US passes new fuel consumption standards

Update: Manufacturers respond
Bob Lutz
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Top U.S. manufacturers have responded to today’s new Corprate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rules with their plans to reach the new 2020 target.

General Motors plans for more gasoline-electric hybrids and an electric cars. The company today stated it will launch a new hybrid model every three months for the next two years (U.S. market).

Ford Motor Co. will introduce more turbochargers and direct fuel injection on smaller engines as well as making half of its production capable of running on alternative fuels by 2012.

The world’s number one manufacturer, Toyota, is said tobe considering lighter vehicles and more hybrid variants.


A day after the European Commission announced its tough new CO2 regulations, the United States Government has announced that all cars and trucks must meet a 35 miles per (US) gallon fuel economy standard by 2020.

The 35mpg standard equates to about 14.86km per litre of fuel, or as we say in Australia, a fuel rating of about 6.73l/100km.

President Bush signed the 800-page energy bill in a ceremony this morning having lost political control of Congress to the Democrats - who have championed the bill.

The improvement requirements are massive, with an average of 40 per cent reduction required to meet the new standards.

GM product development chief Bob Lutz (pictured) has been against the new standards, arguing his company will struggle.

"I think anything in high volumes that falls well outside of 35mpg is out of the question," he said.

However when asked why GM had not raised more concerns with the U.S. government, he said, "Well, sometimes when faced with a choice between being drawn and quartered and being beheaded, you can make a case for drawing and quartering."

The bill is similar to the European measure, whereby manufacturers can average out their fuel economy across their range, so small cars can offset larger cars.

You can read more on the American Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards here.