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Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Fuel Economy - CAFE

Why has no one been talking about increasing the fuel economy of vehicles?

This has been lost in the midst of all the hand wringing and weeping over high gasoline prices and in the misunderstandings of basic supply-demand economics.

There is an elephant in the room when people rant and rave about the high cost of gas that no one want to look at or address. Mainly because the American auto manufacturers are only barely hanging on and competitive in the SUVs and pickups market.

The combined fuel economy of the vehicles on the road today is higher than it was in 1980.
People drive more miles annually (cheap gas has enabled you to buy your McMansion farther from work and have two family jobs and take your kids to daycare etc.). And even with high gas prices, they still aren't driving less.
Forty-nine percent of the vehicles sold in America last year were light duty trucks (read - SUVs and pickups).

GM and Ford are promoting the E85, flex fuel vehicles, hybrids etc. ONLY because under the law for every sale of those vehicles they get CAFE credits that enables them to sell more gas guzzling, inefficient SUVs. Even the Sierra Club has noted that these companies aren't promoting the sale of the alternative fuel vehicles because they are good corporate citizens - its because they want to sell more SUVs.

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) is the sales weighted average fuel economy, expressed in miles per gallon (mpg), of a manufacturer’s fleet of passenger cars or light trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,500 lbs. or less, manufactured for sale in the United States, for any given model year. Fuel economy is defined as the average mileage traveled by an automobile per gallon of gasoline (or equivalent amount of other fuel) consumed as measured in accordance with the testing and evaluation protocol set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Gasoline prices haven't yet hit the price point (again basic economics) where people are making lifestyle changes.

Take a step outside and take a deep breath of air, then take a trip up to Alaska, off the Gulf shore of Florida, the Rockies, Great Lakes, and the east coast - and in enjoy it! You are paying for it!!

My government car is a flex fuel one that can run on E85. It's cheaper then pure gas, but you get fewer miles per gallon from it. The only station that sells it is 35 miles away, so I only used it once when I was in that area. I noticed no performance difference. I would use this stuff in my own car if it were more available, and even if it were more expensive then standard gas. I will do anything to get this terrorist monkey off my back.
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