It looks like a new federal fuel economy standard for cars may be coming down the pike. Dave Guilford of the Automotive News has the story:
Quiet negotiations going on in Washington could change profoundly the nature of U.S. cars and trucks over the next 13 years, making more of them electrified and more costly.
New federal fuel economy and emissions rules took effect Jan. 1, requiring automakers to hit 35.5-mpg corporate average fuel economy by the 2016 model year.
But automakers and regulators from the EPA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Air Resources Board already are haggling over a tougher proposal initiated by President Barack Obama last October. That plan calls for a CAFE range of 47 mpg to 62 mpg by the 2025 model year.
The idea of buying a car that gets 62 mpg sounds pretty appealing, what with the average price of gas now officially topping $4 a gallon in much of the country. But all that high-mileage technology won't come without a significant pricetag at the dealer. From the article:
One industry ally says hitting 62 mpg would require widespread vehicle electrification, adding nearly $10,000 to the price of a new vehicle. Federal agencies say the cost would be lower -- $3,500 per vehicle, at most -- and would be offset by consumer fuel-pump savings.
That $10,000 price tag sounds pretty steep, but it looks to be pretty close, at least when you consider today's prices for ultra-high mileage cars. The Chevy Volt, which is rated by the EPA at 60 mpg combined, costs $40,280 before a $7,500 federal tax credit kicks it down to $32,780.
On the other hand, a top of the line four-cylinder Honda Accord, with many of the same technology goodies, retails at around $27,355, about 13 grand less than the Volt. Figure more Volts being manufactured eventually brings down the price of Volt's plug-in technology a little, and that $10,000 figure looks pretty close to a good ballpark guess.
What do you think? Would you pay $10,000 more for a car that got 62 mpg?