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Energy efficiency, cars, and CAFE

Posted by tigerhawkvok on September 11, 2009 18:08 in General , politics , energy

I was thinking today about automobile mileage standards, and like nine in ten Americans, I believe in increasing fuel standards.

Recently, Obama pushed for an increase in standards — large by American standards, but the 2016 goal will be 10 MPG behind Europe and Japan's 2008 standard:

On May 19, 2009 President Barack Obama proposed a new national fuel economy program which adopts uniform federal standards to regulate both fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions while preserving the legal authorities of DOT, EPA and California. The program covers model year 2012 to model year 2016 and ultimately requires an average fuel economy standard of 35.5 miles per US gallon (6.63 L/100 km; 42.6 mpg-imp) in 2016 (of 39 miles per gallon for cars and 30 mpg for trucks), a jump from the current average for all vehicles of 25 miles per gallon.
Source: Wikipedia.

So, throwing my voice into the veritable shouting match, this is what I'd do to increase the standards in a realistic way:

  1. Increase the 2016 fleet-average goal to 40 MPG.
  2. Based on current CAFE standards, and the 2016 goal standard, fit 2010 — 2015 standards to intermediates (linear)
  3. Beginning in 2017, institute an annual increase of 2 MPG in standards, with this increase to be re-evaluated every ten years, or an automatic re-evaluation if more than 75% of vehicles fail to meet the standard for 5 consecutive years. This will prevent increases from exceeding technological ability.
  4. For every commercial vehicle that falls short of this goal, a state/federal tax of $1000/MPG (rounded up, so 0.1 MPG -> 1 MPG) is imposed on the vehicle up to a faliure of 25%. Further faliures are taxed $2000/MPG, rounded down (0.8 MPG -> 1).

    This heavily penalizes vehicles that are "gas guzzlers". Thus, an 18 MPG car in 2016 fails by more than 25% of 40 MPG (30.00). The first 10 MPG is penalized $10,000, and the next 12 MPG is penalized $24,000, for a total of $34,000 in taxes. In 2016, it is completely unreasonable to have any car whatsoever at 18 MPG, but a rich person (the sort of person that buys a Hummer already) will pay for it in taxes.
  5. Cars that exceed this target gain a $500 tax credit at the dealer per 25% (compounded) they exceed it by.

    So, for example, the 2010 model Prius gets 51 MPG best. This is better than 25%, so gains an immediate, at-the-dealer $500 rebate. The Chevy Volt, however, if it actually gets the 230 MPG rating, would get a [50, 62, 78, 98, 122, 153, 191, < 238] 7*$500 = $3,500 instant rebate at the dealer. These aren't back-breaking to the state or national government rebates, but they'll help a lot in keeping interest up in these hybrids.
  6. These standards are based on the highest EPA rating given to a specific car with a unified standard.

I think measures like this could go a long, long way toward encouraging efficiency in the auto market, and decreasing tailpipe emissions. While many of these will be moved to power and manufacturing plants, better capture and conversion systems, in addition to the overall efficiency at the end of the car and at the plant, will result in net lower energy usage and fewer emissions. As a byproduct? More energy security, too!

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live6

live6 | 17/01/2015 02:34

Energy efficiency, cars, and CAFE | The Dichotomous Trekkie 2.0

live6

live6 | 17/01/2015 02:32

Energy efficiency, cars, and CAFE | The Dichotomous Trekkie 2.0