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Posts Tagged ‘fuel economy’

Fuel Economy Hasn’t Much Changed Since 1923

Or has it? Federal data leaves some big gaps open.

by on Aug.20, 2015

New study suggests that today's auto fleet isn't getting much better mileage than it did 90 years ago.

Federal guidelines are calling for some big increases in fuel economy over the next decade, with the average vehicle required to deliver 54.5 mpg by 2025.

But a new study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, or UMTRI, adds a cautionary note to that push, noting that from 1923 to 2013, the average mileage of the American automotive fleet rose a meager 3.6 miles per gallon, to just 17.6 mpg.

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In fact, fuel economy actually tumbled for a number of years, only starting to rebound in 1974, in the wake of the first Mideast oil shock as Washington enacted the first Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standard.

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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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Over Half of All Cars to Feature Stop-Start by 2024

But consumer complaints remain a problem.

by on Apr.13, 2015

The new Malibu is one of many new vehicles adding Stop-Start and other advanced fuel saving technology.

When the new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu rolls into showrooms later this year it will offer a variety of powertrain options including a base 1.5-liter turbo package that will feature standard Stop-Start, making it the latest in a growing list of models equipped with the fuel-saving technology.

Within the next decade, forecasts Navigant Research, Stop-Start will be standard equipment on the majority of new cars, trucks and crossovers sold worldwide, according to a new study by Navigant Research. That’s more than double today’s numbers.

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“The basic Stop-Start system is gradually evolving into one piece of a multifaceted approach to improving fuel economy in light duty vehicles,” according to Navigant’s senior research analyst David Alexander.

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Mileage Still Critical to Shoppers, Despite Plunging Prices

Technology, exterior and interior design, also critical, finds Power study.

by on Jan.19, 2015

Power's Avoiders study warns that motorists still won't pay a stiff premium for alternative power models like the new 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

With gas prices down below $2 a gallon in most of the country, there’s been a surge of demand for pickups and other big vehicles. Even so, fuel economy remains the key factor most motorists consider when buying a new car, truck of crossover, according to a new survey by J.D. Power and Associates.

But even the highest-mileage vehicles may not connect with buyers turned off by poor design or by the lack of the latest technological features, notes Power’s 2015 U.S. Avoiders Study. The annual report looks at both what motivates motorists to buy, reject or avoid particular models.

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For the fourth year in a row, it turns out, fuel economy has remained the most influential factor in choosing a new vehicle. According to the 2015 study, 14% of shoppers listed mileage as number one on the list of why they bought a particular vehicle, while 16% said they rejected a vehicle because of its poor mileage.

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New Vehicle Fuel Economy Continues to Drop

Americans buying less efficient vehicles in larger numbers.

by on Jan.08, 2015

Low gas prices are helping to drive sales of full-size pickups like the Ford F-150.

With new vehicle sales setting a blistering pace during December at a seasonally adjusted annual rate or SAAR of 17.3 million units, and the popularity of trucks and utility vehicles on the rise, the average fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the U.S. slipped last month, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

The university’s numbers showed that the mileage or window-sticker values of cars, light trucks, vans and SUVs purchased in December was 25.1 mpg, down from 25.3 mpg in each of the previous three months and down from an all-time high 25.8 mpg last August. Overall, vehicle fuel economy is up 5 mpg from October 2007, the first full month of monitoring by UMTRI researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.

Power!

“The recent reductions in gas mileage likely reflect the large and continuing decreases in the price of gasoline,” Sivak said. (more…)

Plunging Fuel Prices Could Create Problems for Ford, Says Product Chief

Maker intends to do “the right thing,” but must balance CAFE and consumer demands.

by on Dec.04, 2014

Ford's 2015 F-150 4x2 with Ford’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine has EPA-estimated ratings of 22 mpg Combined.

With gasoline prices plummeting below $3 a gallon in much of the country – and with further cuts expected – American motorists are shifting gears. November’s booming sales numbers were given strong momentum by the resurgent demand for fuel-hungry pickups, SUVs vans and even muscle cars.

Ironically, that’s not entirely good news for automakers like Ford Motor Co. On the positive side, sales of the new 2015 Mustang nearly doubled over last year’s volume, and Ford has a massive backlog of orders for its new F-150 pickup, the most profitable model in its portfolio.

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But plunging pump prices also create some serious challenges, cautioned Raj Nair, Ford’s global product development chief.

“Certainly, low fuel prices make it hard to sell some vehicles like hybrids and electrics,” he said during a lunch at the Ford test track near the maker’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

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Truck, SUV Sales Driving Down Fuel Economy Average

Second consecutive month for mileage drop.

by on Oct.06, 2014

Despite big increase in fuel economy for the Ram EcoDiesel, sales of trucks and SUVs are driving down the average fuel economy of new vehicles in the U.S.

The upturn in the sales of pick-up trucks and sport utility vehicles is taking a toll on the average fuel-economy of vehicles sold in the United States, according to the University of Michigan.

The average fuel economy based on the mandatory window-sticker mileage figures of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in September stood at 25.3 mpg — down 0.5 miles per gallon from the value in August, U-M researchers reported.

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“This large drop likely reflects the increased sales of light trucks and SUVs,” the survey’s authors said in a statement. (more…)

Ram Diesel, Toyota Highlander Hybrid Win Consumer Reports Nods

Both deliver unexpected mileage, magazine says.

by on Aug.27, 2014

The Ram EcoDiesel delivers sedan-like mileage, according to Consumer Reports testers.

Consumer Reports has placed Fiat Chrysler’s Ram 1500 EcoDiesel at the top of its full-size pickup truck ratings due to its performance in fuel-economy tests, while the influential magazine also lauded the Toyota Highlander SUV.

The choice of the Ram Diesel underscores the growing intensity of the competition in the full-size pickup segment, which is undergoing a technical revolution as truck makers roll out new, more fuel-efficient powertrains and make other significant improvements meant to boost fuel-economy.

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Ford Motor Co. will launch a new, aluminum-bodied F-150 this fall that sheds up to 700 pounds and is expected to gain significant mileage, but the all-new truck wasn’t included in this round of tests by Consumer Reports.

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Ford Pitches Innovation as it Prepares Launch of Aluminum F-150 Pickup

But nagging concerns remain.

by on Aug.14, 2014

It all adds up - the new sliding rear window on the 2015 F-150 saves about a pound.

(The story has been updated to include results of a new survey of pickup owners.)

Ford Motor Co. is so eager to show off the innovations and weight-savings built into its aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 pickup, it held a press conference to show off a new sliding rear window that saved just slightly less than one pound.

The maker is racing to get ready for the launch of the new truck and knows there are plenty of concerns about the switch to an “aluminum-intensive” body – made all the more of a challenge by a fire that destroyed a prototype of its next-generation heavy duty pickups, expected to switch to the lightweight metal a year after the launch of the half-ton F-150.

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The 2015 pickup will be as much as 700 pounds lighter than the old, steel-bodied F-150, much of that due to the switch to aluminum. But Ford also has cut mass in a number of areas, large and small. That includes the use of a new “seamless” sliding rear window developed in a collaboration with Canadian-mega-supplier Magna International, noted the appropriately named Noah Mass, the Ford engineering manager responsible for sliding windows and sunroofs.

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Automakers Reap Benefit of Better Mileage, Low Fuel Prices

Fuel economy improves as truck sales ride high.

by on Aug.06, 2014

UMTRI notes that despite the increase in sales of large vehicles, like the F-150, fuel economy levels continue to improve.

Automakers are maximizing the sweet spot in mix of sales, fuel economy and gas prices – bigger vehicles getting better gas mileage as fuel prices drop – and enjoying robust sales as a result.

Fuel economy trends continue to improve despite the continuing surge in the sales of light-duty trucks and sport utility vehicles. Meanwhile gasoline prices continue to decline as the end of the summer driving season looms.

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The University of Michigan’s monthly measurement of the efficiency of new vehicles sold in the U.S. during July fell just shy of the all-time high, according to researchers at U-M’s Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).  (more…)