Finally, Sensible and Achievable Mileage Standards

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May 23, 2009

By Bob Difley

This was a big week for environmentalists,the auto companies, and foes of foreign oil addiction. The Obama administration announced new CAFÉ mileage standards for American built cars and light trucks. Beginning in 2016—four years earlier than the 2007 energy bill–passenger cars will have to attain 39 mpg (a 30% increase) and light trucks 30 mpg for a combined mpg of 35.5. This is a huge increase over current CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards. The bill will also regulate tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide.

Much of credit for pushing these standards goes to the West coast states and the northeastern states for pushing tougher standards than the Federal Government had required. Since about 45% of the population lives in these progressive states, the car makers knew that the more stringent standards were inevitable and jumped on board.

In fact, one of the original complaints of the car companies was that it would be impossible to manufacture vehicles that had to comply with different standards in every state. So they were ready to accept the a mileage standard (after fighting higher mileage standards for the last 15 years or so).

What this means to the environment and global climate change is that there will be far less CO2 emissions from vehicles (currently about one-quarter of total greenhouse gas emissions in the US) due to the reduced amount of gasoline burned, as well as an improvement in air quality. The new standards will reduce our use of fossil fuels, a non-renewable and shrinking commodity, and will also reduce our imports of foreign oil, especially from OPEC states and other unfriendly regimes, as well as reducing the flow of American dollars into countries that fund radical Islamic terrorists.

As expected, though, there will be detractors, who still think they have the right to drive gas guzzling SUVs, pollute at will by continuing to use cheap fossil fuels, and whose egos won’t fit into a smaller, fuel-efficient vehicle. It’s time we Americans take some responsibility for our profligate ways. European drivers have already adopted more fuel-efficient cars–over 100 already meet the CAFE 2016 standards, and even China builds more advanced and efficient cars and has much higher fuel economy standards than the US.

Even though the cars will cost an estimated $600 to $1,300 more, the increased cost will be more than offset by the fuel savings, and I would bet that the resale value will remain a lot higher than lesser efficient vehicles. I would even bet on government inducements, such as tax breaks or buyouts of older cars as incentives to buy these fuel-efficient vehicles. You can seethe current crop of CAFE qualifying vehicles and a taste of what is to come on the Clean Fleet Web site.

That’s the good news for our toads, but what about our motorhomes and heavy duty trucks needed to pull large fifth wheels? My guess is that these fulltimer vehicles will still sell—since they are not driven as many miles overall as passenger cars. But there will be a shift by RV manufacturers to smaller, more fuel-efficient rigs, such as those now being built on the Dodge Sprinter chassis with the smaller Mercedes diesel engines that get between 15 and 20 mpg. This shift will be driven by RV buyers that are downsizing, not only for fuel efficiency, but also to reduce the overall use of natural resources, the desire for a more maneuverable and drivable vehicle that takes up less space, and one that is much easier to boondock with (you knew that was coming).


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  1. Pingback: sma

  2. John Shelton

    Yes, I did misunderstand the new “average” computation procedure. That is why I looked up some additional information. It is true that the corporate average must be met, but it will be met by requiring autos in different size brackets determined by the footprint (calculated by multiplying wheelbase times front and rear average wheel tread), with each size bracket to meet specific minimum fuel mileage numbers. In other words, the larger the auto, the lower the minimum fuel mileage requirement will be for that particular size auto. This, in the end, rather than favoring the ultra small car will actually put the squeeze on the ultra small models that do not show fuel mileage improvements in proportion to their diminutive size.

  3. Lindsay

    “””Many current mid-sized cars now on the market meet these newly mandated fuel mileage requirements and others will follow within months.”””

    This is not true and you misunderstand the CAFE standards. They are fleet averages and many will have to be much higher to get the average higher.

    “”””and NOBODY will be forcing you to either!!!!!! Bet, deep down, you are kinda envious of him”””

    The 1000 cc tin cans will be the only new cars sold. The Smart car doesn’t even make the average newly mandated standards. You may want to subject your family to these death traps (Any objective observer and only conclude they are death traps.), then go ahead and do so. In America we should not be having the government mandate that I have to also. My 4 wheel drive pickup gets 18 mpg and in a crash will go through a Smart car with no damage to my occupants. You may think that we are envious, but we laugh every time we see a Smart car or a hybrid. If you really wanted to protect our country, you would have not stopped the exploitation of our natural resources of fossil fuels and nuclear power which has made our country purchase $700 billion for foreign sources. The problem that the tin car cars are to fix is a problem manufactured by the environmentalists anyway.

  4. Joe

    Most Hybrids aren’t cost effective for the reasons I posted on the Hyper Mileage thread. Moving from a civic to a civic Hybrid will jump you from around 30mpg to around 43mpg. That will save around 10gal per 1000 miles or 100 gal per 10,000 miles. Even if you drive 15k a year, it’s 150 gal. or $300-$600 for $2-$4 gas.

    The base model civic sedan costs $8k more than the base model civic hybrid sedan. Even if you save $500 a year, it will take 16 years to make up the cost.

    Current hybrid batteries are expected to last around 10 years with normal use and the cost to replace them is substantial. That really hurts resale once the car is 5-7 years old.

    I tried to make the numbers work when I bought a car last fall and couldn’t make it work, even with tax credits, fuel savings, and resale.

  5. John Shelton

    For all those of you who are jumping on this “1000 CC tin can” soap box, including Lindsay, I suggest you check out the 2009 edition of U.S. EPA fuel mileage guide. This “Tin Can” car that is repeatedly mentioned as the poster child of what new fuel mileage legislation will force upon the U.S. buyer hardly qualifies for such a position. At 41 mpg/hwy, if measured by fuel burned per ton/mile (very light weight), fuel burned per interior volume/mile (very small inside), or footprint/mile (very short wheelbase, very narrow), this car would qualify as a fuel guzzler and be subject to a gas guzzler penalty if such were ever enacted. Another highly touted car that also falls into this category is the Mini Cooper at 37 mpg/hwy. Compare these numbers with a Honda Civic hybrid at 45 mpg/hwy or the Toyota Prius hybrid also at 45 mpg/hwy. While neither of these 45 mpg vehicles are ’59 Pontiac Bonnevilles with 421 cubic inch engines with 3 carburetors, capable of burning up a set of rear tires in one weekend, they are comfortable, capable vehicles that have been big sellers without any legislative pressures to buy them. Check out the Ford Fusion that is mentioned by the author of this blog in a newer blog. Meets requirements and is in showrooms today. Many current mid-sized cars now on the market meet these newly mandated fuel mileage requirements and others will follow within months.

    If your neighbor down the street wants to buy a “cute little car” that is rough riding, has no space inside, has a balky transmission, and gets downright poor fuel mileage when its weight and size is taken into consideration, that is his business. NOBODY is forcing him to buy that particular car or a car like that – – – – and NOBODY will be forcing you to either!!!!!! Bet, deep down, you are kinda envious of him tho, when he pulls into a parking space that you cannot get your Ford Explorer into.

  6. When we ran the numbers on the hybred, we looked at the miles/year and assumed we’d own the car for 10 years. After 10 years, most of the intrinsic value of the resale value has to do with the condition of the vehicle and mileage, more than the make and model. The business case wouldn’t close without considering net present value, which made the hybred even more expensive.

    As far as the organic, plants don’t care whether the nutrients come from steer manure or a chemical plant, organic farmers use products every bit as poisonous as conventional agriculture, and it takes 1/3 more land to grow organic food than conventional farming, which means more land. But hey, they got a good thing going, and excellent marketing, so more power to them.

    As far as the politicians (why can’t he find any democrats who’ve paid their taxes?) the less said about that in this forum, the better.

  7. Bob Difley

    John – A couple things. Why wouldn’t you own a hybrid long enough to recoup the cost. Hybrids are running over 100000 miles and the batteries are outlasting the cars. And didd you check resale value on hybrids?
    And why wouldn’t you pay extra for organic food when it tastes better and is better for your health? And those do-gooders you talk about are the ones we ourselves elected to run the government for us. And there are a lot more of us who are getting what we voted for than those who wanted the same old environment destroying actions of the last eight years.
    But other than that I like your tweets and facebook posts. Brings back memories of places I’ve been. Thanks for that.

  8. The problem isn’t that the auto makers have “forced” us with guns to our heads to buy the big gas guzzlers. It’s because that’s what we wanted to buy. Even at $5.00/gallon, it’s hard to make the economics of a hybred work out. I tried. Decided that I wouldn’t own one long enough to recoup the higher initial cost.

    So the people who buy hybreds are people who want to earn environmentalist creds. When people want the higher mileage car, they will pay for it, like a lot of people paying extra to buy “organic” food.

    We pay for what’s important to us, and its not up to do-gooders in Washington to tell us what should be important to us, and force us in that direction. They are supposed to be our servants, not our masters.

  9. Lindsay

    Hey, nothing to apologize for. You like most liberals just tend to think that the government knows better how to spend our money than the individuals who have worked and sacrificed to make it. It’s that silly old notion that if you work hard, live within your means, and save your money, you will be fine in life. You should actually study up on global warming to see the actual facts of it and I think you will be surprised. Getting your ideas for Katie Curric has it’s downfalls on this subject.

  10. mgt – I apologize for destroying the RV industry and spewing global warming hysteria. But what can you expect with someone with the forsight of a 2 year old.

  11. mgt

    Well Bob maybe when you and your greenie friends destroy the RV industry and your livelhood maybe then you’ll think twice about spewing global warming hysteria. You have the forsight of a 2 year old if that! Typical liberal!

  12. Lindsay

    America have about 850 cars per 1000 people. China has about 35 cars per vehicle. Their mileage is a non issue. Their main mode of transportation is the bike. An environmentalists dream for those who think Americans are using too much of our energy. Their energy usage for manufacturing is what really matters for America. China is building about 1 coal fired power plant a week. Two thirds of the proposed coal fired power plants in America have been turned down due to misguided global warming concerns. We have not built a nuclear power plant in over 30 years and the environmentalist continue to fight them tooth and nail. Our power usage continues to outstrip our power plant construction. Rationing is near even through we have decades of fossil fuels right on our shores that is being held prisoner by the environmentalist lawsuits. We have not built a new oil refinery in over 20 years. Alternative energy of which I am a big fan provides less than 2% of the nation’s electrical power. The biggest enemy of alternatives is the environmentalist. The huge solar power plant in the Mohave desert was recently stopped by CA Senator Dianne Feinstein. Ted Kennedy stopped the Cape wind project which would have supplied power to over 170,000 MA homes. It was built in the North Sea. Hydro power plants are continually under utilized due to environmentalist lawsuits because of fish concerns. I saw a protest myself in CA about a huge wave energy project that has been delayed for years by environmentalist. The notion of doubling and quadrupling fossil fuel energy before alternatives can supply more than a pittance of our energy is stupid.
    I can not believe that someone would say the new administrations policies on energy would not put Americans at a competitive disadvantage. This is even admitted by the President when he said, “My cap and trade policy would necessarily mean that electricity rates would skyrocket under cap and trade.” Everything produced using fossil fuels would become much more expensive. $3100 per family per year. Manufactories would be fleeing any country utilizing these anti fossil fuel policies. Million of American jobs will be lost. Plants will be required to reduced fossil fuels s would see their factories and jobs quickly go to China, India, and the countries not required to follow them. This is not in dispute. Cap and trade is a huge job exporter. Americns must think through the affects of these policies.

  13. Lindsay – You have to start somewhere to make changes and improvements. If we waited until solar, wind, and electric energy was ready for prime time, it would never get there. And you say that our water and air is cleaner now
    50 years ago is because environmentalists (greens) have beensuccessful in changing government policies and stopping polluters. And putting us at a competitive disadvantage is just plain wrong. China’s cars are twice as fuel efficient as ours and their building of small regional nuclear power plants is way ahead of us. In dubai, they are building one of the largest solar arrays in the world to power the country–and that’s in oil country. And in Europe, they are also way ahead of us in alternative energy. The competitive disadvantage that will affect us is that these couontries are leaving us behind in technological innovation and putting alternative energy in use.

  14. Lindsay

    I can’t imagine why anybody would believe Oboma really wanted to get the US off it’s “addiction to oil”. Oil, natural gas, and coal are all very plentiful in the world and especially here in the United States. The environmental lobby has prevented our exploitation of fossil fuels for the last 30 years. The current lame excuse is global warming. Our water and air quality is much cleaner that 50 years ago and the trend continues. The bottom line is the greens have put the US in a horrible position on energy. This new dangerous tin can vehicle approach is just the latest in a long string of the libs attempts to control our lives. We do not have an energy problem, but an energy policy problem. I am all for alternatives and have studied them extensively. I know enough to realize they are not ready to replace fossil fuels. The current policy of deliberately making them very expensive to speed fledgling alternatives which can not possibly replace fossil is exceeding stupid and will put America at a huge competitive disadvantage in the world. I do take solace in the fact that not too many RV’ers have bought into the concept.

  15. Tireman

    I find it interesting to read comments about how we can “solve” all our oil problems if we simply used the oil shale here in the US.
    While it is true we have a lot of oil shale here it also appears true that we currently do not have the technology to efficiently or effectively extract and converting the Kerogen into usable fuel.

    Now maybe you can convince people tin Utah, Wyoming that is is Ok to dig up and then turn a significant portion of their state to waste dumps. AND maybe you can convince the states around the Great lakes to pump billions of gallons of water to support the processing.

    You might read this item before you buy stock in an Oil Shale extraction venture.

  16. Lindsay

    Unfortunately it isn’t all that funny. It’s true. In a crash, the heavy vehicle will almost always win, You can mitigate things somewhat with technology, but a Smart car hitting a truck or SUV is going to be fatal to it’s occupants and normal speeds. We Americans know this instinctively. When the Smart car was first sold in the US, it was advertised as being safer than a real car, but subsequently it came out that it was safer than a similar sized car (or golf cart) and you chances of being killed in a normal high speed crash were four times greater than in a real car. I have no problem with you having one. It is your family that will be riding in it (two at a time) but I do not think the government has the right to tell me to subject my family to these additional risk just because the environmentalist do not want us to go after our own God give natural resources that are there awaiting our efforts at retrieval. I am also a great proponent of alternative energy and have studied extensively about most of them. None of them will replace fossil fuels in the next several decades. The administration is attempting to speed the alternatives by making fossil fuels very expensive. This whole thing is about and only about the myth of global warming and the additional control of the American people. Pollution and safety are no considerations,

  17. Lindsay – Funny video. I got a chuckle. I tried to send you an email, but I see you have an invalid email address.

  18. Pingback: RV Weekly Round-Up (May 23-29, 2009) : RV and Camping News and Information

  19. Lindsay

    What I am comparing is not motorcycles, but the free market cars against the newly mandated light, underpowered cars of which the Smart Car barely complies. There is no doubt that these little cars are death traps compared to the cars we have been buying and want to buy in the future. No doubt at all. Americans deserve choices, not to have the government decide that we must drive these death traps. Click on the link I provided about to learn about the Mercedes Stupid car. A head on at residential speeds results in death for the occupants (hence the name Stupid car). Thousand s of Americans men woman and children will be needlessly killed by these mandates that attempt to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. (manmade global warming) This is all about control and politics, not about science. If we loose a few thousand killed and a few tens of thousands maimed each year, hey it’s worth it for the politicians. I plan on keeping my current cars as long as I can get parts. I will not be buying the newly mandated deathtraps and I suspect that many other American sill agree. My soapbox is very steady and a few greens will not deter me or the millions of others who want to buy safe cars for their loved ones. Do you have a windmill?

  20. John Shelton

    Lindsay, I have to take issue with you on your position that in order to improve fuel mileage a “1000 cc tin can death trap” would be required. As has been pointed out – and documented – here, there are already “standard sized” automobiles on the market that certainly are not “1000 cc tin can death traps” that increase fuel mileage substantially over “conventional” automobiles. If someone wishes to contend that a Mercedes marketed Smart car (for example) is much more likely to result in more serious injury or more likely to result in death of the occupants than a mid-size automobile or large gas hog SUV in the event of a head-on crash with a truck or brick wall, I will have to agree with them. A crash of this nature on a motorcycle is even more likely to result in more serious injury or death; Why do you not get on a “Ban Motorcycles” soapbox? You are not, and because of current legislation, will not be required to ride a motorcycle any more than you will be forced to drive a “1000 cc tin can death trap”. You will still be able to drive your “standard size” passenger car and enjoy something on the order of twice the fuel mileage that you currently enjoy on the majority of them.

    It might be of note that several utility companies around the country are currently experimenting with electric/diesel and electric/gasoline powered medium duty trucks that are achieving substantial fuel mileage improvements while also improving overall performance. These vehicles will eventually work their way into the RV sector.

    The walls are caving in on your soapbox.

  21. For those of you who are still buying in to the rhetoric of “little 1000 cc tin can death traps” check this Web site out on what the auto makers are actually doing, and what is coming, and compare that with what the detractors are trying to get you to believe.

  22. Oops. There I did it again. The above post is mine, not my wife’s. I was, again, accidentally logged in with her ID. Sorry.

  23. Lindsay – You need to do a little more research. First of all the new fuel efficient cars must still pass the same crash tests. Second, there are already 5-seater medium-sized cars, which should be large enough for any use other than a small bus, which have achieved the new CAFE standards–and none of them are “little 1000 cc tin Can death traps.”
    As far as our free market driven society, look at what that business plan did to the banking industry. It has been widely proven that most people and companies will act in their own self interests. For instance, look at what unbridled polluting by American industry has done for the environment, like acid rain, DDT nearly causing the extinction of bird species, and our continued use of oil as a prime fuel–just because it is cheap–when it fouls the air, and feeds $$ into hostile nations economies and terrorists. Remember also that it was a free market economy that created slavery and that killed over half a million American boys to correct what, it appears, you would have endorsed because it was what the public wanted–cheap products made possible by slave labor. To find out for yourself the real facts about what the new standard cars will look like, go to:

  24. Lindsay

    Nice try to deflect the facts, but it doesn’t follow as I am sure most will agree. Your scenario isn’t real life. We are simply talking about doing away with the vehicles the American consumer has demonstrated they wish to drive and replacing them with little 1000 cc tin can death traps without their agreement or permission. In the first 230 years of our country, we have been a free market driven society. The manufacturers produced what the consumers would buy. Now the government is mandating that the car makes make little tin death traps that the consumer must buy if they want a new car. The sad thing is this is all in the name of the illusion of global warming that is really an excuse to just take over more of out lives. Government mandates are usually a failure

  25. Lindsay – To follow your objective of saving lives, it would be even better if we all drove armor plated Hummers. Also, if we lowered the speed limit on our highways to 15 mph, charged such high prices for cars that most people couldn’t afford them and there fore reducing the number of vehicles on the roads, took people’s licenses away for the first moving violation, removed all 18-wheelers from the highways, and required people to walk whenever traveling a distance of less than a mile, we could cut down even further on highway deaths. And, of course, we could make a law against Smart Cars running head on into each other at 40 mph.

  26. Lindsay

    Small light care are always going to be less safe than large heavy cars not matter what standards are used. Oboma can change the CAFE standards (without congress for the first time), but he can not change the laws of nature. The present CAFE standards have added 2,000 deaths a year to the US and these new crazy standards will vastly increase deaths of Americans men,women, and children for little enviromental gain. Two Smart cars traveling at 40 mph in a residiental setting hitting head on will kill everybody aboard. These new standards will be killing lots of folks.

  27. Oops.The above comment is mine. I accidentally logged in with my wife’s ID.

  28. For those of you who have commented that the new standards will have us all in tiny unsafe cars, the midsized Ford Fusion Hybrid, which is already on the market here in the US, demonstrates that you can enjoy fuel economy in a larger car with comfort and safety. The Ford Fusion Hybrid has an EPA certified rating of 41 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The car can be driven up to 47 mph in electric mode with no gasoline being consumed.

  29. George Miller and Mike B. – The point is that the technology already exists to get that kind of mileage–or close to it–and the auto companies have just stalled and refused to spend the money necessary to make the change over. To infer that in order to meet these new CAFE standards all future cars will have to Yugo clones is missing that point completely. Also, what the new rule also does is take the auto industry to the next step which will be all electric vehicles. Take the Tesla, for instance, already on the market, it will drive 200+ miles on a single charge and accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds–thesame as a $350,000 Lamborghini. How far of a stretch is it to figure that over the next few years battery improvement will extend that mileage, reduce manufacturing cost, extend the life of the battery (which already surpasses the life expectancy of electric cars), be recycleable, and quicker to charge. Waiting for market forces to drive the vehicle industry this far has been shown historically to not work. Wait and see, you will find that the Big 3 auto manufacturers will magically respond with efficient, safe, cars that their competitors already are producing (including Ford in Europe). They will have to or they will not stay in business.

  30. Mike B

    The EPA defines a light truck as: “Any motor vehicle rated at 8,500 pounds GVWR or less which has a vehicle curb weight of 6,000 pounds or less
    and which has a basic vehicle frontal area of 45 square feet or less…”

    My 2004 Ford Expedition’s curb weight is 5,671 lbs. and GVWR of 8,800 lbs. and it’s a pretty light duty tow vehicle.

    The Ford F250/350/450 all exceed the EPA’s curb and GVWR numbers.

    Don’t take this wrong. I’d love to have a tow vehicle that gets much higher gas mileage, but it’s going to take a while and the transition will be “interesting.”

  31. George Miller

    Bob, When you have control over the 95% of green house gases I will listen to your ideas. If we are required to drive Yugos we will get to use the free hospitals set up by the big BO government. If we get killed in the Yugos, less population to exhale CO2. We have plenty of oil here, drill now save or dependency on foreign oil, Yugos will help limit the number of kids, because of a lack of room, and therefore less CO2 exhaled, if you believe road taxes are spent on roads and bridges to the exclusion of other boondoggles, your are naive, I next expect the 30mpg to be extended to RVs and I will have to find another use for mine. It does get almost 10mpg. Good solid thinking Bob, George Miller

  32. Don Walters

    On a lighterside !! I have a need for a URL to the BEST buy for Hydra-Motorhome jacks. 1992 Ford Chassie 30 ft .Coachman.

  33. Roger Morgan

    Just what we need, another Government mandate by people who have no clue.
    You want a high milage auto, then get it now and we dont have to have anyone else involved.
    Example of cars I own NOW
    08 Prius 48.5 mpg, 08 GMC Denai Yukon XL 16mpg, 08 Dodge Ram 3500 16mpg, 06 Mini Cooper 32mpg, Scooter 150 80mpg , Monaco Exec 45′ Detroit 515hp 5mpg downhill, Assorted cars with Who Cares mileage-Dodge Viper, 32 Ford 5W coupe, 48 Chev coupe hot rod
    My point is you should be able to choose what fits your situation and not have anyone tell you what you must do. If you want mileage you can get it now.
    I do hope that anyone driving a clown car does not meet a silver haired person driving a whith Buick

  34. Mitch Dashiell

    Bob, your answer to Jim Joling says it all. I needed to read no more. You obviously thing Government is the Answer and has saved us from ourselves. If you would have made those outlandish statements at the beginning of your article, it would have saved me the trouble of reading it. You really have bought into the Progressive line and I hope you enjoy the next 4 years. It should be everythng you ever wished for.

  35. G Shea

    This bill will do nothing toward any real movement to get us off oil. It will make the “greens” feel good as thier “Free thinking” leader acts, but where is the boldness we saw Before the election? According to Obamas own words, we should expect much more action on this issue. He claimed to support off shore drilling (when we had 4.00 prices), but now all we hear is the same old higher mileage, inflate your tires crap. If we really want to stop importing oil we can. The alternatives are here now. Small cars and light trucks can run on hydrogen NOW (doing it elsewhere), compressed air (doing it in france today). Larger cars and heavy trucks and buses can run on bio diesel, CNG, and propane (I have seen it work myself). I have seen propane driven trucks and buses from WWII era. This to me proves that the promised “change” is just more of the same crap we have gotten before, oil companies getting rich on our backs as the real answers keep getting hidden from the public or critisized as inefficent. Truth is gasoline is the worst, least efficent way to power personal transportation, but the news media doesn’t want answers, they want problems. Time for the indivdual to act, I ride a electric moped to work, walk or will be driving my bio deisel (soon to be CNG?) truck to work or play. What are each of us going to do to force the answers we have NOW to be used? It is up to us, the government will never solve this with out us.

  36. Kay Knott

    I appreciate that the government is looking at improving vehicle mileage but do take offense at the comment that people love their gas guzzling SUV’s. and will keep driving them There are places that necessitate the use of a large 4WD SUV. We live in ;a farming community in the high desert of Oregon and there are places I wouldn’t dream of going in a small car 4WD or not. I think the key issue is mpg, not size or type of car. My parents were killed in a car wreck on a mountain pass in a freak snow storm driving a small subaru 4WD vehicle. when a person in another car hit them Mom was killed outright, Dad died 3 days later. Most of my family will not drive a small car since the accident.

  37. Lindsay

    It is so strange that the liberals who have prevented the US from tapping our natural resources of oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear power decry the purchase of foreign oil. We have enough shale oil in 3 Western states to supply our nation for decades. Congress has prevented even the experimental plants to get methods of extraction. With today’s technology it can be extracted for $60 a barrel. This whole contrived shortage of fossil fuels is strictly bout the “greens” belief in the hoax of global warming. We have vast amounts of domestic fossil fuels and the environmentalist just want to control our lives. The Cap and Tax will be costing the average family $3100 and we will get absolutely nothing from it except new social programs and redistribution of existing wealth. The “greens” don’t think we should have our expensive Rvs and are punishing achievers.

  38. Rick

    ANYTIME ….ANY GOVERNMENT….gets involved in things, 1- it will cost you the American consumer, 2- it will be messed up and will probably not work, 3- It will then cost you the American consumer even MORE to fix it IF….IF….it can be fixed.

  39. Drew


    On the one hand you say that light trucks are not included for the new standard, but in the beginning of your report you stated they are. In any case, I’m as confused as some others here that you claim are not listening, don’t get, etc. Please either tell me light trucks are affected or not. If in fact they are, this is much too ambitious a goal….and Obama sure is a hipocrit for standing in Indiana pretending to have compassion for all those who lost thier jobs, then endorsing this.


  40. Craig Powell

    What a bunch of liberal crap!! If you think the European countries are so great move there and leave us alone! This is America and YES I DO HAVE THE RIGHT TO DRIVE A BIG SUV IF I WANT TOO! The whole green house gas thing is big hoax and this will do nothing to save the planet. Even if there was a green house gas problem what we would save will be far over shadowed by other countries who have no intentions of reducing there emissions. This will mean smaller less safe cars for all to drive. As a State Trooper I can tell you from 30 years experience that small cars are not as safe as larger vehicles in any kind of crash. I have pulled more bodies out small cars then I care to think about. If we are all forced by our now socialist leaders to drive small cars it will mean more trips to get all the kids to the game or school. People will just drive more using more fuel and nothing will change except the price of cars and our safety. Keep your small green cars and I will keep my F350 and Explorer.

  41. Tom Amrozowicz

    Difley insinuates that F150, F-250, F-350 and 1500, 2500, and 3500 pickups are not light trucks, but the last time I checked they were considered light trucks, with the Freightliner sport as a Medium Duty, so farm boys get ready to be required to have something in that size for your chores.

  42. John Shelton

    Bob, If I am not mistaken about this new legislation, it cans CAFE. From everything that I read, these new standards are minimum standards and not Corporate Average. Manufacturers will no longer be allowed to sell (or give away) extremely high mileage vehicles to gain “credits” to sell lower mileage vehicles to maintain a specified Corporate Average Fuel Economy. While this legislation has some good intent, I fear that now is not the time to impose these specific restrictions. Our Government has said that this legislation would add something like $600 to $1300 per vehicle. I have seen estimates from the manufacturing side as high as $6000. Do you really trust your Government’s estimates as to the true cost of something – – ANYTHING????? You gotta drive a lot of miles to recover several thousand dollars in fuel savings. With the automobile industry in the shambles that it is currently experiencing, and the severe sales drop seen recently, is now the time to add several thousand dollars to the price of a vehicle? Would it not be a much more productive measure to give the auto manufacturers some cash incentives (take back a few Billion that the banks have squandered) to produce the kind of vehicles that are being legislated for the consumer who is already struggling and cannot afford to buy vehicles at the current prices, and therefore likely will not buy the legislated vehicles in sufficient quantity (for manufacturer profit and desired environmental effects) once they are produced.

  43. Mike

    It is not my big ego that needs to fit inside a vehicle, it is my 6′ 4″ + frame and 60 + years of belly. My other half drives an Impala, getting good mileage, but it is a chore to get me into and out of it. It has a very nice back seat, but if I am in the front passenger seat no one over 5’6″ can ride behind me, effectively cuttng out my adult children and teenage grandchildren. So, we have to take 2 or more vehicles, which does not save fuel or pollution.

  44. Goo informational article. I am not sure we need to downsize or lose our egos (if that is why we buy the larger vehicles). Seems to be a strong personal bias in the article. I personally own my vehicles because of safety and need for towing/carrying capacity. We have a Acura TL with 272 hp rated one of the safest cars that gets 30mpg on the road. Also, a Ford V-10 with about the same hp that gets 14 on the road. Many of the lower hp cars and trucks don’t do this well. Design and application of known technology can get us a long way toward the new CAFE standards. Don’t you also think that efficent public transportation should also carry some of the load? Certainly would reduce the need and economics for driving as many miles and owning second and third vehicles.

  45. Lynard Olson

    There is so much energy in a gallon of fuel. This energy must push a vehicle that weighs X lbs and after this vehicle has started moving it has the wind resistance to work against. You can only push the mpg so far. I am afraid that the government has met its match against Physics 101.

    To over come this the car manufacturer must decrease the weight and/or make the car more aerodynamic. In both cases it means the vehicle must get smaller. Smaller means less safe against the vehicles currently on the road.

    Using electricity comes with a cost. It has to be generated. Generation is not 100% efficient. So converting the energy in a gallon of fuel into motion (moving a car) aftger it has been burned in the engine can either be mechanically connected to the wheels or converted to electricity. When converted to electricity there is a loss in the generation (generator) and a loss in converting it back to mechanical energy (electric motor).

    The design of the vehcile needs to be left to the market place. The customer will purchase what he needs, not what the government dictates.

  46. Jim Joling – Your grasp of history is a bit skewed. If got the government out of our lives and let the free market determine what products we manufacture and buy we would still have a huge market for leg irons to chain up our slaves at night, have the availability really cheap products becaue we could put kids to work in factories for next to nothing, our clotheswould also bevery inexpensive as we could force women to sit at sewing machines in horrid conditions for 12 hours a day to churn out garments, and we could continue to spew pollutants from our factories instead of forcing them to clean up their act. Yeah, the free market without government interference would certainly make our lives more pleasant.

  47. JIm McElwee – Yes, the cost will be higher. And there would be no cost if we continued to drive inefficient vehicles, burn fossil fuels, and throw our trash out the window so we don’t have to pay trash collectors. There are all kinds of ways we motorists could save money if the government didn’t keep meddling in our lives, taxing us for things like building and maintaining roads and highways, building bridges, beating acid rain, passing laws requiring industrialists to not pollute and to clean up their messes (which cost them money which they just pass on to us in the way of increased prices for their procuts), reducing pollution of our streams and rivers, and cleaning up the air. And for global warming, why don’t we just let industry take voluntary steps to combat climate change. That will take care of it, besides it probably won’t affect us since the real problems will happen after we are no longer here.

  48. Jim Joling

    Bob, you are very naive to think this is driven by anything but more big government meddling in our lives. You reference those “progressive” states as examples of good policy. You might want to take a look at the mess every single “progressive” state is in. High taxes, high unemployment, loss of population, loss of businesses and just too much government. The free market will work best in determining what type and size vehicle will be produced and sold. The government has no right to tell us what we drive, how much we drive and what gas mileage we get. The free market has always been a much better determining factor in our society. Socialism will not work in this country and that is exactly what we are headed for. Wake up. CAFÉ standards have done nothing but cause companies to make cars that no one wants.

    However, since we still have some free choices left, those of you who want to get better gas mileage, get an electric car and hope like heck there is a plug available every 60 miles.

  49. carverant

    I think the standards are fine and its been known for a LONG time that the manufacturers of vehicles could build the same vehicles with different gearing and get much better milage then now BUT they were in bed with the oil companies who wanted to make a killing on oil now the oil companies and speculators are making the killing..its time to vote the politicians out of office and start over with some that MAY have common sense..Just my opinion

  50. George Wharton – I hope your Yukon lasts, also. With the huge profit the automakers made on it, it should last longer. But if it doesn’t, go buy another one. Where do you get the idea that they won’t be available anymore? That is not a light duty truck, and will still be available for farmers, contractors, trailer and fiver haulers, and those who think they look manly driving a big truck.

  51. John Holveck – Pay attention. The new CAFE standards have NOTHING to do with safety standards and crash tests, which remain the same. All we’re talking about here is increasing fuel mileage and reducing CO2 emissions. And that’s nonsense about tiny cars. If you don’;t want a tiny car, don’t buy one. There are plenty of mid-sized sedans with plenty of room that still get the mileage needed to qualify for the new CAFE standards. Check out the Toyota Prius (I rented one for a week last month and it was very comfortable and had a back seat that would seat three adults. And the Ford Fusion Hybrid, a mid-sized sedan that gets over 40mph. And what does the size of the vehicle have to do with the comfort of the seat?

  52. Gene Trautman – If running passenger cars and light trucks on electricityis not alternative fuel, I don’t know what is. You seem to be out of the loop as far as what is happening with transportation. We are far behind everyother country in the world on wasting energy in the transportation sector. In Europe there are already 100 cars that meet the new CAFE standards RIGHT NOW. Where have we been. China’s mileage standards are currently DOUBLE what ours are. And evven the auto companies are not fighting this plan, even though they would love to continue selling those big SUVs and macho trucks for the huge margins they can make on them. You need to catch up with the times.

  53. Dan – You’re not listening. You will still have your big trucks to feed hayto your critters. The mileage standards are for passenger cars and light trucks.

  54. Byron – I don’t think you’ll have to worry about not having a tow vehiclke capable of pulling your rig. The mileage standards were for passenger vehicles and light trucks. Even the RVIA backed off their position against higher mileage standards, originally for those same reasons, but trailer and fiver towers will still be able to buy heavyduty tow vehicles, with no drop in towing capacity, braking power, or safety.

  55. Jim McElwee

    As the new fuel efficient auto’s burn less fuel to save us money the Government will have to raise the tax to make up for their loss collected. The cost of $600 to $1300 dollars to pay for the technology will be as every thing estimated by the government probably doubled.

  56. George Wharton

    I sure hope that my nice big comfortable Yukon will last me till I die.

  57. John Holveck

    Hope nobody has a wreck in one of these tin cans. If they do they are sure going to come out on the short end. The trucks are going to have to be so small and underpowered that they will be virtually useless. Also what about people with kids, there is no room in the tiny cars to fit more that two people somewhat compfortable. If there is more that two, forget it. Also what about the ones of us who need to travel a few hundred to a thousand miles from time to time, you’l need a good chiropractor at the end of each trip to straighten out your back, I know I’ve tried to travel in a sedan from Texas to Florida to see my kids and my back was killing me at the end of the trip each time. I have one of the new diesel pickups that doesn’t put out any polution (supposedly) and it makes up for it by burning about 33% more fuel so how does that save us on foriegn oil?

  58. Gene Trautman

    Bob Difley, must have voted for OBMA. No one else would suggest this is a good piece of legislation. What we need is sensible legislation that moves this country to an alternative fuel, not some stupid piece of legislation that is not practical and is only designed to make some green house people feel good

  59. Dan

    Good article if you live knee deep in condo country. But just another dumbass mandate for the farming country. Hope your a vegetarian, cause that steak if I had my choice would really be high to all you electric car want a be’s Really hard to feed hay to cattle in mini cooper’s (Get real)

  60. Byron

    For a bunch of RVers that run around in low mileage vehicles — mine is lucky to get 7 mpg — I don’t think we should be cheering about the new required standards. With the reduced sizes of engines many will have to park their trailers because they can’t tow them with their new vehicles. Probably won’t affect those with big diesels or big gas units that take trucks rated way above the small trucks so as long as it doesn’t affect our travels then make it as high as they want for the “other guy”.