In hopes of evading gas-guzzler taxes, BMW AG is studying fuel-efficiency improvements, according to Jim O'Donnell, president of BMW of North America.
BMW anticipates that this project will eliminate the gas-guzzler taxes on its high-performance vehicles as early as the launch of their redesigns within the next few years. For instance, a $1,000 gas-guzzler fee is imposed on the 2010 550i GT.
The 650i convertible incurs a $1,300 tax while the 2010 750i, which has a base price of $82,000, incurs a $1,000 fee. In an interview with Automotive News, O'Donnell said that the company would "like to get away from it across the entire line."
He said that the company will be able to eliminate the tax "with small improvements." When a vehicle fails to achieve the minimum fuel efficiency of 22.5 mpg, the graduated gas-guzzler tax is imposed.
Earlier this year, rival Infiniti was able to move its ne-generation M56 sedan out of gas-guzzler status. Infiniti was able to accomplish this despite raising the horsepower from the previous-generation M sedan, which is a direct rival of the BMW 5 series.
But since BMW is protective of its reputation as a maker of luxury, sporty cars, it remains to be seen just how far it will go to avoid the tax.
BMW's M5, which returns 11 mph city/17 highway, incurs a $3,000 tax. However, this five-liter, V-10-powered sports car is at the heart of BMW's image.
Nonetheless, BMW is making some changes in its product lineup. O'Donnell said that in 2013, BMW will debut a small electric car, dubbed the Megacity Vehicle, in China.