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In what sounds like a loss for Americans who prefer buying gas guzzlers, the USDOT has announced new fuel economy standards that aim to improve the efficiency of future vehicles, trim emissions, and reduce consumer spending at the pump. Starting in 2026, all new vehicles produced must be able to average at least 49 miles per gallon of gas, a considerable increase over the previous MPG standard, according to a press release shared by the NHTSA. This is expected to reduce fuel use by more than 200 billion gallons over the next few decades.

USDOT Announces New Vehicle Fuel Economy Standards for Model Year 2024-2026 (NHTSA)

The new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards require an industry-wide fleet average of approximately 49 mpg for passenger cars and light trucks in model year 2026, the strongest cost savings and fuel efficiency standards to date. The new standards will increase fuel efficiency 8% annually for model years 2024-2025 and 10% annually for model year 2026. They will also increase the estimated fleetwide average by nearly 10 miles per gallon for model year 2026, relative to model year 2021.

Strong fuel economy standards strengthen U.S. energy independence and help reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Since CAFE was signed into law in 1975, the standards have reduced American oil consumption by 25%, or approximately 5 million barrels a day since then.

The new CAFE standards for model year 2024-26 will reduce fuel use by more than 200 billion gallons through 2050, as compared to continuing under the old standards.

Increasing vehicle efficiency and reducing fuel use will save American families and consumers money at the pump. Americans purchasing new vehicles in 2026 will get 33% more miles per gallon as compared to 2021 vehicles. This means new car drivers in 2026 will only have to fill up their tanks three times as compared to every four times that new car drivers today do for the same trips.

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19 comments

  1. In FOUR years? Good luck with that. Even modern hybrid cars struggle to get 50. There is infinite backlog on electric car orders, and (the ones worth driving anyway) are expensive. Are we all going to be driving Chevy Bolts or some other 2 seater micro electric car?

    My 2014 Maxima with v6 and CVT can get 30 mpg on the highway (going 85+ with the AC on), and that's pretty **** decent for a car clearly not aimed at the micro machine / super eco car market. But 49? How would that be possible unless they start making every car a hybrid?

    Oh and what is the #1 auto segment sales wise? Trucks. The F-150 is the best selling truck on the market. Even a F150 hybrid won't get 49.

    Without some major technological advancement I see this as merely BS talking points. Don't get me wrong, I would love to see it happen (and you know gas is going to be $6+ by then), I just don't see how they can do it.
  2. The Gov’t wants all vehicles electric. This is the average MPG across an automaker’s lineup. I could say a lot of things here but the unfortunate truth is there isn’t enough battery production to meet this new standard. The govt doesn’t care about you and doesn’t care about the reality of it’s demands. Welcome to the new normal.
  3. In FOUR years? Good luck with that. Even modern hybrid cars struggle to get 50. There is infinite backlog on electric car orders, and (the ones worth driving anyway) are expensive. Are we all going to be driving Chevy Bolts or some other 2 seater micro electric car?

    My 2014 Maxima with v6 and CVT can get 30 mpg on the highway (going 85+ with the AC on), and that's pretty **** decent for a car clearly not aimed at the micro machine / super eco car market. But 49? How would that be possible unless they start making every car a hybrid?

    Oh and what is the #1 auto segment sales wise? Trucks. The F-150 is the best selling truck on the market. Even a F150 hybrid won't get 49.

    Without some major technological advancement I see this as merely BS talking points. Don't get me wrong, I would love to see it happen (and you know gas is going to be $6+ by then), I just don't see how they can do it.

    Well, keep in mind this is the "car" figure. I believe the "overall fleet" average for 2026 is slated to be 40, with the light truck figure somewhere below that.

    ...and these are based off of EPA "highway" ratings, so they are the mostly theoretical figures from the EPA highway cycle, not real world numbers.

    It will still be tough, but I think it will be doable.

    I mean, these are the actuals, from 2020 (I can't seem to find anything newer). And by actuals, I mean the true averages of cars sold, not the CAFE targets:

    1649033441900.png
    So, domestic cars were already at ~43mpg in 2020. Who knows where they are today 2 years later, but going from 43 -> 49 in 6 years, while it sounds challenging, does not sound impossible.

    Import cars seem to have been hitting ~41mpg in 2020. These are probably more realistic car numbers. I think the only reason Domestic car figures are beating them is because the domestic manufacturers have largely moved to SUV's and Trucks, leaving electrics and hybrids as a unrealistically high percentage of the cars that remain, driving up the average.

    As for light trucks, what are they averaging, like 31? (I don't have tabulated data, I am just trying to interpret the chart). That is going to be the real challenge.

    Overall figures as of 2020 looks like they were at about 35mpg.

    I'm guessing the domestic manufacturers will drive car improvements by pushing a higher percentage of sales to electrics. Cars are such a small portion of the market now that it doesn't really make sense in investing in making ICE ones more efficient.

    The importers will have more trouble doing that. They might still try to work on lightening cars and making engines more efficient, but also here I think they'll push a shift to more hybrids and electrics.

    As for light trucks, well, more and lighter materials, more efficient engines, hybrids and electrics will enter the mix.

    If they fall behind in any of the individual categories, they can just artificially switch buyers into cars and away from trucks by raising truck prices and lowering car prices, in order to still meet the total fleet number.
  4. Well, keep in mind this is the "car" figure. I believe the "overall fleet" average for 2026 is slated to be 40, with the light truck figure somewhere below that.

    ...and these are based off of EPA "highway" ratings, so they are the mostly theoretical figures from the EPA highway cycle, not real world numbers.

    It will still be tough, but I think it will be doable.

    I mean, these are the actuals, from 2020 (I can't seem to find anything newer). And by actuals, I mean the true averages of cars sold, not the CAFE targets:

    View attachment 1534
    So, domestic cars were already at ~43mpg in 2020. Who knows where they are today 2 years later, but going from 43 -> 49 in 6 years, while it sounds challenging, does not sound impossible.

    Import cars seem to have been hitting ~41mpg in 2020. These are probably more realistic car numbers. I think the only reason Domestic car figures are beating them is because the domestic manufacturers have largely moved to SUV's and Trucks, leaving electrics and hybrids as a unrealistically high percentage of the cars that remain, driving up the average.

    As for light trucks, what are they averaging, like 31? (I don't have tabulated data, I am just trying to interpret the chart). That is going to be the real challenge.

    Overall figures as of 2020 looks like they were at about 35mpg.

    I'm guessing the domestic manufacturers will drive car improvements by pushing a higher percentage of sales to electrics. Cars are such a small portion of the market now that it doesn't really make sense in investing in making ICE ones more efficient.

    The importers will have more trouble doing that. They might still try to work on lightening cars and making engines more efficient, but also here I think they'll push a shift to more hybrids and electrics.

    As for light trucks, well, more and lighter materials, more efficient engines, hybrids and electrics will enter the mix.

    If they fall behind in any of the individual categories, they can just artificially switch buyers into cars and away from trucks by raising truck prices and lowering car prices, in order to still meet the total fleet number.

    I think over time we have to become more pragmatic when it comes to our vehicles though.

    Cars have to cease being a "pride and joy" type of product, and become simply a means of transportation. You know, what is the least required to get you from home to work and back again, and to the grocery store and back home again, not some sort of lifestyle of burning rubber or offloading.

    If we are completely honest about it, no car needs to go 0-60 faster than 8 seconds, or have a top speed greater than ~75mph.

    As I ahve gottne older I have realized this. I just to drive like a jackass, but I've come to realize that all I really need around town is to "brutally" accelerate from 0-~35mph in ~20s. I only use the top 5% of the accelerator, and if my shift points wind up higher than ~1750rpm I consider that a failure, because I hit the gas too hard.

    Race boys, car mods, and status symbol buyers need to be eliminated from the market, and we need to turn car use into one where all cars are small (but large enough to be comfortable), reasonable, pragmatic, practical and fuel efficient.
  5. Race boys, car mods, and status symbol buyers need to be eliminated from the market, and we need to turn car use into one where all cars are small (but large enough to be comfortable), reasonable, pragmatic, practical and fuel efficient.
    Can't say I agree on car modification needing to be eliminated from the market, or that all cars should meet that one single standard you defined. The PC market would be horrible if it was like that, and the same goes with cars. There should always be a car aftermarket just like there is for PCs. I should be able to freely modify my car as I wish, for whatever purposes I wish, using whatever parts I wish, the same as a PC. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of advancements made to the entire automotive industry that came from racing and performance vehicles over many decades, including safety equipment and features. Enthusiast-level car sh1t should not be gotten rid of any more than enthusiast-level PC sh1t. And the car enthusiasts or "race boys" as you put it are just the automotive version of PC hardware enthusiasts, but f*ck them huh? Status symbols buyers can f*ck off though, it's stupid as f*ck to buy a car purely as a status symbol, same as buying a computer as a status symbol. You buy that sh1t to use it and enjoy it, not because it makes you feel "important," makes you feel like you have succeeded in life, or to try to show off to women or some nonsense.

    If we are completely honest about it, no car needs to go 0-60 faster than 8 seconds, or have a top speed greater than ~75mph.
    And no PC needs to be gaming-capable or high-performance, but where would the PC market be if enthusiast-grade hardware hadn't pushed things over the last few decades? I tell you this, none of us would be on this site or [H], that's for d4mn sure. We don't use bare-minimum PCs around here. We don't roll with the PC equivalent of what you said a car should be, "the least required to get you from home to work and back again, and to the grocery store and back home again, not some sort of lifestyle of burning rubber or offloading." What a boring world that would be, without a reason for people to become PC enthusiasts or car enthusiasts. I am not interested in the least in driving a car whose only purpose is to go from point A to point B without making the part between A and B engaging and interesting. In general with PCs and cars I am of the mindset that the daily driver and the race car need to be the same thing (although I guess it's kinda different if you are using a separate PC with Windows for gaming, and your main PC is something that runs a more respectable OS like Linux, cuz that would be like having a practical car for normal daily use, and then another car you drive less often that is used just for enjoyment).

    ...become simply a means of transportation...
    Ugh, vehicle as an appliance like a toaster or microwave, no thanks. That's something EVs are good at though. I'm glad neither PCs nor cars stayed that way.

    I'm sorta reminded about an anime I've heard about but have never seen: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ÉX-Driver
    "In the distant future people no longer drive cars themselves, instead relying on AI (artificial intelligence) computers to drive their cars for them. But when these AI systems start losing control and running wild somebody has to stop them. éX-Drivers are the people who are able to operate the older mechanical non-AI dependent cars who chase down the AI cars and stop them." A world filled with AI-driven cars where people don't normally drive their own cars, gross.



    Completely unrelated, but I was also reminded of this: https://www.sema.org/epa-news
  6. I think over time we have to become more pragmatic when it comes to our vehicles though.
    Just wait until energy standards come after your hot rod PC and home servers.
  7. Race boys, car mods, and status symbol buyers need to be eliminated from the market, and we need to turn car use into one where all cars are small (but large enough to be comfortable), reasonable, pragmatic, practical and fuel efficient.
    People who mod their cars are such a small fraction that they do not have any significant impact in the big picture. Just let people have this little fun. What's next, PC gaming is banned due to power consumption? Or restricted to 1 hour / week A'la china? Sorry, I mean Winnieland.
  8. I work at a Ford dealership and there has definitely been an uptick in electric/hybrid vehicle demands, so much that we can no longer order them at the moment due to the backlog. The Mustang Mach-E orders have been pushed to the fall as well as our Escape hybrids. The new Mavericks have been a real hit as well, but they are on the back burner now as well due to high demand. This isn't all chip related as some may think, but just a high demand for vehicles in general.
    As far as the topic goes, it will be tough to see it reach 49mpg in four years, but they are trying to head in that direction.
  9. Just wait until energy standards come after your hot rod PC and home servers.
    I’ve migrated nearly all of my home server gear to raspberry pis. If I could buy a consumer version of one of those big ampere or graviton I’d move my last home server to low power arm.
  10. @Zarathustra

    There is no energy crisis, there is a leadership crisis. The United States alone has the largest oil resources in the world, and energy production can be handled with very little fanfare using Nuclear reactors. Legislating the fun out of an activity because you don’t see the value of said fun is a dangerous position to take. Usually I find you to be quite insightful and well reasoned but I couldn’t disagree more with your post.
  11. There is really no need to legislate 49mpg cars, supply and demand will work it out, as oil supply gets lower, prices will go up. Which will reduce demand for gas guzzlers, and people will want to buy more fuel efficient cars anyway, without any coercion.
    While those who want to mod and race cars can continue existing unaffected, if they want to keep their hobby they'll pay for more expensive fuel.
  12. There is really no need to legislate 49mpg cars, supply and demand will work it out, as oil supply gets lower, prices will go up. Which will reduce demand for gas guzzlers, and people will want to buy more fuel efficient cars anyway, without any coercion.
    You would think, but it doesn't work that way in the US.

    When gas prices go up - you see a short term boom in high efficiency cars, but inevitably the politicians do everything they can to get the price of fuel back down -- because that gets them re-elected -- and we go back to our big trucks and inefficient SUVs.

    If you could leave the politics out of it, yeah it would definitely work out that way. But we can't keep our thumbs off the scales and out of the process.
  13. When gas prices go up - you see a short term boom in high efficiency cars, but inevitably the politicians do everything they can to get the price of fuel back down -- because that gets them re-elected -- and we go back to our big trucks and inefficient SUVs.

    If you could leave the politics out of it, yeah it would definitely work out that way. But we can't keep our thumbs off the scales and out of the process.
    In the end it is a big humbug. Car mfgs will simply skirt the law by adding a hybrid system that will make the consumption for the measurement cycle meet 49mpg, but overall the car won't be much more efficient.
  14. In the end it is a big humbug. Car mfgs will simply skirt the law by adding a hybrid system that will make the consumption for the measurement cycle meet 49mpg, but overall the car won't be much more efficient.
    Yeah we already see a lot of that. For example, the auto engine stop thing is exactly that — has no effect on real world fuel economy and just serves to piss me off and put more west and tear on the car.
  15. Yeah we already see a lot of that. For example, the auto engine stop thing is exactly that — has no effect on real world fuel economy and just serves to piss me off and put more west and tear on the car.

    OMG I hate the stupid stop/start thing. Just burning out your starter trying to save 1 mpg, but in TX where it's hot as hell it doesn't really work out with the AC blasting. I turned that off on my wife's car as soon as I found out how.
  16. OMG I hate the stupid stop/start thing. Just burning out your starter trying to save 1 mpg, but in TX where it's hot as hell it doesn't really work out with the AC blasting. I turned that off on my wife's car as soon as I found out how.
    Yes exactly. Anyone that wants ac or heat will either have that disabled automatically because ac or heat is on. OR just manually disable that function... for as long as we can.
  17. Yes exactly. Anyone that wants ac or heat will either have that disabled automatically because ac or heat is on. OR just manually disable that function... for as long as we can.
    If you are one that uses the auto start/stop function it will not shut off the engine if you are using the AC or heat depending on the settings. This is in the Ford product line at least. The vehicle determines if their is too much of a power draw to shut the engine off. My wife's previous Escape would do this, but not so much with her 2020. On some of the vehicles you can order the auto start/stop delete to remove it all together so I did that when I ordered my new truck. Not a fan of it myself.
  18. On some of the vehicles you can order the auto start/stop delete to remove it all together so I did that when I ordered my new truck.
    Oh that's interesting, I'm glad that's an option you can choose.
  19. Oh that's interesting, I'm glad that's an option you can choose.
    Yes I was happy to see that option myself. I got used to turning it off by the button in my current F150, but it will be nice not having to reach over to shut it off every time I start the truck.

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