The Obama administration is suggesting a fuel-economy standard of 56.2 miles per gallon average for an automaker’s whole fleet by 2025, boosting the price of a new vehicle at least $2,100, the government calculates.
As reported by USA Today, that rating in EPA testing, converted for real-world driving, would translate to a window-sticker rating of about 37 mpg for combined city/highway driving. The best gasoline-electric hybrids already beat that, and some gas-only small cars are close, rated 33 or 34 mpg in city/highway driving.
The 56.2 target “is not a very heavy lift,” argues David Friedman, vehicles specialist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, which favors 62 mpg.
General Motors North American President Lloyd Reuss called a 56.2 fleet average “very challenging” but said automakers should “dig in and support things that enable clean air and fuel economy and unleveraging ourselves from foreign oil.”
Hyundai spokesman Jim Trainor, while declining to comment directly on 56.2 mpg as a new standard, noted that CEO John Krafcik often says that “50 is do-able with a lot of hard, smart work.”
The number emerged after White House talks last week with U.S. automakers, the United Auto Workers union and lawmakers. Foreign automakers are to be briefed this week.
A new regulation won’t officially be proposed until September. The range being considered is 47 to 62 mpg.
A 56.2 standard, “while not as ambitious as the level we have been advocating, is a doubling in fuel efficiency from today’s average passenger vehicle and would cut drivers’ fuel bills in half,” notes Roland Hwang of the Natural Resources Defense Council environmental group.
The current rule requires automakers to average 35.5 mpg by 2016. Credits for carbon-cutting air conditioning coolant make that close to 34 mpg in EPA tests, meaning a window-sticker rating of about 25 mpg in combined driving. The government adjusts lab test results to get what it believes drivers actually achieve, and that is the number that goes new car price stickers.
Friedman says the air-conditioning credit could cut 56.2 to 50 mpg, or about 37 mpg on the window sticker after the “real-world” adjustment.
May 22, 2009 by Bob Ashley · Comments Off on RVIA Facing Uphill Battle on Mileage Standards
With struggling American automotive manufacturers agreeing to work toward a dramatic increase in fuel economy over the next seven years, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) finds its hands tied in efforts to realistically influence the outcome of any national energ Wind Power, Wind Turbine Blades, Home Wind Turbines-75% Comm. y-related issues.
That, says RVIA President Richard Coon, is why RVIA won’t be taking a more aggressive stand against the national CAFE standards proposed this week by President Obama.
“The RVIA doesn’t have any leverage,” Coon told RVBusiness. “We are still opposed to CAFE increases. We are just as adamant.”
In a press release earlier this week, RVIA urged Congress and the Obama administration to take into consideration the need the RV industry has for heavier tow vehicles.
Although Chrysler LLC is in bankruptcy and General Motors Corp. faces a June 1 deadline to restructure, automakers apparently have accepted standards laid out by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and endorsed on Tuesday by President Obama.
Under the plan endorsed by President Obama that still needs to go through Congress and the regulatory process, cars and light trucks together would need to average 35.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2016 with car standards rising from the current 27.5 mpg to 39 mpg and light trucks increasing to 30 mpg from 24 mpg.
That has many in the RV industry worried that automakers soon won’t be building trucks with enough horsepower to tow larger travel trailers and fifth-wheels.
Coon said that RVIA will continue to work with a coalition that includes the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), American Recreation Coalition (ARC), National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the SUV Owners of America to limit fuel-mileage increases outlined by Obama.
California’s air board was preparing to set its own standard by limiting tailpipe emissions on vehicles sold in that state, and 16 other states were considering adopting CARB-like standards.
“Not having all the states setting their own standards is a plus,” Coon said. “But when you look at the auto manufacturers, they’ve got big problems at the moment and CAFE just adds to their barrel of misery.”
The 2016 date would move up by four years standards signed by President Bush in 2008 requiring auto manufacturers to meet a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.
Pickup and medium-duty trucks used for towing RVs are scheduled to be the target of a separate set of standards to be established by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).