of the fuel?

For the impact of the raised fuel tax wouldn't be negative until the vehicle would have driven at least 150 000 to 200 000 miles. That is many years of vehicle ownership on average.

And that's a pickup, not a car. A car would easily increase that number by 50%. Fuel use is a business tax write off as well.

Looking at the way I'm looking at it, there would also be money to repair transport infrastructure.

Money to use to reduce company tax.

Your selfish ego centric views are destructive for the better good of the US.

I would be more concerned about business overall and the positive effect to the consumer of what I'm stating.

Yep, what I'm stating sounds really socialist. I do think your support of CAFE the chicken tax and all the protective and anti competitive controls are more socialist then what my propostion is.

The US does need taxes to survive. As much as we all don't like to pay taxes, insurances, etc, it necessary.

But, at the end of the day to use that money most efficiently and to reduce the overall cost to the consumer should be our goal.

Because if the individual wins, everyone wins. Your position is I come first at the expense of the country and my fellow Amercians. You are so selfish and socialist.

@Big Al, please take a breath. You talked all around my comment without copping to your desire to enforce energy policy and fund activity via confiscating property (higher taxes).

Your concerns seem based on a 1970's hippie mindset that worries about everybody running out of fuel.

Question: What if there's WAY MORE CRUDE OIL than anyone has imagined. Wouldn't your top-down energy management policies all become pretty ridiculous in a world awash in crude, not to mention abundant natural gas?

You don't seem to trust markets at all.

@Big Al--I was just putting an idea out there to consider but I think what I suggested does't necessarily have to require more civil servants. I don't necessarily think a higher fuel tax is a bad idea but I would rather it go directly to repairing and replacing roads and bridges and not paying down national debt or for street cars, bike paths, walking trails, or parking lots for museums--these funds have already been frittered away on such things. Fuel tax, tire tax, heavy truck tax should go directly for roads and bridges which are in dire need of repair and replacing. The US needs to do something about its interstate roads and bridges and it needs to happen sooner not later.

CAFE/Emissions in itself has become flawed because as Vulpine has accurately stated, exploiting loopholes are where the problems have occurred.
1/2 ton pickups used to be true 1/2 ton capacity vehicles but capacity increased to keep them from CAFE/Emissions rules. Large SUV's were also an unintended consequence . The near death of small trucks are also part of regulatory influence.

Fuel prices are separate but do exert significant sway with purchase decisions. Pickup and large SUV sales are up.

We in the USA and Canada like big vehicles and that is also a factor.

@Lou_BC--This goes back to the article that was posted on TTAC last year that covered the death of the station wagon and the small truck. Make the half ton trucks slightly longer and wider and they are not subject to as strict a fuel standards as with the station wagon make it taller, wider, and a slight bit longer and it becomes a truck. It is what it is but this has exempted most trucks and crossovers over the last several years to less severe fuel standards and has helped the sales of these vehicles. This is more of a compromise worked out between the EPA and the manufacturers and it effectively locks out the competition of smaller foreign trucks in addition to the Chicken Tax. People are buying the larger half ton trucks but then lower oil prices and good deals help the sale of larger trucks as well.

@Jeff S - I was reading part of a book about SUV's and their genesis. Regulations played a huge role. Unions are part of the issue. They exert a huge influence due to membership size and therefore do hold a large amount of influence on decisions. That influence on politicians carry as much if not more weight than corporate influence. Some loophold existed or were kept in place because of fears of a truly open market affecting their jobs.
(Not union bashing)

We saw this divergence in the 80's. USA based companies went the way of SUV's and pickups and the car market was literally handed to the Japanese.

"...USA based companies went the way of SUV's and pickups and the car market was literally handed to the Japanese."

@Lou BC

I'm not confused by that remark but I bet some people may be. The market was not "handed" to Japan's automakers at all. American currency was so strong against the Yen and other world currencies in those days that foreign buyers could not afford American cars, however, American car buyers had a field day buying Volvos, Saabs, VW's, BMW's, along with all of the various Asian makes.

It was not a policy decision at all. Instead American interest rates were very high and foreign goods were available very cheaply.

Detroit could only compete effectively in a few ways, one of which was making more trucks and SUVs as you've correctly pointed out. The other way was to simply go to Japan, Germany and Europe and BUY the auto companies, which is how Ford ended up with Rover, Jaguar, Volvo.

GM got Saab and Opel. Only God knows why Daimler spent almost $37B to buy Chrysler. Ouch! We know how well that worked out!

Somebody wanting to buy a small sedan in 1984 had his pick of the litter. Someone wanting a big family car could pick a Suburban, or a ... Suburban?

@Jeff S,
Like I stated it would work initially.

They have tried a similar system in the EU. I do recall Spain and the Germans' had to stop these type of plans due to the cost and the return gained.



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