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How We'll Get To 54.5 Mpg By 2025 717

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

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  • by Mattygfunk1 ( 596840 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:12AM (#41585529)
    but if people would buy on fuel economy rather than power/torque we'd get a lot more bang for our oil buck.

    ServersINseconds Australian web hosting [serversinseconds.com.au].
  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:18AM (#41585599)

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

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

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

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

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

  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:20AM (#41585605)

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

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

  • Lobbyists... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by flatt ( 513465 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:20AM (#41585615) Homepage Journal

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

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

  • Not anti American (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdmV0rl0n ( 98366 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:20AM (#41585619) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

    by PragMalice ( 2036176 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:25AM (#41585691)
    While I suspect you were making a jab at waistlines, some of us are rather *tall* individuals. I can't speak for everyone else, but my legs are usually in need of medical attention after my business trips to London where I'm forced to cram myself into what amounts to a small suitcase on wheels for a week, all because my company doesn't want to fork over the cash for a proper sized "gas guzzler".
  • Re:the easiest way (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:30AM (#41585759)

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

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

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:33AM (#41585817)

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

  • by judoguy ( 534886 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:34AM (#41585829) Homepage
    Seriously, why does the government get to dictate this to me? If I drive an inefficient pos, I pay more taxes.

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

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:36AM (#41585873)
    http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-57506088-48/volkswagen-unveils-the-seventh-generation-golf-tsi-tdi/ [cnet.com]

    140 horsepower and just under 50MPG, or 100~ horsepower and just over 60MPG. Yes, diesel, but really it is not as bad as people seem to think.
  • Re:Here's an idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wrath0fb0b ( 302444 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:37AM (#41585877)

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

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

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

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

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

  • by Bananatree3 ( 872975 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:37AM (#41585879)
    The 2000 Honda Insight came out 12 years ago and drivers regularly beat this standard. Geo Metros, Suzuki Swifts, Honda CRX HFs, VW Diesel Rabits, VW TDIs.... the list goes on and on.

    The issue isn't making a fuel efficient car, it's making a Ford F150 get 54.5MPG
  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:41AM (#41585947) Homepage

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

    After they've exhausted all other possibilities.

    - W. Churchill

  • by locopuyo ( 1433631 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:47AM (#41586023) Homepage
    A poorly designed merge section from one highway to another is what convinced me I needed a quick car.
    It isn't safe merging into 60+ MPH traffic at 30 MPH. Top speed typically isn't a problem but acceleration on cars with wimpy engines is.
  • Re:Here's an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AlXtreme ( 223728 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:01PM (#41586251) Homepage Journal

    I drive 40+ miles to work each day. I am about to drive 250+ miles to meet with a customer. America is not as densely populated as Europe. Cars are how we travel. This is why we won't buy the small cars that are popular in Europe.

    This is rubbish, the average commute is rather short and comparable on both sides of the pond, and I regularly drive straight through France and Germany. We too drive a lot.

    The real reason why large cars don't sell and small cars do sell in Europe is because of the insane gas prices. When you pay $10/gallon you will change your driving habits or your type of car.

    I just got myself a new car which is quite large for European standards, it goes 40mpg which is decent. But more and more commuters are going for efficient smaller cars (50-60mpg) because of increasing fuel costs, the difference means that the car pays for itself within a few years.

    If fuel costs were the same I'd bet every family here would want an SUV too.

  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <(gterich) (at) (aol.com)> on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:04PM (#41586297) Journal

    I loved my 1987 CRX HF. It wasn't useful for much other than commuting though, and only for 2 people. That kind of car is useless to 80% of households out there, who need a car to do more than just move one or two people from point A to point B.

    I can't take my family anywhere in a sub 1-ton 2-seater.

    Of course, the other end of that spectrum is the drove of people who drive solo to work every day in a Suburban, and then bitch about gas prices.

    The answer is certainly not to force everyone to make do with a car that doesn't serve their needs.

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:09PM (#41586359)

    You think enforcing fuel economy standards will turn us into the USSR?

    I have a much better idea, tax gasoline at $5/gallon.
    Add a dollar a year until you get to that level, so people have time to adjust. Consumer demand will move to more efficient vehicles.

  • by rgmoore ( 133276 ) <glandauer@charter.net> on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:10PM (#41586383) Homepage

    And acceleration despite a relatively wimpy engine is on major problem that hybrids are designed to tackle. The electric motor isn't enough to drive you very far or very fast on its own, but combining the power of the relatively wimpy internal combustion engine with the power of a relatively wimpy electric motor gives you enough power to merge onto a freeway or go up a steep hill with some confidence. When you don't need that extra power, the relatively wimpy engine is well chosen to give you good fuel economy at highway cruising speed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:11PM (#41586395)

    A poorly designed merge section from one highway to another is what convinced me I needed a quick car.

    It isn't safe merging into 60+ MPH traffic at 30 MPH. Top speed typically isn't a problem but acceleration on cars with wimpy engines is.

    Exactly, people don't usually want more horsepower for greater top speed, they want the greater acceleration. Sure my car doesn't need 300 hp to get to 141 MPH (which I'll rarely get to) but being able to go 0-60 in under 6 seconds even with passengers is what's worth it. With all the highway driving I do that does indeed make me feel much safer.

  • by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:21PM (#41586509) Homepage

    You don't need manual transmission for that. Push the pedal to the floor in an automatic and it will drop to a low gear to accelerate.

  • by harrkev ( 623093 ) <[gro.ylimafnoslerrah] [ta] [dsmfk]> on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:28PM (#41586605) Homepage

    Part of what you say is true, but that is not the whole story.... Some people don't just WANT large inefficient cars, they NEED large gas-guzzling vehicles.

    Take, for example, me. I have five kids (three are adopted, so no preaching about overpopulating the Earth). Add the wife, and I need a vehicle to carry at least seven people. Good luck finding a 50 MPG car that can do that. If the whole world drove tiny 50 MPG cars, I would need TWO of them to get anywhere on the weekend -- making an effective 25 MPG.

    Look at it this way: on the weekend, I typically have 7 or 8 people in my average 18.8 MPG van. Not great gas mileage, but that works out to be 150 miles/gallon/PERSON. To match that, you would have to cram four people in a Prius.

    Don't get me wrong. I would love to have better fuel efficienty. If my wife and I did not have any kids, I would likely get a smart car or some other little econo-box. But that simply will not work for my family. I live in a rural area. It is pretty common to see a pickup pulling a trailer with a couple of tons of hay for horses/cattle. How many trips woult that take in a Volt with the back seat crammed full of hay? Sometimes, bugger IS better.

    I am worried about the day when fuel efficiency is mandated such that larger vehicles are essentially no longer produced.

  • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:50PM (#41587007)

    ah but that is the point it isn't average daily use we buy a car for. most of us can only afford one maybe two cars. therefore we need something that is not only suitable to dealing with average daily use, but also the use that we enjoy. weather it is hauling boats for once a month weekend trips, loading up for vacations, or even hauling your kids and their friends around to various sporting events(both with them as players and just going out).

    I owned a full size jeep for years. terrible milage but that vehicle took me every where I wanted to go hauling all sorts of fun stuff. my next car I couldn't do that with. it may be fuel efficient but if the roads aren't perfect it doesn't like it. I miss my jeep several times a year when i need to go move something, drag something or simply go somewhere where the roads aren't in great condition.

    Being able to rent a trailer and is much easier than renting a truck or van that's big enough.

    Average daily use isn't what we buy a car for we buy for all of our needs and it mostly gets used for average daily needs.

  • by snowraver1 ( 1052510 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:53PM (#41587073)
    But 240 hp with awd in the snow is freaking awesome!
  • Re:the easiest way (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tyler Eaves ( 344284 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:54PM (#41587081)

    Don't forget that US Gallons != Imperial gallons.

    54mpg imperial is only 45mpg US.

  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul ( 629286 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @01:11PM (#41587369) Journal

    The number who actually need less efficient cars are far fewer than those that actually have them. So, yes there are exceptions, but honestly, there are very few people who actually have five kids these days.

  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @01:36PM (#41587803) Journal

    Anyone can merge if the ramp is long enough. The problem the op described was the short ramps in which i find new 4 cylinder cars have difficulty getting up to speed. There are a lot of clover loop ramps in the east and mid west. These are particularly problematic because you have to merge on the off ramp of the same lane you are trying to pull into. You are literally trying to get up to speed while dodging people slowing down to exit.

    Also, the older 4 and 6 cyl engines were something wanting compared the v8 engines. The automatic transmissions of the time seemed to amplify this lacking of abilities quit a bit. It was still noticeably in standard shift cars but not as drastic. The old lady in question is probably going from experience over the years. I have driven some pretty peppy 4 cylinder cars and some v6 engines that would rival a v8. To this day, I'm still skeptical about small engines and automatic transmissions until I drive them and see it isn't the crap of yesteryear.

  • by coyote_oww ( 749758 ) on Monday October 08, 2012 @02:07PM (#41588277)

    227hp awd in the snow is indeed fun. and not unreasonable, IMHO. Wanting a V8 was her generation's "I want a car that isn't klunky". That it doesn't have to be a V8 anymore is her ignorance of the changes in engine technology. But, for the young whipersnappers out there, keep in mind that in the early 80s, Mustangs with "sport tuned" engines had V8s that made 140hp. Seriously. The old lady probably experienced a 4-banger of that era, which were uniformly pathetic. As an ex-Pinto owner, I understand her feeling.

    As a car salesman, you need to put her into a 16valve 4cyl turbo to help her understand that cylinders alone does not measure power very well. :-) And it would be funny...

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