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Posts Tagged ‘fuel economy rules’

Cheap Gas, Strong Truck Sales Could Force Review of EPA Mileage Mandate

But “mid-term” review of 2025 standard could come too late for change.

by on Jan.14, 2016

Even in the luxury market, SUVs like the new Cadillac XT5 are gaining market share.

Booming sales of pickups, SUVs and other light trucks may be fueling a surge in auto industry profits, but the shift is also creating at least one potentially serious problem, making it more difficult for manufacturers to meet increase tough U.S. fuel economy standards.

That is fueling industry interest in the planned “mid-term review” of upcoming Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards set to reach an average 54.5 mpg by 2025. Scheduled to occur in 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees mileage mandates, could be pressed to roll back the target to reflect shifting market demand – or a lack of the technology needed to get to 54.5 mpg.

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“We’re still making great strides in fuel economy,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford President of the Americas, told TheDetroitBureau.com. But that may not be enough to offset shifting market realities, especially with the unexpected collapse of fuel prices, Hinrichs said.

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Stop “Crying Wolf,” Over 54.5 mpg Standard, Says “Queen of Cleaner Cars”

by on Apr.27, 2015

Margo Oge retired in 2012 after 32 years with the EPA.

With fuel prices down by as much as 30% from their 2014 peak, millions of Americans have been migrating to pickups and SUVs and abandoning compact passenger cars and alternative fuel vehicles. That’s leading some industry executives to questions whether the federal government should re-think the 54.5 mpg Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standard set to take effect in 2025.

Such a move would be a critical mistake, warns Margo Ogo, a former official with the EPA who helped put together the compromise fuel economy rules and who has been dubbed by some “the Queen of Cleaner Cars.” If anything, she says, the tough mandate targeted for a decade from now doesn’t go nearly far enough.

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“2025 is the first down-payment to the planet for the need to get away from fossil fuels,” Oge told TheDetroitBureau.com during a lengthy interview marking the release of her new book, Driving the Future: Combating Climate Change with Cleaner, Smarter Cars. “We, as a society, need to move to zero-emission vehicles by 2050…if we are to meet goals of reducing carbon emissions.”

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Automakers Charged Up About Electric Turbochargers

Audi, Peugeot, Acura among those reportedly considering the new technology.

by on Jun.25, 2014

Audi used an electric supercharger in the R18 race car that recently won the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

With stiff new emissions and mileage mandates looming over the auto industry, manufacturers are desperately looking for ways to increase fuel economy without sacrificing performance, and one of the most promising approaches is to go with downsized engines while bolting on turbos or superchargers to recover lost horsepower and torque.

But “blowers” have their own problems. Superchargers actually rob power during less aggressive driving, while turbos typically have a problem with lag at low RPMs. That’s led a number of manufacturers and suppliers to consider high-tech alternatives, electrically powered blowers that wouldn’t waste power or make you wait for them to kick in.

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Long in development but short in production, we may soon see finally see electric turbochargers or, if you prefer, electric superchargers land in showrooms in the next couple of years. French supplier Valeo says it has a contract with a “major” European automaker that would put one into production by 2016. And while Audi is short on specifics, a senior exec is suggesting it’s working on its own “e-boost” system. (more…)

“Champion of the Auto Industry” Rep John Dingell Retiring After Nearly Six Decades

A powerful, if sometimes controversial, legacy.

by on Feb.25, 2014

Cong. Dingell shown during his years as head of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee that often played a key role in automotive regulation.

He’s been called the “champion of the auto industry,” but also been derided as a roadblock in the push for safer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles.  But one thing is clear, John Dingell spent nearly six decades in Congress as the rock-steady supporter of the U.S. auto industry, with his primary emphasis on the Detroit Big Three.

First taking a seat in Congress in 1955, the now 87-year-old Dingell succeeded his father who had held the safely Democrat district on the south side of Detroit for the 20 years before.  Dingell rose to become one of the most powerful members in the House of Representatives – even during those years when the often fractious body was controlled by the GOP.

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But he ultimately ran afoul of members of his own party who stripped him of a key committee chairmanship from which Dingell dominated any discussion on issues automotive.

“As a champion of the auto industry, John Dingell had no peer,” said GM spokesman Greg Martin.

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Massive Fines Proposed by EPA to Force 35.5 MPG Fuel Economy by 2016

Natural U.S. small car demand is too little without market intervention. EPA can impose a $37,500 per car fine.

by on Dec.08, 2009

Howdy pardner, want to share my ride?

That's a mighty small ride kid...

There’s a huge disconnect between natural small car demand in the U.S. and the number of small cars that makers will actually have to sell by 2016  to meet the proposed 35.5 mpg standard, according to Charles Chesbrough of CSM Worldwide consultancy.

The senior economist, in a data packed presentation today to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit, explained that to meet the standard by 2016, American new car sales of tiny A, B, and C-segment cars would have to be the same as they are in Europe today. This to me is an almost inconceivable shift, given previous behaviors from politicians and consumers. C-cars are Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic in size.

In Europe, these small cars account for more than 40% of the 2009 market. While in the U.S., they represent about 5%.

How a eightfold increase in tiny car sales will be forthcoming, when U.S. gasoline prices are currently averaging $2.50 a gallon, down from a record $4 in the summer of 2008, is a huge political issue.

In Europe, of course, heavily taxed gasoline is in the $6.50-$7.50 a per gallon range. Would the Obama Administration dare to impose a $4 a gallon tax? This is only one of the nettlesome policy issues facing politicians.

U.S. energy policy – rather, the lack of the political will to impose one, we observe, going back to the first fuel crisis in 1973 — has left us as dependent today on a disruption in oil supplies as then. This remains a clear national security threat, as well as an economic one given the current fragile state of the economy.

The startling CSM sales analysis comes as a U.N. Climate Change conference in Copenhagen opened, which begins a year-long process that will likely result in rules eventually calling for an 80% reduction in CO2 gases by 2050.  G8 countries have already endorsed this.

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