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web posted January 7, 2007
Re: Coping with the new CAFÉ standards by Jack Ward (December 31, 2007)
I was just reading through Jack Ward's article on the new CAFÉ standards. There are two points I think he's missing. One is the feasibility of achieving 35+mpg in a modern car. It is very easy and was commonplace in the late eighties and early nineties. Honda made a Civic CRX which achieved over 50mpg with just a plain ole combustion engine. A mid 90's Civic four door sedan was close to 40mpg. No electric motor, batteries or regenerative braking. He fails to realize we've actually gone backwards in the last twenty years with fuel mileage and not forward. The other part of his argument about lighter weight reducing safety is only a half truth. The reason for the drop in safety is collision with heavier vehicles. It's a bit like bringing a knife to a gun fight. If everyone has knives (not over sized SUV's and pickups) the danger is greatly reduced.
Better mileage is not a mandate for micro cars. It's a mandate for reasonable vehicles, which is achievable.
Thank you for your time,
I came across Jack Ward's column "Coping with the new CAFÉ standards" today
There is a lot of confusion about the increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy ratings because CAFÉ is based on a highly optimistic number that is largely hidden from us consumers. The number used for CAFÉ matched the window sticker on new cars back in 1978 when window stickers were first required, but window sticker numbers were adjusted downward in 1985 and again for 2008. To see the "unadjusted" numbers, you must download the spreadsheets in the left-hand column of the fueleconomy.gov download page.
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