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US green-lights new fuel rules

2012-08-29 10:18


WASHINGTON -- The US haS finalised landmark 2017-25 fuel consumption rules that will nearly halve figures for US cars and trucks through the next 13 years. The new rules aims to create a fleet-wide average of 4.32 litres/100km.

The improvements in fuel efficiency and reduced consumption will filter down to South African vehicles though our fuel quality might need to change to accommodate new engine technology.
The rules also give automakers credits for building hybrid bakkies and adding fuel-saving features that the government didn't take into account in earlier years.
According to the Detroit News, the new regulations will add the equivalent of R15 400 to the average price of a new vehicle by 2025. The price of a truck will rise by R17 300 on average while a car will rise by R14 500.


Cars will have to average 4.2 litres/100km, while bakkies will have to average six litres/100km in 2025.
By 2025, a small SUV such as a Ford Escape would have to average 4.95 litres/100km; a minivan such as a Toyota Sienna six litres/100km; a midsize sedan such as a Ford Fusion 4.3 litres/100km and a compact MPV such as a Honda Jazz 3.85 litres/100km.

US president Barack Obama said: "These fuel standards represent the single most important step we've yet taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. This historic agreement builds on the progress we've made to save families money at the pump and cut our oil consumption.

"By 2015 our cars will get nearly 4.3 litres/100km, almost half what they get today. It'll strengthen our nation's energy security, it's good for middle-class families and it will help create an economy built to last."

Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson said the rules were essentially the same as those proposed in 2011. The regulation is a whopping 1994 pages long.

As a result of the changes, the standard will actually result in a fleet-wide average of 4.8 litres/100km by 2025. In "real-world" driving conditions, the actual average will be around 5.9 litres/100km in 2025.

In 2011 the Obama administration won the support of 13 major automakers for the 2017-25 rules which will cost the industry $157.3-billion. Volkswagen and Daimler refused to support the deal.

VW said the final regulation was unfair because it made the requirements tougher on cars than trucks "and fails to achieve an equitable burden across the full range of light-duty vehicles".

The German automaker said it fails to give credits to diesel vehicles, as it does for other advanced technologies.


One change in the final rules grants credits from 2017-2021 for vehicles that run on natural gas equivalent.

Experts predict widespread adoption of new vehicle advances such as eight-speed transmissions and more efficient gearboxes. Agencies predict hybrids and electric vehicle sales could rise from less than 3% in 2012 to 50% by 2025.

The EPA and NHTSA says the new rules will save owners R206-billion over time since they won't have to refuel as often. They warn though that since vehicles would be cheaper to drive, owners would drive more and would be more likely to cause crashes and increase traffic.

The government estimates the rules will add R332-billion to congestion, crashes and noise costs.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (a trade group representing General Motors, Toyota, VW and seven other auotmakers)  said the rules would ensure that automakers met one standard.

The group said: "Automakers will be looking for a rigorous mid-term review with periodic check-ins since it is difficult to predict three years in advance, let alone 13 years.

"After years of billion-dollar investments by automakers, consumers have a lot of choice in fuel-efficient cars and light trucks, and automakers are working to sell these high-mileage vehicles in high volumes. Compliance with higher fuel-economy standards is based on sales, not what we put on showroom floors."

In total drivers will save R14-trillion at fuel stations.


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