Obama Boosts Fuel Economy Standards – A First In Over 25 Years

The move increases fuel economy standards for light vehicles in 2011 to 27.3 miles per gallon, or 8 percent over the 2010-model-year requirement. New cars will have to meet a standard of 30.2 miles per gallon. The standards will save 887 million gallons of fuel and reduce carbon emissions by 8.3 million metric tons, according to the Department of Transportation.

That’s a key first step toward Congress’s mandate that automakers by 2020 reach 35 miles per gallon-a 40 percent increase over the current average of 25 miles per gallon. Rep. Edward Markey, who chairs a subcommittee on energy and the environment, said in a statement that the administration’s announcement represents a “historic first step.”

This has been long overdue in cutting our dependence on foreign oil.   I know critics will say, we are kicking the auto industry when they are at their lowest.   I would point out, these executives have watched their foreign competitors make huge strides in making more fuel efficient cars over the years.  They have also witnessed the gains they have made in sales and customer satisfaction; while theirs plummeted year after year.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to watch these trends and make educated decisions were the future of the auto industry must head.  For their complacency, I have no sympathy.

Obama is also trying to keep his pledge, that he made on the campaign trail, to effect a change for the better, in our fight against global warming.

The Obama administration has had to carefully balance the needs of Detroit automakers, and the effects of their potential failure on the economy in Michigan and elsewhere, against its pledge to fight climate change. Obama promised during his campaign to support a 4 percent annual increase in efficiency standards, and as officials work now to hammer out a set of efficiency rules applicable through 2015, environmentalists want to make sure that the increase will materialize.

I feel this is a necessary step in the right direction.  I know Obama will receive much grief on this issue but, in the long run, it will not only be beneficial to the environment, this should help boost sales for the auto industry once these new fuel efficient cars hit the market.

17 thoughts on “Obama Boosts Fuel Economy Standards – A First In Over 25 Years

  1. “I know critics will say, we are kicking the auto industry when they are at their lowest.”
    Aren’t we subsidizing their losses? No, what we are doing is saving them from themselves.
    There is no need for radical technology to improve fuel economy, just build lighter weight cars! I have a thirty five year old sportscar (Porsche 914) that gets thirty miles to the gallon and weighs under two thousand pounds. It’s not a new concept. With modern materials, the weight should be no problem.

    Here’s Where The Stupid Is

    “With the expected shift to more fuel efficient vehicles, it will be increasingly difficult to rely on the gas tax to raise the funds needed to improve — let alone maintain — our nation’s surface transportation infrastructure,” said Robert Atkinson, the chairman of the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission.

    The idea is nothing new in Congress.

    At a hearing last year, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., called the mileage tax a brilliant idea.

    Last week, after the White House said it would oppose such a tax, Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., rushed to its defense, saying that the new administration should be “open to new ideas and open to dialogue.”

    “Whether they want it or not, they are going to get it,” Oberstar said in a speech to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.”

    Mr. Oberstar, YOU don’t get it! How can you encourage drivers to use fuel efficient vehicles if you tax the Ford Expeditions the same as the Mazda Miatas? Why not just raise the gas tax a few cents per gallon and let the drivers of heavy vehicles pay more tax, since their use tears up the roads much worse than the small cars? Barbara Boxer needs to rethink this one too. This is the kind of issue that Republicans will hammer Dems with in election after election, and yet, it will be the environment-friendly Dems who will pay more in taxes, proportionally.

  2. You are right House, we are subsidizing them. That is why I’m tired of hearing how this is going to hurt the auto industry and cost them so much. (comments made at other websites)

    I like the gasoline tax idea also, the burden would fall on the Hummer & SUV owners. That works for me, it’s perfectly logical!

    Another thing that has always bugged me when it comes time to renew my plates, there isn’t much difference between what I pay and someone that owns a truck. (I have a small Nissan.)

  3. Hi Freedomrebel,
    Another point against the mileage tax, is the required retrofitting of a GPS reporting device, then a means to read the mileage, calculate the tax, and collect the tax. How do you enforce against cheating? The system for collecting fuel taxes is already in place and difficult to cheat. You pay when you buy the fuel.
    I like the idea of all-electric cars getting to use the roads without a tax. Maybe when they are common they could add a tax. Depending on the location, I believe there are utility taxes which would be paid for the alternative energy. Hopefully the power could be from a low-polluting source. Most of the power in my area is from Guntersville Dam and Brown’s Ferry Nuclear Plant. They cut in some coal plants during peak hours and heavy demand, like really hot days in the summer.

    Here they tax the tag renewal by value. All my vehicles have bottomed out. 🙂

  4. hi house, hi freb…

    This is great news!
    After 25 years of obstruction by Big Auto and the Republicans, we’ll now only be 15 years behind the Europeans in fuel-efficiency!

  5. I think it was gummitch who made the point that the average mpg in Europe is 38. The US pretty much has the lowest ratings in the world and the highest level of technology.

    My 1970 Formula 400 Firebird got over 20 mpg. So how come my 4 cylinder 2 wheel drive pickup only gets 25 mpg 30 years later?

  6. medjhiesco

    hey med…it’s a motorhead thread!

    The (possible) answers to your questions lie in the details, of course.

    Here’s a hint: both are efficient and/or inefficient, but in different ways, depending on their actual use and technology.

  7. The fun yet odious Top Gear had a Prius tearing around their track as fast as it could go, shadowed by a BMW M3 (300+ HP).

    The BMW’s fuel consumption was significantly less than the Prius.

    Surprising? Not at all.

  8. Ok, my old bird had some fancy doodads designed to boost power and performance. Weight wise, I don’t think there is much difference.

    So how come a fuel injected, computer controlled dinky toy barely beats my old monster?

    No lead in the gas is one point.

    Lower octane is another.

    Gearing was also different but, surprisingly the tires wear of similar configuration.

  9. Oh man, I just did a search on my old car and found several for sale. I think I may just have to lay in the corner and whimper for a minute.

  10. med… it’s all about work-load and where and when the effort is provide–you sort of hint about that in mentioning the gearing.

    Roughly it takes torque to overcome inertia, horsepower to maintain or increase momentum.

    Assuming your pickup is half as quick to accelerate as the ‘bird, what about top speed? How much faster does the bird go than the pick-up? 130 versus 100? How much different is that than 20 MPG versus 25?
    What’s the weight over the back wheel’s respectively, and relative to the front?
    That doesn’t just affect the ability to get moving, it also affects things when you are up to speed too, and in cornering.
    Drive a sports car like a truck or a truck like a sports car and you can swap both gains, and diminishing returns.

    It gets quite complicated, which is why comparing simple finite figures like MPG , horsepower and 0-60 times can lead to apparent logical discrepancies between theory and practice.

    The ‘bird would put

  11. A partridge once tried to make contact, 5th but the slip stream beat him. (The dead bird was the TransAm).

    Top end on my little toy pickup is about 90. The lady flew past 160, providing the oil was up to level. The bonehead who souped her left the hydraulic lifters in.

    Weight on axles? A 96 S10, minimal weight on either end. The lady? A 400 under the hood and an azz end trunk that might hold a suitcase. She was sweet but a total cow on ice.

    I hear what you are saying. HP is not the deciding factor, its how it gets used.

  12. That car was the last car I enjoyed owning. I sold it in 1979 because I realized it was something of a man eater. Too easy to get into trouble.

    The guy I sold it to had 4 speeding tickets and three accidents with it in 6 months. The final accident totaled the car.

  13. med…
    you write well!

    funnily enough one of the cars I most enjoyed was an ’84 Oldsmobile-98 Brougham (de-luxe?–I’m sure the name was a bit longer and more fanciful).
    It wasn’t mine but a colleague’s ( he later became my boss) and I rode shotgun many a time and also had to drive it at times.

    Crushed velour interior and power everything, quite the pimp-mobile. But compared to a Lincoln Town Car it was tight in the corners (though an inclinometer would still have helped).
    It’s best feature was the 407 engine. I don’t know the HP of it but I’m sure it was quite prodigious as I once had occasion to launch it directly across three lanes when a gap in the traffic presented itself (it was at a horrible strip-mall type town and I had to get to the store in the middle).

    A mate of mine had down-at-heel but serviceable 66 Thunderbird. Beautiful to look at ( if you ignored the pitted chrome, faded paint and bits of missing trim), still a great cruiser, but a shit ‘driver’.

    But Geoff (my mate) didn’t just restore the interior and exterior trim cosmetics (he left the faded paint) , he had the 390 engine re-built and replaced the carbs with an Accel electronic fuel injection unit, steel-braid hoses, new H&K (?) air filter, put in a Posi-traction rear end, Bilstein shocks and a new race-spec anti sway bars front and rear.

    I think I remember him telling me the rebuilt engine bench-dyno’d at 425HP so he reckoned 375 HP at the rear rubber. The thing was, it went round corners really, really well too.

    He offered to sell it to me for only $1500 (the last time the housing market went bust in ’91–that’s why he had to sell it) but I couldn’t make the meager financial stretch.

    Never mind the incredible investment value, it was a superb car, once Geoff had. added the engineering to maximize its potential.

  14. Thanks 5th, so do you.

    The whole key is efficient use of hp. Our IC engine is grossly inefficient. That’s why they have to put mufflers on them. Yeah, the throbbing roar of a 427 ignites testosterone production but it really means power out the pipe and not down the shaft. Formula 1’s whine.

    Another is our transmission system. Three and four speed transmissions don’t offer a wide enough range. The vehicle either gets up to speed quickly and is spinning too fast at highway speed or sucks gas through a hose to get there.

    But the real problem is we have been basically tweaking a mechanical system that was invented a hundred years ago. Electric motors are a far cry from what Nikola came up with and much more efficient than IC. All they gots to do is figure out how to generate the electricity in an eco friendly manner. Small steam turbines make more sense than batteries.

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