In late July, with much fanfare, the administration, through the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration announced new standards for motor vehicle “fuel efficiency”. Currently, a manufacturer’s vehicle fleet must average 27.5 miles per gallon, and this has been the standard since 1990. However, by 2025, the fleet average must be 54.5 miles per gallon.
You are probably wondering why, if fuel efficiency is the goal, the Environmental Protection Agency is considering mandating that all gasoline sold in the United States must contain 15% ethanol, up from today’s 10%? Doesn’t more ethanol reduce fuel efficiency, you ask? Yes it does. I can only assume that the EPA and NHTSA do not communicate with each other.
But, what will the new fuel efficiency standards mean? Here is a glimpse.
A new study in mid-June by the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. put the tab at about $10,000 extra per vehicle, while admitting that even this estimate might be far too low.
…GM announced that several versions of its compact Chevy Cruze would no longer have spare tires; instead they’ll have vehicle-powered sealant repair kits.
Among the reasons for that decision, some believe that spare tires are no longer necessary because most vehicles have tire pressure monitors. It is anyone’s guess how a tire pressure monitor will be of value when a piece of road debris shreds your tire, but, to meet the standards, light weight is the only way to go.
However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety consistently tells us that the laws of physics are still operational.
SUV’s heavier than 4,500 pounds, for example, have a death rate less than one-third that of cars under 2,500 pounds.
Let’s just stop the charade. I suggest that we remove the word “safety” from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s name and be done with it.