Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Sietch Blog: Good and Bad News

Here's the latest from the Shane over at the Sietch Blog about increases in fuel efficiency.

A new study shows a reversal in the long-term trend of slightly declining fuel economy, The EPA is reporting an increase in fuel efficiency for 2006 and 2007, that’s the good news. The bad news is that it is only an average of 20.2 miles per gallon (mpg) for cars and light duty trucks.

This will be the first time, real-world fuel economy values are based on the new, more realistic EPA test methods that have taken effect for model year 2008 vehicles. "America’s drivers want the biggest bang for their fuel buck, so this report is great news for both our wallets and our environment" said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. He goes on to praise the limp efforts of the Bush administration to raise fuel standards. What he forgot to mention is that 20.2 mpg is a dismal mileage average and that we need to rapidly improve it, both for the environment, and our wallets.

EPA’s annual report, "Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2007" provides data on the fuel economy and technology characteristics of new light-duty vehicles (cars, minivans, sport utility vehicles, and pickup trucks). The report projects average real-world fuel economy for model year 2007 to be 20.2 mpg, the same as 2006.

This report confirms that average fuel economy improved in both 2005 and 2006, the first consecutive annual increases since the mid-1980s. The 20.2 mpg value for 2006 and 2007 is 0.9 mpg higher than in 2004, reversing a long term trend of slightly declining fuel economy since its 1987 peak. That’s right, not since 1987 have we had a year in which overall fuel economy went up until the last two.

Most of the increase in overall fuel economy since 2004 has been due to higher light truck fuel economy. Fuel economy standards have risen each year since 2005 for light trucks. Another reason is slightly lower light truck market share, which peaked in 2004 at 52 percent and is projected to be 49 percent in 2007.

Reading between the lines of this study show that people can’t afford gas guzzlers, so they are buying the most fuel efficient cars they can. That mostly means foreign cars like Toyota, Honda, and various European models. American’s are imposing their own fuel efficiency standards by voting with their dollars. If car companies and the government wanted to take advantage of this trend they would start mandating higher fuel efficiency standards, and creating cars to meet them.

Shane Jordan
The Sietch

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

20.2mpg is a tragedy. It equates to the average fuel consumption of cars used in Europe in the 70's! Come on USA you can do so much better than this!