US fuel rules will hit you, too

2011-11-18 09:12

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration has said its proposal to nearly halve average fuel-consumption standards to 4.3 litres/100km by 2025 will cost the auto industry - and by default you, the buyer - the equivalent of R125.8-trillion.

The average price of a car, because of automakers' development costs, is likely to rise by R16 000 (apart from inflation) over the next 13 years.

However, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Environmental Protection Agency said in proposing the nearly 900 pages of regulations that vehicle buyers would recoup the costs at the fuel pumps.


But wouldn't you expect a government to say that? Anyway...

A report in the Detroit News says the new rules would save US drivers the equivalent of more than R13.6-trillion at the pumps and have net a benefit equivalent to about R2.04-trillion.

The proposal will raise the price of an average car in the US (and, by extension, South Africa) by $2023 (R16 000) in 2025 and a bakkie by $1578 (R12 600).

Awesomely, the US planners have even put a price on the time saved at fuel pumps because fewer visits will be required with less thirsty cars. They say it will save the equivalent of R80-billion - but did they factor in chatting time with friends, using "the facilities" or popping in to the one-stop shop for smokes or Cokes?


The plan, it says, will have other benefits, including saving motorists time at the gas pump, because they'll be fueling up less often. The fewer trips are worth $10 billion or more in saved time - but that will be offset by less fuel-tax revenue (which also affects SA); the US numbercrunches say federal coffers will be about $50-billion lighter and that will have to be collected elsewhere.

You can't win...

The new fuel rules go easier on SUV's and bakkies than on cars, the DetNews reports. Light trucks must improve fuel efficiency by 3.5% year-on-year from 2017-21 compared to five percent year on year for cars. Light trucks would be required to improve by five percent annually from 2021-25 but only if the government, in a "midterm review" of the fuel standards, finds it doable.