Comment 18100

By transitory (anonymous) | Posted February 07, 2008 at 12:05:27

After a quarter-century of stagnant CAFE standards, fuel efficiency is set to improve markedly over the next decade, from what I can tell (more so if California gets its way). The EPA revised its methods of testing fuel economy recently to reflect the current style of real-world driving (it had long been predicated on '60s/'70s motoring norms). The resulting optics are more accurate but admittedly lousy (eg. Toyota Prius mpg drops 20%) but my impression is that vehicles are scaling back in size and weight. See the plunge in SUV sales, for example, which has helped to traumatize the automotive industry. Or Chrysler's retirement of its Imperial luxury sedan. Or the recent arrival of Mercedes' Smart. The galling thing about autos is not so much that they're getting ever-bigger, but that in our global marketplace, the technology used in high-efficiency European rides is not only available to our automakers, but probably produced by them as well -- just not here.

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