Last week, EPA announced its annual report on the top ten most fuel-efficient vehicles with its usual finger-wag at sinful consumers. “Fuel efficiency is important for reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change. One of the most important things consumers can do to reduce their contribution to climate change is to buy a vehicle with better fuel economy,” the agency’s press release intoned.
Green reporters cooed over the list’s impressive fuel economy. But a closer look reveals it isn’t all that impressive. Indeed, it underscores the absurdity of the Obama administration’s demand that all cars and trucks meet an average 35.5 mpg by 201 — or a 40 percent leap over the current standard of 25.3 in a little over one product cycle.
The average feul efficiency of the EPA’s top-ten — 37.4 mpg — barely clears the 2016 35.5 mpg bar. And the list is mostly made up of low-selling hybrid vehicles (press propaganda that Americans demand green vehicles notwithstanding, hybrid sales are in decline as a percentage of total vehicle sales) which is a problem since EPA mandates are dependent on vehicle sales – not just what’s offered.
Look closer and the EPA edict gets even more problematic. The 35.5 mpg standard comes from averaging car fuel economy (39 mpg) and truck fuel economy (30 mpg). It’s bad enough that only two trucks — the Ford Escape hybrid and luxury Lexus RX450 hybrid — currently meet the truck standard. But drop those two trucks from the top-ten list and average the cars alone — and they just barely make the 2016 39 mpg standard.
Six years from now, in other words, the meat of car-fleet sales will have to look like this: Toyota Prius hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Honda Civic Hybrid, Honda Insight hybrid, Lexus HS250h hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid, Smart Fortwo Cabriolet, and Toyota Camry Hybrid.
Think suburban dads and soccer moms will buy them? No way. Which means that — like European manufacturers currently in violation of EU goals — Obama’s standards down the road will face a head-on collision with reality.