We’ve Been Played By US Auto Manufacturers On CAFE Standards

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

I am a County Delegate and when we met to give suggestions for the party platform, one of the things I suggested was that the European economy standards be adopted starting 2010. Did you know we, the United States of America has the lowest fuel economy standards in the industrialized world? Even China beats us by a mile. Follow me below the fold for the evidence of how we’ve been played.

These days auto manufacturers around the world own bits and pieces of each other, among other things it often gives mutual access to technology. For at least 50 years imports have mass marketed in this country, and forever American made cars have been sold the world over, altho now auto manufacturers both foreign and domestic have plants and models in specific countries and continents. We have Honda and Toyota here and Ford and GM in Europe. Certainly it makes sense for a variety of reasons to manufacture an item closest to the market it is sold. You can also take advantage of a wider network of suppliers to ensure a greater quality of the final product. For example, using the best steel strip supplier will be much better for the manufacturer and the consumer. But there is something else separate facilities allow and that is to meet economy standards for the country in question. This would be fine if it were not for the two most important facts we have the lowest economy standards in the industrialized world and all cars sold in this country are made by companies who manufacture for markets with much higher economy standards.

Which leads me to this sad song …..

Several automakers, including Ford, opposed a Senate fuel economy increase included in an energy bill that would increase the requirements 7.5 miles per gallon to 35 mpg by 2020. House and Senate negotiators are expected to consider the changes next month.

And in Europe …

The European operations of Ford and General Motors are supporting a plan by European auto makers to raise the average fuel economy of cars sold in Europe by nearly 20 percent, to 39 miles per gallon, even as the North American operations of both auto makers resist pressures to improve the far worse fuel economy of family vehicles here.

Feel like you’ve been had, PWND, used, abused and generally screwed without so much as a kiss? Well, I certainly DO. It gets worse when you look at what could be sold in this country now and economic models we could have had for the better part of a DECADE!

Ford of Europe Unveils 63.6 MPG Diesel Fiesta; No Plans to Export It to U.S.

Thats right, not coming to the US.

Ford Fiesta ECOnetic

The Fiesta ECOnetic becomes the most fuel efficient new five-seater family car in the UK. With CO2 emissions at under 100g/km, Ford Fiesta ECOnetic is zero rated both for road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) and for the ‘showroom tax’ element of VED introduced for the first year of ownership in this year’s Budget.

Aerodynamic body styling, lowered suspension, low resistance tyres and low friction oil all help the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic achieve ultra low CO2 emissions. Additionally a green shift indicator in the instrument cluster highlights the optimal point to change gear to maximise fuel economy.

Ford Mondeo Econetic

Today’s Mondeo stretches to 4.8m long, and weighs a chunky 1505kg, so we’re impressed that they’ve managed to snick CO2 emissions down to just 139g/km. Average economy is claimed at 53.3mpg and we managed credible figures approaching that (high 40s) over a week’s driving and 700 miles.

The Mondeo is in the US as the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique, I owned one and a terrific car just not economical by comparison with combined MPG of 21 less than half a Mondeo.


Whatgreencar ratings range from 0 for the greenest vehicles to 100 for the most polluting, with the Ford Focus judged best in class. With a rating of 33, the 65.6mpg Ford Focus ECOnetic (110PS), emitting 115g CO2/km, sits between a 1.0-litre model and the lowest rated hybrid.

Wow, Ford Focus US gets a staggering 24/35 MPG, half of Focus in Europe. And Ford so proudly announced the improved MPG, what a break thru.  

Ford isn’t the only one. Try Saturn, they have a new model, the Aura based on the Vectra. Well the Vectra is sold in Europe. The Vauxhall/Opel Vectra boasts fuel economy of 38.6 MPG combined, and 53 Highway. The Saturn Aura 37 Highway. Speaking of Opel, they have another little gem that will never see the US market, Opel Corsa OPC built by GM in Europe and gets 30 MPG for a sports car.

From the same article

GM executives say they could not sell the Corsa in the U.S. and make a profit, because Americans would be unlikely to buy it unless gasoline costs rose to about $6 per gallon, like they are in Europe. Later, Brown quotes a GM exec who says, “We build and sell big cars and trucks in the United States because that is what consumers there say they want.” The exec goes on to say the U.S. government needs to establish parameters to  make the market work for more fuel-efficient cars.

In reality, GM and the other U.S. automakers have lobbied hard since the 1980s to keep U.S. fuel-economy standards much lower than those in Europe and China. GM makes money selling gas-sipping cars in Europe, but apparently does not want to do that here. Brown included a graph with his article, that showed data from a Pew Center on Global Climate Change study (see PDF) comparing fuel economy for the European Union, China and the United States. The U.S. fleet gets 24.8 miles per gallon now; China about 35 mpg and Europe about 37 mpg. Next year, automakers will implement voluntary standards to boost European fuel-economy to 44.2 mpg and China will hit 36.7 mpg. The U.S. will remain the same at 24.8 mpg.

Does that sound like total crap to you, it sure does to me. Nearly two-thirds of the 113 most fuel efficient cars in Europe are made by US manufacturers or foreign manufacturers with substantial US sales.

Cars here that get 40 MPG or better Highway is exactly TWO both hybrids, there were 5 in 2005. Our economy standards for passenger cars has remained essentially unchanged for TWO DECADES. TWO DECADES and all auto manufacturers do is fight any changes suggested.

Many of the most economic cars in Europe are diesels, no reason they can’t come here. In fact some studies show diesels are more economical than current hybrids. What I do know is  safety standards and emissions are as stringent in Europe as they are here, in some cases more so. We base our standards on NOX (NO2), Europe on CO2. Given more than 80% of our greenhouse gases and a quarter of that is contributed by automobiles. Reducing CO2 in car emissions would seem a good idea particularly with cap and trade coming.  Of the NO2 emissions cars contribute about 40% in this country. While NOX emissions are regulated in the UK virtually all European autos have catalytic converters. So it would seem there is no reason not to import economical European cars by US manufacturers.

One more thing, just in case you missed it, all these wonderful fuel economy standards in Europe are done VOLUNTARILY, that’s right without laws, legislation or government mandates for the most part. I just don’t get it and I bet you don’t either.  


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  1. Cross posted on KOS

  2. miles per gallon in 2018, but bush rejected in favor of 35 by 2020 in EISA law.

    so, yeah, we can do better…just need obama.

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