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Collision of Mileage Regulations and Technology

May 31, 2016
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Fleet mileage targets for 2022 – 2025 model years must be reviewed in 2018 before they can become final. They were initially augural, i.e., best estimates, when the joint EPA/NHTSA 2017 – 2025 national program was established.

The standards were established jointly by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the EPA.

The combined passenger car and light truck fleet wide compliance targets were set at 54.5 mpg, and 163 grams of CO2 per mile for 2025.

But the actual rules, as printed in the Federal Register, which are 577 pages long, are far more complicated.

First, the targets are set based on the vehicle’s foot print, i.e., the wheel base multiplied by the track dimensions. Smaller cars must meet higher standards.

Next, each manufacturer receives credits for adopting technologies that don’t affect test results, such as active grille shutters, stop-start systems, and high-efficiency lights.

Next, there will be extra credits for selling electric (EV), PHEV and fuel cell vehicles. For example, the number of EVs sold in 2021 will be multiplied by a factor of 1.5. There will also be air conditioning credits, and incentives for natural gas vehicles.

Vehicle mileage, October 2007 to April 2016

Vehicle mileage, October 2007 to April 2016

The above graph from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), and the University of Michigan, establishes that light vehicle milage improved by nearly 6 mpg between 2007 and 2014, but that there has been no improvement since then.

Since mid-2014, the price of gasoline has gone from nearly $4 per gallon to around $2.

The benefit analysis, used by the NTSHA for justifying the regulations, was based on $3.86 per gallon.

Looming before Americans is the immense increase required by 2025, which is from 25.2 mpg to 54.5 mpg, or 46.2 mpg after taking the special credits, such as for air conditioning, into consideration.

The EPA says the increase can be easily achieved, but Americans will need to decide whether that’s true.

Chart depicting large increase in mpg required by 2025.

Chart depicting large increase in mpg required by 2025.

The above graph, based on the initial graph from the WSJ, depicts the huge increase in mpg required between now and the 2025 model year.

It will require automobile manufacturers to increase fleet mileage by 183%.

Merely duplicating the same rate of increase that was achieved between 2007 and 2014 would result in fleet mileage requirements of approximately 34 mpg, a 135% increase from today’s level.

Even more telling is that the regulations currently require an increase over 1/3 greater than merely replicating the increase achieved between 2007 and 2014.

Such herculean efforts seem misplaced when the original reasons for imposing fleet milage requirements have largely disappeared.

The two main reasons were to decrease oil consumption and reduce CO2 emissions.

Specifically, from the Federal Register:

“Reducing U.S. petroleum imports lowers both the financial and strategic risks caused by potential sudden disruptions in the supply of imported petroleum to the U.S.”

The U.S. now has huge reserves of oil as the result of fracking. Canada can provide additional oil, if needed.

There is no longer any reason to reduce oil consumption so as to protect the country from sudden interruptions in oil supply.

Cutting CO2 emissions hardly seems appropriate given that CO2 probably is not the cause of global warming. The latest CLOUD reports from CERN provide added support to Dr. Svensmark’s hypothesis for sun-induced global warming.

The EPA was quoted as saying just the opposite:

“The standards…function as insurance so that fuel prices don’t stall progress on cutting greenhouse gases.”

Confirming again, that the real reason for fuel mileage standards is to cut CO2 emissions.

The EPA’s reasoning is also irrational as it provides incentives for using natural gas, i.e., methane, where methane is now the target of the EPA and environmental organizations.

A review of the mileage regulations is now being initiated, and Americans should watch closely during 2017 and 2018 to ensure that fleet milage regulations don’t impose an economic and job killing penalty on the economy.

Besides, with the recent decline in gasoline prices, Americans have voiced their preference for bigger, heavier, higher horsepower vehicles, as demonstrated by the decline in fuel economy from mid 2014 to today’s 25.2 mpg.

Americans should be free to choose the vehicles they prefer, without government dictating what they can buy.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 15, An Alternative Hypothesis, describes why the sun is the far more likely cause of global warming..

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon:

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear


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