President Obama has raised CAFE standards to 39 miles per gallon in 2016. That move will all but eliminate SUVs, pick-up trucks, large sedans, midsize sedans, and everything much larger than the Smart ForTwo which presently only barely exceeds the standard and seats two passengers in a lightweight vehicle that suffers badly in automobile collisions. Consumers should buy now if they anticipate needing to carry cargo or children at any point in the future.
Proponents of the new standard hope that new technologies will allow vehicles to surpass this standard without compromising automotive power and safety. Proponents of automobile technology who lack engineering degrees also have anticipated flying cars for decades, but they don’t have to contend with the laws of physics, merely the laws of hope and change.
On a related topic, Car and Driver (July) did a comparison test between the two newest hybrids the third-generation Prius vs. the new Honda Insight and for the sheer hell of it, threw in a three-cylinder 1998
Geo Chevrolet Metro with 110,000 miles on it. The little low-tech grocery-getter managed to get the same gas mileage over a 600-mile run (42 mpg) as the Prius, and slightly better than the Insight (38 mpg). This suggests that we’re not going to find much more fuel economy in future vehicles, unless the Obamanauts find a reliable source of liquid unicorn scat or something, and that in a world with its priorities in order, Henry Waxman would be forced to give up his limo for the back seat of a ’75 Civic.