2006 cars are as efficient as… 1982 cars?
Ahh, the good old days. I remember 1982 like it was 24 years ago! Those were the days of simple living – before CD’s competed with vinyl records, before the Apple IIe computer, before a touch-tone phone in my home… Wow! We have come a LONG way since then with technology, haven’t we?
Then imagine my disappointment that average fuel efficency ratings for Automakers this year are almost exactly the same numbers for 1982 …
Gas Prices Are Up but Not Fuel Economy
Little Change Since 1980s, EPA Finds
By Sholnn Freeman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 18, 2006; Page D01
The EPA said its study found the 2006 model-year vehicles to be the heaviest, fastest and most powerful vehicles than in any year since the agency began collecting data. Environmentalists have complained that automakers are investing in technologies that make cars go faster or tow more at the expense of improving vehicle fuel efficiency.
Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents many of the automakers, said the industry is building more vehicles with fuel-saving technology, but consumers are still buying heavier, faster vehicles in large numbers.
“The fuel-efficient models are out there, we just need to sell more,” she said. “We are trying very hard.”
Fuel economy made rapid increases in the mid-1970s and in the 1980s. The 1982 level was 21.1 miles per gallon, almost exactly today’s level. The U.S. government began pressing for improvements in fuel-economy rules after the oil shocks of the early 1970s. Mileage for the industry peaked in 1987 and 1988, when the EPA estimated vehicle fuel economy was 22.1 miles per gallon. But industry economy levels gradually began to decline the 1990s, as large, gas-hungry sport-utility vehicles rose in popularity.
The report’s fuel-economy measurements were based on laboratory data adjusted downward by about 15 percent to better represent real-world driving conditions. The data are equivalent to the estimates provided to consumers on new-vehicle labels.
So far this year, lawmakers have rejected attempts to offer legislation to increase the government’s fuel-economy rules. In a speech in Washington today, James E. Press, chief executive of Toyota’s U.S. division, is expected to reiterate his company’s pledge to build more fuel-efficient models, including a goal to sell 1 million hybrid models annually worldwide by 2010.