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AutoBlog: REPORT: New CAFE standard has 'loopholes big enough to drive an SUV through'

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Filed under: Government/Legal, Green

cafe_epa_discrepancy.jpg

There are miles per gallon... and then there are miles per gallon. How do you tell the difference? One is labeled "CAFE mpg" and the other is labeled "EPA mpg." What's the difference? Well, Edmunds is taking pains to illuminate the large discrepancy that exists between the two figures: the issue, as initially laid out by Edmunds' John O'Dell in 2007, is that CAFE and EPA mileage numbers were initially based on the same formula in 1975. When consumers complained that the number didn't correspond to real-world gas mileage, the EPA determination formula was changed - twice - yet the CAFE formula wasn't.

The change meant that when a customer bought a car that listed 26 combined mpg (EPA) on the window sticker, the CAFE mpg rating for that car remained at around 35 mpg. And if you've been paying attention to the myriad CAFE stories over the past year, you'll know that the government is tweaking CAFE numbers, not EPA numbers. The NHTSA oversees CAFE numbers, the EPA keeps track of "vehicle fuel efficiency."

But the gap between the two sets of computations means, according to Edmunds:

"
a vehicle that scores an EPA combined rating of 29 miles per gallon actually contributes 39 MPG to its manufacturer's CAFE average. There are 29 car models and 36 truck models that already achieve the new standard, and about a third of the cars and half of the trucks are produced by a domestic automaker
."

Ultimately, it means that the formerly punitive mpg numbers that the government mandated can now be considered for what they really are: Meh. You can read Edmunds' full press release after the jump.

[source: Edmunds]

Continue reading REPORT: New CAFE standard has 'loopholes big enough to drive an SUV through'

REPORT: New CAFE standard has 'loopholes big enough to drive an SUV through' originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 22 May 2009 10:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Oh look, it means that nothing has really changed then. Looks like the sky isn't falling yet.

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As I stated on another post, GM could easily pass the standard by adding BAS II to every vehicle. At an estimated cost of $1600 to $1700, assuming a build of only 100,000, and an increase of 20% in fuel economy, this seems like the easiest, quickest, best PR fix. Imagine GM being able to say they are the first and only car company to offer 100% of their products as a hybrid. By building a couple of million BAS II systems, I'm sure they will get the cost below $1000, something they would get back by being able to cut out incentives.

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