the “wall street journal” calls for higher fuel efficiency

“Wall Street Journal” columnist Joseph White took the time to read the annual Environmental Protection Agency survey of the state of automotive technology and energy efficiency, and what he found wasn’t terribly surprising. He found that we have made progress with regard to fuel efficiency these past several years, but that those gains have been offset by the fact that Detroit is making larger, more powerful cars. Here’s a clip:

…Compared with 1987, the average weight of the vehicle we drive has risen by 923 pounds, or 29%. The average time it takes for a vehicle to go from zero to 60 miles per hour time has dropped to 9.6 seconds — the fastest since the EPA started compiling this data in 1975. Our average car or truck has 223 horsepower, and the most horsepower per pound on record.

There is some good news: The 17-year decline in the average fuel efficiency of America’s new car fleet that began in 1987 appears to have stopped. The EPA forecasts that the average fuel economy of 2007 model cars and trucks will be 20.2 miles per gallon, the same as 2006 and slightly better than 19.9 mpg measured for 2005. That would make three straight years when the new vehicle fleet’s fuel economy was no worse, or slightly better, than it was in 2004.

Using one EPA measurement, “ton-miles per gallon,” or the miles per gallon multiplied by the weight of the car, 2007 vehicles are the most efficient on record. This is a laudable achievement by the industry, for which it will get little credit.

The average fuel efficiency of light trucks has increased by one mile per gallon since 2004, a shift that coincides with higher gas prices, a turn away from heavy, truck-frame sport utility vehicles, and — sorry, auto industry friends — an increase in the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard to 22.2 mpg in 2007 from 20.7 mpg in 2004.

Why sympathy for the car industry folks? Because they don’t want Congress to get the idea that raising the CAFE mileage standards is the only way to get them to produce more efficient vehicles. Unfortunately for them, this report strongly implies that’s the case…

So, even that bastion of conservative thought, the “Wall Street Journal,” thinks that raising mileage standards is necessary. One wonders why Dingell is still fighting it. Maybe he thinks, like Bush, that companies will voluntarily move to create cleaner, more efficient vehicles, contrary to everything we’ve seen in human history.

Speaking of Dingell, our petition just crossed the 200-signature mark. If you haven’t signed yet, please do. We need to show Dingell that his constituents are demanding action on this.

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  1. Left Field
    Posted October 4, 2007 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Everybody seems to want to tell the auto industry how to run their business. I don’t believe in large suv’s, which is why i’m not buying one (and why i’m more likely to buy from toyota or honda). but I don’t think we should be able to tell the autos what they can and can’t sell. The market gets to do this and it’s done a pretty good job of it if you think about it. the big 3 have gotten left holding the bag on large vehicles and they are trying to change as fast as possible because that is not what people want to buy.

    And if you still feel it needs to be handled through cafe regs, fine. you are entitled to think and push for whatever you want. but at least include all the factors before you demonize the autos…If you are going to look at the weight of vehicles issue, let’s include safety in the discussion. better safety has meant heavier vehicles and we all expect the autos to make ever safer and safer products.

  2. egpenet
    Posted October 5, 2007 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    The current issues (October 2007) of National Geo talks in detail about corn ethanol, biodiesel, and sugar cane alcohol as potential sources for personal transportation fuel.

    I am all for keeping corn out of the equation sinmce corn is a FOOD. Sugar cane is the best best and we could grow a lot more of it in this country if we tried. It is a high efficiency and low cost/low impact source of fuel. Brazil is way ahead of us … samba, anyone?

  3. Posted October 26, 2007 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    TurbX Engine market disruptive competitive advantages support expectation of turbine market sales of $350 billion and piston engine market sales of $150 billion annually. These market advantages include the fuel efficiency advantages ( 25% to a factor of two), a factor of three smaller size, a factor of two lower weight, lower emissions, lower initial cost, lower operating cost, and longer life. The efficiency advantages arise from better thermodynamics and substantially reduced parasitic losses. This technology reduces the 30% of rated horsepower parasitic losses of current turbine technology are reduced to less than 10% in the TurbX engine through reduced surface area, lower turning losses, and reduced leakage.

    Write your congressman.

  4. coolemaster
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    With extremely high gas prices straining consumers pockets in recent months, it is only natural for people to wonder where all the money they pay at the pump goes..Source:

  5. egpenet
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I am absolutely delighted by high gasoline prices! Londoners pay $9/gallon.

    This should begin to help rebuilt our cities, cut down on air pollution, promote in-state university education and boost EVERYTHING that’s good and practical about being a community.

    Thank you Mobil, Shell and Aramco. Job well done. Keep the money. I’m happy.

  6. Posted May 26, 2008 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    The price of oil and gasoline will only go up from here. Sure there will be some market ups and downs; but, the trend will continue to be up.

    The world’s production of crude oil is at or approaching peak. As oil fields become less productive, world production of crude will begin to fall. A scientific analysis I read about this a decade ago predicted the peak to occur somewhere in the 2010-2012 time frame. Whether new oil has been discovered since then to extend that time frame a little, I don’t know. The key is it would only be a little.

    We will have a lot of oil for at least 20 to 30 more years, but the demand for it will increase, production will begin to decrease and prices will increase exponentially.

    Ed, I agree with you!! The high price of energy will be huge incentive for development of new sources of energy, both fossil and non-fossil.

  7. egpenet
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Just a thought …

    I’d like to see AATA use lots of “littler” feeder buses and even buyout one of the local cab companies. Have one or two main transport lines, much like the interurban of old, with the little feeder buses bringing folks to the depot to catch the “main line.”

    Sad to say, they’ve made a big deal about biodiesel, but it’s already gotten a little “corny.” Keep the biodiesels on the mainlines, but go to the little feeders, plus the AATA “Taxies”.

    We ALSO need AATA to rotter rooter the depot and get some serious security personnel into that spot. I did some consulting with Crime Prevention Security in there, but things have slid downhill due to AATA lack of concern, in my opinion, and, most likely, lack of funds. With Buffalo Wild Wings outta there it shouldn’t be the problem that it is.

    It’s like they say in L.A. … “If you ain’t gotta ride, ya’ gotta slide.”

  8. Posted May 26, 2008 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    YES. I want better public transport too. It would be way cool if AATA and Wayne County buses could have a meeting point so we could transfer back and forth between them…Public transit from Chelsea to Detroit and back.

    I’d still love light rail or subway like transit too.

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