Forget about the U.S. government’s goal of 54.5 mpg by 2025; Americans love their SUVs too much

“Way back in 2012, the US government released a relatively ambitious plan to increase US passenger fleet average fuel efficiency to 54.5mpg,” Jonathan M. Gitlin reports for Ars Technica. “Back then, we looked at some of the new technologies that automakers were adopting in order to meet this goal, plenty of which can now be found in our cars. But despite lots of hard work by the boffins in automotive research centers in the US and elsewhere, the 54.5mpg Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) goal is dead in the water.”

“Americans, it seems, are just too in love with their light trucks and SUVs to make it happen,” Gitlin reports. “That’s according to a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the California Air Resources Board.”

“The report projects that 46.3mpg is where we’ll be when it comes to CAFE in 2025, a drop of 15 percent compared to where we’d hoped to be,” Gitlin reports. “The assumptions that underpinned that target were based on a fleet that was two-thirds passenger cars and a third light trucks and SUVs. Now, the agencies have revised that based on consumer demand to a near-50:50 mix (52 percent cars, 48 percent trucks to be exact).”

Read more in the full article here.

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59 Comments

      1. I love my Rubicon too – of course is it a RAM Power Wagon – but I think the lockers, disconnecting sway bar, and winch are close. My “Sport” Wrangler Unlimited is nice too. At least I telecommute and don’t have to get that lovely 11mpg daily.

        I think if we can get some insurance and licensing rules changed more people would have a high MPG commuter car and leave their SUV / Truck for appropriate tasks. It is really a shame to have to pay so much to keep a second vehicle tagged and insured in some states. (CO)

    1. I love my 2004 Rubicon, only 17 mpg but damn fun to climb rocks and play in the mud. Low on maintenance, only get windshield cracks, new tires and one clutch replacement in the last twelve years. Best vehicle I’ve ever owned.

    2. Fuelly.com shows an average of 16 to 17 MPG for 1579 Jeep Wranglers in its database. That is really not good. It is barely better than most cars got 50 years ago. You can do better. The Subaru Outback (2333 vehicles tracked by fuelly.com) achieve 24 to 26 MPG.

      Better yet, get a highly-efficient car (at least 30 mpg, but the more mileage the better) …and hike, backpack, bike, run, swim — faster, harder, farther. Break a sweat. Don’t define yourself, or flatter your narcissistic ego needs, by the CO2-producing wheels you drive.

  1. Automakers are just too lazy. There is still plenty of low-hanging fruit in the area of regenerative braking which has made only a very limited appearance in production cars. That’s already a natural part of an electric car, BTW.

    1. Mass is mass. You can’t argue with physics. If soccer moms are going to continue to buy SUVs over sedans to “be higher and feel safer,” we’re all going to continue to be less safe and less ecologically sound.

  2. Tax the living daylights out of the pigmobiles. I’m not wild about breathing nasty air in increasingly hot weather just so people can get past their inadequacies.

      1. I don’t have freedom of choice about breathing foul air created by others. I don’t have freedom of choice in drinking water that’s polluted by increasing salt content. We share a world and sometimes have to look a bit beyond the end of our own noses.

        Sorry about being a liberal fascist. I never heard those words put together before. Sort of like calling someone an up-down or a left-right. Wish I could be that smart.

    1. Ah, yes. Because anyone who has any sort of need for anything larger than a Prius must simply have inadequacies. Because obvious a Prius or similar small, highly efficient car can tow a trailer, transport more than 4 people and their gear, or just plain move a good amount of stuff from one place to another.
      Oh, that’s right. They can’t.
      Maybe you should expand your horizons and look outside the city and consider the needs of people other than yourself some time.

      1. “Maybe you should expand your horizons and look outside the city and consider the needs of people other than yourself some time.”

        I assume that you wrote that in support of having large vehicles with huge engines?

        1. I wrote that in support of people having options for vehicles that suit their needs. Not everyone needs a full size SUV, for example. But that doesn’t mean that *no one* has that need.
          Those needs have nothing to do with “inadequacies”, which Mikey seems to imply.
          If an electric vehicle has enough range and capacity for your driving needs, great!
          If you need to routinely pull a trailer with a small to mid-size tractor on it, there aren’t very many electric or high-efficiency vehicles that can do so.

      2. You are either pretending to be dumb or simply don’t understand the article.

        Today, half of Americans are driving SUVs or light trucks. If you survey them, you’ll find that out of those, barely 20% haul heavy/bulky cargo, or more than 4 people, or on unpaved roads. In other words, the only reason 80% of SUV buyers buy them is to fell safer in them. Ironically, that feeling is actually false, since numerous studies show that SUVs are more dangerous than regular cars and ate more
        Often involved in fatalities (because most of the car safety features aren’t mandatory for trucks so SUVs don’t have them).

        Four out of five SUV owners in America don’t need their SUVs. They should be taxed for needlessly polluting other people’s air.

        1. It’s physics. SUVs sit higher than sedans and therefore have a higher center of gravity. They’re more likely to roll over.

          Yes, the belief in the greater safely of SUVs is misplaced. Having said that, if people want to buy SUVs, let ’em.

      3. Shiva105 — You do not know what you are talking about.

        1) I put a Curtis trailer hitch on my 2007 Prius years ago. I use it to tow my 14′ day sailer just fine, thank you very much. (Including towing it from NC to NJ when I bought it.) I have also surprised the guys at my local tool rental store when I used the Prius to pull some power equipment on good-sized trailers. And I also routinely use the trailer hitch for my bicycle rack. One more thing: my Prius was a champ for 14 miles (round trip) of off-road work to reach a trail head in the Gros Ventre mountain range outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming last week.

        2) My 2007 Prius is categorized as a mid-size car because it seats 5 people. You can look it up.

        3) My wife has a Lexus RX 400h SUV. We are both amazed that my Prius has the same cargo capacity as her Lexus. Except my Prius is a bit more practical because the cargo bay is lower to the ground (and so easier to load).

        4) By the way, there are plenty of smaller cars that can do this.

        The Prius is actually pretty good in snow, too. And it gets awesome mileage. I figure I have averaged over 50 mpg since 2007. The new plug-in Prius is projected to get 95 to 120 MPGe.

        The car is not just about you. The car is about all of us, and the planet. If you are okay with producing 20 pounds of CO2 for every 1 gallon of gas combusted, then you are part of the problem.

        1. Sorry, “Sorry, Shiva105, you are wrong” but you’re wrong.
          CO2 is not a pollutant nor does an increase in CO2 levels lead to temperature increases. Of course you don’t know that because as a Prius dupe you’ve been suckered into buying the global warming scam and are not aware of the facts.

          That makes YOU “part of the problem” – the problem being ignorance. Had you taken ten minutes to do some actual research you’d have found out that every calamity predicted by the IPCC and Algore has failed to come to pass, making your purchase of the slow, hideous, noisy, clumsy piece of junk called the Prius pointless.
          (Yes we test drove one. It’s an appalling car.)

          Here, do some learnin:
          http://growershouse.com/air-water-co2/co2/co2-generators-burners
          Yes that’s right, you can buy CO2 generators to make your plants grow faster.
          What does that tell you?
          It tells you that more CO2 means a greener earth.

          I do hope this was acerbic and patronizing enough, I really have had it with you supercilious eco-boneheads.

          Let’s all give eco-nazis One Star.

          1. Oh, no. Here we go again. You’ve said all this before. Doesn’t it hurt?

            Who said CO2 was a pollutant? I did not. CO2 is a GREENHOUSE GAS. I thought everyone knew that. It means CO2 has the capacity to increase atmospheric temperature because UV rays pass enter the atmosphere, and are then trapped by CO2 molecules. Just like a greenhouse gets warmth from the sun, and glass keeps the heat from escaping.

            However, you know burning fossil fuels, like gasoline, do in fact produce pollutants and other harmful gases, like NO (Nitrous Oxide), CO (Carbon Monoxide) and particulates — don’t you? About 15% of the weight of gasoline is stuff other than carbon, and engines that spew that stuff out, along with other impartially burned carbon atoms. But anyway, the bigger problem is CO2 …the Greenhouse Gas.

            Most people have no idea how much CO2 humans spew into the atmosphere. Picture all the fossil fuels humans burned around the globe for the past, say, year. It is a lot. For example, the US burned over 7 Billion Barrels (42 gallons per barrel) of petroleum products alone in 2015. But don’t forget to add other fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas.

            Then for the weight of all the carbon atoms in the fossil fuels (eg, gasoline is 85% carbon atoms, by weight), multiply by 3.67 to get the weight of CO2 that is produced when the fuel is combusted. It is a HUGE amount of CO2 spewed into the atmosphere, about half of which ends up in the ocean. Now do the same calculation for all the fossil fuels humans have ever burned.

            In the past 150 years, humans have added so much CO2 into the atmosphere that we have increased the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere by one-third over the past 150 years. That is what the parts-per-million (ppm) concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere means. The absolute number is not as important as the relative change in the past 150 years, when humans have been burning fossil fuels like crazy.

            CO2 is not a rate-limiting step for plants: they get plenty of CO2 already. It is like oxygen for humans — after you get what you need, you can’t use any more.

            Enlighten yourself. Look it up — it is all available online. Dig out your Chemistry 101 textbook and look up combustion of carbon and oxygen atoms.

            Ignorance is unnecessary. You, Sir, are the reason I am starting to agree with Stephen Hawking that humans are on a path to self-annihilation.

    2. Mikey,

      You do realize gas is already heavily taxed and almost to a turning point. The Electric vehicle market is already scaring the hell out of every State Governor and budget office because by the time 2025 ever gets here, they won’t be able to balance a budget to save their ass. For every electric car or even 2 miles per gallon cars increase gas mileage, billions of budget dollars for schools, roads, bridges, improvement, etc. is lost.
      Don’t worry if you don’t have an SUV because they are going to start taxing your nasty air, food, water, etc more and more just to pay for roads for those SUV drivers anyway.

      I suggest you spend some time figuring out how all these things are connected before you start point fingers and saying stuff like “tax the rich, tax the SUV drivers, tax anyone but me, College should be free!”.

      Get a clue.

      1. That is a pretty absurd implication: we shouldn’t attempt to reduce the number of air-polluting SUVs because they are an important source of tax revenue! Otherwise, if everyone starts buying cars with better gas economy and lower air pollution, there will be no more money for schools or hospitals.

        This is certainly one of the most ridiculous ideas, but it is not original: tobacco industry floated it years ago…

  3. The only way to meet the 54.5 mpg is with electric cars. While you may be able to do more with regenerative braking we are at the point of diminishing returns because the additional stuff you add to improve regenerative braking increases the weight of the cars which hurts milage.

    A key problem no one talks about is that all the government required safety features have made vehicles much heavier and heavy = less mpg. Also, the government’s witch hunt against diesel engines which can achieve 50+ mpg in cars has eliminated that option from the menu of approaches to meet the CAFE standards.

    So how will the 54.5 mpg standard be met? It won’t. Instead, the automakers will pay a hefty fine for each vehicle they sell that gets less then 54.5 mpg. Oh wait, it will not be the automakers who pay, but rather the consumer when they purchase a new car that includes a $1000-$2000 fine for not meeting the CAFE standards.

    1. 54.5 mpg isn’t the stuff of dreams. I have a Ford Focus 1.6 litre Diesel which averages around 56-57 mpg and has done so for the last several years. I keep a spreadsheet of my fuel purchases as part of my tax claims and I know exactly how much Diesel has been used in a quarter and what the mileage has been ( note – British gallons are a about 20% bigger than US gallons ).

      This is real world-driving and includes a fair bit of driving at 80 mph. I drive to Germany two or three times a year and cruising along the autobahns in excess of 100mph, still doesn’t bring the average consumption down to below 50 mpg.

      If my 2009 car can do that, then I would expect a more recent car to do better. Consumption testing is always done under optimum conditions and is rarely matched in the real world. Therefore if I can get 55mpg in the real world with a fairly old car while normal driving, then a modern car should be able to get claimed consumption figures considerably better than that.

        1. My apologies, I assumed that I was addressing people who were intelligent enough to understand that manufacturer’s claimed MPG figures are measured under such optimised conditions that they bear little relationship to real world mpg figures. That difference is massively in excess of the difference between Imperial and US gallons. My point was that if I can routinely achieve average consumption figures of 56 mpg in a fully laden car, driven vigorously on roads that aren’t level, then the theoretical claimed official mileage figure would be considerably better than that. 54.5 mpg would be regarded as a pretty feeble consumption target for a modern passenger vehicle anywhere else in the world.

          As for redefining the gallon, it was a very ill-defined unit during it’s early history. In England the earliest written mention of gallons was in 1342. There were different types of gallons at first, depending on what was being measured, such as ale gallons or wine gallons for liquids, with different gallon measures for various types of dry goods such as corn, coal and sand. They were all called gallons, but each had a different volume, some marginally different and others greatly different.

          The various gallons were all defined by a statute from Queen Anne in 1707. The wine gallon went on to be the basis of the US gallon. She also defined the coal gallon ( for dry measure ) which eventually became the Imperial gallon.

          In 1826 Britain did away with all the varying measurements and specified simplified Imperial measurements for everything. The coal gallon was renamed the Imperial gallon and had the advantage that one gallon of water weighs exactly ten pounds, and one fluid ounce of water weighs exactly one ounce ( 20 fluid ounces to the pint, eight pints to the gallon ).

  4. Some manufacturers have already beaten the goal. Tesla runs 89 to 100 mpg-e. The others just lack focus and commitment.

    OBTW, Teslas SUV, the Model X does 0-60 in 3.2 sec. And comes with nation-wide free recharging at Tesla SuperCharger locations.

  5. Those giant sprawlmobiles have no place jn our society. Not only do they pollute the enviroment, but they are a blight on our urban spaces. The SUV is a symbol of the suburban sprawl that directly destroyed urban centers for the past 50 years. Suburbia can not exisf in the 21st century.

    1. Barring punitive legislation or subsidies which I don’t support, sales of electric cars won’t significantly improve without a substantial improvement in battery capacity.

      1. Agree. But I think we’re going to see significant improvements in battery technology in that timeframe. Economies of scale will also reduce battery costs. As the economic momentum shifts to electric as it is beginning to do now, more large scale manufacturing will incentivize battery makers to get an edge on their competitors with miles per charge, faster charging, and lower production costs. The rechargeable EV battery market is about to take off.

  6. It was to avoid the earlier CAFE limits that SUVs were created in the first place, since they could be classified as trucks and didn’t need to be so restricted. Not only should they be taxed at a higher rate, it should be required to have a different license to drive one, IMHO. And only forest rangers and people who live on unpaved roads should be able to buy ’em. 😉

    1. In Colorado, I do pay more for my license plates (where the “use” tax is collected every year) for a 3/4 ton truck. It is painful – and you pay it even if you drive one mile or twenty-five thousand miles per year. Since I work from home, I don’t drive much and I utilize a 125cc scooter to do short trips in the vicinity of my home during the warmer half of the year. How can we strike a balance between those times when a heavy vehicle is required vs when transporting a human is all that is needed?

    2. opsono, agree.

      It is true, yet most people do not realize that the whole category of “SUV” was created as a way for Detroit to dodge government CAFE standards. The idea was simple: since trucks were allowed to get lower MPG than cars. Detroit argued that SUVs were a new category of “truck”. It was a totally dickless way for Detroit — and all the witless consumers in the country — to undermine CAFE regulations.

      It is an example of why many people feel regulations are a poor way to implement desired policy changes: because people work around the regulations to undermine them. Sort of what you would expect from lobbyists, lawyers, and industry leaders working in concert to protect the status quo and undermine government social policy.

      A better approach is to tax fossil fuels highly, then let people do whatever they way; whatever is in their best interests. In this scenario, many would choose to buy fuel-efficient cars to avoid paying a lot of money every year on gas. All economists agree we out to substantially raise taxes on fossil fuels, but we are unable to do so politically. As a footnote, when I lived in Europe for 5 years, I was paying about $9 or $10 per gallon of gas …and that was over 15 years ago.

  7. I’ve got a black Hennessey VelociRaptor SUV at the U.S. beach house and you can have the keys when you pry them out of my cold, dead hand.

    You treehuggers don’t want to know the MPG.

    1. I laugh every time I see you post; do you really think someone sitting in the shitter, reading MDN on their iPhone, is going to stumble upon your diatribes and think “holy shit, this Internet forum poster has completely changed how I view the world.”

      Seriously, there are only really two outcomes. You are either preaching to the choir, or your words are falling upon deaf ears. Next time save your typing (as I plan to.)

    2. First – Get over yourself. No one wants to deny you the right to drive the car of your dreams. But at some point, you are going to start paying a little bit more for the privilege.

      Our current federal gas taxes need to be adjusted for the rise in auto efficiency, since they’re based on a gallon of gas, and not how far that gallon of gas takes you. We aren’t taxing enough to pay for road construction and maintenance, and eventually some new formula (higher per gallon tax, tax per mile, etc.) will be needed. A car getting 50 mpg will pay less tax than a car getting 15mpg, as they do already.

      1. There is no God-given right to damage the planet. This is basically what burning fossil fuels does — damage the planet. We need to put new crimes on the books: Crimes Against the Planet. Sort of like Crimes Against Humanity.

        Just because something is not specifically illegal in a jurisprudence sense does not mean it is morally right. Pope Francis has come out soundly in favor of protecting the planet. So we might consider damaging the planet as a sin. Religious right wingers out there may want to think twice about it.

        From a societal perspective, we have given up many individual rights in favor of societal good. The same could be said for any perceived individual right to burn a particular type of fuel, like fossil fuels. There is no reason society cannot deny someone’s perceived “individual” right to burn fossil fuels in order to benefit the greater good of society. Personally, I believe no one has the right to burn excessive amounts of fossil fuels …as the world transitions to renewables. That includes the right to drive gas-guzzling cars, boats, & trucks, and also to heat humongous houses (let alone multiple houses).

        No one really has the right to basically drill a hole in the bottom of a life boat.

        The problem is ignorance and narcissism. I am beginning to agree with Stephen Hawking that the human race is likely on a path to self annihilation.

        1. Do you own a computer, or ANY electronics?
          Of course you do.
          You’re damaging the planet.
          All electronic devices had to be produced and transported using fossil fuels.
          Most were built in China, which is COMMUNIST and about the biggest polluter in the world.
          Every been on a plane?
          You damaged the planet.
          Planes are massive polluting machines.

          I could go on but you get the point:
          Kooks like you are a joke.
          Do us all a favor, shut up and start a self sustaining organic farm. Until you do that you have no right to pretend that everyone else but you is the problem.

          Send MDN a handwritten note delivered on horseback for your reply please.

          1. Zero carbon combustion is the ultimate goal. I am doing my best to help. We can do it, collectively, and _relatively_ quickly …if we all work at it. Meanwhile, chill. The world will do it without your help until, hopefully, you figure it out.

  8. Automakers and oil companies ar in collusion. What incentive would they have to do this? Ages ago, there was a carburetor made that would allow the vehicle to get over 100 MPG. Can you guess why it never saw the light of day? It’s called politics, lobbying, and donations (corruption).

    1. Urban myth. Just like the one about the car that could run on water instead of gasoline, only GM bought the patent and buried it. Never happened.

      Of course, GM DID buy up most of the urban streetcars, tore up and tracks and replaced them with busses. That was an ACTUAL conspiracy, but at the time most mayors thought busses were the future. Here in LA, we just spend a few billion dollars or so rebuilding a couple of the old Red Line lines…

  9. Here’s the thing. There are limits to technology. Legislators and regulators can pass all the laws/regs they want, but you can’t get blood out of a turnip.

    If you’re going to burn something (gas, diesel, wood, whatever), there is only so much you can get out of it. At our current stage of technology, improvements are becoming more and more incremental. Barring some radical, unforeseeable advancement in combustion engine tech, that’s how it’s going to remain.

    If the auto industry ever had their hands on high-mileage engine technology they’ve repressed, now wold be the time to “re-discover” it.

    1. That is a very odd point of view. What limits are there to technology??? In the last century, man has progressed from using horses to pull mechanical devices to putting satellites in space and wireless communication in every man’s pocket. Whatever limits there are to technology are in your head alone, my friend. It may take time or money, and popular sales of disposable junk will always provide a smoke screen that hides the advances we make, but technology will always march forward. It is called PROGRESS, and progressive people such as those who use Apple products want more technological improvements, not stagnation.

      If you start with the assumption that extraction of mechanical energy must be based on simple combustion, I propose that you rethink your starting point. Combustion is merely the mature technology in use today. Like everything else, it will be succeeded by something else in the future.

      Long tangent …..

      As for blaming regulators: they are not all as dumb as you think. We can all point to examples of bad or outdated laws, but the fact is that much regulation does benefit the greater long term good, even if it inconveniences you in the short term. The world would not be a better place if we all operated in a libertarian utopia. Humans have tried that, the result was called anarchy.

      I very much like the fact that my big bad government requires automakers to install seat belts, turn signals, etc. Most of us like the fact that driver training is mandatory — it should be much more stringent and thorough everywhere, IMHO.

      The fat cat businessmen will always bitch and moan that regulations make them poorer. That’s BS. You can’t play football without a rule book. If they lose the game, it’s not the fault of the rule book. What the citizen must be vigilant to defend is that the rule book is not corrupted for the profit of a few, which sadly is the case of the inadequate financial regulation of today.

      But we have plenty of history to show how the world used to operate when it didn’t have any meaningful regulation, or almost as bad — arbitrary rules levied by theology or dictatorship.

      The world has never seen a purely socialist nor a purely capitalist economy. Most all modern states have a mixed economy. Even in the most efficient modern capitalistic markets, we see over and over that without standards and oversight, many industries simply would simply cease to provide useful products to consumers at any price. Some take short-term gains and leave enormous long-term externalities to the taxpayers. Frequently industry consolidation leaves two players to split the market, at which point meaningful technical development slows to a trickle. The remaining companies take no risks and will actively restrict choice if it will maximize profits: Coke and Pepsi, what fantastic advancements they have made. They bought or bullied out all the small beverage makers so now you get only their A or B brands in every cafe from coast to coast. That’s a mature non-regulated capitalist market.

      With standards and regulations that take a long term view for the greater good of all, history proves that progress is for the better. Look at the automobile. How many car companies are there in this relatively highly regulated competitive market? A lot more than just A or B!!! Long term, good regulation didn’t make it harder on companies or consumers. Cars are better than ever, more affordable than ever, and safer than ever. Consumers actually gain choice, and the products that companies make actually become better.

      So don’t whine about regulation. Instead get active when your democratic government turns a blind eye to monopoly practices, collusion, and corruption. Complain when noncompetitive markets result in tech stagnation. Turn off the business lobbies that wrongfully claim that they are suffering unless they receive special benefits funded by you, the taxpayer. Stop supporting companies that evolve from consumer-focused innovator to fat cat corrupt gorilla.

      I recall the bitching when big bad evil guv’mints a decade ago started to take action to eliminate the good old cheap reliable Edison incandescent light bulb. Reality is, patchworks of government regulations took different approaches to make inefficient incandescent light bulbs less available/affordable/desirable worldwide, with the intention to prevent the need for taxpayers to fund unnecessary new power plants. The conservative fringe whined about government overreach. In California, the bill established a light bulb standard that requires a bulb produce at least 60 lumens of light per watt of electricity use by the year 2018, with many exemptions for specialty bulbs. There was no personal choice impact. At the federal level, conservative lawmakers delayed implementation of a US national efficiency standard (a 2007 law authorized funds for an energy star program for light bulbs but Republican-led efforts delayed and defunded effective implementation so every state now has the opportunity for different standards, which of course can be inefficient for manufacturers and retailers). So it goes: some people may want the freedom to waste energy, but at a societal level, allowing 100 year old technology to remain the only affordable choice is suicide. Thanks to worldwide efforts at smart regulation, manufacturers have created dozens of new lighting technologies will save us all tons of money in the long run. You can now buy LED bulbs that essentially will never burn out, that you can control with your Apple homekit, and do all kinds of things like change color as you like. These technologies would not have been offered to consumers if it wasn’t for a kick in the pants from regulators to push manufacturers to create something more efficient than incandescent and fluorescent technologies. There is such a thing as good regulation!

      So it is with cars. Historically, every time there was a temporary drop in the price of gasoline, automakers essentially stopped making economical cars altogether, restricting public choice. The only reason one can buy small cars (and even the fuel economy has improved in bloated large cars) is because some hated regulator is saving us all money in the long run by ensuring that the nation doesn’t bankrupt itself on a runaway demand for oil. Studies from all sides prove that oil conservation saves money and eliminates unnecessary waste, period.

      If you had lived through the OPEC embargo, you would understand that lack of rules and self-restraint can, and did, bring the USA to its knees. Not everyone in the world can have the freedom to drive anything anywhere anyhow, that is the recipe for global collapse.

      If you don’t care about the planet or your kids, at least think about the taxpayer bill that Americans spend on military protection of oil wells and pipelines. Conservation of oil is the absolute best national security strategy. America’s love affair with excessive energy use will never be solved by drilling holes into every shale rock. Alternate fuels are going to be needed en masse within the next century whether you like it or not. The only way to develop those fuels is to stop allowing Big Oil to dictate automotive product development.

  10. It seems clear we likely won’t hit the 54mpg CAFE threshold by 2025. Doesn’t mean it’s not (and wasn’t) a powerful goal to shoot for. But before we say it’s impossible, let’s see what Apple and Tesla (and, less likely) the rest of the auto industry can come up with in the next nine years.

    Just remember, if 20 years ago they set the goal of having the power of a mainframe computer small enough to fit in your pocket and able to run all day on a single charge, every expert would have agreed it was impossible. And yet, there’s the iPhone. Electric power hasn’t progressed that much in 100 years. Progress is overdue.

    1. 54mpg for passenger vehicles s a ridiculously low target for nearly ten years into the future. To people outside of the US, hearing that such a feeble target is considered unachievable says a great deal about the attitudes of many Americans.

      1. Totally agree, alanaudio. Was it Norway that just announced their cars will be all-electric by 2025? Several cars I have rented on European holidays have gotten well into the 50 mpg range, and that was years ago. These were diesel fuel combustion engines, but the engines and transmissions were sweet. Probably even better now. Goes to show the powerful incentive produced by high fuel prices (as a result of high taxes). Many Americans are a bunch of crybabies and whining narcissists.

        We should also start taxing obesity. Obese people need humongous cars …and even trucks… to stay comfortable. It is ridiculous.

        1. About ten years ago, the first time I ever hired a car in the US, I decided that a convertible was the way to go and the one I hired came with a 2.5 litre engine ( I can’t remember the model ). I was shocked by just how poor the performance was. In Europe a car with an engine of that size would have been quite fast, but that car seemed ridiculously sluggish. I even took it back to Alamo to ask if there was something wrong with it, but they assured me that it was as it should be.

          Do American manufacturers deliberately choose to fit engines that are considerably less highly tuned compared to elsewhere?

            1. I don’t believe that for a moment. When an American rental company provides a European or Japanese car, it performs exactly as I would expect it to and there is no suggestion that it has been de-tuned in any way.

              A friend that I stayed with in Arizona lent me her Chrysler PT Cruiser which had an engine of over two litres. The performance was unbelievably poor and it’s many years since I had driven such a slow car, or one that handled so badly on less good road surfaces. A big surprise was just how wide the turning circle turned out to be. It would have been very difficult driving such a car in European cities with their narrower roads. It may not have been a typical American car, but it was another example of an American car that was disappointingly under-powered. I’ll be visiting the US and Canada in four weeks time and will be especially interested to see how that rental car performs.

            2. Don’t get your hopes up about getting a cool rental car. But you will find the price of gas here to be silly cheap. Plus, it is tax deductible for business purposes, so even cheaper. Crazy system. Hope you enjoy your trip, though. There is a lot to like about the US and Canada, despite our silly energy policies (or lack thereof) and often parochial world view. Cheers.

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