Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Sux

Guest Post By Willis Eschenbach

Bizarrely, and unlike almost every other industrialized country, the US has fuel efficiency standards for cars. Each corporation (Ford, Chevy, etc.) has to meet certain fuel economy standards called the CAFE standards.

Let me start by saying that I think that this is governmental over-reach. In virtually every other part of life we let the market decide the required efficiency. We don’t have required efficiencies for gas-fired power plants. More efficient plants occur as a result of the market. We also don’t have required efficiencies for cell phones. If they burn through the batteries, they don’t sell. The market has always handled efficiency quite … well … efficiently.

So I object to ANY automotive fuel standards as both totally un-necessary, and worse, market distorting.

Here’s one important way it distorts the market. “Fuel Economy” is measured in a very curious way. Work efficiencies are usually measured per pound or per kilogram moved. Efficiency would relate to how much energy it takes to move say a hundred kilograms a distance of 10 metres horizontally. If you can move the same weight at the same speed using less energy, you have a more efficient setup.

But that’s not how the CAFE standards work. They’re measured in miles per gallon (or kilometres per liter, with 1 mpg ≈ .4 km/l), with no consideration of how much weight is being moved. This means that if you put the same identical engine in both a heavier car and a lighter car that are otherwise identical, they get assigned different “economy” numbers. But in fact, the efficiency of the engine, the drive train, the rolling resistance, and the aerodynamics is the same in both cases.

Now, this may or may not be the right way to measure fuel “economy”, but it has an odd side-effect. Here’s why. There are a variety of ways to increase the true efficiency of a vehicle. You can increase the efficiency of the engine. You can reduce the rolling resistance of the tires. You can improve the aerodynamic qualities of the vehicle. All of these increase the true efficiency, in that it takes less energy to move the same amount of weight the same distance at the same speed.

But under the CAFE rules, if you merely make your car lighter, you can claim it’s more “economical”. They’ve done a clever switch of “economy” for “efficiency” … bad bureaucrats, no cookies.

Now, making car bodies lighter is generally cheaper than making car engines and drive trains more efficient. So as a result, most of the gains in meeting the CAFE standards have come from making vehicles lighter.

Unfortunately, there is an ugly truth about cars. Less car weight in crashes means more injury and more deaths. Here’s the cold equation—the less steel that gets bent in a crash, the more flesh and bone that gets bent in a crash. The National Academy of Sciences wrote about this as far back as 2002. They said the CAFE standards were killing about 2,000 people per year.

So we have totally distorted the auto marketplace into trading human blood and misery for fuel economy … not a good plan on my planet.

I got to thinking about this again because the President is proposing a re-examination of Comrade Obama’s insane attempt to increase fuel efficiency by imperial fiat. Before he left office, then-President Obama put in new CAFE standards mandating a ludicrous corporate average fuel efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon (23 km/l) !!!. I cracked up laughing when he first made his Royal And Really Important Official Proclamation Regarding Economy. That charming fellow truly thought that he could just pick a number no matter how high, and magically the cars would get that much more efficient.

President Obama obviously didn’t understand that the one reliable rule about increasing efficiency is that every percent gained comes harder and costs more than the previous percent gained. The first ten percent gained is easy, the next ten percent is harder, and after a while it takes piles of money and effort to gain even one more percentage point.

Case in point? The CAFE standards. Care to guess how much the US nationwide light vehicle fuel “economy” has increased over the last quarter century?

An increase of a whopping two miles per gallon. Less than half a kilometer per liter.

Truly. All that grief, all that money wasted, for a sorry two pathetic miles per gallon increase. Here’s the data:

Be still my beating heart, the excitement of the real-world economy increase is getting to me …

You can see how well the CAFE standards actually work. From 1990 to 2014, almost a quarter century, the CAFE standards were well above the actual efficiency. During that time the efficiency should have been rising … but they didn’t budge one bit. Well, that’s not quite true … the MPG inched upwards. But then, given the general increase in all machinery over time, we’d expect that even if CAFE standards did not exist.

Me, I support the Gordian Knot solution to this lunacy—get rid of the fershlugginer CAFE standards completely, root and branch. Those standards are the reason that Volkswagon had to cheat on their pollution controls. Like other manufacturers, they could make a relatively clean-air car, or they could make a high “fuel economy” car … but not both.

And this is the ultimate irony. The CAFE standards were supposed to reduce pollution, but they couldn’t even do that. Instead they drove manufacturers to make the air dirtier just so they could meet the CAFE requirements.

Other countries were smart enough to never create such cockamamie standards in the first place. But having made the foolish mistake, at least we should correct it as soon as possible.

My best to everyone, you’re all invited to come over to my blog and see what the latest madness might be …

w.

PLEASE: When you comment, QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS THAT YOU ARE REFERRING TO, so that we can all understand what you are talking about.

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304 thoughts on “Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Sux

    • If you really want to roll coal, buy an electric car.

      We still import oil. We export coal. If you want American fuel in your American car, Ford and Chevy both have a decent range of plug in hybrid and full electric cars. And Chrysler is about to start selling a plug in hybrid minivan that will go 30 miles on domestic energy before switching to imported oil.

    • You’d never be able to meet the emission exhaust standards, much less the fuel sulfur standards, with a mobile source of that size. You just don’t have the functions to handle the particulate soot. We aren’t talking about removing any of the actual pollution controls, just the arbitrary efficiency standards that are impossible to meet.

      As an aside, I find the auto-correct on your post quite amusing. No restrictions on cafés. Your overpriced coffee doesn’t need to have any actual beans at all!

      • Yeah, I didn’t catch the auto correct thing before I hit ‘Post Comment’. Forgot to put a :) at the end of the sentence too. Oh well.

        As just an FYI, my personal car is an ’06 Honda Civic Hybrid… Has >300k miles on it. It paid for itself.

    • The way to improve REAL fuel economy, is to simply pull out every second traffic light inside city limits. Eliminate four way stop signs. The only thing they do is ensure that the next crash will be from a standing start.
      City traffic light don’t have the brains of a two year old child.

      Remember these are programmed by the same geniuses who gave us Microsoft Windows. They may be coding brainiacs; I don’t doubt that.. But what good is efficient code if it encodes a totally lousy solution to a simple problem.

      When three months has gone by, then you can pull out half of the remaining traffic lights.

      It would help if you actually gave drivers a driving test, BEFORE you hand them a drivers licence. I mean a test that tests if they are actually able to drive a car, and make good decisions.

      Watch the cars making a left turn on a green arrow. They start moving, and once they have definite proof that the car is moving, it is time to apply the brakes, to make sure the car doesn’t accelerate as they make a ninety degree left turn.

      Well news for them; just changing direction IS acceleration. What they need to do is increase speed at the same time.

      Modern cars, are NOT like a Dodge Charger or Dart. They do NOT rollover when cornering at speeds higher than five miles per hour.

      The Detroiosaurus Maximus came into being when there were NO CAFE standards. The idea was o build a rubber tired tank for civilians.
      Its the same theory as suiting up football players in a suit of armor with shoulder pads, and hard helmets to crush the knees of the opponent players.

      I’ve watched a LOT of Aussie rules football. They wear next to no clothing at all, and I don’t recall the last time I saw anyone get significantly hurt; and those guys never stop when somebody drops the ball. About the only way to stop play in Aussie rules, is to cold cock the referee.
      That’s an infraction that will cause play to stop, while you apologize to the ref.

      But back to CAFE standards.

      I’ve always believed that the way to protect drivers from being injured in a crash; is to simply avoid the crash in the first place.

      The Europeans did that by perfecting the ” Sports Car ” which was designed to go around corners, either left or right turns, and to stay on the road, instead of shooting off the corners in a skid.

      And they used road racing courses for their engineering laboratories. Americans still seem to think that the Ford Thunderbird is a sports car; so is the Mustang. The Chevy Corvette probably is.

      Sheer speed and acceleration may be what some people like; that’s ok with me.

      I actually watched some top fuel, and funny car races over the weekend (on T&V). Yes it’s a blast for three or four seconds. And then of course there is NASCAR. It is very pretty to watch them lining up two abreast for a restart after a spectacular crash.

      Sometimes, they actually cross the finish line like that with the predetermined winner out in front. ( NO ! Predetermined by the incidental leader before the yellow flag; never would say it’s fixed.)

      I’m all for getting the Government out of the regulating business. I’d be happy if they did the seventeen or 18 things that the US Constitution tells them they can do (The Congress)

      I’m all for eliminating EVERY regulation writing agency, and having the US Congress write ALL of the laws themselves; that’s why they were elected, and NOT some unelected bureaucrats.

      I’m quite happy that my 2 litre Subaru Impreza gets me 50 MPG at city speeds (in between mandated stops ).

      They don’t guarantee that, and I’m taking their instantaneous MPG instrument’s word for that.

      G

  1. This passage is applicable to a wide range of expenditure…

    President Obama obviously didn’t understand that the one reliable rule about increasing efficiency is that every percent gained comes harder and costs more than the previous percent gained. The first ten percent gained is easy, the next ten percent is harder, and after a while it takes piles of money and effort to gain even one more percentage point.

    From pollution abatement to signal-to-noise ratio, it takes a geometric increase in $ spent to yield a linear improvement.

    The Law of Diminishing Returns is tough to beat…

    https://www.boundless.com/economics/textbooks/boundless-economics-textbook/production-9/the-production-function-63/the-law-of-diminishing-returns-238-12336/

    • Some clueless Democracy congressman, Harry Reid or Markey IIRC, said (in effect) in answer to an interviewer’s statement that auto manufacturers were claiming the new standards were unachievable, “they managed to improve their MPG by 25% [or whatever] in the past ten years, so they can do so again.” He had no concept that the initial gains were low-hanginging fruit, and that the next gains would come harder.

      • It applies to most proponents of unreasonable environmental legislation, because so many of them never pursued careers and qualifications that involved real science or engineering. There are people who like to make rules, and then there are people who have to obey rules. A bit like Leonardo DiCaprio.

    • The former prez said that “we” made cars more fuel efficient. “We” did not do squat. He has exactly zero knowledge on how to increase mileage. He just signed the requirement. Now if he only could have repealed those pesky Laws of Physics…..

      • One young fan of electric cars declared to me that all we need to develop better batteries is for government to pass a law requiring battery makers to do so.

      • Heh, I suspect said young fan of electric cars isn’t aware that petrol and electric cars competed in the marketplace for quite a few years. Petrol ICEs did better because the market found ways to produce them more efficiently (in economics, that is, cheaper to own and operate). I also suspect said young fan has no idea that the laws of physics and chemistry are hard limits. Batteries need mass and the outputs are determined by electrochemical redox (oxidation-reduction) reactions. Liquid fuel ICEs have a power/weight requirement (so do others, but you’re not going to find much better fuels than mid-length hydrocarbons for this purpose).

    • Yes, Thanks Willis. One additional point I did not see mentioned was the fact that, in order to meet the CAFE averages the manufacturers have to sell a LOT of light, efficient cars to make up for the large, heavy vehicles which are in demand. This means making them cheaply – and that means using manufacturing in coumtries where labor costs are low. Thus many producers built plants in Mexico. The inevitable result was/is a lot of unemployed US car workers and the political unrest which followed.

  2. CA, as it thinks it is in most regulatory things, is way ahead of us on this: in 1990, CA mandated that 10% of cars be zero emission by 2003. Didn’t happen.

    Here we are 14 years later (than 2003), and the current “counting” fudge is about 2M cars (out of 28M on CA roads) are “partial zero and advanced – PZEV, and technology partial zero emission vehicles AT PZEV”. Still hasn’t happened.

    • yes but it allows California to blackmail most car manufacturers and pay a good portion of that blackmail money to Tesla … (keeping them in business)

    • Thanks, Javert. CA also keeps jacking up the “Renewable Mandate”, and energy prices have followed, and business are fleeing the state.

      The only consolation is that “What can’t go on, won’t go on” …

      Regards,

      w.

    • Demands to make manufacturers AVERAGE mpg (across the range) figures more ‘efficient’ have led to the likes of Aston Martin to develop their own versions of LEV’s resulting in ridiculous propositions as the ‘Cygnet’ city car…. that no one wants.

      • Dave, Aston Martin’s plant is near my home in the UK. They bought the rights to the Toyota Aygo and redeveloped and re-badged it into a 30k GBP luxury mini. This was to allow them to get a corporate ave fuel efficiency. I quite often see these cars on road test around my area. I must say they look the part even though I can understand the cynical reasoning behind their build.

  3. Wasn’t the pollution the new CAFE standards were supposed to reduce CO2, or as they put it cahbahn pollution? If I recall correctly, the new and improved CAFE standards were supposed to reduce global temperatures something like 0.07C by 2100. That’s a truly admirable and measurable reduction.

    • I can’t tell if you are bieng sarcastic, so I’ll answer you straight.
      If they worked. There isn’t a gasoline car on the market that can get 54 mpg honestly. The only way to do that is to use electric cars or hybrids with astronomical efficiency ratings caused by ludicrous optimism about the amount of time they run on battery.

      • I break 50mpg from time to time. Of course I drive a Fiat 500 with a manual transmission. I’ve also learned every place that I can coast on my commute.

      • Ben, the big claim for the CAFE standard was carbon (CO2?) reduction and reduction of global warming. Then they claimed a ridiculously low, immeasurable number for the temperature reduction.

      • It doesn’t matter how they justified it. The reality isn’t lining up with their dreams.

        And there’s a big difference between being able to sometimes get 50 mpg and being able to exceed it consistently. If I turned off the A/C, I could get 42 in my Honda, but that’s a little problematic in my city.

  4. Miles per gallon is a misleading way to measure fuel economy, besides as Willis points out it doesn’t say much about fuel efficiency. Look at it this way- not too many years ago lots of people were driving cars that got 10 mpg. 10 gallons to go 100 miles. The early econo boxes got 25mpg or so. 4 gallons to go 100 miles. Last year many of the econo boxes got 33mpg. 3 gallons for 100 miles(well, 99 actually). The famed Prius got 42mpg,. ~2.5 gallons/100mi. The 2017 new model gets 52mpg, 1.9 gallons/100 miles. Gallons per 100 miles makes a lot more sense.

    Electric cars, courtesy of the EPA, show ridiculous numbers in the 100mpg range. What the EPA doesn’t tell you is that figure is merely a direct conversion of the energy in gasoline into electricity with no allowance for power plant efficiency(55% at best) or the transmission/charging/discharging losses of 15-20%. Overall, the joules to joules comparison of gas to electric is about 44mpg, about the same as the Prius and only slightly better than other pretty good hybrids.

    The ridiculous 54.5 number is the Corporate fleet average. That means the only private vehicles available will effectively be sub compact and compact cars. There is no way the auto companies will be able to generate enough sales of highly profitable larger cars, trucks, and vans to make any money. Currently they account for about 60% of sales. That will have to drop to 10 percent or so, driving up the cost of cars proportionately.

    Mass transit, which doesn’t actually transport people more efficiently, only works in crowded cities. With any distance to travel, and counting off shift travel, mass transit is no more efficient than cars because the buses and trains have to run many times with only a few passengers in the off peak hours. Plus in any industrial area they have to run 24 hours a day, further decreasing efficiency.

    • RE mass transit. I always define mass transit it as going from where you aren’t to where you don’t want to go, when you don’t want to go.
      I admit sometimes it works well.

      • And forget about picking up a little lumber and hardware (and maybe thise new tools that will be just right) on the way home from work for that little furniture or home lab bench or gardening project…

    • Mass transit only works well in New York City, and that was in a large part because it was built back when the government regulations didn’t make everything cost ten times more. Here in greater Orlando, they build the “Sunrail,” a not very fast commuter train that only services a linear path. If you want to go somewhere on the East side of the area, like the university, you’re out of luck.

      And the cost! Not only do the ticket prices not pay for the construction or even routine maintenance, they don’t even pay for the cost of selling the tickets.

      • Right no passenger rail system works without some government handouts. A few freight lines such as the iron rail lines in the Kimberlies of Western Australia are economic – they are now driverless. The sub-ways in London, Paris and Tokyo are useful but are subsidised.

      • To be fair, road building and maintenance is also fully subsidised out of the public purse.

      • Don’t forget the most expensive rail system ($/unit length of rail) on earth, the Washington DC area Metro.

    • Fairs fair Philohippus: if you are including electricity generation costs for EVs, you should include the cost of extractiong and refining petrol/gasoline. I have a car that runs on both and it will go 14 miles on the electricity used to extract, refine and distribute enough petrol to drive 17 miles

      • Philoh… is correct, the EPA comparison is not accurate and was probably concocted to deceive the masses into thinking how efficient electric cars are. It is not good economics or honest government to only look at one stage of a process and not consider the entire efficiency from the beginning to the end. He was talking about efficiency not cost and there is a lot of energy lost in the power plants, distribution, etc. more so than refining crude oil. If one did look at cost which might be a good idea first one must look at the significant taxes paid for gasoline which supposedly pays for roads, bridges and mass transportation not paid by electric cars.

      • fair’s fair, if you want to include the cost of extracting and refining oil to gasoline, you need to include the cost of extracting and transporting the coal to the power plants as well.

      • “…extracting and transporting the coal to the power plants ….” accepted. I think my point though is that you can make any point you like by cherry picking where you draw the line.

      • John,
        A fair and honest analysis should not arbitrarily “draw a line” it needs to consider the entire process from beginning to the end. That’s good Engineering. The government draws a line at a point that makes no sense whatsoever to deceive those who are not sufficiently informed to realize the fraud. They get away with it because we have a complicit MSM.

  5. Ironically, the same government overreach that calls for more miles per gallon, also mandates that the gasoline have 10% ethanol in it which arguably gets you slightly fewer miles per gallon.

    • Interestingly if the ethanol is used to increase the average octane rating, you could get more mileage out of fuel with ethanol, in a car that supports a high compression engine. However, the oil companies tend to use lower quality base stock and mix it with the ethanol to still get the 87 octane rating. Another problem is high compression engine parts tend to cost more, negating the benefit of any efficiency gains.

      • When Detroit first started to produce large numbers of diesel engines, they tried to do it on the cheap by taking a gasoline engine and increasing the compression. Needless to say, they started having a lot of problems with these engines after a couple of years on the road.

      • I’m my experience and research, ethanol not only lower fuel efficiency, but also increases emissions. Ethanol is also corrosive to most vehicle fuel systems. It is the epitome of insanity for the government to mandate higher fuel standards while also allowing ethanol to be added to the fuel supply. The use of corn in ethanol production also raises food prices. Typical government program.

      • High compression engines burn the air as well as the fuel to make NOX.

        That nitrogen did not come out of your fuel tank it came right in the front through your radiator.

        G

      • MarkW March 20, 2017 at 7:58 am
        When Detroit first started to produce large numbers of diesel engines, they tried to do it on the cheap by taking a gasoline engine and increasing the compression. Needless to say, they started having a lot of problems with these engines after a couple of years on the road.

        Yeah the Odlsmobile diesel single handedly destroyed diesels in the US, built on the cheap they basically used all the same parts as the gasoline engines, in particular the pistons and con-rods. With the higher compression ratio they were rapidly trashed. Instrumental in letting the foreign manufacturers into the US market because the reputation of Detroit was badly hit.

      • The LF9 (350 cu in) Olds diesel was not done “on the cheap.” The beefy block was highly sought after for use in racing applications (w/gasoline conversion), especially after the typical American destroyed the engine due to his/her lack of experience in the care and feeding of a diesel vehicle. The initial failure of this engine was not due to the engine itself, but from the poor quality of diesel fuel (i.e. water & particles) that was used in it when it hit the market. I had a Olds Delta 88 with one, and it went well over 350,000 miles with only needing an injector replacement.

      • David Dirkse March 20, 2017 at 4:46 pm
        The LF9 (350 cu in) Olds diesel was not done “on the cheap.” The beefy block was highly sought after for use in racing applications (w/gasoline conversion),

        But not for a diesel, too few head bolts for example which stretched and caused head gasket failure etc.
        Followed by bent con rods…….

  6. In your research for this post, did you happen to come across this report from NAS regarding the effect that CAFE has had on fuel economy? I did not read it but the Wikipedia page on CAFE says they (NAS) are claiming that CAFE had the effect of reducing fuel consumption by 14%…I’d say that’s not very much…and more or less supports your claim…if the report is valid.

    I don’t have the time to read this study linked below but I’d be curious about how they came to that conclusion of 14%…if anyone else cares to read it and report back.

    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10172&page=9

  7. Aren’t the miles-per-gallon claims invariably wrapped with baffle-gab anyway? Like highway mileage vs. stop and go city driving; your car has to be in perfect tune; your tires must be new and properly inflated, etc. As well, the general atmospheric conditions in which you are driving has an impact. Driving in warm weather vs. cold weather; starting your car in freezing temperatures will swallow extra gas; running the A/C on a long drive at the height of summer heat will use more gas. I could go on, and I’m no mechanic, but you get the idea. It’s possible your real-world MPG will be worse than the “official” MPG simply because you aren’t driving in ideal conditions all the time.

    • I’ve always felt that to be fair, the tests should also include everything that draws electrical power in the car turned on. Radio, fan, head lights, etc.

      • The tests also do not include stop signs and traffic lights, which government installs to force you to drive their way.

        G

      • The town that I live in has been replacing stop signs and lights with round a bouts. On a good day I don’t have to stop even once in my commute.

      • george e. smith March 20, 2017 at 9:38 am
        The tests also do not include stop signs and traffic lights, which government installs to force you to drive their way.

        That’s where regenerative braking in hybrids works well.

      • Phil,

        Are you suggesting that we should put in more compulsory stops to maximize the benefits of regenerative braking.

        The kinetic energy of a car with the drive train disconnected is best used for travelling further down the road, rather than charging batteries.

        G

  8. We (the US of A) can produce as much fuel as we can use for a log time.
    What’s it to the Federal government to MANDATE how many mpg my vehicle gets?
    The only way the Obama CAFE standard could be met were if every one drove golf carts.

    • One thing I’ve noticed over the years. When gas prices are high, auto ads push gas mileage.
      When gas prices are low, auto ads push luxury and power.

  9. No. It’s not easier to make a car lighter than it is to make the engine more efficient or make the roiling resistance lower or the wind drag lower. They are all equally difficult and expensive at this point. And car weight isn’t the only thing that is balanced against occupant safety. There is a balance between rolling resistance and handling also.

      • Tires with less rolling resistance tend to be harder, which means there is less surface area touching the road, which results in less traction.

      • MarkW doesn’t understand the difference between bias-ply tires and radial-ply tires. It’s not about “hardness” because radials have much less rolling resistance, and greater surface contact than the older design.

      • Well you can calculate the amount of tire surface touching the road, by dividing the car weight by the tire pressure. That will give you the total contact surface area for infinitely flexible tires.
        For less flexible tires, the contact area will be smaller than that.

        The tires are not slipping on the road surface. The tire velocity is zero at the road surface, and twice the car speed at the top of the tire. The transmission losses and wind resistance are what gives rolling resistance.

        G

  10. Actually, cars have been getting heavier, not lighter, due to another government mandate, safety.

    Where my 2000 Kia Sephia had two air bags, my 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer has 17 air bags, active stability control with traction control, tire pressure monitor & many more required safety features.

    To compare like to like, my 2000 Sephia to Kia’s replacement, 2016 Forte, the Sephia was 2550 lbs curb weight, where the Forte weighs 2885 lbs.

      • actually I’d call that underkill – if it works to stop death and severe injury in a crash. (ok 17 might be a lot, but it isn’t killing anything – unless it is made by Takata.)

        The airbags weren’t a direct mandate, but the result of crash test standards. The Sephia was designed when frontal crash tests were the only standard things were rated on. Front airbags did a decent job of abating that, so the testers went on to other crash scenarios like side impact and offset impact etc. With each new test scenario, engineers went into action to try to beat them, which gave them variations on two main choices – add a lot of steel or add airbags. If they add steel, they blow their CAFE numbers, so airbags it is (with a little bit of steel in door and door support beams.) Thus the Forte gained almost 900 lbs, but has better safety ratings in the areas the Sephia wasn’t designed for.

      • Unfortunately my car is one of the many with Takata airbags subject to recall. As I understand it from the dealership, the front driver-side airbag is unsafe but the passenger side airbag is OK. So if the airbags are triggered because of, say, a minor but still significant collision, the driver could be injured by the airbag deployment but not the passenger. Yeah, all that extra weight for safety is great.

      • The other problem with airbags is that they are quite expensive to replace after they’ve been deployed. In a minor collision with relatively light damage to the vehicle, the cost of replacing the deployed airbags will result in the car being written off as a total loss, when the structural and cosmetic damage to the car could otherwise have been repaired.

    • Hey! Why don’t they fill all those airbags with CO2 and sequester it like that?

      Where’s my consulting fee?

    • My Road King gets about 40 mpg, but if the roads are good and I’m really having fun I can get it down to 35 mpg. ;-)

  11. People want a safe car. That is one reason that SUVs sell well. They are perceived as being “heavier duty” and safer in a crash. And you sit higher up with a better view of the road. But they don’t get as good fuel economy. People are willing to give that up. But Obama wasn’t.

  12. I agree with Mr. Eschenbach’s point, but the reader may want to obtain more context by clicking on the link Mr. Eschenbach provided for the data. In particular, one may be forgiven for interpreting them as saying that new passenger cars’ gas mileages have increased substantially and that we may see non-negligible mileage increases as old car cars retire.

    Again, I agree that CAFE standards are insane. I just question whether we’re stuck at 22 mpg.

    • Joe, always good to year from you. However, you say:

      … we may see non-negligible mileage increases as old car cars retire

      The graph shows a 25-year span during which lots and lots and lots of old cars retired … where is the increase? The average lifespan of a car in the US is on the order of 13 years, so during that time the US fleet basically turned over twice … so where is your “non-neglible increase”???

      w.

      • I remain of the opinion that the reader would be well served to consider at all the data, not just the one row depicted graphically above.

        The 1985, 2000, and 2014 mileage values for new passenger cars are 27.6, 28.5, and 36.4, respectively, while those for light trucks are 20.7, 21.3, and 26.3. In other words, new-car gas mileage seems to have accelerated in the past decade.

        So I’m not sure that the fleet mileage’s having failed to budge much despite many cars’ retirements over the last twenty-five years tells us as much about what will happen over the next twenty-five as the casual reader might suppose.

    • My car’s long term average MPG since I bought it, is around 29.5 MPG. BUT, it also has a long term average SPEED of 11 MPH.

      My car won’t go 11 MPH. In Drive at idle it is set to 15 MPH.

      I have to have my brakes on, to go 11 MPH.

      Around silicon valley, we have our brakes on a lot.

      On the same roads, at posted speeds, sans brake lights; I can get 50 MPG; and that is before I put it into neutral once up to road speed.

      G

  13. Its worae tnan you imagine, WE. Details in ebook Arts of Truth. The official milafe numbers are pure gasoline. The reported are E10. Minus 3.5% milage. Provable officisl obfuscation.

  14. Willis, you say “This means that if you put the same identical engine in both a heavier car and a lighter car that are otherwise identical, they get assigned different “economy” numbers. But in fact, the efficiency of the engine, the drive train, the rolling resistance, and the aerodynamics is the same in both cases.”
    Not quite right. All else being equal, a heavier car will have a higher rolling resistance. Maybe not much but it will be higher.
    Just try adding a few more shovel fulls onto your wheelbarrow to check it out.

    • Mmmm … if I keep the air pressure in my wheelbarrow tires, you’re right. But if I adjust them for the weight, rolling resistance goes down again.

      Not sure how that will all play out in sum, but it’s gonna be pretty small.

      Thanks for an interesting question.

      w.

      • MarkW March 20, 2017 at 8:05 am

        You can only do that if the tires are built to withstand the increased pressure.

        True … and that’s why they make the tires on my panel truck strong enough to be inflated to 65 PSI …

        w.

      • Willis, I looked at some truck tires on 18 wheelers at truck stops, and it seems that their tires are typically rated for 125 PSI.
        I needed to know the pressure to calculate the loading on the bridge I designed to go across my moat to my house. I had to design a bridge that could carry an H-20 Truck; that’s a ten tired 20 ton truck (two tons per tire). If you had such a truck (it’s fictional) you can’t legally drive it on any road in the USA, including the road leading to my bridge, which will take an A-1 Abrams main battle tank, with another one on top of it.

        G

    • Actually its more complex than that. The engine doesn’t have ‘an efficiency’ – its a range depending on what it is called upon to do.

      The classic example was in the UK back in the 70s the Ford Escort Mk I came with an 1100cc, a 1300cc and a 1600cc engine.

      All were pretty thirsty, but the worst was…
      …the 1100…

      In order to get any performance at all you needed to rev it high.

    • There’s another factor to consider. Most American cars can be bought with more than one engine choice. The smaller engines provide better miles/gal. This is not because smaller engines are more efficient (they are actually less efficient than bigger engines). The reason is that the smaller engine needs a wider open throttle to achieve the same driving test. Therefore, the pumping losses across a partially closed throttle plate lower the efficiency *at that given EPA driving test*. If you look at the map of brake specific fuel consumption, you will see that the smaller engine is operating in a more efficient region on that plot. For the nerds out there: pumping losses are Vdot deltaP where Vdot is m^3/sec and deltaP is Pascals, and power is J/sec or Watts.

    • Not necessarily. Assuming the heavier car is the same body shape etc. as the lighter one, the heavier one will roll much further than the lighter one, when you put it in neutral.

      “Rolling” resistance is largely a function of aerodynamics, bearing friction, and transmission efficiency.

      The tires are just sitting on the road, and the tires are sized correctly for the load capacity.
      My car effectively accelerates, when I put it in neutral on a flat road. the actual real rolling resistance is quite small.
      If I accelerate promptly, but not jack rabbit to posted speed, from a traffic light, then put it in neutral I can easily coast to the next light without slowing down enough for the car behind me to even notice, unless he is riding my bumper; which he usually is.

      I’m always driving in HIS lane. No matter what lane I’m in, it is HIS lane. And when he finally moves over to the right and passes me on the right, he will pull front of me, without signaling, and then slam on his brakes, because the guy in front of me is going the same speed I am. That will cause me to do an all anchors overboard panic stop, to ensure that I don’t crash into him, since he just cut my safety following margin by at least a factor of three.
      So I hope the guy that replaced him riding my tail understands that, or else he is going to crash into my tail.

      I don’t mind that; I will then become the new owner of his house.

      But that is better than the right side passer, becoming the new owner of MY house.

      G

  15. FWIW — I think that higher CAFE standards have been a net positive for our country. Yes, higher CAFE means less safe cars, but we’ve also taken steps to improve our cars significantly over the past few decades. The net is much safer cars than we had. At the same time, the reason for CAFE standards was the reduction of our dependence on foreign fuels. This has been very successful.

    The downside of CAFE standards has been the rise of foreign automobile sales. Japanese cars were very poorly made (consequently, the were lower weight.) This meant that our CAFE standards had the effect of pushing more sales to Japanese car makers. The funds were used to improve their car quality. This move was already in effect thanks to high gasoline prices and the mistaken perception by US car companies in believing that the transition was to more maneuverable cars rather than lower gas mileage cars.

    The most significant downside is that cars are more expensive. That means that those on the lower end of the economic scale have a more difficult time affording the cars that have better gas mileage and therefore can’t afford to cut their fuel costs. This is my greatest concern for aggressive climate change policies.

    The point being that there are reasons to exert government policies to drive the marketplace to areas they are not efficient at affecting. Your cell phone example should raise those red flags. After all, Samsung tried to get the most electrical capacity out of their batteries at the lowest cost and wound up with significant safety hazards. Eventually the market will move to safer batteries, but how many fires should we suffer through before this happens?

    These headphones caught fire midflight. Do you really believe the free market should address that?

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjqpaP7-OPSAhUJMSYKHV5dCjoQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.digitaltrends.com%2Fhome-theater%2Fheadphones-fire-airplane-passenger%2F&psig=AFQjCNF_lhoKP2Q2fEE_HgdfRcVRGsedzA&ust=1490060190104614

    • CAFE has given us more complex and problematic technologies like CVT transmissions and direct-injection engines. What do you think will be the impact on fuel economy of cars being scrapped years earlier as a result? Right now, it’s not even possible to repair the CVT in our car; you can only replace it at $7.5k a time.

    • lorcanbonda March 19, 2017 at 6:37 pm

      The point being that there are reasons to exert government policies to drive the marketplace to areas they are not efficient at affecting. Your cell phone example should raise those red flags. After all, Samsung tried to get the most electrical capacity out of their batteries at the lowest cost and wound up with significant safety hazards. Eventually the market will move to safer batteries, but how many fires should we suffer through before this happens?

      Say what? As you point out there are dangers, but as you point out they are driven by the market pushing efficiency.

      Now if that is true, consider what would happen if a “CABE” standard, a “Cellphone Average Battery Efficiency” standard, said that we had to double battery efficiency?

      Obviously, that would lead to MORE fires, just as the CAFE standards have led to more deaths.

      So your example proves my point, not yours.

      w.

      • Not to mention that regulations are one of the main things driving manufacturing to China, which is why so much electronics is now cheap crap that doesn’t meet the most basic safety standards (though it probably says it does on the box).

      • Another point is the belief that government is capable of foreseeing all possible safety problems in advance.

      • No, I’m not suggesting CABE standard for cellphone batteries. However, it would benefit us to have better safety standards which are required before devices are sold.

        The Samsung (and other battery fires) are due to the quick rush to market for cheap electronic devices. We all want the newest, inexpensive electronics, but I don’t think we should accept shoddy safety standards. It is not worth it. The Samsung fires occurred because they sold more phones than they planned & needed to add battery suppliers quickly. They were also trying to get ~ 40% extra capacity out of the battery than is typically achieved. The batteries were too large to fit in the metal casing and then they were overcharged.

        The free market drove these decisions to poor quality — cheap, Chinese battery manufacturers with shoddy safety records and the rush to quick production of electronics. Samsung Note 7 was not the norm — they were better than the norm. Hoverboards or headphones are much worse.

    • lorcanbonda
      March 19, 2017 at 6:37 pm

      “… At the same time, the reason for CAFE standards was the reduction of our dependence on foreign fuels. This has been very successful.”

      I don’t think CAFE standards had anything to do with “reduction of our dependence on foreign fuels.”

      • Slywolfe:

        I believe lorcanbonda was correct; that is certainly how I remember it being justified at the time. The ever-trustworthy Wikipedia says here:

        The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards are regulations in the United States, first enacted by the United States Congress in 1975,[1] after the 1973-74 Arab Oil Embargo, to improve the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks (trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles) produced for sale in the United States.

      • Adendum to above. I was not agreeing with lorcanbonda that the CAFE regulations have actually been effective; just that they were promoted as a way to reduce dependence on imported oil. Now of course they have morphed into a way to save the planet from dangerous warming, in which cause they will be even less effective.

      • That they were promoted as a way of reducing our dependence on foreign fuels is true.
        Likewise reductions in CO2 emissions are being promoted as a way to cool the planet.

      • Two big mistakes Jimmy Carter made besides running for president.
        Department of Energy and Department of Education.
        Hopefully, Trump can reset these terrible money wasting, people destroying, over regulating monsters.

      • To clarify: CAFE standards were “sold as” a way to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources. The fact that we have become less dependent on foreign energy sources, however, has nothing to do with CAFE, and everything to do with the frakking revolution that has massively expanded domestic sources of energy.

      • Jimmy Carter didn’t start the Department of Education — that was Reagan. Under Carter, we had the Department of Health, Education, & Welfare. Reagan divided that into two departments with the intent of dissolving Education. He never did follow through with that.

        My only point about the purpose of CAFE standards was to show the reason for the policy and the ultimate result. The CAFE standards alone aren’t responsible, but the policy (which included CAFE standards) was.

  16. People consider many attributes of vehicles and select the vehicle that best meets their needs and desire.

    Obama said, “Screw that. Gas mileage is the only attribute that matters.”

    Tyranny. Your considerations don’t matter to the government.

  17. Miles Per Gallon is a useless number. Why? Because a vehicle is often used to transport multiple people, and/or stuff. So a van that can transport nine people is different from a truck that can hold two or four people, and can also haul a load of something. Different types of vehicles do different things, because we are all individual in our needs and lifestyles. I’d say, we should do away with “standards” that have no basis in reality. Real cars and trucks do real work, for real people. People should decide what they want, based on their needs, and government should just stay out of it.

    • I agree that MPG is worthless in determining vehicle fuel efficiency. I much prefer load pounds X mpg. My Chevy Malibu can move 800 lbs of load at 30 mpg or 27,000 lb-mpg. Our Freightliner, cattle truck only gets 6 mpg, but hauls 45,000 lb of load, or 270,000 lb-mpg. So the truck is 10x more efficient than my car at moving loads.

      • MPG is worthless except for the particular car YOU drive.
        The MPG of anybody else’s car is NO skin off your teeth; only the one you drive.

        G

  18. I turned my diesel powered Golf in to VW on their buy back program last week. The lady who handled the deal said the latest word was the cars were to be “crunched”.

    Now every car that is recalled will be replaced with another vehicle that will likely get less MPG the the diesel that is turned in. I replaced my Golf with a VW Passat, so VW isn’t even penalized in my case because they made and sold a car that would not have been made except for the recall.

    The metal in the crunched cars will be re-cycled, but that is not pollution free or energy free.

    Some one explain how all this makes sense.

    • My son also turned in a Golf TDI a month or so ago. Got a decent buyback on it. It’s a shame though, the car was a great driver – 6 speed manual, APR chipped. Quick, nice handling, and really fun to drive. What a waste.

  19. Maybe they don’t call it fuel efficiency for a reason. They mean economy.

    Traffic Deaths: Haven’t traffic deaths been going down in recent years, at least per million miles traveled.

    Your one graph is a little misleading because you plot actual fleet economy not new car economy, which actually is what CAFE can control, and which is actually surpassing CAFE stds.

    “And this is the ultimate irony. The CAFE standards were supposed to reduce pollution, but they couldn’t even do that. Instead they drove manufacturers to make the air dirtier just so they could meet the CAFE requirements.”

    The air dirtier? Huh? You mean cheat, right. And now consumers aren’t buying as much from the cheater. (Wasn’t there a raid on Audi headquarters last week, in Germany? Wonder how that turns out.)

    • The air dirtier? Huh? You mean cheat, right. And now consumers aren’t buying as much from the cheater. (Wasn’t there a raid on Audi headquarters last week, in Germany? Wonder how that turns out.)
      ____________________________________________

      The Attorney already HAS all paperwork and e-mails from VW.

      Now there’s rumors about ‘presentations’ of new software.

      Since the Attorney already HAS all data, paper + electronic, the outcome is really interesting.

    • Link below has numbers and rates, but getting old now.

      http://www.nsc.org/NewsDocuments/2015/6-month-fatality-increase.pdf

      Many places have more recent news, here is one:
      http://www.autoblog.com/2017/02/15/us-traffic-deaths-pass-grim-milestone/

      … the NSC estimates that 40,200 Americans were killed in car crashes in 2016. That is a 6% increase in fatal crashes from 2015.

      Seems a lot of people talk on phones and text while driving.

      Note, that’s 40,000+ per year in the USA.

      Snakebites = 4 or 5

      About 25,000 deaths are caused by falls from steps, etc.

      We should ban steps.

  20. ReallySkeptical March 19, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Your one graph is a little misleading because you plot actual fleet economy not new car economy, which actually is what CAFE can control, and which is actually surpassing CAFE stds.

    I was interested, not by the effect on new cars in theory, but the effect on the US fleet in reality. I’m sorry you don’t seem to like reality, but including reality doesn’t make my graph “misleading”.

    “And this is the ultimate irony. The CAFE standards were supposed to reduce pollution, but they couldn’t even do that. Instead they drove manufacturers to make the air dirtier just so they could meet the CAFE requirements.”

    The air dirtier? Huh? You mean cheat, right. And now consumers aren’t buying as much from the cheater. (Wasn’t there a raid on Audi headquarters last week, in Germany? Wonder how that turns out.)

    In fact, no, people didn’t stop buying from the cheater—VW sales were up in 2016, not down. Even in the US their sales were up. In 2015 VW sold 30,956 vehicles in the US. In 2016 VW sold 37,229 vehicles in the US. Nice try.

    What I meant was exactly what I said: an unintended effect of the CAFE standards was that they were so strict that people cheated to achieve the standards, and the net result was the air got DIRTIER. Once again you seem to be objecting to reality and preferring theory.

    w.

    • I would seem that if the average of all the cars bought last year was above 30 mpg, that in 10 or 15 years the curve might move up, as CAFE was not moved up until the last administration. (Don’t forget that CAFE moved the fleet average from 15 to 20 mpg in the 80s.)

      This is from Market Watch for VW:
      “In the U.S., new car sales fell nearly 8%, to 322,900 vehicles in 2016.”
      I have no idea where you are getting your numbers. They sound more like Telsa sales not VW.

      I heard on the radio the day before yesterday that Audi (owned by VW) numbers also fell. It was the news account with the raid I mentioned.

      • ReallySkeptical, I got the figures from the VOLKSWAGEN OF AMERICA REPORTS DECEMBER AND 2016 YEAR-END SALES RESULTS.

        However, i failed to notice that those were DECEMBER sales instead of yearly sales. Those agree with your figures, 349,440 vehicles vs. 322,948. So yes, there was a small drop, you were right and I was wrong.

        I do note that sales rebounded, with December 2016 being stronger than December 2015.

        None of this changes my underlying point, which is that the CAFE standards distort the market in a host of ways.

        Thanks for checking.

        w.

  21. Let’s see the Federal Government nearly killed the US car industry with the 55 mph speed limit (the Germans were building cars to go down the road at 200-250 kph, which were of necessity, better engineered. Detroit 120 kph, so the US car was a pile of junk, but cheap, and we are still trying to recover from that perception). No doubt a stupid president and the 54 mpg mileage standard was designed to kill the American car industry! Never has our country experienced a more stupid president! Wander if he could even add and subtract let alone solve a differential equation or understand efficency?

    • Don’t forget that they also killed the turbine-engined car, which could run on pretty much anything that burned.

      All in all, US automotive regulation has been pretty much a disaster.

      • MarkG March 19, 2017 at 7:44 pm

        Don’t forget that they also killed the turbine-engined car, which could run on pretty much anything that burned.

        Urban legend. Turbine cars died stillborn because their acceleration is horrible, you have to “spool up” the turbine and it takes a while, not what you want when you’re in trouble … and because a transmission to get power out of something turning at say 10,000 rpm is insanely complex and heavy … and because the exhaust is screaming out at something like 600°C. Not good for your kids, not to mention your garage.

        w.

      • “Urban legend. ”

        Uh, no.

        Not in the slightest.

        Chrysler were building turbine cars for a decade, and the test drivers loved them. They died because, every time they met the latest emission standard, the EPA went and introduced a new one.

        The only claim you made that’s remotely true is that they weren’t as fast as a V8 when accelerating from a stop. But that was trivially easy to work around by revving the turbine with your foot on the brake pedal before you let it move; they were effectively the first cars with ‘launch control’.

      • MarkG March 20, 2017 at 7:41 am

        “Urban legend. ”

        Uh, no.

        Not in the slightest.

        Chrysler were building turbine cars for a decade, and the test drivers loved them. They died because, every time they met the latest emission standard, the EPA went and introduced a new one.

        Chrysler built turbine cars from 1962-1964, when they stopped production. The EPA started in 1970. Epic fail at trying to blame it on the government.

        The only claim you made that’s remotely true is that they weren’t as fast as a V8 when accelerating from a stop. But that was trivially easy to work around by revving the turbine with your foot on the brake pedal before you let it move; they were effectively the first cars with ‘launch control’.

        Rev up the engine with your foot on the brake … what could possibly go wrong?

        From reports, there was about a one-and-a-half second lag between stepping on the throttle and getting the power … and when you see someone coming towards you on the highway and you need power to get out of the way, that 1.5 seconds will get you dead.

        Finally, your claim that the Government killed the turbine car is NOT borne out by the statement from Chrysler at the time. Chrysler said that they stopped making them for the oldest of reasons—manufacturing costs. According to them, “the technology did not exist to produce turbine engines at a price anywhere near competitive to conventional internal combustion engines”.

        This makes perfect sense. A simple internal combustion engine can be built by a guy with a few tools in his home shop. But building a turbine that turns at 40,000 rpm? That’s high dollar stuff.

        w.

      • Willis: Your comments on the turbine engine are correct but incomplete. Turbine engines (Brayton cycle engines more correctly) cost more, far more than Otto or Diesel engines. That is because the hot parts are always hot compared to the Otto intermittently hot. That drives the turbine components to nickel-based alloys. (Stirling engines have the same problem). So higher cost is one factor. Then there’s efficiency: they are only efficient at one operating point, which is why airliners fly at about the same speed and altitude. In order to make the efficiency of automotive turbines comparable to Otto engines, they incorporated heat exchangers to preheat the incoming air and cool the exhaust. That’s more money and complexity. Finally, the net effect of the efficiency being much more dependent on power setting, automotive turbines lost because the power demands were far more extreme than turbines in airplanes.

      • So the real solution to the turbine engine is a hybrid setup with the electric motors there to give an emergency bump.

        Alternatively, I would think that a turbine could be made to run a constant rpm turning a generator that ran an electric motor to drive the wheels, but the conversion losses would make it pretty inefficient, but the performance would definitely be there. The turbine would have a governor to maintain constant RPMs under any load condition on the generator.

        Or most efficiently but most foreign to the current paradigm, the turbine could drive a hydraulic pump and maintain constant pressure at the governed RPM and use hydraulic motors at the wheels to drive the vehicle. I bet that configuration would be simpler and provide more performance than a gas engine. Of course there is still the noise and heat problems to overcome – turbines are dangerously loud!

        I wonder if there is a way to use the bleed air to power auxiliary equipment such as climate control systems like we did on fighters. We had an onboard gas turbine generator that provided compressed air to start the main engines and could power the climate control, electrical, and hydraulics systems if the main engine systems went offline.

      • From reports, there was about a one-and-a-half second lag between stepping on the throttle and getting the power … and when you see someone coming towards you on the highway and you need power to get out of the way, that 1.5 seconds will get you dead.

        Why would you step on the gas if someone is coming towards you? Maybe from behind?

      • Well Willis, you have to make a turbine hybrid, so the Turbine is always running a its most efficient speed; no spool up needed after you get out of your drive way.

        Well who needs an 800 HP round town car anyway ??

        G

      • EVs are still priced about 50% higher than ICE engine cars. The Chevy Bolt is $35,000. for a car that only saves $700. per year in fuel costs. That assumes an ICE car gets 20 miles/gal on $2.00/gal gas compared to 4 mi/KWH at $.12/KWH electricity. That’s $.10 per mile vs $.03 per mile and 10,000 miles/year. If you don’t like my assumptions, plug in your own.

        Outlaw shredded cheese. Make America grate again!

      • People used to be able to pay for a new car in 2 years using auto loans. Then it went to 3 years and now over 6 years.

        Price new fossil fuel vehicles out of the reach of many people. Just make new fossil fuel vehicles to expensive to purchase.

        And push public transportation projects.

      • It is interesting though that car inflation has been pretty close to zero the last 20 years, and when you consider technological improvement, they have actually gone down in price. Case and point, I purchased a ford focus in 2002 for $17500, and I just purchased a similar level Ford focus last year for $18300 – that is 5% inflation over 14 years or 0.3% a year

    • Nixon’s 55 mph speed limit was disaster which saved nothing and gave a 0 value to people’s time .

      I got a Porsche 924 turbo in 1980 which could and in a pinch did seat 4 — and have room for my computer terminal under the hatch-back .

      It was a remarkably practical design and it’s turbocharged 4 cylinder 2 liter engine got about 20 mpg at 100 mph — which was a safe and comfortable speed on a thruway . It had the precision of a Porsche and a shorter stopping distance than a Ferrari of the time .

      It’s speedometer only went to 85 .

  22. Lest efficient car on the planet “The Beast” Cadillac used by POTUS. Lest efficient plane Air Force One. Its good to be king.

  23. Your assertion that vehicle safety is proportional to mass is out of date. Because of modern safety measures, the safety of vehicles made in the past decade has pretty much been decoupled from their mass. To understand this you should digest the impressive analyses done by Tom Wenzel at Lawrence Berkeley Labs (https://eta.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/publications/lbnl-1005177.pdf). In other words, vehicle mass now has a very minor impact on vehicle safety (statistically insignificant at the 95% confidence level).

    Your assertion that VW’s problems are due to them choosing fuel efficiency over meeting emissions standards is also a stretch. While there is certainly a conflict between the goals of fuel efficiency and the super low emissions required to meet the standards, other manufacturers have successfully met those competing requirements. I find it much more likely that VW simply chose a technological path that proved to be beyond their capability (much like Navistar recently did). By the time they figured out their dead-end choice, it was too late to make the required engineering changes and meet their production deadlines. So they chose the expeditious route of faking it instead of loosing market share.

    • Andrew Burnette March 19, 2017 at 8:00 pm

      Your assertion that vehicle safety is proportional to mass is out of date. Because of modern safety measures, the safety of vehicles made in the past decade has pretty much been decoupled from their mass. To understand this you should digest the impressive analyses done by Tom Wenzel at Lawrence Berkeley Labs (https://eta.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/publications/lbnl-1005177.pdf). In other words, vehicle mass now has a very minor impact on vehicle safety (statistically insignificant at the 95% confidence level).

      Nope. You didn’t read carefully enough, viz:

      NHTSA’s sensitivity test estimates that when footprint is allowed to vary with mass, the effect of mass reduction on risk increases for all vehicles types: from a 1.49% increase to a 1.71% increase for lighter cars, and from a 0.50% increase to a 0.68% increase for heavier cars; from a 0.10% decrease to a 0.26% increase for lighter light trucks, and from a 0.71% decrease to a 0.55% decrease for heavier light trucks; and from a 0.99% decrease to a 0.25% decrease for CUVs and minivans.

      This shows the goofiness of their analysis, since their main analysis shows the weight increasing but the footprint staying the same … which not not generally what happens in the real world.

      I also find their claim that making light trucks lighter makes them MORE safe … just how is that supposed to work? Here’s a study by people with money in the game instead of ivory tower academics—the insurance industry. I trust their numbers because they are using them to make big-dollar bets. From USA Today:

      A new study shows a wide range in driver death rates, and the smallest, cheapest cars proved to be the most risky in a serious accident.

      The study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which looked at large-sales volume vehicles from the 2008-2011 model years, found that the four-door versions of Kia Rio, Nissan Versa and Hyundai Accent had the highest rates of driver deaths per 1 million registered vehicles. For the Rio, it was 149 deaths per 1 million over the study period, 2009 to 2012.

      The vehicles with the highest death rates were among the cheapest, entry-level models, but IIHS spokesman Russ Rader says cost wasn’t a big factor.

      “The highest death rates are in the smallest, lightest vehicles,” he says, once again showing that greater mass makes a difference in the physics of a crash. “It’s Packaging 101: If the occupant compartment stays intact, the seat belts and air bags can do their jobs.”

      Here’s another look at the data from the IIHS, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Their report says (emphasis mine):

      Small vehicles, high death rates
      The vehicle with the highest death rate among the 2011 models is the Kia Rio, a minicar, with 149 driver deaths per million registered vehicle years. It’s one of only three vehicles with death rates above 100.
      Minicars and small cars dominate the worst list. That’s not surprising, since these vehicles can’t protect as well as larger ones. Death rates by vehicle type and size show that the smallest vehicles typically have the highest death rates, and, with some exceptions, death rates tend to go down as size goes up.

      As they said, “That’s not surprising” … well, except to you and some boffins, I guess.

      You continue:

      Your assertion that VW’s problems are due to them choosing fuel efficiency over meeting emissions standards is also a stretch. While there is certainly a conflict between the goals of fuel efficiency and the super low emissions required to meet the standards, other manufacturers have successfully met those competing requirements. I find it much more likely that VW simply chose a technological path that proved to be beyond their capability (much like Navistar recently did). By the time they figured out their dead-end choice, it was too late to make the required engineering changes and meet their production deadlines. So they chose the expeditious route of faking it instead of loosing market share.

      You’ve proven my point. They chose a technology to meed the CAFE standards, and when it couldn’t meet the standards, they cheated. This made the air dirtier, which is exactly what I said.

      w.

      • Andrew:

        I find it much more likely that VW simply chose a technological path that proved to be beyond their capability …

        Willis:

        They chose a technology to meed the CAFE standards, and when it couldn’t meet the standards, they cheated. This made the air dirtier, which is exactly what I said.

        VW did not equip their 4 cylinder diesels with Selected Catalytic Reduction (using DEF or addblue), IIRC. SCR does not materially affect mileage. SCR is a mature technology that is not “<beyond VW’s capability.” Supposedly, they chose not to license the technology from Mercedes. In other words, it was a money thing. The six cylinder diesels were equipped with SCR systems, but the tweaking may have been to reduce the size of the DEF tank, not related perhaps to mileage except that diesel gets better mileage. In other words, CAFE standards did not affect the cheating, except to the extent that they were able to sell diesels at less cost. The higher mileage of the diesels helped their CAFE compliance, so indirectly Willis is still correct in that VW chose diesel as the technology to comply with CAFE but it isn’t true that the SCR technology couldn’t meet the standards. It was a money thing mostly, I think.

      • Phil:

        VW did not equip their 4 cylinder diesels with Selected Catalytic Reduction (using DEF or addblue), IIRC. SCR does not materially affect mileage. SCR is a mature technology that is not “<beyond VW’s capability.” Supposedly, they chose not to license the technology from Mercedes. In other words, it was a money thing. The six cylinder diesels were equipped with SCR systems, but the tweaking may have been to reduce the size of the DEF tank, not related perhaps to mileage except that diesel gets better mileage. In other words, CAFE standards did not affect the cheating, except to the extent that they were able to sell diesels at less cost. The higher mileage of the diesels helped their CAFE compliance, so indirectly Willis is still correct in that VW chose diesel as the technology to comply with CAFE but it isn’t true that the SCR technology couldn’t meet the standards. It was a money thing mostly, I think.

        Not according to WIRED magazine. According to them, VW could either meet the EPA pollution regs or the CAFE standards, so they chose to cheat. My emphasis:

        VW has said most of the affected cars will just need a software update, presumably so the engine always runs the way it does during EPA testing, and always meets emission standards. That’s bad for drivers, because to meet NOx emissions standards, the cars in test mode sacrificed some fuel economy and performance.

        w.

      • Willis, I have 2 SUVs in the family (5 drivers). One, made by Toyota, seats 7 and gets about 16 mpg. The other one is a VW 6 cylinder diesel with SCR, seats 5, and gets about 30 mpg (27 city, 33 hwy roughly). The difference in weight is not much, but the difference in mileage is enormous. I expect to get a software fix. I expect I may lose some mileage, but even if I lose 5 mpg, the difference in mileage would still be enormous. We shall see, but the difference in mileage is so great that I just don’t see CAFE standards as being a big incentive for cheating. By not using SCR on the 4 cylinder diesels, they saved the cost of the SCR system and the licensing fees to Mercedes who apparently developed the technology – big incentive. Why they cheated on the 6 cylinder models may have something to do with the stupid size of the DEF tank is what I surmised, based on my hands on experience. Or maybe they decided to tweak the 6 cylinder diesels because the got away with tweaking the 4 cylinders. It isn’t clear to me. Did VW push diesels because of CAFE standards? Oh, yeah, I think that part is clear. But diesels in bigger, heavier cars have such advantages, they would be more common if the EPA wasn’t waging a war on diesels. IIRC, certifying a new diesel engine is enormously expensive – many millions. That is a huge disincentive.

      • Just to be factual, I went and checked each car’s digital mileage-o-meter. The SUV made by Toyota showed 14.8mpg since refueling. The tank was at about 1/4, so that would be about 280 miles, since the tank holds 25.4 gal. The VW diesel showed 28.6mpg at about half a tank. The tank size is 26.4gal so that would be about 380 miles. For both vehicles that would be mostly city driving. Like I said, huge difference in mileage and small difference in weight. The VW diesel SUV has a published curb weight of 4,919 lbs and the one made by Toyota: 5,401 lbs. – a difference of only about 10%. The VW diesel consumes a lot less fossil fuel and thus emits a lot less CO2. The technology for clean diesel (SCR or Selective Catalytic Reduction) exists and works. The war on diesel is unjustified. I can’t imagine the mileage being cut in half after the software fix, but we shall see.

      • At this point I do believe the analyses by Wenzel is more accurate than the others since it takes into account much more than mass. But I’ll go back and study it further. My daughter drives one of those tiny Fiats with lots of bags.

        Regarding your assertion that I proved your point, I disagree. Your point seemed to have been that VW could only choose one or the other (meet the fuel mileage standards or meet the emissions standards). Yet other manufacturers managed to meet both standards, disproving your assertion. Perhaps that was not the assertion you intended to make? It sure seemed to be.

      • Andrew Burnette March 20, 2017 at 2:27 am

        At this point I do believe the analyses by Wenzel is more accurate than the others since it takes into account much more than mass. But I’ll go back and study it further. My daughter drives one of those tiny Fiats with lots of bags.

        Thanks Andrew. The insurance people disagree with Wenzel, and they’re the ones that are making the actual payments for lost lives and damage. As a result, they are far more credible than any academic with no skin in the game. When your man man has big money riding on the accuracy of his results, I’ll start listening to him. Until then I’ll listen to the people who actually are placing big-money bets on which cars are more dangerous …

        Regarding your assertion that I proved your point, I disagree. Your point seemed to have been that VW could only choose one or the other (meet the fuel mileage standards or meet the emissions standards). Yet other manufacturers managed to meet both standards, disproving your assertion. Perhaps that was not the assertion you intended to make? It sure seemed to be.

        That was indeed my assertion. So your claim, to the contrary, is that VW could have made that same car so that it passed both the EPA emissions standards AND the CAFE standards, but they chose not to do so????

        Why would they do that?

        In any case, the fact that other manufacturers could do it doesn’t mean that VW could do it. That makes no sense at all. You have to remember that these are corporate AVERAGE fuel economy numbers. So it depends not just on the car itself, but on the economy of all of the other cars made by that manufacturer … and that varies greatly from corporation to corporation.

        As a result, for a certain corporation, a given model may need to be well ABOVE the CAFE standards in order to bring up other low-mileage cars in that particular corporations range of models … my point is that the standards hit cars very unevenly, so what the other manufacturers can do is not relevant.

        All the best,

        w.

  24. Why doesn’t everyone who believes in CAGW just regulate economy via speed limits? The 55 mph limit worked, didn’t it? If anyone fears the dreaded co2 molecule, they can just slow down.

    On a recent long road trip of 3,500 kms, if I had kept to 90 kmh, I’d have used 9 L per 100 kms. I kept mostly at 105 kmh, however, because I value my time much much more than the extra fuel I use at about 10 L per 100 kms.

    In Europe where the motorway limits are 130 kmh, and police are pretty laid back (I was passed by police at 10kmh over a few times), I tend to stay at 135 to 140 kmh on similar road trips, for the same reason.

  25. Sorry, if somewhat off topic, but it looks like someone is going give Elon a run for his subsidy. Cool lines, interior ergonomics, 1000 b.h.p., all wheel drive, and a 400 mile battery life, All that and it is reasonably priced.

    https://lucidmotors.com/car

  26. Willis said:

    “Unfortunately, there is an ugly truth about cars. Less car weight in crashes means more injury and more deaths. Here’s the cold equation—the less steel that gets bent in a crash, the more flesh and bone that gets bent in a crash. The National Academy of Sciences wrote about this as far back as 2002. They said the CAFE standards were killing about 2,000 people per year.

    So we have totally distorted the auto marketplace into trading human blood and misery for fuel economy … not a good plan on my planet.”

    Someone forgot to tell Mazda. Their cars have shed weight and maintained safety. Not all steel is created equal, and not all uses of the same weight of steel are equal.

    Mazda have proved this.

  27. Less fuel consumption equals less road taxes collected for repairs. Where would the money come from? Higher tag fees, driver license renewals, toll roads?

    • My state was the first to pilot test taxing per mile driven and other states have now started their own testing. That’s the direction states want to go.

      I read into what Oregon proposed and in truth it only makes sense from a politicians money grubbing view point. When converting the proposed mileage tax rate to what it would be vs. our current per gallon purchased tax, my 17 mpg pickup would end up paying less tax while my 35 mpg would pay more tax then they currently do. They actually used 30mpg as their break point so any vehicle that gets less than 30mpg would pay less in tax then currently paid and those getting more than 30mpg would pay more.

    • Given that people budget money for this purpose, having a more efficient auto likely won’t cut total fuel purchases much. The owners will find it feasible to drive more miles. That said, summed over the USA, some areas will see lowered tax collections and others higher collections.

      • I, for one, have yet to limit my driving based on gas prices. They may dictate which of my vehicles I might drive, but not how far or how often.

  28. Diesel engines can be 10% or more thermally efficient than gasoline engines. If you want to reduce CO2 emissions, diesel is the technology to beat. Gasoline doesn’t compare. Diesel is subjected to particulate emissions standards which are measured by the PM2.5 test. That is particles which are less than or equal to 2.5 microns in size. Gasoline particulate emissions, which can be more harmful because they are much smaller and go deeper into the lungs (30 to 70 nm in size) or about a thousand times smaller. Gasoline particulate emissions are unregulated. The smaller gasoline particulates, unlike the diesel particulates, are not visible and do not settle out easily on their own once emitted. Given even light winds, the gasoline particulates tend to remain suspended in the air until washed out by precipitation. EPA has a ridiculous regulation, IIRC, that every diesel vehicle with SCR (i.e. AddBlue) has to have a DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid or addblue) tank large enough to last until the next scheduled service, which for diesel is usually around 10,000 miles. I wonder if VW didn’t tweak the software to meet the tank standard at the expense of the emissions standard (i.e. cutting down on the amount of DEF used increases NOx emissions but saves DEF so the tank doesn’t have to be as big). It’s a type of totalitarianism where the driver can’t be trusted or is believed to be incapable of filling the DEF tank. The six cylinder diesels have Selected Catalytic Reduction systems. The 4 cylinder diesels did not, IIRC. VW reportedly chose not to equip the 4 cylinder diesels with SCR systems.

  29. CAFE is what Tesla is designed to capitalize on. Tesla collects “credits” for each vehicle produced. They, in turn, sell these “credits” to the other manufacturers so they can produce cars that exceed the standard. So it is a roundabout way for the government to shovel money to Tesla.

  30. On top of the points Willis makes CAFE rules provide lots of other market distortions to promote idiotic energy policies. Take E-85 vehicles for example. Under the rules such a vehicle is assumed to operate one half time on 85% ethanol, but only the 15% of the fuel that is gasoline counts toward corporate fleet average. It is a completely bogus calculation of mpg, and there is a cap on how much the corporate average could rise over a trick of this sort. It was done to encourage flex fuel vehicle production. It makes a mockery of the entire concept of efficiency or average mileage.

    To run the U.S. fleet on E-85 would be environmentally criminal.

    • I have an E-85 vehicle, and I’m lucky (in uber-green California no less) if I can find E-85 gasoline 5% of the time. When I do, the typical 20 cents per gallon saved seems to be offset by a far lower mileage factor on my vehicle because ethanol has less energy density per kilogram than gasoline.

      I didn’t buy the vehicle for E-85 capabilities, I bought it for size and features.

      • I certainly didn’t mean to tar anyone who has purchased a flex-fuel vehicle, but rather I was trying to make the point that the impact of flex-fueled vehicles on CAFE calculations is bogus, makes no sense, makes a mockery of logic. I figured last night as I was headed off to oblivion that while the E-85 actually reduces mileage, just as you stated, the impact on calculated mileage would be to increase from probably 24 mpg to something above 30. It makes no sense.

    • Indeed, regulations typically are there to promote the interests of rent-seekers, not to promote anything truly beneficial. I would never pump an ounce of E-85 into any vehicle I own. Mileage is miserable, engine damage potential significant, and the production of “biofuels” environmentally destructive as well as causing increases in food prices. I resent the stupid 10% ethanol mandate and want it (as well as CAFE) to disappear permanent like, so that I can get better gas mileage and performance and reliability from my cars.

      • About ten years ago I was asked to give a talk about renewables at a community college which offered certificates in renewable energy–mainly wind. I had figured that a mandate to use E-50 in the entire U.S. fleet would require planting the equivalent of Wyoming and Colorado in fermentable grains. We know the trouble this would cause. Among other things the best corn and wheat ground in the U.S. is already in production, and new production could only come from putting a plow to marginal land. I also showed that a mandate to make 50% of electrical power from wind by year 2018 would take all national savings, leaving nothing for any other needs.

        People at the talk didn’t argue with any of my claims, but the talk was received rather coolly just the same. They didn’t like the kool-aid without so much sugar.

  31. Willis-
    As requested, quoting:
    “Me, I support the Gordian Knot solution to this lunacy—get rid of the fershlugginer CAFE standards completely, root and branch. Those standards are the reason that Volkswagon had to cheat on their pollution controls.”

    While I agree with you about getting rid of CAFE standards, I believe your are wrong about the reason VW cheated. I believe the actual reason VW cheated was to meet the emission standards. Diesel vehicles have a hard time meeting the NOx standard and still have acceptable (to the customer) acceleration and driveability. Since the EPA test uses a fixed time versus vehicle speed (with mild accelerations) for their certification test, the easiest way to meet the standard is to have the vehicle computer check to see if the vehicle speed versus time is the EPA test. If so, the fuel is adjusted to pass the emissions standards at the expense of customer preferred driveability. If the vehicle is NOT following the EPA test cycle, then the fuel is adjusted to driveability. However, because the EPA test has mild accelerations, the car will also get better fuel economy on the EPA test than on the road.

    • Thanks, old engineer. Have I mentioned that engineers have it all over climate scientists on my planet? Engineers have to take responsibility for their errors. Climate scientists just “move on”.

      Regarding the reason VW cheated, they couldn’t meet the EPA standards and still get the mileage needed for the CAFE standards. So you could say that they cheated to pass the EPA standards, OR you could say that they cheated to pass the CAFE standards, with equal honesty. The problem was, they couldn’t pass BOTH.

      w.

    • . Since the EPA test uses a fixed time versus vehicle speed (with mild accelerations) for their certification test

      Then Subaru has been cheating for years. The default mode on their cars is “economy mode”. If I wish to get enter the freeway via an on-ramp at highway speeds so as to not endanger other drivers, I engage “sport mode”.

      Actually, I’m just lazy. I leave it in sport mode all the time. Time is money. I want to get to where I’m going as fast as safely possible.

      Peter

  32. Interesting item at our state museum. A nicely constructed wooden box issued ti members of Congress to hold the 18 quart bottles of liquor issued to them each session. This may explain many of the laws and regulations we find so puzzling.

  33. Willis
    Good article
    “Furshlugginer CAFE”
    The first word is from MAD Magazine, circa late1950s.
    Second just plain mad in any decade.

  34. Seems to be a peculiarly American thing to assume a heavier car is safer. A lighter car need not be more dangerous, it depends on the designers and engineers. Interesting read on how the standards are manipulated.

    • yarpos March 19, 2017 at 10:50 pm

      Seems to be a peculiarly American thing to assume a heavier car is safer. A lighter car need not be more dangerous, it depends on the designers and engineers.

      Nope, it’s not “an American thing.” It is a “reality thing”. I linked above to the actual mortality figures.

      They clearly show that with a few exceptions, lighter cars are less safe.

      Now, I see you don’t like that. And it’s clear you’re trying unsuccessfully to diss Americans.

      However, take heart. Yours is not the first shipload of fantasies to run aground on a reef of hard facts …

      Moving on, can you design a lighter car that is safer as you claim? Sure, you’re 100% right about that … within limits. I mean, a two hundred pound car isn’t going to protect much. They call that a “motorcycle”. I’m sure you can see the problem

      However, while cars that are both lighter and safer are possible as you say, this discussion is about real world successful family cars that are actually manufactured and sold in quantity. We’re not talking race cars engineered to protect one occupant at 200 mph that hardly weigh anything, nor theoretical cars made of carbon fibre and unobtanium …

      Best regards,

      w.

      • There is the example that Formula 1 cars are much lighter than in past times, but substantially more safe. It was said at one time that cars were so well built and robust that the only collapsable feature was the driver. The newer lighters cars tend to have crumple zones to address this. Heavier cars are indeed safer, mainly because their heavier weight will transfer momentum to the lighter car they are hitting.

      • Willis, you could try turning it on it’s head.
        Based on the European NCAP crash tests mass does not impart much more safety during standardised crash tests.
        ie Hitting stationary blocks of concrete head or quarter on, having blocks of concrete (representing a vehicle) slammed in to the side of the car.
        The latest smaller lighter cars meet those tests with 5 stars,which is the maximum, by careful design of crumple zones, re-inforced passenger cells, pre tension seat belts and multiple air bags.
        But some larger, heaver, poorly designed vehicles, especially Chinese, fail the tests with 2 or 3 stars because of “intrusion in to the passenger cell.

        In real life it is actually Mass that Kills. If two small light weight cars hit each other the passengers stand a pretty good chance of survival at normal driving speeds.
        However if a small car is hit by a much Larger (taller), Heavier vehicle, yes they stand less chance than those passengers in two larger heavier vehicles colliding.
        And neither of them stand any chance at all if they are Squished between 2 44 ton trucks.

      • A C Osborn March 20, 2017 at 4:10 am

        In real life it is actually Mass that Kills. If two small light weight cars hit each other the passengers stand a pretty good chance of survival at normal driving speeds.
        However if a small car is hit by a much Larger (taller), Heavier vehicle, yes they stand less chance than those passengers in two larger heavier vehicles colliding.

        Well, there’s yer problem … all we need to do is pass a law mandating that all cars in the US have to be the same size, and Bob’s yer uncle!!

        w.

      • I think the confusion arises from the fact that people are looking at “safety ratings” and comparing THOSE with respect to vehicles in different size/weight classes, when they CANNOT be compared that way, if you bother to read the fine print in such “ratings.” In the real world, when your “top safety pick” 2800 pound sub-compact collides head-on with a “marginal” 5000 pound suv, your “top safety pick” will get crushed. Physics, as they say, can’t be denied.

      • @Gareth Formula One cars never hit each other head on. They also are surrounded by large numbers of safety barriers, they are very light and their relative weights are almost identical.
        Thus F1 is a terrible example.
        But even for said example: F1 cars slamming into a tree or bridge at anywhere near full speed still = dead person.

      • “Heavier cars are indeed safer”

        Indeed they are.

        Which is why I personally drive a Mercedes Benz.

    • Simple physics, the conservation of momentum dictates that the lighter vehicle in a two vehicle collision will be subject to greater acceleration forces. Collision testing into fixed barriers obscures the benefits of being in the higher mass vehicle. So your five star econobox does not want to mess with your four star pickup truck.

      • I’ve seen the results of a Smart car vs. a 1 ton, 4×4, crew cab pickup. The results were not pretty, the pickup had minor damage while the Smart car needed to be shoveled off the road. As I wasn’t actually involved, just stuck in the slow accident traffic I don’t know what happened to those in the vehicles but it didn’t look good for at least the driver of that Smart car.

    • All other things being equal, a heavier car is a safer car. By applying more technology smaller cars can be made safer.
      On the other hand applying the same technology to heavier cars will make them safer as well.

    • Simple conservation of momentum.
      m1v1 = m2v2
      However, energy imparted is not linear: 1/2mv(squared).
      Which is why any size car hit by a train, the occupants generally die.
      In the case of car on car: a 50% greater mass on one side means the other side exits with more than twice the energy.

  35. Willis, there is an extra consideration, the area of the car. The government guidelines have different parameters based on the footprint.

  36. Willis,

    At a price, Porsche have shown the way to achieve the CAFE figure of 54.5 mpg withe the 918 Spyder. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under its five-cycle tests rated the 2015 model year Porsche 918 Spyder energy consumption in all-electric mode at 50 kWh per 100 miles, which translates into a combined city/highway fuel economy of 67 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (MPG-e) (3.5 L/100 km; 80 mpg-imp gasoline equivalent).[1] When powered only by the gasoline engine, EPA’s official combined city/highway fuel economy is 22 mpg‑US (11 L/100 km; 26 mpg‑imp).

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=34856

    However. only 918 units were built. All were sold for at least $1 million each. Fortunately, the Acura NSX will soon be available for the discerning motorist. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_NSX_(second_generation)

    • Perry, I hate to tell you, but that electric MPG-e mileage number is total BS.

      You have a choice with fossil fuel. EITHER you can burn fossil fuel in a power plant with attendant losses, transform it to high voltage with attendant losses, transmit it through wires with attendant losses, transform it to low voltage with attendant losses, run it through a battery charger with attendant losses, put it into a car battery with attendant losses, and then take it out of the battery with attendant losses.

      The bogus MPG-e figure you quoted does NOT include any of those inefficiencies. It only starts counting kilowatts AFTER all of the losses I listed above.

      OR you can burn the fuel in the engine, and avoid all of those inefficiencies.

      Note that this is just another way that the combination of the CAFE standards and the EPA distorts the economy of the market.

      I also note on your cited link that the car has a 420 mile range … but it can only make it TWELVE MILES on electricity alone.

      Like I said, it distorts the market. Batteries with a twelve-mile range on that car are a feel-good add-on to get past the CAFE standards.

      w.

      • There is another option, some of my neighbours charge their cars from their rooftop solar panels. They are not exactly environmentally conscious, but they are financially well informed.

      • Willis writes

        OR you can burn the fuel in the engine, and avoid all of those inefficiencies.

        If you include transmission energy cost then you have to do the same from the oil well via refinery, fuel station and to the car (which may involve a “go out and get fuel trip in some cases”). And similarly from the coal mine via power station to the house too. You’re biasing against energy transport by including it for electricity and not fuel, otherwise.

        Oh and the internal combustion engine is only maybe 25% efficient too.

      • …some of my neighbours charge their cars from their rooftop solar panels at night.

        Well, yes, They are not exactly environmentally conscious.

  37. Willis writes Let me start by saying that I think that this is governmental over-reach. In virtually every other part of life we let the market decide the required efficiency.

    And if the US Government wanted to go down the “market” path then they could quadruple the amount of tax US citizens pay for fuel which would put them in line with the rest of the world and then see the US head towards more efficient cars like the rest of the world has been. Careful what you wish for.

    • TimTheToolMan March 20, 2017 at 1:18 am

      Willis writes

      Let me start by saying that I think that this is governmental over-reach. In virtually every other part of life we let the market decide the required efficiency.

      And if the US Government wanted to go down the “market” path then they could quadruple the amount of tax US citizens pay for fuel which would put them in line with the rest of the world and then see the US head towards more efficient cars like the rest of the world has been. Careful what you wish for.

      Thanks, Tim, but say what? Why would we want to increase fuel taxes on ourselves? The fact that the Europeans are fuel-tax-happy makes most Americans either laugh or shake our heads. It doesn’t make us want to emulate them and tax the excrement out of ourselves, that’s nuts.

      w.

      • TimTheToolMan March 20, 2017 at 1:53 am

        So, the rest of the world is nuts and only the US knows what’s best?

        Tim, I put the following at the end of every post to try to fend off the myriad of jerkwagons who specialize in raving about things I never said:

        PLEASE: When you comment, QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS THAT YOU ARE REFERRING TO, so that we can all understand what you are talking about.

        But noooo, TimTheTool is far too important to follow a polite request …

        I never said rest of the world is nuts, or anything close to that. That’s just the voices in your head kicking in again.

        Come back when you are willing to quote whatever has your knickers in a twist and I might discuss it … gotta say, you’re off to a bad start, and I’m not interested in running your maze unless there is cheese at the end.

        w.

      • re:

        I never said rest of the world is nuts, or anything close to that.

        Oh please

        It doesn’t make us want to emulate them and tax the excrement out of ourselves, that’s nuts.

        The rest of the world has high tax. You said doing that was nuts. This isn’t rocket science.

      • TimTheToolMan March 20, 2017 at 2:14 am

        re:

        I never said rest of the world is nuts, or anything close to that.

        Oh please

        It doesn’t make us want to emulate them and tax the excrement out of ourselves, that’s nuts.

        The rest of the world has high tax. You said doing that was nuts. This isn’t rocket science.

        Oh, please??? Tim, you desperately need to learn to read and to research. First, your claim that “the rest of the world has high tax” is simply untrue. Fuel taxes around the world are all over the map. And they also differ greatly between oil-producing and non-oil-producing countries, with oil producers such as the US typically having much lower taxes.

        Next, and more to the point, I said nothing about the “rest of the world” as you falsely claim. Nada. Zip. Not only did I say nothing about “the rest of the world” I clearly specified that I was talking about Europe. Your reading skills are sorely lacking.

        Finally, what I said was that looking at Europe’s high fuel taxes does NOT make us want to emulate them. That’s what I said was nuts—your idea that if we went to a “market” path we’d want to run out and quadruple our own taxes.

        Quadruple our taxes? Why would we want to do that to ourselves? As I said, and as you misunderstood:

        Thinking that if we go to a “market” path we’d want to quadruple our taxes … that’s definitely nuts.

        NOW do you understand why I ask people to quote my words? It’s to prevent you from falsely claiming that I said the rest of the world is nuts, when I never discussed “the rest of the world” in anything I’ve said, nor did I say it was nuts.

        If you’d quoted my words to start with AS I’VE REQUESTED OVER AND OVER, a request that you have read many times, I could have pointed out the misunderstanding, apologized for my lack of clarity, re-stated what I actually meant. and we could have moved on in amity.

        Instead, you decided to be a jerkwagon and just start running your mouth about your fantasies of what I said … sorry, Tim, but discussing things with you is no fun at all.

        You’ll have to excuse me if I might fail to answer any further of your posts. Right now, I’m just not interested.

        w.

      • Willis writes

        First, your claim that “the rest of the world has high tax” is simply untrue.

        LOL Willis. You stated that, I simply went with your argument. Since you like quotes, the first reference to “rest of the world” in our conversation came from you here

        I never said rest of the world is nuts, or anything close to that. That’s just the voices in your head kicking in again.

        I took you to mean “rest of the world” as being many other countries including Europe. Now you try to beat me up with it. That’s just rude.

      • Perhaps in an attempt to move forward…

        Thinking that if we go to a “market” path we’d want to quadruple our taxes … that’s definitely nuts.

        It wasn’t nuts for many countries. Here’s a selection

        http://www.aip.com.au/pricing/facts/Facts_about_Petrol_Prices_and_the_Australian_Fuel_Market.htm

        If you cross reference that list with the list of car fatalities you can see your “heavy (inefficient) cars are safer” argument doesn’t hold up to the statistics.

        Also look at the countries with high petrol tax and you wont see countries with high poverty either. Now look at the US public debt.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_public_debt

        It seems to me that you could do with some extra tax to try to get that debt down. I wouldn’t recommend changing the tax rate all at once, however. That would cause problems.

      • Hint: most of the world drives less and drives better than Americans do.

        Also, fatality stats are notoriously difficult to compare because some countries only count immediate deaths at the scene, while others count deaths a month or more after the crash.

      • MarkG: How roads are built and average weather conditions also make a huge difference in traffic death rates.

      • TimTheToolMan:

        The link you provided indicates you do have a point when you say

        http://www.aip.com.au/pricing/facts/Facts_about_Petrol_Prices_and_the_Australian_Fuel_Market.htm

        If you cross reference that list with the list of car fatalities you can see your “heavy (inefficient) cars are safer” argument doesn’t hold up to the statistics.

        And that point is emphasised by the wiki link you originally provided.

        Also, I would have been a bit miffed by that exchange with Willis, too.

        But I write to say that your point is not as clear-cut as you suggest.
        Wiki is not really reliable, and your original link to it admits that its data is not directly comparable between countries when it says

        The total fatalities figures comes from the WHO report (table A2, column point estimate, pp. 264–271) and are often an adjusted number of road traffic fatalities in order to reflect the different reporting and counting methods among the many countries (e.g. “a death after how many days since accident event is still counted as a road fatality?” (by standard adjusted to a 30 days period), or “to compensate for underreporting in some countries”, see WHO report pp. 62–74)

        Anybody who has had anything to do with climate data has learned to be very, very skeptical of any “adjusted number”.

        Richard

      • So, the rest of the world is nuts and only the US knows what’s best?

        America is a large country. The distance between destinations (actual) is about 2X what you see in Europe.

        Also America produces oil.

    • If the US Government wisely decides to go down the “market” path, further meddling with tax policy would have (by definition) nothing to do with it. They would simply be allowing people to decide for themselves how fuel efficiency factors into their vehicle purchases rather than trying to “force” fuel economy numbers “top down” without any reference to reality.

  38. Sorry. I thought the point was to get the public to buy smaller more efficient (sorry effective for the pedantic) vehicles, rather than gas guzzling monsters.

    • Thanks, Gareth. And meanwhile, we’re getting rid of fuel economy standards.

      I’m glad you pointed out their proposed action, though. The fact that the pluted bloatocrats at EU Brussels are going the opposite way gives me great confidence that we’re headed in the right direction …

      w.

      • “The fact that the pluted bloatocrats at EU Brussels are going the opposite way gives me great confidence that we’re headed in the right direction …”

        Couldn’t agree more with that!! LMAO!

  39. An even crazier situation is that in the EU, cars are taxed according to supposed carbon dioxide emissions per mile or km. Yet, if you compare the claimed fuel consumption per mile with the claimed CO2 emissions per mile for the models from any one manufacturer, you see that they don’t vary in proportion.

    That would seem to suggest that the vehicle makes some of its carbon dioxide from materials other than the fuel and air it uses. I’d certainly like to know how it pulls that trick off, as it might be the answer to all our energy and materials needs. Imagine, being able to produce substances from nowhere!

    More likely of course, it indicates that the ratings are a fraud.

  40. If you want to lessen something, tax it more.

    High fuel prices led to an immediate improvement in European fuel economy.

    Taxing high consumption cars themselves (Annual car tax) simply means that low mileage users – pensioners and the like – pay a burden on older cars they cannot afford to replace.

    Taxing labour, means more unemployment. Yes, it actually does.

    Companies have to pay enough wages to cover employees living needs AND the tax needs

    Tax spending instead. Scrap income tax, increase purchase tax.

    Less consumption and more saving.

    • Leo, I appreciate the comment, but I don’t follow this line of thought at all. WHY do you want to increase taxes?

      And more to the point, if you want to increase taxes, for heavens sake don’t tax energy. That’s madness, it is very destructive to the economy. Not only that, but an energy tax is hugely regressive, hitting the poor the hardest.

      I agree when you say “tax spending”, but a fuel tax is the opposite of that. It is a tax on one of the three main inputs to production (energy, materials, and labor), so just like taxing labor, taxing energy means more unemployment. As you say, and I agree, “Yes, it actually does”.

      Regards,

      w.

    • Taxing sales reduces velocities of money which hurts the economy. Tax vice, sloth, greed and ignorance. Griff would not return.

  41. “Less car weight in crashes means more injury and more deaths.”

    No, it doesn’t.

    with airbags, seatbelts (the crazy Us notion they trap people is just nuts) and crumple zones, small light European and Japanese cars are very safe.

    I might add that most nations have an equivalent of the UK’MOT’ which prevents ‘junker’ and mechanically unsafe cars driving on the roads. US would benefit in safety terms but it would of course hit your poorest workers hard.

    I would also say that fuel efficiency is good for the car buyer and sometimes govts can and should legislate for the consumer, not the manufacturer.

    but of course the rest of the (rational) world believes in reducing CO2 and reducing fossil fuel use is a social benefit and a necessary action.

    • Griff March 20, 2017 at 2:18 am

      “Less car weight in crashes means more injury and more deaths.”

      No, it doesn’t.

      Yes, it does. READ THE DAMN CITATION!

      As to the rest of your claims, sorry, but I don’t have any interest in discussing anything with you. I’ve seen far too many of your endless meaningless puerile strings of useless objections and meaningless meanderings and bogus climate claims that go on and on ad nauseam … sorry, Griff, but you’ll have to talk to the hand, ’cause the head’s not listening …

      And for those lucky folks that don’t know you, my advice to them is, whatever you do, don’t touch the tar baby

      w.

      • Willis writes

        Yes, it does. READ THE DAMN CITATION!

        But if you look at the actual causes for the accidents…

        https://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-cause-of-the-most-fatal-car-crashes-2015-5

        You can see that most accidents are head ons and failure to give way. That means its car vs car and if there are a lot of large cars around then in a smaller car you’re toast. However comparing to statistics from countries that have smaller more efficient cars, the death rates fall overall.

        So if there is no pressure for everyone to reduce car sizes then you’re going to be better off in a bigger car. But pressure to increase car sizes for safety by having low fuel prices and no regulations isn’t necessarily the best policy for the US to have.

      • Accidents are broken down by category. (same size, different size, fixed object, etc.) And in every category, bigger is safer.

      • “MarkW March 20, 2017 at 10:02 am”

        Bigger is better in *ALL* cases? I don’t think so. If you are in a compact car and hit by a truck, you are likely gone. Other way around, you will likely suffer injuries, but likely walk away. Modern cars are built with crumple zones which absorbs energy in a crash. Anything built on a ladder frame chassis is too rigid and the energy in a crash, any crash, is transferred to the occupants, bit like a can of crushed tomatoes.

    • Just rational laws of physics I’m afraid Griff. The lighter car and its cocooned occupants must have a greater change of velocity than the heavier car and its cocooned occupants. Crumple zones, air bags etc. mitigate that but they can’t overcome it.

    • As usual you are wrong Griff. A couple of months ago a brand new Challenger was sent to the scrap heap after a small altercation with my 1992 Ford F150. He changed lanes into my truck and the truck’s 3/8ths inch solid steel bumper completely destroyed the drivers side of the car while the bumper sustained a 4 inch scratch and my passenger fender also had a small dent. I drove my truck home painted the scratch and didn’t worry about the dent. I saw the Challenger in the pick and pull a few weeks later. You can park your small car in front of my truck and let me run into you at 30 mph if you really believe that small little light cars are safe. My truck only cost me $200 so I am willing to sacrifice it for science. :-)

    • “Griff March 20, 2017 at 2:18 am

      I might add that most nations have an equivalent of the UK ’MOT’ which prevents ‘junker’ and mechanically unsafe cars driving on the roads.”

      While Ministry of Transport (MoT) road worthiness test is tough, buy Australian and New Zealand standards, it by no means prevents junkers and unsafe cars on the UK roads as the MOT test is valid only ON THE DAY OF THE TEST. In the UK there are some 3000 laws that can attract a penalty simply by picking up a set of car keys and approaching a vehicle, even if the keys are not for that vehicle, crazy, but true! In the UK, by law, you are required to ensure lights, tyres, body, windscreen wipers etc, are “road worthy”, even before you get in the vehicle. Enforcing those laws is difficult.

  42. They used aluminum in the new Ford F150s. They did a side by side test with a Chevy and the Ford lost big time. I doubt a lighter truck would haul as well either.

  43. Willis, you state:

    “But under the CAFE rules, if you merely make your car lighter, you can claim it’s more “economical”.”

    It is not so easy to make cars lighter. I had a 1970ies Audi 100 GL (the largest Ausdi then), runnig 200 km/hr. It had a weight of 1100 kg. Now a big Audi A8 weighs more than two (metric) tons, despite the fact that they use now aluminum instead of steel to make it lighter. I think the security of the old Audi was not bad. Security is gained in the way how the car body consumes the energy through deformation, so pure weight doesn’t count as an argument, especially as it comes from a bigger engine, tranny, cables, servo motors, unholstery, and noies reduction materials, etc.

    Now I have a 4 door VW up! runnig with natural gas, consuming less than 3kg/100km, which equals to 94 mpg. It weighs less than my old Audi and has maximum 5 stars at the Euro NCAP crah test. And it makes quite fun to fill a tank with 12 Euro ready to drive another 400km, plus having 300km reserve on normal gas.

    The weight of a car as a security measure is also one-sided. What about pedestrians, cyclists, bikers? And should everone use a light truck, a heavy truck or even a Panzer?

    • I’m surprised that not many people thought of using methane as fuel.
      The conversion from petrol to LNG is relatively cheap. Natural gas is abundant in the US, and so refuelling is cheaper than petrol. The greens would be happy about decreased emissions and air pollution, and the country would be less dependent on oil imports. So everyone wins.

      • But LNG boils at -162°C or -260°F, which means it must be kept in cryogenic tanks with active refrigeration. There is no way to avoid some boil-off. LNG tankers simply use the boil-off gas to run the engines and re-liquify any excess — not practical for a motor vehicle fuel.

        Many US urban buses have been converted to run on CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), but the volumetric energy density is much lower than LNG, so it is limited to large fleet vehicles with predictable routes between refueling stops.

        Propane could be used as a motor fuel, because its boiling point is much higher and can be safely stored in low-pressure tanks. But LPG has a significantly lower volumetric energy density than gasoline, reducing the effective range of an LPG-powered vehicle on the same fuel capacity. The LPG conversions I’ve seen are pickup trucks, where the LPG tank occupies the front of the bed and the original gas tank is retained to create a dual-fuel vehicle. Propane burns much cleaner than gasoline (no abrasive ash) which prolongs engine life and it’s easier starting in cold weather.

  44. I just checked the report on deadly car crashes which Willis mentioed. For a first quick view, it seems to be quite dangerous to drive in a car from an U.S. car maunfacturer…

    However, if I coud afford, I would like to drive an oldie U.S. gas guzzler…

  45. All things being equal a larger vehicle is likely to be safer in a crash than a smaller vehicle. But in Europe improvements in car safety design have significantly improved crash survival. With a strict regime to ensure vehicles are actually roadworthy (eg: annual MOT test in UK), the optimal solution may be to improve the stock of vehicles being used not not simply use larger vehicles.

    The inevitable consequence of “bigger is better” is a race towards heavier, larger, less economic vehicles, making road safety an economic issue – only those with the money can afford to run a new large vehicle, those with less can only run an old large vehicle lacking current safety features..

    However given that cars have no purpose save to transport their freight – people and goods – the real level of vehicle efficiency is woeful. 2500kg of SUV to move (say) 80kg of homo sapien + 20kg of shopping is an efficiency of 4% before factoring in the fuel efficiency.

    Irrespective of views on climate change, peak oil etc etc, it is clear that many cities are becoming increasingly unpleasant polluted places to live, and cars are a major contributor to the problem. So a tax regime which encourages reduced emissions should be welcomed.

    • No, the government should not try to “fix” with taxes the monster it created with transportation regulations and taxpayer funding to begin with. The government in the US treated railroads like they were a transport monopoly for decades after they had undermined their business (and were certainly no longer even close to being any monopoly) by building up and effectively granting massive subsidies to every competitor, including automobiles, buses and trucking (highways), airlines (airports, air traffic control systems, R&D (from the military mostly), and marketing (the FAA is, among other things, charged with PROMOTING air travel – why in hell does the government need to ‘promote” a mode of transport?!), and waterways (through Army Corps of Engineers, dredging, etc.).

      Let the government “invest” in high speed intercity rail and high speed local rail and a nationwide “autotrain” type service to reduce the “need” for people to use cars for as many things/miles, if they are really interested in reducing emissions, not punish us for doing what they basically required us to do by their meddling in the first place.

  46. Weight is mostly an issue with urban cycle due to braking which converts kinetic energy to heat. Aerodynamic drag is the main energy expenditure on highway cycle..this drag has gone way down over the past 40 years.

    Engines have gotten MUCH better. Direct injection gasoline is just as efficient as diesel based on energy content ( gasoline has slightly less energy per gallon compared to diesel). Since diesel is now more expensive, that is a wash. Smoky Yunick predicted this..too bad he didn’t see it.

    The weight issue vanishes with regenerative braking which is why hybrid drive systems have great urban cycle economy, often rivaling highway.

    • Interestingly, the size of the engine, has a lot to do with efficiency. If I took a standard Ford Focus with a 160HP 2.2 liter engine and plunked in a 1.1 liter 75 hp engine, It would almost double mileage. It forces people to drive slower, and not accelerate as fast.

      The secret to the 100mpg car, is to get one that runs acceptably on a 40hp engine.

      • No, that isn’t right. Engine efficiency is limited by construction. Theoretical maximum is by Carnot which is limited by temperature. Which in the Otto Cycle is mechanically set by compression ratio and material limits.

        Sure, a smaller engine will slightly improve mileage but only because the Otto Cycle is variable compression due to manifold vacuum at all but wide open throttle. Engines are most efficient at the highest manifold pressure because there is where combustion temperature is highest…Sadi Carnot says so.

        Direct injected gasoline engines use much higher mechanical compression ratios as preignition cannot happen. These engines still use a spark for ignition but have isobaric heat addition, just like a diesel. And all use low pressure turbo-supercharger .

      • “Almost double the mileage”

        Wildly optimistic or delusional, take your pick. It forces people to drive with their foot to the floor, not drive slower.

  47. A lot of other countries tax cars, and base annual registration fees on the displacement of the engine. That is why in Europe you see so many micro cars and even compacts with ridiculously small engines. A VW Jetta with a 1.2 liter engine, as an example. Of course that caused the European manufacturers to figure out how to get as much horsepower out of an engine as possible, just so the cars could exist on the autobahn, pollution, or reliability be damned.

  48. Willis,
    Only just read this article so sorry for the lateness of this comment.

    Using the the deaths per billion km data from Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate

    For those countries supplying data the safest places to drive are in mainly in Northern Europe, namely and in descending order of safety Sweden, UK, Eire, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Iceland, Finland, Germany, Australia Israel.

    The USA comes in at 17th with just over twice the rate of Sweden.

    The story is similar for deaths per vehicle USA 30th, and population USA 58th (10x the rate in Sweden 2nd) Micronesia being in number 1 position.

    So although larger vehicles may be safer and in the USA the percentage of large vehicles is far greater than Northern Europe it would appear that the chances of being killed in a crash involving one or more large vehicles are much greater than the chances of being killed in a crash involving a collision between two NCAP tested smaller European cars or crashing an NCAP tested smaller car into a wall or tree.

    • Sandy In Limousin:

      You provide the same link to make the same point as TimTheToolMan made above.

      I copy to you what I said to him.

      I write to say that your point is not as clear-cut as you suggest.
      Wiki is not really reliable, and your original link to it admits that its data is not directly comparable between countries when it says

      The total fatalities figures comes from the WHO report (table A2, column point estimate, pp. 264–271) and are often an adjusted number of road traffic fatalities in order to reflect the different reporting and counting methods among the many countries (e.g. “a death after how many days since accident event is still counted as a road fatality?” (by standard adjusted to a 30 days period), or “to compensate for underreporting in some countries”, see WHO report pp. 62–74)

      Anybody who has had anything to do with climate data has learned to be very, very skeptical of any “adjusted number”.

      Richard

      • Yes the data is adjusted, but is there any suggestion that in general the death rate in RTAs is not less in North Europe than North America by whatever method (by mileage, population, vehicle numbers) is used to measure it?

        Or is it that there are fewer accidents by whatever measure in North Europe than North America and the death rate per accident is the same?

      • Sandy In Limousin:

        I suspect your claims are right but I don’t know if they are or not.
        And I don’t know the answers to your questions posed to me. Do you?

        I only know that, as I said,

        Anybody who has had anything to do with climate data has learned to be very, very skeptical of any “adjusted number”.

        Richard

  49. We can’t on the one hand, claim that the use of fossil fuels shouldn’t be denied to the third world because that will keep them in poverty while at the same time we waste these precious resources on 2 ton SUVs and pickup trucks. Regardless of where you stand on CO2 emissions, there’s something immoral about using a loaded F150 to go to the local C-Store to pick up a loaf of bread. We in the West consume an inordinate amount of fossil fuels to support our lifestyles.

    • Quit guilt tripping. Our technology transfers plus foreign aid counts for something.

      I didn’t force poverty on the third world, their government did just that. Case in point is Bobby Mugabe.

      • The writers MarkW bot need to amend and update it because it has become tediously predictable.

        One constant with the MarkW bot. It asserts that any post it does not like is from a “leftist” then makes an unwarranted assertion about “leftists” that has no basis in reality.

        Richard

    • We can’t on the one hand, claim that the use of fossil fuels shouldn’t be denied to the third world because that will keep them in poverty while at the same time we waste these precious resources on 2 ton SUVs and pickup trucks.

      Mine is 3 tons, I’ll have you know.

      Likewise, using a vast oil infrastructure to post frivolous comments on a decadent Western blog is also immoral, to the person who has to carry clay jugs of water from the local stream every day.

      If people don’t like their lot in life, they should act to change it, not wait around for someone else to change it for them. Odds are they’ll get something else they don’t like. I don’t feel immoral for using something I worked to buy.

  50. There are other factors as well which at least partly negate the supposed benefit of the CAFE standards. To meet crash testing with less structure designers are resorting to aluminum, press hardened steel and other more exotic alloys for structural members. I cars using press hardened steel for example each structural part is heated to 900C (martensitic range) then formed and quenched in the press to get the strength needed in a thinner lightweight part. Aluminum is also obviously more energy intense than mild steel. Multiple studies have shown that electric cars need to operate up to 50,000 miles before they recoup the extra energy needed to make them as light as possible.

  51. there will always be unintended consequences. The original CAFE standards did not include trucks or vehicles on truck chassis. This led to the invention of the SUV. Station wagons died out and SUVs took their place (families still wanted station wagons but had to buy an SUV in order to get the size car they needed for kids and gear). The net result was more gas guzzling SUVs instead of gas guzzling station wagons.
    This time around, the US gov’t did include trucks. Ergo the Ford F-150 with aluminum boxes. What will happen will be shops specializing in retrofitting old trucks (if the idiotic CAFE standards are kept). Keep your 2016 F-150 running by replacing everything but the gas cap as time goes on (I’m assuming that other truck manufacturers will follow suit).
    Finally, there is a very interesting video showing the results of a 1959 Chevy Impala crashing head-on into a 2009 Chevy Impala. Bottom line: driver of the ’59 Impala would have been killed, driver of the ’09 would have walked away from the crash

    • Seat belts, if fastened, play a significant role in passenger safety, plus, of course, airbags. Both features are missing on the ’59 Impala. Comparing that vehicle to a 2009 model is a bit misleading.

  52. The energy it takes to move a vehicle along the road is dominated by two parameters: aerodynamic drag and tire rolling resistance. Drag varies with the square of speed, so a great improvement would be to reduce the speed. This is easily achievable with a simple federal law, but voters would quickly eliminate the causes of such an alternative – the politicians who demanded it. Tire rolling resistance is about 1% of the weight of the vehicle being moved. This is mostly independent of the size of the vehicle and most other typical driving conditions. It simply takes an average rolling resistance force of one percent of the vehicle weight to get from A to B and back, no matter what else you might do.

    The 1% value for rolling resistance has remained quite constant over the years. It’s because tires must do more than roll the vehicle along, they must also provide cornering and braking forces. (You can get great stopping distances by putting double sided sticky tape on the tires, but it kills your fuel economy.) Federal regulations include braking and cornering as well as fuel economy, so there is no simple law that can “fix” them all, regardless of what the voters might think about it.

    The absurd 54 mpg CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) requirement by 2025 involves vehicles which are all already on the drawing boards. Thus the only known technology to meet it is to reduce size and weight, Oh, and then also give away a few million electric vehicles, in order to average in vehicles with zero “fuel” consumption.

  53. They found coal fire electric plants were only 33% efficient. They wanted to pass a bill requiring that they increase the efficiency. They really don’t consider science or common sense.

  54. I drive my Dodge 1500 with hemi, 4 wheel drive, air, quad cab whenever possible. It is fun, safe, large, and I can afford it. When in overdrive I get 21.5 mpg on highway. No going back to a small vehicle again. Love pumping out CO2 into the atmosphere for trees to munch on.

  55. CAFE regulations are also responsible for the Chevy Cobalt ignition switch fiasco. US car builders cannot make a profit on the smallest cars, for which customers will not pay as much but want all the features of larger cars. Hence, GM engineers stayed with an ignition switch which could turn the motor off if keychain was too heavy, to avoid adding a few cents to direct cost, making the vehicle even less profitable. Killed quite a few people…

  56. related, epa tier 4 and diesel engines. locomotives large enough to (for freight) run split cooling systems to avoid urea treatments (newer passenger locomotives use urea) but many OTR/smaller trucks cannot so have to use urea.
    and tier 5 due in 2019….
    emd went over a year not building any new locomotives as they had to design a new 4 stroke engine to work in their locomotives.

  57. Willis,

    Some remark on:

    Less car weight in crashes means more injury and more deaths

    Having had a car (Citroën 2CV) of about 560 kg empty weight, the above is true and false: only the weight difference between the cars in frontal collisions plays a role. It doesn’t make any difference when the car crashes against a wall, bridge, rock or tree (or a heavy truck): in all cases the “braking distance”, or how much steel is bend at the speed you drive at the moment of the collision is all what counts. That is even more for a 560 kg 2CV as for a 3000 kg Hummer, which has little ply zone…

    Of course, as lighter cars are more dangerous at frontal collissions with heavier cars, everybody wants to drive in the heavier one. But that is of no help if everybody drives heavier cars, no matter how heavy. The possibility to get killed is less for a frontal collission between two 2CV’s as between two tanks, as these have no ply zone at all…

    What tremendously helps is driving slower: the braking distance to avoid a possible accident increases with the second power of the driving speed. If you drive 100 km/h and need an emergency stop, you are stopped completely where a car starting braking at 120 km/h from the same point still drives at 70 km/h. By far more than deadly enough, even with all the airbags etc…

    • Studies show that even when the collision is between cars of similar size, those driving in heavier cars fare better.

    • I would think the same advantage to the heavier car also applies when the heavier car hits the lighter car broadside, or in the rear. Or for that matter if the lighter car runs into the heavier car in such scenarios. If you’re in the lighter vehicle, physics works against you in “car vs. car” collisions.

      I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think driving skills are the most important thing keeping vehicle occupants from getting killed, but only the smallest and lightest vehicles are going to get enough “mpg rating” to elevate the “average” for the “fleet” to the ludicrous levels demanded, and those (relative to heavier vehicles) do put the occupants of such vehicles into more danger in car vs. car collisions.

    • What tremendously helps is driving slower: …

      Even at ‘zero’ speed will be car accidents. Some pedestrians are that stupid (and texting!) that they run into a plainly visible parked car. Nonetheless: safety belts properly fastened and airbags count for considerable decrease of fatalities, not just slower speed.

    • The point is that if everybody drives in heavier cars, there is simply no advantage of the weight anymore and anyway no advantage in case you hit a truck or a solid obstacle…

      There is no reason for driving heavier cars (if you don’t need the HP for transporting loads), as the same number of fatal accidents and injuries will happen if everybody drives in lighter cars as if everybody drives heavy cars… As good as the (much larger) speed differences on European highways give more (fatal) accidents than in the US, where about everybody maintains more or less the same speed of driving: the maximum allowed…

      Thus from out of the view of fuel economics, forcing everybody into lighter cars is not more fatal than let everybody decide. There is BTW a much simpler solution than forcing fuel economy (or CO2 emission standards as they propose in Europe): double or triple the price of gasoline (as they have done in Europe), you will see how the average car shrinks over time…

      But that is political suicide for anybody who pushes that kind of “solutions” through Congress…

      • “Ferdinand Engelbeen March 20, 2017 at 3:38 pm

        As good as the (much larger) speed differences on European highways give more (fatal) accidents than in the US,..”

        This is wrong. Many many examples of hundreds of vehicles, of all types, on the same carriage way crashing with everyone walking away or at worst minor injuries. All the vehicles are travelling in the same direction separated by a median barrier.

  58. Willis says: ” I object to ANY automotive fuel standards as both totally un-necessary, and worse, market distorting.”

    I agree wholeheartedly…….Lets get rid of the tetraethylead fuel standard….we all know that lead is harmless in the air and it’s good for the valves in your engine.

    • Anyone else notice the desperation tactics here?
      engarpia can’t refute what was written so he pulls up the old strawman that wanting to get rid of one regulation is the moral equivalent to wanting to get rid of all regulations.

      • Well MarkW, you can take you 10% ethanol gas, tetraethylead does a much better job, won’t you agree?….or are you ignorant of how IC engines work?

      • Oppps, I forgot, MarkW thinks the market-distorting EPA regulation is a good thing.

      • engarpia@gmail.com March 20, 2017 at 9:37 am

        Willis says:

        ” I object to ANY automotive fuel standards as both totally un-necessary, and worse, market distorting.”


        I agree wholeheartedly…….Lets get rid of the tetraethylead fuel standard….we all know that lead is harmless in the air and it’s good for the valves in your engine.

        Are you really that stupid, or is it just for effect? Everyone (well, everyone but perhaps you) knows that I meant automotive fuel economy standards.

        Nice try, though, and better luck next time … Vanna, what do we have for our losing contestants?

        w.

      • As always, engarpia doesn’t even respond to what I wrote and continues building ever more exotic strawmen.
        I said nothing about whether the regulation on leaded gas was a good idea or not. What I ridiculed was your belief that those who want to get rid of CAFE also want to bring back leaded gas.

        I guess when you got nothing, doubling down on stupid is the best you can do.

      • I see your point MarkW, you appear to be the person that gets to decide if any given government regulation is a good one or a bad one. Please note Willis used the word “ANY” and even capitalized it for effect.

      • engarpia:

        You say you think MarkW is a person (not a bot). Do you have any evidence for that?

        Richard

  59. Just to play devil’s advocate: A car is to move people, regardless of the weight of the vehicle. What this suggests is that people should be riding motor scooters most of the time and not cars if they want to save the planet.

    Dicaprio on a scooter driving up to the Oscars?

  60. As a motorcyclist I’ve been getting 55mpg or better since the mid ’90’s. The same bike that get’s 55mpg on the street gets about 8mpg on track days. What you drive an how can make a big difference.

    But don’t let that stop you from driving the Maibatsu Monstrosity.

    Man: “I’m a marketing manager who lives in the suburbs and commutes to work on the highway. I live alone, so of course I needed a car that can seat 12 and is equipped to drive across arctic tundra…it just makes me feel better!”

    Woman: “Phil and I just had another kid. So of course we need a bigger SUV. Being a mom is hard, with soccer, football and lacrosse practice, so we bought the new Maibatsu Monstrosity. It’s so big…we lost little Joey in the back and couldn’t find him for and hour! When I’m rushing to the mall, or talking on my cell phone, I know me and my family are safe. The Maibatsu Monstrosity has 4-wheel drive, and in amphibious mode…it can cross rivers. So far I’ve only hit a few puddles, but it’s good to know it’s there. With the time I save taking shortcuts through the strip-mall parking lot I can focus on the important things. Like gazing longingly at the pool boy or…buying more exercise equipment off the TV. So what if it gets 3 miles to the gallon!? I’m a mom, not a conservationist!”

    Female announcer: “The new Maibatsu Monstrosity…mine’s bigger!!”

  61. If the automobile industry actually followed what people asked for, the US wouldn’t have had to bail out GM and Chrysler. The problem with the auto industry is they set Madison Avenue on a rampage, pushing the sales of vehicles that were exempted by the rules – trucks and SUVs – and the ads pushed them like the whole world wanted them. There were many people that would have liked fuel efficient cars instead, but somehow these dropped off the market. The industry did, once upon a time, produce small cars and pickup trucks because people wanted them. Then they switched to selling what they wanted to sell, and people were left with only used cars to allow them to buy smaller more efficient vehicles. And then came the cash for Klunker program, and the smaller, more efficient cars were turned in for cash.

    The auto industry is an artificial market now. It is controlled by the industry, not the consumer, and produces what it wants, not what the consumer would necessarily choose if they were given a choice. Not every one wants a muscle car, SUV, or pickup, but if you decide to buy a small car, it will still be closer to a muscle car in performance than an efficient means of transportation.

    I well recall the Honda Civics that advertised 55mpg, and I had a Ford Escort that delivered 33mpg over the first 130,000 miles of its life – until I moved to an area that had environmentally blended fuel to reduce pollution. Can’t say that dropping the car from 33mpg to 27mpg reduced pollution, but that’s what they tell me. That was a 1984, and it is hard to find a car that gets that good a mileage today – the 33mpg, that is. And at the time I bought that Escort, Honda had the CRX, I believe, and if memory serves correctly, one of the car magazines took it on an “economy run” to see how good it could get. I believe it was advertised at 80mpg, and using every trick in the book to drive as fuel efficiently as they could, they got 100+ on one leg of their trip, racking up something like 90+ overall.

    Cars CAN be fuel efficient, and they don’t need to be computerized to be that way. But if you want “hot dog” performance, you can’t get fuel efficiency. Trouble is, there is more money to be made in a big pickup than there is in a small, fuel efficient car, and that was the road the industry chose. Greed drives everything, so we have to drive what greed wants us to. Oh yes, and you don’t reduce “pollution” by burning twice as much “blended” fuel as you used to. No matter how you want to cut it, 2 gallons will always pollute more than 1 gallon, although the “pollution” might be different.

    • I had a 1984 Honda CRX, it was the first car I bought brand new. It was fun to drive, if a bit under powered for a small car, and for a 2-seater it had a spacious interior. I don’t remember the mileage numbers, but it seemed be able to run endlessly on a sniff of gas. :-)

      • “PaulH March 20, 2017 at 4:27 pm”

        I worked at the Honda plant in Swindon, UK, in 1994/1995. They made engines onsite, an amazing sight. Almost no human input to building the engine. The Rover/Honda partnership failed about that time, Rover supplied Honda panels and Honda supplied Rover engines/gearboxes etc. Honda rejected ~80% of the panels so they built their own CNC pressing plant. I did not see it go into full production, but testing was impressive.

        At that time I was looking after the plants computer networks and systems, all IBM and on 4mb token ring. I had to fix a PS/2 that was used to drive a machine that tested/measured bearing shells, the PSU failed and was replaced and it was in kanji. So, after remembering the keystrokes to go through the setup utility, it started to run. I then got the operator to go through his paces with the machine to make sure it was OK. He used to boot the PS/2 from diskette, one for each set of bearings being tested/measured. He used to power off the PS/2, swap diskette, swap bearings, and power on the PS/2 again, and let the test run. He used to do that for each bearing type and each cycle of testing. I showed him a solution to that. Swap disk, swap bearings then press CTRL-ALT-DEL…he was awestruck!

    • “Tom O March 20, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      Cars CAN be fuel efficient, and they don’t need to be computerized to be that way.”

      Yes they do. The advent of electronic fuel injection made that a no-brainer. Even the ME 109 had mechanical fuel injection, and although it was not for fuel economy, it was for performance, esp in rolls where the the Merlin in the Spitfire, with gravity fed carburettors, would splutter, the ME 109 would still run!

      • Patrick MJD:

        You wrongly assert

        Cars CAN be fuel efficient, and they don’t need to be computerized to be that way.”

        Yes they do. The advent of electronic fuel injection made that a no-brainer. Even the ME 109 had mechanical fuel injection, and although it was not for fuel economy, it was for performance, esp in rolls where the the Merlin in the Spitfire, with gravity fed carburettors, would splutter, the ME 109 would still run!

        Your assertions are wrong, very wrong! Clearly, you have not heard of Miss Shillings Orifice that was the standard drinking toast of RAF fighter pilots in the years before invention of the pressurised carburettor.

        Richard

      • Crikey! Why has that gone to moderation? Could it be because of reference to Miss Shilling?

      • Actually he’s right Richard, the flooding of the carb. was the reason for Tilly’s modification, retrofitted on the Merlin. We knew about the advantages of fuel injection for a very long time but the control was the difficulty, the mechanical systems were very complex, the advent of digital systems changed everything.

      • Phil.:

        A sensible discussion would be a consideration of what modern electronic fuel injection achieves for fuel efficiency that mechanical fuel injection cannot and why.

        Patrick MJD is wrong to claim his example shows cars (i.e. engines) “need to be computerised” to be fuel efficient. He admits the ME109 had mechanical fuel injection but did not cut-out in a dive. And I refer you to the link I provided but you may not have seen because it went into moderation for some time: as I said, Tilly’s orifice was a stop-gap until pressurised carburetors became available.
        Electronic fuel injection is not relevant in the example cited as evidence by Patrick MJD so his example CANNOT show what he claims.

        In other words, you are also wrong when you claim “he’s right” because he is wrong in every possible way.

        Richard

      • “richardscourtney March 21, 2017 at 4:00 am”

        Richard, I have built, tuned and raced cars with engines I have built by hand (Early 80’s) including blueprinting (I will leave you to Google that), porting and balancing. I have built and tuned normally aspirated engines, specifically, Rover V8’s with Stomberg/Zenith/SU carburettors…balanced by ear using a simple rubber tube. It’s is so much easier with EFI and an ECU. It is one reason why a Subaru Impreza 22B with a 2.2ltr engine, turbo charged, with appropriate crank, cams, pistons and TUNING via the ECU, can develop over 400BHP!

        Ever hear a “Spit” flyover and rollover and spit and crackle? I use to live near Bigging Hill, the annual airshow was a treat, even the Vulcans the pilot of one which, in 1972, busted my ears on take off!

        BTW, I used to work at Honda in Swindon, the original site of the Spitfire factory. A part of the original runway is still in use today to test Honda’s.

      • richardscourtney March 21, 2017 at 4:00 am
        Phil.:

        A sensible discussion would be a consideration of what modern electronic fuel injection achieves for fuel efficiency that mechanical fuel injection cannot and why.

        Having worked on Direct Injection Stratified Charge (DISC) engines for ~20 years I can categorically say that the control achievable with electronic fuel injection is crucial. The Ford PROCO engine was a forerunner of this type of engine but couldn’t be put into production because the mechanical fuel injection system wasn’t capable of the necessary control over the range of operation. The advent of electronic control changed the situation completely and the approach is widely used in vehicles now. DISC engines allow lean combustion at partial load conditions also because injection takes place just before ignition ‘knock’ is avoided so higher compression ratios can be used comparable with Diesels giving higher thermodynamic efficiency. Multiple fuel injection pulses per cycle are often used with pulses as short as 100𝝁sec are used, no chance with mechanical fuel injection.

        Patrick MJD is wrong to claim his example shows cars (i.e. engines) “need to be computerised” to be fuel efficient. He admits the ME109 had mechanical fuel injection but did not cut-out in a dive. And I refer you to the link I provided but you may not have seen because it went into moderation for some time: as I said, Tilly’s orifice was a stop-gap until pressurised carburetors became available.
        Electronic fuel injection is not relevant in the example cited as evidence by Patrick MJD so his example CANNOT show what he claims.

        He’s correct that the Me109 fuel injection system rendered it immune to the problems that the Merlin’s carburetor had, which Tilly’s modification fixed.

        Patrick MJD March 22, 2017 at 2:12 am
        Ever hear a “Spit” flyover and rollover and spit and crackle? I use to live near Bigging Hill, the annual airshow was a treat, even the Vulcans the pilot of one which, in 1972, busted my ears on take off!

        Yes love that sound, could always recognize a ‘Spit’ when I heard it. Regarding the ‘V bombers’, I was once conducting some experiments at an underground lab on a RAF base when suddenly there was a very loud roaring noise from above. It turned out that the V-bombers (loaded!) were dispersed around the base and had to warm up their engines every few hours for readiness, that was a Vulcan as I recall.

    • “But if you want “hot dog” performance, you can’t get fuel efficiency.”

      I suppose “fuel efficiency” means different things to different people, but you mention 33 mpg, later 27 mpg, in your Escort an infer you thought it was fairly efficient.

      I own a 1989 Porsche 944S2 that gets 28 mpg on the highway and is considered by many (including myself) to also provide “hot dog” performance. It doesn’t get that kind of mileage on the track, but its fuel economy relative to other cars of its era was striking enough to cause IMSA to change its rules, requiring 944S2 drivers to partially fill their fuel cells with ping pong balls to reduce the car’s advantage during the Firestone Firehawk series of road races held in the early 90’s.

      I submit that it isn’t impossible to have both. I don’t know if you could do that with the more recent Porsches, but another person made an earlier comment on this thread about the 918 having an EPA estimated fuel economy of 22 mpg, which is quite a bit better than my 2000 Dodge Durango and my Durango can neither accelerate 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds or hit a top speed of 200 mph. I suppose everything comes at a price ;)

  62. “Royal And Really Important Official Proclamation Regarding Economy”

    RARIOPRE?

    Doesn’t really roll of the tongue. ;)

  63. Patrick MJD:

    Your assertion is wrong but my series of attempts to link to the amusing story of why have all gone into moderation.

    Try Googling ‘Spitfire orifice’ and you may find it.

    Richard

    • There were many improvements to the Merlin engine over time, including supercharging. The Merlin was also fitted to the Mustang P51 because the Allison engine was not powerful enough, but the airframe was rugged, had bigger guns, could carry more ammunition and had fuel tanks enough to extend range well beyond the Spitfire to support bomber flights in to Germany, and back.

      Thanks to an engineering master, you can get a “rebuilt” Merlin engine. I forget the chaps name, but he is a real engineering master.

  64. Less car weight in crashes means more injury and more deaths.

    If heavier cars is so much safer than lighter car, why do USA have so much more deaths per car than Europe?

    Anyone who have been around in Europe and USA know that American cars are on average bigger than European cars.

    However, the statistics show that USA has 7.1 road fatalities per billion-vehicle kilometer, and UK has only 3.6.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate

    Although it is a bit safer to drive a heavier car, the problem is that that gain is more than outweighed by the extra damage the heavier car can cause on other objects.

    /Jan

  65. Jan Kjetil Andersen:

    You are the third person to refer to that wiki link. I again quote the comment I made in reply to TimTheToolMan and to Sandy in Limousin.

    I write to say that your point is not as clear-cut as you suggest.

    Wiki is not really reliable, and your original link to it admits that its data is not directly comparable between countries when it says

    The total fatalities figures comes from the WHO report (table A2, column point estimate, pp. 264–271) and are often an adjusted number of road traffic fatalities in order to reflect the different reporting and counting methods among the many countries (e.g. “a death after how many days since accident event is still counted as a road fatality?” (by standard adjusted to a 30 days period), or “to compensate for underreporting in some countries”, see WHO report pp. 62–74)

    Anybody who has had anything to do with climate data has learned to be very, very skeptical of any “adjusted number”.

    Richard

  66. Before he left office, then-President Obama put in new CAFE standards mandating a ludicrous corporate average fuel efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon (23 km/l) !!!

    This web page explains that CAFE didn’t say this exactly:
    http://driving.ca/auto-news/news/motor-mouth-lies-damn-lies-and-fuel-economy-figures

    CAFE regulations don’t actually call for a fleet average, 54.5 mpg or otherwise. What they do stipulate is model-by-model fuel economy improvement or, more accurately, segment-by-segment increases in fuel economy. Essentially, the government divided all cars into segments determined by size — designated by their “footprint” or physical length and width — and mandated fuel economy improvements for each. Thus, all economy cars were lumped together, as were all midsize sedans, SUVs and pickups. And each group was expected to increase its average fuel economy by a specific amount — 5.0 per cent for passenger cars, a lesser 3.5 per cent annually for pickups and SUVs — every year until 2025.

    Now here’s where that magical 54.5 mpg figure came from. Based on sales at the time — passenger cars versus trucks and SUVs — when you averaged out the fuel economy of all the cars being sold, those mandated improvements would have eventually led to that magical 54.5 mpg number. It’s important to note that this 54.5 mpg was not mandated; it was simply the target. Only the individual segment-by-segment “footprint” fuel economy improvement is law; the average is not.

    Nevertheless, the bottom line remains, they were dreaming. “magic” is the word. About as likely as a car that runs on water.

    What I see, when driving down the road, is mostly one person per vehicle. Or a few thousand pounds of machine to move a couple hundred pounds of driver. If fuel usage were most important, we would have tiny cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and rickshaws. But it’s not; we already have what we want.

  67. Those standards [CAFE] are the reason that Volkswagon had to cheat on their pollution controls. Like other manufacturers, they could make a relatively clean-air car, or they could make a high “fuel economy” car … but not both.

    I can’t imagine why VW cheated, but it wasn’t because of CAFE. Their TDI diesel was both clean and gave great fuel economy. Their problem was the EPA regulations which squeezed them on NOx emisions. The EPA regulations have been tightening up, and if they tighten up much more, only electric cars will be allowed. VW could have use the AdBlue technique, but didn’t. Bad move.

  68. Not according to WIRED magazine. According to them, VW could either meet the EPA pollution regs or the CAFE standards, so they chose to cheat.

    I looked at that link. It doesn’t say anything about CAFE. That article only talks about possible fixes for VW diesels already on the road. IF there will a fix for them that would make them meet the EPA emissions regulations, it says that mileage will decrease, no surprise there. It even gives numbers. However, at this point it does not look like there will be a fix, even if it has not been officially ruled out.

    Those cars could be grandfathered into the previous level of the EPA emission standards. The cars sold under those rules presumably meet those older standards and nobody is complaining. Not going to happen. Since the problem is combustion at high temperatures with nitrogen in the air along with the oxygen, there isn’t really any way to fix this except by adding another catalytic converter (like AdBlue), and that is much easier to do when designing the car. The high-tech gasoline engines being developed will have the same problem, and the next level of EPA rules will be even harder to meet.

  69. And this is the the fallacy:

    Yes, to accelerate the heavy VW Audi comes its high-performance machine into the limit range with high exhaust gas values.

    Yes, however, the less sophisticated engine of the lighter Chevvi comes just as close to the limit with the same exhaust gas values ​​- and will probably remain longer in this range.

  70. Mr. Eschenbach, allow me to disagree (as usual) with much of what you wrote here.

    “In virtually every other part of life we let the market decide the required efficiency. We don’t have required efficiencies for gas-fired power plants.”

    That is just not true. The US mandated an efficiency improvement in many sectors after the Arab Oil Crisis in the 1970s. For an overview, see this link:

    https://www.ase.org/sites/ase.org/files/resources/Media%20browser/ee_commission_history_report_2-1-13.pdf

    As a result, the US, and California in particular, has a large number of “required efficiencies” for products sold. As just a few examples, California gas-fired power plants must meet a BTU per kWh standard that essentially requires a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine, CCGT. The entire SEER rating system was developed to require more efficient products. To quote the US Department of Energy, “Manufacturers have been required to comply with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) energy conservation standards for residential central air conditioners and heat pumps since 1992.” And, “The Department of Energy (DOE) establishes energy efficiency standards for certain appliances and equipment, and currently covers more than 60 different products.”

    Here are a few of the more that 60 products with efficiency regulations, again from DOE:

    Commercial and Industrial Products
    Automatic Commercial Ice Makers
    Circulator Pumps
    Clothes Washers
    Commercial Package Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps
    Commercial Packaged Boilers
    Commercial and Industrial Air Compressors
    Computer Room Air Conditioners
    Dedicated-Purpose Pool Pumps
    Distribution Transformers
    Electric Motors
    Fans and Blowers
    Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps
    Pumps
    Refrigerated Beverage Vending Machines
    Refrigeration Equipment
    Single Package Vertical Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps
    Small Electric Motors
    Unit Heaters
    Walk-In Coolers and Walk-In Freezers
    Warm Air Furnaces
    Water Heating Equipment

    “So I object to ANY automotive fuel standards as both totally un-necessary, and worse, market distorting.”

    I note here that automotive efficiency standards, measured by miles traveled per gallon of fuel consumed, has reduced the amount of oil imported and refined into fuels. The consequences of reduced oil imports are numerous and far-reaching. To name just one, the world price of oil is impacted by the total global demand. As shown in a link below, average sales of US cars in 1980 achieved 19.2 mpg while those sold in 2015 achieved 25.6 mpg. Meanwhile, the total number of vehicles increased. But, simply considering the 160 million cars on the road in 1980, had those cars remained at 1980 efficiency, the US would have imported 3.3 million barrels of oil per day above what we actually imported. The world’s incremental oil provider has historically been Saudi Arabia. These numbers are much greater when the increase in number of cars is considered, a bit more than 5 million barrels of oil per day would result.

    In addition, the increased demand for oil drives up the price of oil, which is detrimental to every importing nation on Earth. Higher oil prices impact petrochemical prices that in turn impact almost innumerable products including medications.

    The link below shows fuel economy since 1980:

    https://energy.gov/eere/vehicles/fact-969-march-20-2017-new-vehicle-fuel-economy-has-improved-33-1980-2016

    Finally, your opening statement is simply not true:

    “Bizarrely, and unlike almost every other industrialized country, the US has fuel efficiency standards for cars.”

    I refer you to the International Council on Clean Transportation, that wrote “Nine governments worldwide—Japan, the European Union, United States, Canada, China, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, and India—have established or proposed fuel economy or greenhouse-gas emission standards for passenger vehicles and light-commercial vehicles/light trucks. The regulations in these markets, cover(ed) 80 percent of global passenger vehicle sales in 2013.” Their webpage has links to each country cited.

    I leave you with the famous quote by Ronald Reagan (October 27, 1964):

    “The trouble with (them) is not that they’re ignorant, it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”

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