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GM Promising 8 Models Will Top 40 MPG

Detroit maker also targets big cut in CO2 emissions.

by on Jul.11, 2013

General Motors reaffirmed its commitment to reducing the energy it uses and to improving the gas mileage of its vehicles.

General Motors has promised at least eight of its U.S. vehicles will get 40 miles per gallon or better by 2017, while also pledging to reduce the CO2 emissions of its fleet 15% by 2015.

The mileage target, listed in GM’s latest sustainability report, would double the current number of products achieving at least 40 mpg, and reflect an expanding use of battery-based technologies, like those in the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, as well as advances in more conventional internal combustion technologies.

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“Sustainability is not only a key part of how GM is shifting from a good to great company, it is about the leadership and innovation that can transform the auto industry,” GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said, in the report. “Our long-term approach to sustainability enables us to increase efficiency and reimagine personal mobility to best meet customer needs and lifestyles.”

Automakers in general face severe pressure to improve their fuel economy. The industry’s fleet average is expected to climb to 34.1 mpg as of 2016 and then to 54.5 mpg in 2025. Those numbers are actually higher than what the typical window sticker will show due to various credits manufacturers can earn for such things as flex-fuel capability and using battery power.

Nonetheless, industry officials contend that they will be hard pressed to meet those goals without significant new technological breakthroughs that could add thousands to the cost of the average U.S. vehicle.

GM didn’t say which vehicle would achieve the 40-mpg target though that is generally expected to be centered around the small car segment, vehicles such as the new Chevrolet Sonic subcompact and Spark minicar.

But the maker has also announced it will deliver 46 mpg on the highway with the new Chevy Cruze Diesel. And by adopting such technologies as Direct Injection and cylinder deactivation, even a 455-hp brute like the new Corvette Stingray will be rated at 29 mpg highway when it comes to market later this year.

Reduced fuel consumption will concurrently yield a drop in the emissions of CO2, a global warming gas that is being targeted directly by regulators in Europe. GM’s sustainability report outlines a goal of a 15% cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2015, while it has set a tougher 27% target in Europe for its Opel and Vauxhall brands by 2020.

One of the toughest targets GM has set for itself is to have at least 500,000 vehicles on the road by 2017 that make use of some form of battery propulsion – which could range from mild hybrids like the Buick LaCrosse with eAssist to plug-ins such as the Chevy Volt, as well as full battery-electric models like the new Chevrolet Spark EV.

The new report also looks at GM’s plans to clean up its manufacturing operations.  It sets out nine specific environmental goals, such as reducing waste production and energy consumption at its factories. The maker says its already has 105 facilities around the world that recycle or reuse all of their waste products.

(GM can save $7 million annually by cutting energy consumption. Click Here for more.)

The maker also intends to boost its use of renewable energies and its facilities got 62 megawatts of power from solar, biomass and landfill gas sources last year.

“We’re doing this not because we’re all tree huggers — we’re doing this because this makes business sense,” said David Tulauskas, GM’s director of sustainability.

(Click Here to read about Ford’s plans to cut CO2 emissions by 30% by 2025.)

GM’s sustainability report notes it has saved $66 million since 2010 on energy costs reducing the amount of power required to produce the typical vehicle by 7%. Its recycling program has meanwhile eliminated about 55 pounds of waste per vehicle, worth about $1 billion annually.

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One Response to “GM Promising 8 Models Will Top 40 MPG”

  1. Jorge M. says:

    Excellent that means they will only be 14.5 mpg short of the outlandish CAFE mandate that Obama and the EPA pulled out of their arses…