Kicking CAFE: Why does 62 mpg actually mean 44 mpg?
And probably even worse fuel economy in the real world?
At the LA Auto Show John Krafcik, Hyundai’s North American CEO, poked a little fun at the hybrid cars and plug-in vehicles so many automakers were hyping at the show – including both Hyundai and Kia. Ultimately, he claimed that even if the government pushed ahead with 62 mpg by 2025, Hyundai could meet the challenge with cars like the Elantra, rather than hybrids and plugs-ins, since the Elantra’s 40 mpg rating – on the highway at least – was only 4 mpg lower than what would be required for the 62 mpg rating.
Huh, I wondered? How does 44 mpg equal 62 mpg? Is CAFE just shy of completely irrelevant?
This was an issue I meant to take up right after the LA Auto Show, but quickly forgot about amidst all the hype of those electrified offerings at LA’s Convention Center! However, a recent comment reminded me of this nonsense. ‘“There’s a big difference” between the CAFE standard and the actual window sticker number, says Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. True enough, and Knobloch says a 62 mpg standard equals about 44 mpg on your average car’s window sticker.’
For instance, the Elantra’s 40 mpg claim is far from accurate. According to the EPA the Hyundai Elantra is rated 29/40/33, city/highway/combined. Yet, according to real world drivers the combined rating is more like 30.8 mpg. So, if 62 mpg by 2025 becomes law, the Elantra will need to average what? About 32 mpg in the real world based on this funky CAFE mathematical formula that proves that 1 plus 1 doesn’t always equal 2?
What will large pickups and SUVs have to average in the real world, a whopping 22 mpg, since their CAFE rating will be even lower than the so-called 62 mpg number? How ridiculous.
Ultimately, 62 mpg by 2025 sounds a great tune for foreign oil dependency hawks and environmentalists, but in the real world, it’s still pretty pathetic. Shouldn’t 62 mpg actually mean 62 mpg, combined, in the REAL world? Why can’t we just be honest?
If 62 mpg really means 44 mpg on the EPA’s window sticker and that basically means 32 mpg in the real world, why don’t we get real? Is honesty and transparency simply too much for the government to handle?
Moreover, isn’t it time for some honesty regarding tax credits for plug-in vehicles as well? Electrifying small cars to balance the gross inefficiencies of large trucks and SUVs will even further reduce the effectiveness of higher CAFE requirements. Inevitably, if there is a segment that really needs electrification, it’s the light duty truck segment – at least if we’re serious about attacking foreign oil dependence and global warming.
I guess the truth just hurts too much. Pretending is just so much funner. Anyway, maybe Americans should start using the government’s CAFE math on their taxes. Thus, if you make $62,000, you’ll only have to report $44,000 in actual income. Ironically, I doubt the government would accept such silly math in that instance. Funny how much more real the government becomes regarding ‘the people’s’ actions and money.