The White House sometimes gets what it wants.
President Obama and leaders from major automakers today heralded an agreement to raise the average fuel economy for light trucks and cars to 54.5 miles per gallon. Right now, the fleet average mileage for new cars coming off the line is 28.3 MPG and will have to jump to 34.1 MPG by 2016. (See our article yesterday on ten technologies that might help car makers get there.) The new mandate means:
--$1.7 trillion. That's the estimated amount of money that Americans will save from 2011 through 2025 on gas because of the new rules, the White House estimates. Put another way, you'll save $8,000 over the life of your car on fuel costs.
--12 billion. The total number of barrels of oil we won't consume.
--2.2 million per day. The total number of barrels of oil a day we won't consume in 2025. The U.S. now consumes around 21 million barrels a day so this would represent a 10.5 percent reduction from today's figures. The White House states that 2.2 million barrels of oil a day constitutes around half of the oil we get from OPEC on a daily basis.
--28.3 MPG. The current average mileage for cars coming off the line, according to the Washington Post.
--163 grams. The number of grams of carbon dioxide per mile a 54.5-MPG car will generate. The new standards will reduce greenhouse gases by 6 billion metric tons cumulatively.
--5 percent and 3.5 percent. Cars will need to increase mileage by 5 percent per year. Light trucks will face a 3.5 percent improvement standard from 2017 through 2021. It will then bump up to five percent.
--10 percent. Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn recently said electrics will constitute 10 percent of industry shipments by 2020 -- 85 million cars will be sold and 8.5 million will be electric, he said.
--457 miles. The number of miles an electric car can go on the power from the electricity produced by burning 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas at a power plant, according to MIT. A car running on compressed natural gas can only go 224 miles. Thus, expect to see more electrics than CNG cars. Tesla founders Marc Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard wrote a great piece in 2006 on the general efficiency of cars. Electrics win out.
--$100. The amount of money Aptera CEO Paul Wilbur will give you if you can dent or scratch the body on their three-wheeled car. The body is made from a honeycombed material that is six times stronger than steel but far lighter to improve mileage and range. (Why they are trying to sell cars instead of materials is beyond me.) Materials like this will start to become common. Weight is the third fuel.
--$258. That is the amount of money that you will save--repeat SAVE---under these regulations. The math works like this: The Center for Automotive Research issued a recent report on the prospective impact of new fuel economy rules on the retail price of cars. The report includes a net-net cost to consumes in Figure 13. (it's on page 39. Here's the report.)
Hitting a 44.8 MPG standard (56 MPG CAFE, or close to what the White House has come up with) will add $6,714 to the retail price of a car. CAR then adds $1,500 for safety requirements, but the report states that most of the costs will revolve around drive-by-wire features that do not deal directly with fuel economy.
It then subtracts the cost of gas and adds the cost of electricity. At $3.50 a gallon, the new standards add $2,858 to the cost of owning a car (That's CAR's $4,358 net net cost minus the $1,500). Gas, of course, is already over $3.50.
Under a scenario for $6.00 a gallon gas, the price drops by $258. That's $1,242 minus the $1,500 safety costs.
Hence, you save money. The figures include gas and electic cars. If you just want to know about gas cars, you can go to scenario one. You will save $2,106 with $6 gas.
We don't know if gas will go to $6, but it's probably more likely by 2025 than $3.50.