In just seven years’ time – unless Trump does something before his four years are up – the average fuel efficiency of the average car will have to almost double. From 35.5 MPG (now) to 54.5 MPG by 2025. So reads the fuel economy fatwa issued by Trump’s predecessor.
No matter how much it costs, no matter what it takes.
To put this in perspective, as of 2018, there is only one car available that is capable of meeting the 2025 “goal” – as these forced-on-us things are styled: It is the Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. Nothing else comes close.
Well, except electric cars.
These average infinity – as far as gas consumption goes. Which is very helpful insofar as the averages. The federal fuel economy fatwa is formally the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard, which is an arbitrary number pulled out of a hat by federal regulatory ayatollahs, who have somehow become the arbiters of how much fuel the cars we buy ought to use.
Those cars which use more gas than the arbitrarily decreed figure are subject to punitive “gas guzzler” fines meant specifically to discourage their manufacture as well as their purchase, by making them artificially more expensive to manufacture and more expensive to buy.
In case you wondered, this is why larger vehicles and vehicles with larger engines are becoming both scarce and exotically priced. If you’re young – 30 or less – you probably will not remember but there was a time when most Americans, including working-class Americans, routinely drove large cars with large engines. Bought them brand-new. Smaller cars with smaller engines were also available, but people bought them because that’s what they wanted – not because they were forced to by government fatwas that put larger and larger-engined cars out of their reach, as today.
It is also why suburbanites routinely drive SUVs today. “SUVs” are a made-up class of vehicle that did not exist prior to the CAFE fatwa. The class was made-up by the car industry as a way to get around the fatwa – which (at the time) granted a partial exemption to what were then just trucks, which were considered work vehicles. But if you enclosed the truck’s bed and added seats – you could carry people. Voila!
It took Uncle a few years to catch on – and for the CAFE regs to catch up. In the interim, vast fleets of SUVs hit the streets, because people still wanted large vehicles with large engines and the truck-derived SUV’s ground clearance and available 4×4 only made the combo even more appealing. Certainly more so than the “downsized” (and down-engined) cars the car companies were being forced to build, even though the demand was elsewhere.
Uncle did catch up, of course. The fatwa was changed to envelope SUVs and other “light trucks.” They are now on the endangered species list, too.
As are mid-sized cars with mid-sized engines. It is no random thing that six-cylinder engines, which were as recently as two years ago abundantly available in the mid-sized/family car class of vehicle – are becoming extremely uncommon, if not unavailable. Most of the cars which used to offer them – examples include the Mazda6 and Honda Accord – no longer do.