BMW unveils i3 BEV and i8 PHEV Concepts
ARTBA says new 54.5 mpg fuel efficiency standard would result in $65+ billion in lost revenue for highway and transit projects

President Obama announces 54.5 mpge, 163 gCO2/mile target for MY2025 light-duty vehicles; California on board

Light-duty vehicle fuel economy standards, 1978-2025. MY1978-2011 figures are NHTSA CAFE in mpg. MY2012-2025 standards are EPA GHG standards in miles per gallon equivalent, incorporating air conditioning improvements. Dashed lines denote that standards for MY2017-2025 reflect percentage increases in Notice of Intent. Source: “Driving Efficiency” Click to enlarge.

President Barack Obama announced an agreement with 13 major automakers to pursue the next phase in the Administration’s national vehicle program (earlier post), increasing fuel economy to a fleetwide average 54.5 mpge (miles per gallon equivalent) (4.32 L/100km) or 163 g/mile of CO2for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025.

The President was joined by Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo—which together account for more than 90% of all vehicles sold in the United States—as well as the United Auto Workers (UAW), and the State of California, who were integral to developing this agreement.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) worked closely with auto manufacturers, the state of California, environmental groups, and other stakeholders for several months on the program. The new program has different rates of increasing stringency for cars and light-duty trucks:

  • Stringency of standards for passenger cars would increase by an average of 5% each year.

  • Stringency of standards for pick-ups and other light-duty trucks would increase an average of 3.5% annually for the first five model years and an average of 5% annually for the last four model years of the program, to account for the challenges associated with this class of vehicles.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) are developing a joint proposed rulemaking (EPA for GHG emissions, NHTSA for fuel economy), which will include full details on the proposed program and supporting analyses, including the costs and benefits of the proposal and its effects on the economy, auto manufacturers, and consumers.

In achieving the level of standards for the 2017-2025 program, the two agencies expect automakers’ use of advanced technologies to be an important element of transforming the vehicle fleet. The agencies are considering a number of incentive programs to encourage early adoption and introduction into the marketplace of advanced technologies, including:

  • Incentives for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cells vehicles;

  • Incentives for advanced technology packages for large pickups, such as hybridization and other performance-based strategies;

  • Credits for technologies with potential to achieve real-world CO2 reductions and fuel economy improvements that are not captured by the standards test procedures.

In addition, EPA plans to propose provisions for:

  • Credits for improvements in air conditioning (A/C) systems, both for efficiency improvements and for use of alternative, lower global warming potential refrigerant;

  • Treatment of compressed natural gas (CNG);

  • Continued credit banking and trading, including a one-time carry-forward of unused MY 2010-2016 credits through MY 2021.

Given the long time frame at issue in setting standards for MY2022-2025 light-duty vehicles, EPA and NHTSA intend to propose a comprehensive mid-term evaluation. Consistent with the agencies’ commitment to maintaining a single national framework for vehicle GHG and fuel economy regulation, the agencies will conduct the mid-term evaluation in close coordination with California.

After the proposed rules are published in the Federal Register, there will be an opportunity for public comment and public hearings. The agencies plan to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the end of September 2011. California plans on adopting its proposed rule in the same time frame as the federal proposal.

The combination of the new MY 2017-2025, the current MY 2012-2016 program, and the model year 2011 light truck standard, represent the first significant update to fuel efficiency standards in three decades, spanning MY 2011-2025. According to Administration calculations, the combined programs will save American families $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, and by 2025 result in an average fuel savings of more than $8,000 per vehicle. Additionally, these programs reduce oil consumption by a total of some 12 billion barrels, and by 2025 reduce oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels a day.

The standards also cut more than 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the life of the program. The oil savings, consumer, and environmental benefits of the comprehensive program are detailed in a new report entitled Driving Efficiency: Cutting Costs for Families at the Pump and Slashing Dependence on Oil, which the Administration released today.




4.32L/100km? Howabout 0.0L/100km;

Roger Pham

The problem with doubling of CAFE alone, without increase in gas taxes to effectively doubling the price of petrol, is that people will tend to drive more when their vehicles become more fuel efficient. The problem with urban sprawl will become worse. People tend to live farther and farther away from their work place, due to cheaper housing in newly developed area on the outer ring of a metropolitan area. This can erode much of the intended effects of the gain in fuel efficiency and make the roads more congested.

This doubling of CAFE allows the gov. the moral authority to double the price of fossil fuels in the same time frame without causing the consumers to pay higher overall fuel bills. The incentive to drive more due to more fuel-efficient vehicle will be countered by an increase in the price of petrol that mirrors the gain in fuel efficiency.

This gradual increase in CAFE regulation should be in parallel with projecting a mandatory gradual increase in the price of petroleum about ~5% yearly. The gov. can adjust the gasoline tax either up and down regularly to achieve a ~5% increase in price yearly. The predictable future prices of petroleum will allow investments in alternative fuels to accelerate and will allow us to wean off petroleum.

Otherwise, with such a volatile pricing of petroleum, few investors in alternative fuels would want to take such a risk, and the consumers will be at the mercy of OPEC and Middle East politics for quite a long time to come.
If and when alternative fuels will make a dent in the fuel market, either the market force or OPEC will lower the prices of petroleum, and this will put alternative fuels out of the market...and the consumers will be price-gouged again!

Mr Bean

163 g/mile of CO2for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. That's about 100g/km, just above the EU target for 2020. However, BCG and others have already demonstrated that OEMs can meet these targets without selling xEVs, i.e. by applying incremental changes to IC engines (including stop-start/micro hybridization), downsizing cars and engines, etc. So it's not clear what impact this will have on Electrification... As Roger noted, we also need higher fuel prices, which improve the TCO of xEVs.


RP: Only Oil Cos are allowed to double the price of gas, and they will or have already done it, without the help of extra gas taxes. You can rely on them to do it over again and again.

However, Americans will not allow their government to do as Oil Cos have done. No new taxes or gas taxes says the Flower Parties unless you give the revenues as subsidies to Oil people and friends.

What a country it has become.


It would be much better to raise the fuel taxes and scrap CAFE. If we absolutely can not raise taxes, the fuel taxes can be made revenue neutral. That way the manufacturers can build cars that the market desires. The CAFE requirements were a large part of GM's problems. They made large Pickups and SUVs that the market wanted and then made cheap small cars to meet the CAFE requirements. The small cars could only be pushed on the market by selling them below a reasonable profit margin. And then the fuels prices went up and the large vehicle market went away.


End the oil depletion allowances and "incentives" for the the filthy rich, "highest profits ever" oil firms and there will be money enough for roads, debt reduction, healthcare,...

..instead of the world's most billionaires moving US derived ideas and wealth overseas.

Roger Pham

Good point you've raised. The mass of the people are fairly ill-informed of what keep a nation functioning, they are cynical due to all the tabloids reporting intimate behaviors of their representatives in Congress.

Let's consider, for example, the tobacco consumption issue. In the early days, soldiers got cigarette ration monthly (Salem), whether he wants it or not. Every night clubs were filled with tobacco smokes. Then, the reports about smoking causes cancers, vascular disease, emphysema...second hand smokes causing similar ailments... Now, go to most cinemas, night clubs or strip clubs in the USA, and lo and behold...clean more cigarette smoke! At one time, over 50% of Americans were addicted to, only about 20% of Americans smoke!! In only over one generation's time!!! Very impressive accomplishment, considering the very addictive nature of nicotine and the near-incibility of Big Tobacco!

Why are Americans willing to sacrifice such a pleasurable smoking habit and accepts 200-300% tax increase on tobacco products? How was big tobacco defeated?
EDUCATION, my friends. Education on the harms of smoking by prestigious organizations such American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Cancer Association etc...

Now, let's show every Americans what happens when the government fails...a failed state: Go no further than South of the US border: Once a prosperous, exotic and cultural place where Americans love to visit, now, full of crime gangs, killings, extortion, kidnaping for ransom, execution of police chiefs and government officials, store owners have to boarded up their shops due to crime gang extortion, police and military personel corruption and commiting crimes themselves because they weren't paid enough...Let's travel to other failed states in the world: Somalia where breeds pirates of the sea, famine etc.

I can assure that the effects of these failed states on their citizen are far worse than the effect of tobacco. At least with tobacco, you'll get years of pleasure before you'll die in peace and in one piece...with crime gangs' extorton and kidnaping, you'll die a violent death and cut up in pieces...

I can bet with you, Harvey, that after the likes of non-profit organizations such as ACA, AHA, ALA, educate the people on the devastating effect of a failed state, currency devaluation, public bankruptcy, organized crimes, global warming, pollution, etc...most people will want to pay higher tax rates and will even want to donate even more money to the government agencies to help balance the budget, to help fight crimes and corruption, to help clean up our environment, to help us wean off petroleum and eventually fossil fuels...

The rich will need to know that if the economy fails, and the gov. can't borrow money, then more money will have to be printed which will further devalued the USD$, and the effect will be that their net worth will shrink and shrink, far worse than paying a little bit higher taxes now to stave off the dollar devaluation.

The American people are generally decent and good at heart...They just weren't getting the right messages!


I'm convinced that the majority understand that 'freedom' and 'law and order' require approved guides lines or a 'constitution', freely and legally elected law and regulation makers, effective institutions and the means to apply enacted laws and regulations fairly and consistently etc.

What many do not fully understand is that:

1. Elections should be free but not influenced or bought.
2. Elected representatives and appointed officers should not be bribed or corrupted.
3. All citizens should pay their fair share of the cost of all government services.
4. Minorities should be protected and poor people should be helped.
5. Wealth should be better distributed in the name of justice, equity, nation wide well being and to avoid the Monopoly Game effects.

Too many of us may have forgotten too many guiding principles and a re-education program may be necessary.


Wealth should be better distributed in the name of "justice"? Tax should be increased? Constitutional authority for "everything"?

Here in America, let's let the free market decide. That's called freedom my friend. It's the route to prosperity. Government regulations and central planning (really a form of socialism-communism) are not the end all answer.

While I am a huge fan of economical cars, I also own a truck. Sure, I don't put all that many miles on it, but I do use it for it's intended purpose. My TD Jetta is used for economical driving and long trips.

Consider the US Constitutional authority for any of these regulations. The interstate commerce clause has been distorted and manipulated, used and abused to regulate almost anything politicians want. Let's start from a position of freedom first. Central planning eventually fails in each and every case.


A valid argument can be made for the failure of CAFE in the past. Restrictive fuel economy regulations may have been responsible for pushing American families into truck and SUV's. The end result is greater fuel use.

The large American car is gone. And, with it, the practicality of hauling a family and gear around the country in relative economy. Take a look at our highways, they are "chock a block" full of SUV's on trips. The small cars are nowhere to be seen.

37 years ago, our 390 cubic inch Ford LTD wagon returned 18MPG on trips, with 2 adults and 4 children, plus gear. Today, there are few large SUV's capable of that.



I am not so sure that the "large american car is gone" considering that we are in a crisis state and with a gas price 3.5$, I am surprised to see that the average mileage of the car fleet sold this year is still only 21MPG and similar to what it was in 2007 and sales of hybrid are still a dismal 2-3%. People are just getting used to the idea of paying more for gas.

Overall I agree that these CAFE won't work if they are not coupled with a gas tax, as said above if vehicle consume less people will use them more, and put all the burden on the shoulder of the cars manufacturers will not convince the consumer to buy efficient cars.
I am pretty sure that car automakers will come back 3 years from now saying that they can't meet these aggressive CAFE steep tightening and it will be eased.

But anyway it will stimulate the innovation for fuel efficiency and plug-in and gas-nat, so there is some positive in it.

Bob Wallace

We've used up the cheap oil and we probably can't produce much more oil per year than we now do. (There's a good chance that we won't be able to produce as much.) And we are rapidly increasing demand as incomes rise around the world. Those two factors alone will cause the price of fuel to rise. We don't need an additional tax to drive consumption down.

And, as prices rise due to tightening supply and rising demand, look for immense pressure to lower what fuel tax we now collect at the pump. In today's "Give it to me for free, I don't want to pay taxes" political era getting a new fuel tax is about as likely as Santa continuing to live at the North Pole.

The big, very big outcome of this significant rise in CAFE standards is that we're going to see immense efforts to increase EV range and bring the price down. The best fuel vehicles we have (50 MPG Chevy Cruize and Toyota hybrid) will have to be improved just so that they don't bring the fleet average down. There's almost no chance that they can be improved enough to pull up a fleet average tugged downward by a 30MPG couch-mobile. (And some buyers are going to insist on large, less efficient cars.)

The way out for car manufacturers is to be able to average in some units which use zero fuel.

Roger Pham

We probably don't need an additional petrol tax to drive consumption down. However, the gov must guarantee a minimum price of petrol 10 years from now in order for investment in alternative fuels to accelerate. This can be done by adjusting the petrol tax regularly in order to ensure this minimum price guarantee.

Bob Wallace

Alternative fuels might need a petrol tax/minimum price but I don't think they'll get one in today's political world. And I don't think they need one.

I can't see EVs on our streets in great numbers in less than a decade. It's going to take a couple of years (or more) to produce EVs with enough range and low enough sticker prices for a significant portion of new car buyers to choose to go electric.

(Unfortunately many drivers can't do long term math and don't understand that EV prices are fine right now. If you can live with the range.)

And if you've been to Asia in the last few years you'll know that new drivers are coming to the street in huge numbers.

I suspect demand, along with tightening supplies, is going to keep oil prices climbing long enough for anyone with a ten year alternative to come to market.

I think the thing we need to realize is that some, and perhaps all, of these 'Just give me a few more years' ideas aren't going to work. Each of those 'few more years' contains a show-stopping problem that must be solved.

If they knew how to make affordable alternate fuel they would be making it. What they know is that they could make affordable alternative fuel if they could figure out solutions for why they can't.


The basic problem is if they tried to raise gas taxes they would HAVE to lower taxes elsewhere or else they would be fired.. with real fire.


Right WM2000.
Unfortunately, neither party and few individual politicians dare support a gas tax increase.

A higher CAFE will just result in people driving more?

Do hybrids just make people drive more? No.

And the math does not support them now.

Roger Pham

@Bob Wallace,

Well, Bob, in the radio-control hobby, the price of Lithium Polymer batteries have dropped to 1/3 since 1-2 years ago, with much improved quality. These Li-po batteries can endure 3x more cycling performance and can be charged at 5C current (5x faster than previously). I would expect the same to happen to automobile Lithium batteries in the near future, as many mfg's are ramping up automobile batteries: cheaper, more cycling performance and faster charging.

For every BEV having 36 kWh battery, you can make 4 PHEV's having 9 kWh batteries for the same battery cost. That PHEV's can be driven 20-30 miles oil-free daily, and can reduce the petrol consumption to 1/2-1/4th of current level. Look at how simple and low-cost the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid demonstrates. Very low cost differential for the hybrid model vs regular model. This HEV carries a huge 18-gallon fuel tank, thereby the battery must be placed in the trunk (boot), taking away some trunk space. A hatch back layout for a new PHEV with only an 8-gallon fuel tank (8gal x 40mpg=320 mile range on petrol) will allow trunk space competitive with current sedan (saloon) model.

They already have the technology to make a very practical and affordable PHEV right now! A little reasssurance that the fuel prices will double in 10 years will have most people fork out a few thousands dolars extra TODAY to buy a PHEV or HEV, and there, we will see a massive switch to PHEV's and HEV's. We will have weaned off petroleum shortly thereafter, since liquid fuels for backup in a PHEV can be made from NG, waste biomass, algae oil, etc.

If however, the price of petrol is allows to float in the free market, then upon the switch to PHEV's, the price of petrol will drop to 1/2 of today's level due to drop in demand, and PHEV's will no longer be cost-effective, then most people will revert to regular, petrol vehicles, and most investments in alternative fuels will be lost, and we will be suffering from one oil shock to the next. It's a matter of wise planning for the future.

Exactly. It's not an increase in gas tax. If gas prices will climb on its own, then no increase in gas tax, the gov. just sits and watch. However, if the gas price will come down, then the gov. will adjust the gas tax to stabilize the gas price. Look at the 300%-600% increase in taxes on cigarettes and liquor. Millions of people are unhappy about them, but the gov. kept collecting. Look at how the cops are hiding at every street corners trying to raise revenue for their departments, and people still pay up!

Please show your math! In the 70's cars averaged 13mpg. In the 90's, cars averaged 27 mpg, yet, the amount of oil consumed by LDV's still escalated higher and higher!

Bob Wallace

Roger, I've no doubt that we'll see better and cheaper batteries. As far as I can tell it's a matter of getting dedicated factories up and running. My major battery experience is in photography and the improvements have been outstanding. (Unfortunately the same hasn't happened for my solar system batteries.)

And, yes, PHEVs make sense for some drivers. But I suspect not for most once we reach 200+ mile ranges. My guess is that battery prices will drop a lot but there's not much room to drop the price of an internal combustion engine. I've seen people in the business predict that EVs will become cheaper than ICEVs, and based on the number of components in and ICEV they might be right.

(If the cost of lithium for EV batteries bothers you, calculate the price of the platinum in catalytic converters.)

Once people can drive a car that they can plug in a couple times a week and do their driving I think they'll pass on having an on-board battery charger. The average US driver piles up just under 40 miles a day. That means that at least half of all drivers would need to plug in no more often than once every five days. With a PHEV they will have to plug in more often.

With some experience and a reasonable number of Level 2 chargers around range anxiety should disappear.

Long trips, drive 200, stop 20 minutes, drive 160, stop 20, drive another 160 and you've made a 500 driving day with only two modest stops. At most one more stop more than driving a PHEV.

I don't think the price of petroleum is likely to be cheap again. Ever. Many/most people who study the world's supply of oil hold that we are at, are quickly approaching, or have passed the maximum level at which oil supplies can be maintained. And we hit seven billion people on the planet soon, on our way to nine or ten. That's a heck of a lot of demand in the pipe.

It's going to take many years to work all the existing ICEVs (and the ones sold during the transition years) out of the global fleet. Oil prices will be supported by people who can't afford to make a switch to electric but have to wait for an adequate supply of used EVs.

As for alternative fuels, can anyone make it in quantity and retail it for $1/gallon? That's what you'd have to pay per gallon for a 50MPG ICEV in order to reach the cost of driving an EV. (I'm assuming we're going to see roughly six cents/kWh for off-peak charging power. If that's too low for you, use nine cents and a buck-fifty.)

Finally, look at the number of companies getting ready to market EVs and the number releasing PHEVs. I think Chevy and Toyota might be the only PHEV producers. Toyota is going to put a plug on their Prius. But they are also releasing two EV models at the same time.

(BMW may be releasing a PHEV, not sure if their i8 is a concept car or destined for market.)

Overall car makers are bringing EVs to market. That leads me to guess that they see the PHEV as a transitional vehicle and a highly functional EV is soon upon us.

But, hey, we're all just guessing...

Pao Chi Pien

For doubling of CAFE, it is necessary to design automotive engines based on sound theory rather than based on engine experiments alone.For a reversible adiabatic process in an ideal gas from state (1) to state (2), T2/T1 = (V1/V2)k-1 where T2 and T1 are in equilibrium. Then internal energy E is equal to cv(T2 – T1. There is no time for working fluid of a reciprocating internal combustion engine to reach equilibrium state, the equation T2/T1 = (V1/V2)k-1 can not be applied to reciprocating engines.

Instead of adding heat to a gas to increase internal energy E, internal energy E can also be increased by work done on the gas. A moving piston can compress a gas within a long cylinder from V0 to V, the compression work W done is equal to the definite integral of pdV from V0 to V with p equal to the average pressure within the volume. Regardless of the actual p distribution, the average pressure p is equal to p0(V0/V)k (Boyle’s law). Then,
W = p0(V0)k(1/V)k-1/(k-1) (1)
E = p0(V0)k/(k-1)(1/V)k-1/J (2)
E2/E1 = (V1/V2)k-1 (3)

With W = 0 at Vo, Equation (1) is the mechanical work done on the gas. Equation (2) shows total internal energy E as a function of the total volume V. Lastly, Equation (3) is obtained by taking the ratio of two internal energies at two different volumes.

Equation (3) can be applied to non-equilibrium thermodynamics. As such, the new equation can be applied as a powerful new tool in evaluating existing engines, as well as, in designing new high efficiency engines.

To analyze the performance of a reciprocating internal combustion engine, an E-V diagram is computed by using Equation (3). At the beginning of a compression process 1-2, E1 = cvT1 is already known where T1 is the average absolute temperature. At point 2, E2 = E1(V1/V2)k-1 where k is the weighted average value of k values of component gases of working fluid. During a combustion process 2-3, fuel chemical energy is transformed into heat energy to increase the internal energy, with E3 = E2 + Q where Q is equal to the fuel burned per cycle times the heating value of burned fuel. At the end of the expansion process 3-4, E4 = E3(V3/V4)k-1.

Based on internal energy balance, the indicated fuel conversion efficiency is (E3 – E4)/E3. By clearly showing the internal energy value at the beginning and end of the each of the compression, combustion, and expansion processes, the E-V diagram (constructed using the equation E2/E1 = (V1/V2)k-1) provides a simple and direct roadmap for how to increase indicated fuel conversion efficiency.


Bob Wallace

Yep, Darrel Issa (R, Car Thief) is going to try to damage President Obama because he is working to cut our daily $1 billion dollar cash bleed to oil producing companies.

Good work Darrel! Now why don't you go outside and set some tires on fire so a few kids with asthma die, just for laughs.


Any damage was self inflicted.

Darrel Issa has requested that every automaker involved in the talks preserve all electronic documents and correspondence related to the meetings created since February. “I am concerned about the agreement’s lack of transparency, the failure to conduct an open rulemaking process, as well as the potential for vehicle cost increases on consumers, and negative impact on American jobs."

Chicago politics.

Roger Pham

Well, ToppaTom, if the Obama Adm has not consulted with the auto mfg's and get an agreement with them, the big O will be accused of by the GOP,in your own words:

"Of course any car maker can make cars that get 57 mpg or even better; but can they make a profit? Many don't even understand why they should.
That's not good.

Just mandate whatever MPG regardless of the consequences?
Simple, (not in the best sense of the word) and that's not good.


You hit the nail on the head. We need to re-educate people on oil's harm.
Also, that the new 100 mile range EV's are plenty for 95% of the average commuters driving. How many people drive 50 miles one-way, or for that matter 100 miles to work? While there you plug in. Most EV's would be purchased as a second vehicle and fit into the small Civic, Fit, Metro, etc. catagory of commuter slowly overtaking it. What we need is to keep the tax break incentive and advertisement aimed at the beny's of electric vs. fuel. Not a Libertarian but the market will help it due to fuel cost. Just educate people they don't need a huge range for a commuter car. Competition as models come on-line will address price. This will take awhile but diesel's and hybrid's and PHEV's will take up the slack. With existing tech we could put a dent in consumption quickly if car manufacturers (Big 3)would shift gears faster. Educating the public and changing demand is how to do it.

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