Fuel-economy standards as high as 56 mpg in 2025 would yield net savings to consumers

Article by Christian A., on June 14, 2011

Various science and environmental groups said there’s still a serious flaw in the revised study conducted by the Center for Automotive Research of possible 2017-25 fuel economy targets. The center had made revisions to its study when errors were detected in these methods.

Last week, its report indicated that increasing federal fuel-economy standards up to 56 mpg in 2025 would yield net savings to consumers. However, raising targets to 62 mpg would lead to vehicle price increases that go beyond fuel savings over a five-year period.

The Union of Concerned Scientists and the International Council on Clean Transportation said that the study made use of obsolete data, disregarded cost-saving provisions in federal rules, and made baseless assumptions that skewed findings against the highest mpg targets.

What the UCS prefers is a 62 mpg standard. The center submitted released the results of its first study in December but the environmental group ICCT found some research errors.

This is what led to the revised study. The ICCT isn’t actually favoring any specific target. David Friedman, deputy director of the UCS’ clean vehicle program, said that the revised study remains biased and still makes use of defective methods to “reach a predetermined conclusion.”

He also referred to this study as an “industry-advocate propaganda piece.” ICCT Executive Director Drew Kodjak said that there had been several improvements and corrections but there was very little change in the actual costs and fundamental analytics. He also said that several new errors were found in the new study.

What makes this study so controversial is that the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the leading automaker lobbying group, has cited it to support its stand that before a 62 mpg target is adopted, there has to be more research.

Just recently, General Motors has issued an order to recall 50,500 units of 2011 Cadillac SRX as the performance of the front passenger airbag is different from the owner's manual. In the US, 47,401 units of the luxury crossover models are affected while the rest are in Canada and Mexico. According to GM, there have been no reports of crashes or injuries because of this issue.

More than 22,000 each of the Cadillac SRX and the CTS sedan models have been sold so far this year, making them the best-selling Cadillac models in the US.

GM disclosed that the air bags in the SRX have been programmed to turn off the right side roof-rail airbag if the front passenger seat is occupied. The owner’s manual, however, states that the airbag will deploy whether the seat is occupied or not. Because of the varying information, it goes against federal safety standards.

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Topics: united states

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