U.S. Finalizes Higher 2025 Fuel Economy Standards

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It’s official now, the Obama Administration has announced that the 2025 54.5 mpg fuel economy standards are now finalized.  Which side of the debate are you on?

2025 Fuel Economy Standards

The Obama Administration has finalized its 2025 fuel economy standards to much debate. Which side of the debate are you on?

These goals have been much criticized and applauded by both sides of the fuel economy debate. It has also become a source of debate in the upcoming U.S. Presidential elections. Current President Obama believes that by setting high mpg goals, consumers will ultimately save in the long-term in fuel economy.

On the other hand, we have Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney who says that the higher standards will put an undue burden on manufactures and hurt consumers with higher vehicle purchase prices. Romney told the Detroit News that the government should “work with the manufacturers to find ways to encourage fuel economy on the part of the consumer” instead of mandating higher standards (a vague political statement to be sure – Jason).

If this debate sounds a bit familiar (the higher purchase price vs. potential fuel savings), it should. This is a similar debate that has brewed with hybrid cars.

“By the middle of the next decade, our cars will get nearly 55 miles per gallon, almost double what they get today,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “It will strengthen our nation’s energy security, it’s good for middle-class families, and it will help create an economy built to last.”

Is 55 MPG Real?

In a word, no. The 55mpg goal isn’t really 55. As Cars.com says, “CAFE standards stem from a smorgasbord of 1970s-era fuel economy ratings with various exemptions and credits. Experts say the 54.5 mpg standard will translate to the high 30s in EPA combined city/highway gas mileage on new-car window stickers by 2025.”

The Detroit News is reporting that new 2025 vehicles will cost $1,836 more. Specifically, trucks will cost $2,059 on average. Part of this cost increase has to do with the following excerpt in the EPA report:

The agencies recognize that the standards presented in this final rule for MYs 2017-2025 will be challenging for large vehicles, including full-size pickup trucks often used in commercial applications. To help address this challenge, the program will, as proposed, adopt incentives for the use of hybrid electric and non-hybrid electric “game changing” technologies in full-size pickup trucks.

In other words, trucks are getting hybrid powertrains. Period. Toyota and Ford have announced plans to produce a hybrid full-size truck, and we expect that this hybrid truck will see the showroom floor by 2016 or so. Waiting much longer would expose Ford to serious financial penalties under these new fuel economy rules (or at least that’s how it seems right now).

What do these standards mean to you? Is the increased MSRP worth the increased fuel economy? Would you drive a hybrid Tundra?

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Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. Josh says:

    This is one of the worse things he could have done. 55mpg is unrealistic and is a big burden on auto companies that are already trying to stay in the black. a slight increase is one thing but DOUBLE! Not to get to political but Obama dosent have a clue.

  2. LJC says:

    Foremost, in the next decade cars and trucks will cost more to buy from inflation, cost of living, etc. Second, the materials used to achieve this pie in the sky CAFÉ figure will likely be in short supply, so factor in additional cost for this—aluminum is already in short supply. I could go on…So, the $1800-$2100 figure is way wrong.

    Second, there has not been one mention of working with petroleum companies to upgrade our fuel delivery infrastructure for alternatives to good-ole-gas. We have a natural gas supply that could reduce our need for gasoline. There’s so much of it refiners are being built to convert diesel to NG: http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/0...../index.htm

    The root of the problem is petroleum companies are not being “influenced” to be part of the solution-isn’t amazing how we’ve become conditioned to “the sky is falling” gas prices of 5 years ago? This is classic case of conditioning, which is studied in psychology 101.

    The people running petroleum companies are very smart and unfortunately, our governmental process of solving problems is crippled from a true lack of leadership and stupidity.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Good points!


      • LJC says:

        Thanks Tim 🙂

        I feel if petroleum companies can transform NG into diesel, then they can replace the ethanol in gasoline with NG. This cocktail would be compatible with existing vehicles, can make use of the existing fuel supply infrastructure, prolong the life of engines, be cleaner burning and may even be less suseptible to “crapulation”, aka speculation.

        Oh, another benefit would be it would increase the energy in “naturaline” that would make the upcoming CAFE standards realistic without drastic changes in a vehicle’s composition, i.e. the stuff used to make it.

        One more thing: If these CAFE standards do not go away, I would INVEST in light weigth metals and other materials TO BE USED. So, I wonder who is really pulling the strings on this?

        • LJC – The biggest materials change is probably going to be an increase in the use of high strength steel. It’s about 10% lighter but just as strong, and I’ve read that the steel mills are already offering aggressive pricing to try and “corner the market,” so I think that the cost projections being tossed out by the automakers are truly the worst case scenario.

          Additionally, a new carbon fiber “forged composite” manufacturing process is making carbon fiber a reasonable option as well.

          Finally, aluminum, magnesium-alloy, and advanced plastics are all on the table too.

          My guess: Cars will get a few hundred pounds lighter and cost just a little more than they do now. The issue in my eyes won’t be cost – it will be reduced capability…the easiest way to improve fuel economy outside of weight loss is to shrink motors, reduce towing capacity and payload ratings, etc.

    • LJC – A good argument as always.

  3. mk says:

    1800-2000 bucks in an increase by 2025, no way, more like 7-10K more the way price increases have historically been going each year around 2-3% every year in price increase.

    If they want to get better mpg in a 1/2 ton truck, come out with a small diesel that has plenty of pulling power and will get 25 avg mpg easily. Same can be said for smaller 4 cylinder cars like the corolla and camry. Put a small 4 cylinder diesel and achieve easily 45 mpg vs. only 35 mpg right now in a gas engine.

  4. Drew says:

    It’s about time Chevy and Ford already make 70mpg motors that are made for Australia. Finally somethings about to be done for the U.S.

  5. BriBri says:

    IMHO…The whole CAFE standard system is a political ploy by government to kowtow to the radical environmentalists, while snubbing its nose at the free-market system in this country. But, not to become political…

    While on the surface, higher MPGs are a good thing. However, hyper-MPGs should not be mandated to the masses at the considerable additional financial costs to consumers. In addition to the monetary costs, we also need to think about non-monetary costs that would be borne by truck-enthusiasts. These would (or at least might) include sacrificing the grunt and growl and towing/hauling capacity of a big V8 powerplant; cargo space afforded by a true full-size pickup truck; and the DIY-er’s ability to modify his truck to be what he wants it to be, without concern of offending the smog police.

    I honestly believe that the folks mandating these CAFE standards either truly do not understand what it means to be a truck owner, or simply do not care. Perhaps a more important consideration, the masses of folks voluntarily moving to hybrids, EVs, and other high-MPG vehicles support the notion that those who still want to drive gas-guzzlers are exhibiting a progressively decreasing impact on the environment, relative to all vehicle drivers. As such, I say let the free market decide.

    • BriBri,

      There are some modifications to CAFE standards for truck owners. However, the trend is definitely sliding more towards fuel economy while “maintaining” power. I don’t think you are going to see any bigger, powerful consumer focused full-size trucks being marketed. I do think the goal is to keep the same power while increasing fuel economy. This goal will probably mean more plastic, less weight and more alternative power sources.


      • BriBri says:

        “This goal will probably mean more plastic, less weight and more alternative power sources.”

        I definitely agree that less weight will be a large factor to increasing MPGs. Personally, I would not be averse to seeing more plastic/vinyl (plastic quality has come a long way over the last few decades) and aluminum parts being used in trucks. Particularly, as the engine/drivetrain is perhaps the heaviest component in a full-size pickup truck, an aluminum block and heads would be nice (unless structural integrity is a concern).

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