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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    EPA Doubted Claims of New Fuel Economy Regs Would Save Lives

      Ah, interagency fighting.

    When the EPA and NHTSA unveiled the proposal for revised fuel economy standards, there was a key part that brought up a lot of debate: The claim that the new regulations would reduce the number of fatalities and crashes. As we pointed out in our story, there were a number of holes in that argument. It seems we were not the only ones questioning this.

    Yesterday, the review of the proposal done by the White House's Information and Regulatory Affairs was made public. In it are hundred of pages of correspondence, analysis, and drafts. Bloomberg went through the documents and found that EPA officials were questioning the rationale put forth by NHTSA on reducing crashes.

    The “proposed standards are detrimental to safety, rather than beneficial,” wrote EPA staff in a memo dated June 18th.

    Their basis for this was analysis done by the agency after making a number of corrections to a Transportation Department model. It showed that freezing fuel economy standards "would lead to an increase in traffic fatalities and boost the overall fatality rate."

    The EPA questioned the validity of the Obama administration standards “coincided with an increase in highway fatalities” claim.

    “What data supports the implication that the standards to date have led to fatality increases?” said the EPA in feedback on June 29th.

    Also, the EPA questioned NHTSA's model that overestimates the number of old and unsafe vehicles on the road if the new regulations go into effect.

    Quote

    In the comments, the EPA said NHTSA’s model over-estimated the number of older, less-safe cars that would remain on the road if drivers didn’t buy new cars due to higher prices caused by the Obama-era standards, effectively inflating projected traffic deaths.

    In July, NHTSA fired back, countering that EPA’s corrections assumed the size of U.S. vehicle fleet and the number of miles driven would remain constant, rather than changing because of the fuel economy standards -- an outcome the agency said “would be much more reasonable to expect.”

    How the EPA and NHTSA came to an agreement is unclear at the moment. What it does reveal is that the dispute between the two agencies could affect plans to try and create a comprise that would appease both automakers and California regulators.

    “These emails are but a fraction of the robust dialogue that occurred during interagency deliberations for the proposed rule. EPA is currently soliciting comments on eight different alternative standards and we look forward to reviewing any new data and information,” said EPA spokesman John Konkus.

    Irene Gutierrez, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council sees it a bit differently.

    "...that even the EPA had deep reservations about the bogus safety arguments being pushed by the Department of Transportation. We know that automakers can make cars both more fuel efficient and safer; it’s heartening to find out EPA’s technical experts agree.”

    Source: Bloomberg




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    Cars that get 54 MPG combined in 2018 :
    3. toyoyo prius eco : 56
    2. hyundai ioniq : 58 [ July sales: 180]

    1. toyoyo prius prime : 54 [July sales: 1984]

    3 out of 275 different models. 2 of those are selling at a rate of 26K units vs. 17,000,000. Or; one-tenth of one percent of the market. Let's be super generous and round it up to one-half of one percent.

    What's the plan to turn 0.005% into 50% in 6 years again? Is it anymore than Just by saying so?

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    I doubt those numbers will actually improve significantly unless gas is at least $5 nationwide (and $6 in California).

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    27 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    Cars that get 54 MPG combined in 2018 :
    3. toyoyo prius eco : 56
    2. hyundai ioniq : 58 [ July sales: 180]

    1. toyoyo prius prime : 54 [July sales: 1984]

    3 out of 275 different models. 2 of those are selling at a rate of 26K units vs. 17,000,000. Or; one-tenth of one percent of the market. Let's be super generous and round it up to one-half of one percent.

    What's the plan to turn 0.005% into 50% in 6 years again? Is it anymore than Just by saying so?

    More Voltec / Fusion Energi / Pacifica Hybrid powertrains across the board. 

    You picked the three most ugly vehicles too...   Pacifica gets 84 MPGe.  It will be getting vehicles like that which are normally pigs to get good fuel economy that will make the difference.  Getting a Corolla from 40mpg to 54mpg isn't where to attack the issue. 

     

    But all that is beside the point. Increasing fuel economy standards doesn't hurt safety.  A Pacifica Hybrid is not less safe than a regular gas powered version. 

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    weight, size, and aerodynamics play the biggest parts in MPG.

    electrification is the only way to increase the MPG standards at the rates that were ludicrously proposed.  To increase at that rate adds far more cost than the market and supply chain can realistically bear.  And then there is the reliability of new technology and quite frankly, consumer desire.  Not to mention mining toxic materials battery technology etc.

    So the massive CAFE increase mandates (which in translation means "we are forcing everyone to drive a tiny little shit box they don't want) were political fodder just as much as trying to roll them back is.  

    circle the wagons back around and in the end, you can have 10 speed trannies and CVT's and 1.0 litre motors in Focus and it still comes back to weight and size and aerodynamics.

    Best policy in the end is incremental and steady increases over time, that are achievable and affordable.  For example, if your CAFE is 28.0 now, to in 7-10 years, 34, 35 is not damning.  If you want to encourage electrification or alt fuels, tax incentives for developing the technology makes more sense.

    In 7-10 years, math and physics is still the same, so in the end its still weight, size, aerodynamics.......... wherever we can go to still allow people to drive what they want and suits their needs rather then what the feds force them into.

    That electricity is tainted energy too, just like any other energy source.

     

    Edited by regfootball
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    57 minutes ago, regfootball said:

    weight, size, and aerodynamics play the biggest parts in MPG.

    electrification is the only way to increase the MPG standards at the rates that were ludicrously proposed.  To increase at that rate adds far more cost than the market and supply chain can realistically bear.  And then there is the reliability of new technology and quite frankly, consumer desire.  Not to mention mining toxic materials battery technology etc.

    So the massive CAFE increase mandates (which in translation means "we are forcing everyone to drive a tiny little shit box they don't want) were political fodder just as much as trying to roll them back is.  

    circle the wagons back around and in the end, you can have 10 speed trannies and CVT's and 1.0 litre motors in Focus and it still comes back to weight and size and aerodynamics.

    Best policy in the end is incremental and steady increases over time, that are achievable and affordable.  For example, if your CAFE is 28.0 now, to in 7-10 years, 34, 35 is not damning.  If you want to encourage electrification or alt fuels, tax incentives for developing the technology makes more sense.

    In 7-10 years, math and physics is still the same, so in the end its still weight, size, aerodynamics.......... wherever we can go to still allow people to drive what they want and suits their needs rather then what the feds force them into.

    That electricity is tainted energy too, just like any other energy source.

     

    Electricity is flexible. It can be as clean or as dirty as you want it to be.  The components of the propulsion system can be much more easily recycled. 

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    but the reality is the charging networks are not yet there.  and won't be for a long time.  means to recycle batteries and such will improve.  but not at a pace that would allow the CAFE to have increased by what was proposed, or by any sensible level.

    honestly then it was literally asking for huge$$$ to be added to the cost to be spread to every car.  At a rate that far outpaces affordability for the consumer.

    You literally cannot force technology to be rolled out in such a fashion, it literally disrupts the entire economy.  And manufacturers shouldn't have to abandon proven technology that is reliable and cost effective.

    non plug in hybrids are the most sensible interim steps but even those have limits on how fast you can push those out.  a malibu like mine, which commonly gets 30 mpg in a gas version, gets 40 mpg in a hybrid version, and so that's a cap of a 33% real increase if everyone abandons a non hybrid for a hybrid.  You're not going to get any more than that really for same size car.

    actually, even having a mandated fuel economy standard at all is really questionable.  Emissions standard, maybe.  Fuel economy standard, that does not jive with market based economy.  If people want better mpg then they will pay for it or buy it.

    Edited by regfootball
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    24 minutes ago, regfootball said:

    but the reality is the charging networks are not yet there.  and won't be for a long time.  means to recycle batteries and such will improve.  but not at a pace that would allow the CAFE to have increased by what was proposed, or by any sensible level.

    honestly then it was literally asking for huge$$$ to be added to the cost to be spread to every car.  At a rate that far outpaces affordability for the consumer.

    You literally cannot force technology to be rolled out in such a fashion, it literally disrupts the entire economy.  And manufacturers shouldn't have to abandon proven technology that is reliable and cost effective.

    non plug in hybrids are the most sensible interim steps but even those have limits on how fast you can push those out.  a malibu like mine, which commonly gets 30 mpg in a gas version, gets 40 mpg in a hybrid version, and so that's a cap of a 33% real increase if everyone abandons a non hybrid for a hybrid.  You're not going to get any more than that really for same size car.

    actually, even having a mandated fuel economy standard at all is really questionable.  Emissions standard, maybe.  Fuel economy standard, that does not jive with market based economy.  If people want better mpg then they will pay for it or buy it.

    Cars are already outpacing consumer income, but that is an economics debate that this site is not capable of having civilly. 

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    What's funny about it @ocnblu? It's the best of all worlds.  It has fantastic low end torque, much better NVH than the Volvo XC90, 85ish mpg on my commute to/from work. 35ish mpg highway on a long trip.... but much better than that while I coast from Blue Mountain downhill to your place while recharging my batteries.... and it still makes vroom vroom noises.

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    I'm just thinking that you could get yourself a Highlander Hybrid right now if you were really all gung-ho on the idear of a super-chic, planet-saving hybrid SUV/CUV.  Despite the brand name... because of the HYBRID thingy.

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    3 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    More Voltec / Fusion Energi / Pacifica Hybrid powertrains across the board. 

    You picked the three most ugly vehicles too...   Pacifica gets 84 MPGe. 

    Can't push Voltec/et al fast or hard enough to achieve 54 MPG in 6-7 years.
    How does MPGe figure into CAFE? Pacifica hybrid only goes 33 miles on EV power.

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    14 minutes ago, ocnblu said:

    I'm just thinking that you could get yourself a Highlander Hybrid right now if you were really all gung-ho on the idear of a super-chic, planet-saving hybrid SUV/CUV.  Despite the brand name... because of the HYBRID thingy.

    I actually have looked into it.... and the RX cousin.  As our esteemed @William Maley pointed out in his Review of the 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the benefits just are limited.   Of the vehicles available today, the XC90 is highest on my list of PHEV SUVS.  

    You'll note however that I haven't purchased anything in 5 years... so it's not like I have brand new Durango sitting in my driveway..... yet.  I might still end up with an Avalanche, but it is very likely that whatever big SUV I get will be counter balanced with a PHEV for daily commuting.  When we don't take the bus, Albert and I drive together into the city, so one car just sits.  Right now, that's the 2004 Honda which hasn't been driven since last Wednesday or Thursday?

      Possible hybrid replacements for the Buick include: Fusion Energi Titanium, Infiniti Q50 Hybrid, MKZ Hybrid.... and if I can talk him into it... an ELR.   I have to sell more property before any of that is happening.

    14 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    Can't push Voltec/et al fast or hard enough to achieve 54 MPG in 6-7 years.
    How does MPGe figure into CAFE? Pacifica hybrid only goes 33 miles on EV power.

    You could perhaps take the time to understand the CAFE requirements better.... and also get back to the point that increasing fuel economy standards do not compromise safety.

    Quote

    First, like the current 2012–16 rules, these new standards are size based. That means there’s a formula to calculate the required CAFE—within limits—for each car based on its “footprint,” which is the product of its wheelbase and track dimensions. In 2011, for example, the required CAFE mpg for the smallest car would not exceed 31.2, while even the largest car was assigned at least 24 mpg. For 2025, these car limits go up to 61.1 and 45.6. Truck mpg is calculated in similar fashion using a different formula. For 2011, the truck mpg ranged from 21.1 to 27.1. In the 2025 proposal, it spans 30.2 to 50.4 mpg. Notice that the formula has been adjusted so that the low end of the range rises less than the high end to help accommodate large trucks.

    Second, because these CAFE requirements are based on size, every car company actually ends up with a different CAFE requirement, depending on the mix and size of cars and trucks that it actually sells. For every model year, each company must calculate the CAFE requirement for all models it markets and then determine the sales-weighted average for its actual mix. Therefore, a company such as General Motors, with its heavy share of large pickups and SUVs, will have a lower CAFE requirement than Suzuki, which primarily produces smallish cars and SUVs.

    So basically, a Pacifica doesn't even need to hit that 54mpg, but in hybrid form it can raise the average for the whole FCA fleet if they sell enough of them. 

    Edit: To put it another way about the Highlander.... I'd rather go with the Pacifica if it weren't being vetoed by Albert.  I actually like that minivan a lot. 

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    44 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Cars are already outpacing consumer income, but that is an economics debate that this site is not capable of having civilly. 

    one point about that though, with longer credit terms and people's desire for SUV's over traditional cars, that plays into it somewhat.  If we look at a reasonably equipped midsize sedan, those can be had mid twenties even at times, that's actually an ok deal vs. twenty years ago i think.

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    7 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    You could perhaps take the time to understand the CAFE requirements better.... and also get back to the point that increasing fuel economy standards do not compromise safety.

    The safety sidebar is not a point with me (I agree with you on it).

    - - - - -
    But you think that link explains the MPGe issue better? It's also 6 years old.

    In that link's chart, the sonata of 2011 was rated at 22/35. 7 years later and it's rated at 28/37. Chart for 2025 says it would need to be at 53. If it was a combo of 28.5 in '11 and 32.5 in '18, that's 6 years to gain 4 mpg composite. 6 years / 4 MPG is .66 MPG/yr.
    It needs to gain 20.5 MPG more in the next 6 years, or 3.4 MPG/yr.

    ALL the rest- like footprint formulas and MPG credits is just more BS sidestepping/ smoke-screening/ loopholes/ cheat-enabling/ tactics.

    Policies need to get more straightforward and comprehensive (and realistic) rather than playing games to 'pump up the numbers for political gain'.
     

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    1 hour ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    What's funny about it @ocnblu? It's the best of all worlds.  It has fantastic low end torque, much better NVH than the Volvo XC90, 85ish mpg on my commute to/from work. 35ish mpg highway on a long trip.... but much better than that while I coast from Blue Mountain downhill to your place while recharging my batteries.... and it still makes vroom vroom noises.

    For shits and also because I am just keeping an eye out for a car for my mom.  I took this out for a spin last saturday again (perfect mom car by the way, isn't it)

    http://www.indoorauto.com/auto/used-2017-buick-lacrosse-essence-medina-mn/29636412/

    It was a used LaCrosse that the original owners drove from Indiana to MN to buy a used Lexus, why? BECAUSE THE BUICK DIDN'T HAVE A CD PLAYER ANYMORE.  And the used Lexus had Mark Levinson audio.  The salesguy said he was blown away by how nice the LaCrosse was.  (changing minds, I thought the car was sedate).

    Anyways, why do i bring it up.  The gas Pacifica i drive is a more entertaining drive than the LaCrosse, and the powertrain is better too.  So to think about them using the platform for another type vehicle I would LOVE .. in fact, I wish they would replace the current 300 with a new 300 based on the same platform and powertrain.  A 500 pound lighter Pacifica sedan, sign me up.  And my PAcifica already gets 24mpg in town and at time 30 on the highway.  I would love to see what a pentastar v6 new FWD/AWD 300 would get for acceleration and power.

    Dodge should carry on the current Charger platform for those that want RWD AWD and more Pacifica based cars, including electrics, out pronto.  I was upset when i went to the electric car ride and drive recently and they had a Pacifica hybrid there and they didn't let anyone drive it.  They are still working out plenty of bugs on the Pacifica hybrid by the way.

    One more thing i would love to see.  A survey of people who have already owned hybrids and if they switch to non hybrid later, do they prefer the feel of going back to a all gas car.

    1 hour ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    I actually have looked into it.... and the RX cousin.  As our esteemed @William Maley pointed out in his Review of the 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the benefits just are limited.   Of the vehicles available today, the XC90 is highest on my list of PHEV SUVS.  

    You'll note however that I haven't purchased anything in 5 years... so it's not like I have brand new Durango sitting in my driveway..... yet.  I might still end up with an Avalanche, but it is very likely that whatever big SUV I get will be counter balanced with a PHEV for daily commuting.  When we don't take the bus, Albert and I drive together into the city, so one car just sits.  Right now, that's the 2004 Honda which hasn't been driven since last Wednesday or Thursday?

      Possible hybrid replacements for the Buick include: Fusion Energi Titanium, Infiniti Q50 Hybrid, MKZ Hybrid.... and if I can talk him into it... an ELR.   I have to sell more property before any of that is happening.

    You could perhaps take the time to understand the CAFE requirements better.... and also get back to the point that increasing fuel economy standards do not compromise safety.

    So basically, a Pacifica doesn't even need to hit that 54mpg, but in hybrid form it can raise the average for the whole FCA fleet if they sell enough of them. 

    Edit: To put it another way about the Highlander.... I'd rather go with the Pacifica if it weren't being vetoed by Albert.  I actually like that minivan a lot. 

    Fusion Energi is slow (slower than regualr hybrid) from what i understand but a coworker has one and seems to like it.  But they are great deals and a nice roomy plug in.  Why GM didn't offer plug in the malibu hybrid is a mistake.  Basically they should move the Volt off the small car chassis and move it to the Malibu hybrid chassis.  The Volt's small size is what keeps a lot of people from buying or looking at it.  Basically scale up the design of the current one plus hatchback on the Malibu size and I think it would be extremely marketable.  And of course, a crossover of the same thing jacked up 3 inches with higher roof.  GM has wasted so many opportunities.

     

    by the way, talking cheap sedans, a new fusion hybrid is little more than 18-20 grand these days, depending where you look..... now if hybrid becomes this cheap on a large scale then we actually do start to see real world fleet mpg improvements.  (they also have 1.0 litre Focus 10 speed automatics on sale too!)

     

    https://www.koonssterlingford.com/new/Ford/2018-Ford-Fusion+Hybrid-2a9f73fb0a0e0ae913244a2779896bab.htm?searchDepth=3:12

     

     

    Edited by regfootball
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    There’s a huge $4500 rebate going on all Fusion hybrids it seems.

     

    Well it makes sense to clear out inventory too, as the 2019 is incoming. Sad to see.

     

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    Some dealers even stock the Blue Metallic paint which IMO looks AMAZING and reminds me of the Liquid Blue paint used on the GT

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