The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that 2012 showed a significant one year increase of 1.4 mpg in fuel economy across vehicles in America, increasing the average fuel economy to its highest yet – 23.8 mpg.
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According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about one-quarter of all new vehicles sold today meet the 2016 federal emissions standard, which include a 35.5-mpg average for passenger vehicle fleets.
Ford’s 47 mpg claims for its two new hybrid models have come into question and now the Environmental Protection Agency has announced it will review the automaker’s claims.
Fuel economy numbers are more important now than ever before, as gas prices continue to rise in North America.
An impressively high number, even a class-leading car like the Hyundai Elantra, which gets 40 mpg highway, only achieves an average of 33 mpg. While the exact fuel economy figures have yet to be released and a 40 mpg highway rating is still in sight, when the Dart (above) goes on sale later this year it most certainly will not get 40 mpg average; not in real world driving and not even on the window sticker.
Dodge wasn’t wrong. They’re not even entirely to blame. If fact, they were just using a different testing method to get their fuel economy numbers. Or to put it more accurately, they weren’t even doing the testing. So why would a different testing method be used? It’s a long and complex story, but the gist of it is that according to a government mandate, in order for Fiat to take control of Chrysler it needed achieve three goals, the final one being building a 40 mpg car on American soil. Being government related, that number is a CAFE number, not an EPA number. What’s the difference? Read on.
Ford recently announced the EPA fuel efficiency rating for its electric Focus model. Since it doesn’t burn any gasoline, the number isn’t in miles per gallon (MPG), but was given as miles per gallon gasoline equivalent, or MPGe. A new term to the automotive lexicon, it’s worth exploring exactly what MPGe means and how an MPGe rating is determined, especially as the number of electric cars and plug-in electric hybrids on the roads continues to increase.
Every new car has a bit of paper full of numbers stuck to it. No, not the price tag, the other piece of paper… the EPA label.
Displaying the car’s rated fuel economy, these numbers can make or break a car buyer’s decision. Ever wonder how those numbers are determined? Read on.
When a car is released, the manufacturer provides its own fuel economy numbers. These are tested in-house and can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Many drivers don’t get the same numbers that the manufacturer says they should. It’s the government’s job to set them straight. However, due to the high number of cars released, only about 15% of the vehicles are actually tested.
You won’t have to wait until the end of next year to own the Mitsubishi i EV anymore thanks to whopping dealer demand.
Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko decided to move the nation-wide U.S. release up by six months from the original date to June 2012. The company also plans to release another electric vehicle by mid 2013.
“We shifted the timing by six months, so we are preparing ourselves to launch for the entire country by June,” Masuko said to Automotive News. “That must demonstrate our high expectations for this product.”
Depending on where you live, the tiny electric vehicle might already be available. Mitsubishi released it earlier this month to dealerships in California, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Illinois, where they have their only North American assembly plant.
Masuko isn’t exaggerating about high expectations, they hope to sell 10,000 units per year. That number would represent an almost 18 percent boost of their total sales for 2010. Ambitions aside, they may have a shot at meeting that goal considering sales for cars and trucks grew in the first 10 months of this year by almost 26 percent. The i also got some good press when the Environmental Protection Agency rated it best for fuel consumption.
Mitsubishi also plans to release an electric version of their Mirage in mid 2013, though there hasn’t been a decision about bringing the gasoline version to the U.S. market.
Gallery: Mitsubishi i EV
[Source: Automotive News]
In what might be the most perverse story of the day, the New York Times is reporting that the Environmental Protection Agency is classifying the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe as a compact car, due to their standards for classifying vehicles, which measure interior volume.
The same regulation has the Aston Martin DBS classified as a “minicompact” alongside the MINI Cooper, while the Nissan Versa, Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Prius are technically “midsize” cars. Considering that the Phantom Coupe is the size of an 18-wheeler, and drinks fuel like Lindsay Lohan after arguing with her parents, we’re a little mystified that the EPA maintains such cockamamie regulations.
[Source: New York Times]
With automakers currently struggling to meet the 35-mpg Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards set in place for 2016, the thought of a 62-mpg CAFE number for 2025 is unimaginable by many. That 62-mpg number, the result of a proposed 3 to 6 percent increase in fleet fuel economy starting in 2017, has just been delayed.
Yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said any further decisions about the 2017 to 2025 goals would be put on hold until September of 2011, citing the need for further study.
One major consideration is that in the fight to increase fuel economy, one of the best ways is to reduce vehicle weight. While advantageous in certain respects, it may also have a negative effect on vehicle safety.
Part of a larger plan by the Obama Administration, the added cost to each vehicle required to achieve these numbers could range from $770 to $3,500 – a number that has been contested by opponents. Proponents of the plan say the up-front cost added to cars would result in cost savings for consumers who would save between $5,700 to $7,400 in fuel costs over a four year period.
Automakers, which had previously been open to increasingly strict fuel economy rules, have now changed their tune, believing they have a more sympathetic ear with Republicans, who are beginning to take over power in the House.
Of note, it’s important to point out that CAFE and EPA fuel economy ratings are not the same and that a 62-mpg CAFE number, is more like 43-mpg in the real world. While more realistic, the only cars on the market that currently achieve such high fuel economy numbers are the Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius.
[Source: The Detroit News]
In the latest installment of the Mahindra/Global Vehicles Soap Opera, it appears that the first order for U.S. spec trucks, now called Pik-Ups has been placed, according to a statement released by GV.
Mahindra and Global have been battling each other in court, regarding a contract clause which stated that the former could wash its hands clean of the deal if the trucks didn’t meet U.S. EPA emissions certification. Now that they have, Mahindra still wants to rescind the contract between it and GV, but there’s evidence to suggest that the company’s argument won’t hold up in court, partly because Mahindra submitted its EPA paperwork a number of days after the June 11 deadline passed and also the fact that GV has already invested considerable effort and $100 million in setting up a distribution network for the trucks in the U.S. As a result of all this, it looks likely that Global Vehicles will retain exclusive rights to sell the trucks.
Said GV’s CEO John Perez “We trusted Mahindra when they said they wanted to cap their losses if the vehicle couldn’t be sold here. We patiently waited and accommodated Mahindra through years of delays and kept an extremely powerful distribution network intact while the factory worked through the complicated task of meeting U.S. emissions standards. We did this because we believed we were all working toward the same goals. Now Mahindra is trying to change the rules. We delivered our end of the contract, and we’re ready to get down to business.”
Although the GV/Mahindra saga is far from over, the announcement of a $35 million initial purchase order by GV, suggests that after a long period of virtual stalemate, things appear to be finally moving forward.
Rumors have been circulating for some time, but now Global Vehicles CEO John Perez has come out and said it - Mahindra delayed EPA certification of its TR series pickup so it could end the agreement with GV as the official US importer.
Perez says that the original contract between Mahindra and GV contained a sunset clause which stated that should the trucks not be be ready for sale in the U.S. within three years – people could just walk away and Mahindra would not be subjected to any lawsuits.
Now that clause has come to mean something slightly different: GV, having invested several million dollars up front to secure a distribution network for the trucks is now out in the cold and Mahindra is washing its hands clean, leaving angry customers and considerable uncertainty over the future of the pickups in the U.S. market.
At present, GV is in the midst of a lawsuit against Mahindra, over delays of the vehicle’s introduction – which stems back to a falling out between the two parties. Mahindra wanted GV to make adjustments to the original dealer program, but GV refused. Mahindra then essentially ceased communication with the U.S. importer and delayed the vehicle’s introduction, leading to GV filing a lawsuit.
Now, with Mahindra having voided GV’s contract and statements that it engineered that delay, things have gone from bad to worse. As a result, there appears to be no solution for importing the trucks to the U.S. at present and as the lawsuit is dragged through the U.S. legal system – those dealers that signed on wonder if they’ll ever get their trucks. Stay tuned for further developments.
Ever since it’s inception, the Federal Government’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards program has never been far from controversy. With the proposed 35 miles per gallon standard less than a decade away; auto manufacturers are struggling to find ways of meeting these fleet average targets. Because light trucks as well as cars are now included in the targets, domestic automakers like Ford, GM and Chrysler are likely to find the new regulations particularly tough to deal with, since a great deal of their profit still rests on truck production. Now, thanks to a meeting in May, when President Obama called on the EPA and Department of Transportation to included medium and heavy-duty vehicles within the CAFE umbrella (under different and yet undisclosed fuel economy standards), things have become even more messy and complicated.
Recently a 414 page report, issued by The National Academies (a group made up of academics, business leaders, scientists and consultants from the financial, oil and transportation industries) stated that in order for pickups, especially medium-duty ones to meet CAFE targets greater than current fuel economy standards; new technologies will have to be utilized or the automakers risk heavy fines.
Either way, sticker prices could increase by as much as $15,000 per truck once the regulations are enforced. According to Charlie Territo, a spokesperson for the Washington D.C. based Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, “costs will depend on the specific fuel economy targets and the cost of the technology that needs to be added. What remains to be seen is whether consumers are willing to pay those costs.”
The report cites a number of potential avenues for saving fuel on pickups, including turbocharging and using smaller displacement engines; hybrid drivetrains and more efficient diesel engines, still another, more simpler proposal is raising taxes on the fuel itself. However when it comes to technology the key issue is being able to balance more fuel efficient drivetrains with weight savings, especially difficult considering the amount of safety equipment is now mandated by the Feds on modern vehicles.
Whatever the proposed medium and heavy-duty CAFE requirements end up being, you can bet that they will likely hurt small business and contractors, those that currently rely on medium and heavy-duty pickups and represent the largest segment of buyers in this market. And to make matters worse, much of America’s wealth is built on small businesses, the kind that use pickups. So while the CAFE regulations might have had good intentions – reducing greenhouse gases and oil dependence, at this juncture, given the targets already outlined, the economic effects are likely to be disastrous in an already depressed business environment, unless significant changes to the CAFE standards that include more realistic short term targets are added.
In what seems to be a never ending saga, it appears there might finally be some significant developments as it relates to Mahindra’s U.S. bound small pickup. According to some sources; the Environmental Protection Agency has finally given Mahindra the emissions certification required to sell its diesel engined TR series pickup Stateside for the 2011 model year.
It perhaps couldn’t come at a better time. Repeated delays over the vehicle’s launch date and mixed communications between Mahindra in India and it’s U.S. distributor Global Vehicles, have resulted in litigation proceedings being instigated, however with the EPA breakthrough, it looks like there might now be a ray of hope.
According to Max Butler, vice president of marketing with Global Vehicles USA, “we’re very excited about getting certification. Our dealers are excited as well. This is great news.”
Mahindra plans to offer the small truck in TR20 (two-door) and TR40 (crew cab) configurations. The trucks will be powered by a modified version of the ‘Hawk’ 2.2-liter in-line four-cylinder diesel, which will employ exhaust urea injection to help meet U.S. smog requirements. Estimates rate the pickup at a 1.3-ton hauling capacity and fuel mileage at close to 30 mpg. No word on official pricing yet, but it’s believed that when the trucks finally arrive, they will sticker in the $22,000 range.
[Source: Pickup trucks.com]
It seems that these days we never stop hearing about how fuel efficient some new model is, so it may shock you to learn that the highest mileage model currently on the road was introduced back in 1999. That’s right, the original Honda Insight with its hybrid 3-cylinder engine displacing just 1.0-liters was rated at a combined 53-mpg (61-mph highway), which puts it just ahead of the current and third-generation Toyota Prius, rated at 50-mpg combined.
Spots three through six aren’t exactly high-tech machines either, with the 1986 Chevrolet Sprint ER coming in next at 48-mpg, followed by the 47-mpg 1990 Geo MEtro XFI, the 46-mpg CRX and the 43-mpg Civic VX hatchback.
Notably absent are any diesel models in the EPA’s top-10 list, however, a similar list rating models based on real-world fuel economy holds several diesel Volkswagens. There the VW Jetta Wagon from 2002-03 ranks 6th with 48.2 mpg, while the 2000-3 Golf places 9th with 47-mpg and the VW New Beetle 10th with 46.2 mpg. Those numbers are well behind the original Honda Insight at 70.4 mpg.
Several years ago Hyundai announced its plan to be the most fuel-efficient automaker in the U.S. The news was met with much skepticism. But not that long afterward and an impressive new lineup of award-winning vehicles and the Korean automaker has already met its goal and is well on the way to achieving the 2016 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard of 35.5 mpg early.
The news comes as the EPA releases its Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends Report for 2009, which rates Hyundai first at an average of 30.1 mpg. This also makes Hyundai the only automaker with an average of 30 mpg or higher. In second place is Honda at 29.7 mpg, third belongs to Volkswagen at 29.6 mpg, Toyota is fourth at 29.4 mpg and Kia (also owned by Hyundai) is fifth at 28.0 mpg.
Possibly even more impressive is that Hyundai has done all this without having a single diesel or hybrid in its lineup. Hyundai does, however, plan to introduce its first hybrid based on the all-new 2011 Sonata, next year. New turbochared engines and direct-injection engines are also planned.
“Our thoughtful application of cost-effective, fuel-efficient technologies has helped us achieve our goal of leading the industry in fuel economy ahead of schedule,” said Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik. “Now we hope to extend that leadership with the launch of our new direct injection, turbocharging and lithium-polymer hybrid technologies, all of which will be a part of the 2011 Sonata lineup launching early next year.”
Official release after the jump: