Is the 35.5 mileage standard feasible?

Does anybody have any question as to the feasibility of the 35.5 average fuel mileage standard that’s upcoming?

Given what seems to be a big appetite for power in everyday family cars, it seems reaching this standard will be a shock to some.

I drive a Fusion with a four cylinder manual transmission that has 160 h.p. While the manual makes it enjoyable to drive, the car is by no means a powerhouse. It’s averages about 27 m.p.g. and is one of the least powerful mid-sized cars out there. If this average sized car with a four can’t come close to the standard, what kind of cars/engines are we in store for?

Is there going to be a huge surge in hybrids? Or are customers going to be forced to drive the smaller Honda Fit type vehicles?

Just because YOU can’t squeeze 35 MPG out of your Fusion does not mean Ford engineers can’t…The answers to the rest of your questions are “YES”. If you enjoy driving Crown Victoria’s, you better buy a couple of them and salt them away as that era of motoring pleasure is OVER. Luxury transportation can not survive when we must import over 60% of the required fuel…It’s a “National Security” thing, not a “Personal Freedom” thing…

Gas mileage can change drastically based on how you drive.

My wife could consistently get 35mpg with her Honda Accords. Now with her 07 Lexus es-350…she averages about 32 (highway), 27 (city).

So it’s very feasible.

Also, I think the standard is not based on the ‘public’ highway/city mpg numbers, but on the ‘pre-adjusted’ highway/city mpg numbers, so it’s not as much of a jump as it at first appears. It will still result in a big change to the vehicle mix, though.

The manufacturers will do everything they can to meet the CAFE standards. Hybrids, smaller cars, smaller, more powerful engines, diesel, you name it. But large trucks probably won’t be part of it, so you could still buy that F350 dualie with the crew cab, and probably without a guzzler tax.

Thanks guys. I agree with the standard, but was curious how hard it would be to achieve. Before my newest car I managed just fine with a 110 h.p. Focus and a 88 h.p. Escort which were fine in 99.9% of my driving situations.

I suppose there really isn’t a need for a six cylinder Camry or Accord family car to blast to 60 m.p.h. in six seconds.

A big part of the answer to your question is how you define “performance”. In America performance is 0-60 acceleration. It is nice to have strong acceleration, but do you need it? Marketing cars based on 0-60 performance has led to a race to outdo the other mfgs in horsepower.

If you redefine performance as high mpg, then the whole tuning of the car changes. Without changing the body, suspension, and seating capacity the mfg can tweak final drive ratios, improve transmissions, reduce hp, etc. The final result will be a slower car off the line but one that can cruise at legal highway speeds comfortably.

So far the American public has gone for power over fuel economy. When gas approached $5.00 a gallon the public started to see the need for high mpg. Now gas is at $2.50 a gallon and we still see many car ads pushing how fast and sexy the car is. Fast and sexy won’t sell well when $5.00 per gallon gas is back. A fast, sexy car that you can’t afford to drive just sits in the garage.

To meet the standard current cars can be tweaked to improve mileage. Conventional motors will have less hp and not be a fast. Hybrids will be available in virtually every size and style of cars and trucks. Diesels will be more common too. Then there will be new technology such as pure electric cars, so you plug in, some with small gas power generators, and some with solar panels.

If my car got 35.5 mpg, I would be looking to find out what is wrong with it. Given the incentive there is no problem getting 35.5 mpg.

To dream the impossible dream. Get every single driver, every one of them , to SLOW DOWN. Then, when the drive train technologies are introduced we’ll all get 35 mpg.
Oh, by the way, I have some ocean front property in Gallup NM for sale.

Won’t happen. Even in times of the highest fuel prices, driving in Albuquerque is a virtual drag race at every green light ! I own a hybrid Escape but can’t dare drive as slowly as would be required to wring the max mpg from it. I would be a boulder in the river of traffic and a great danger to those drivers and myself.

Human nature, schedules,and lifestyle just won’t get people to back off and go easy on their vehicles. Even those cars which are capable of 35mpg are never driven in such a manner.

The bigger problem is a PEOPLE problem, not a technical one.

In 2004 cars averaged 29.3 mpg (see what I mean about CAFE being based on the ‘unadjusted’ numbers?), light trucks 21.5, so it’ll be a small effect on cars, a big one on light trucks.

It’s doable with:
Strong light unibody frames made of the highest quality steel and aluminum alloys.
Slick aerodynamics. So long retro styling like the PT Cruiser.
Diesels and Miller cycle modest speed gas engines like in the Prius.
Tall gearing and slip-free transmissions. Good bye hydraulic torque converters.
Modest power/weight ratio, 20-30lb/HP.
Skinnier tires.

Speaking of steel, good article yesterday on new alloys in cars (the US makers are leading on this, surprisingly):

Depends on the person’s needs/wants.

This is what Ford is selling in the UK. This Mondeo is a midsize car, with about the same width as the American Fusion. It goes 39 miles on an international gallon of gasoline on a combined cycle, and it does this with a 1.6L engine that makes 110 hp. A 35 mpg midsize car already exist.

Perhaps Mr Mulally will be forced to sell these here

A major setback is people want vehicles with power windows/door locks/seats/sunroofs/mirrors/trunk releases/etc…

If you get rid of all that weight from the motors/wires/modules/etc…they could do it.


They can do it. It is just a matter of whether they want to.

At one time, they DID sell the Mondeo in the US…as the Contour. It didn’t sell well enough to stay around, in part because it was “too small.” The Fusion is a substantially bigger (and heavier) car.

Also, remember that that a UK gallon is 1.2 US gallons, so that’s actually 32MPG vs 39. Also, without knowing the EU testing protocol, it’s hard to determine the “apples-to-orangesiness” of the data. Finally, the 1.6L is the “economy” model; engines go up to 2.5L V6.

Ford Fusion EPA highway is 29, Chev Malibu 4 cyl 2.4 engine with auto is 33, almost there. A few good tweaks should finish the job. Chev Cobalt XFE with manual trans is 37 with a 2.2 engine; over the new number and good for GM’s average. Consumer Reports might have to modify their bias as Toyota Corolla is only 35 with a 1.8 engine.

A diesel here or there should help to bring the average for a mfr up to the new standard.

I suspect that everyone is doing their mileage number with straight gasoline as 10% ethanol would not help. If the EPA wants to tighten the screws later, then they can specify ethanol gasoline.

Right, the Contour WAS small. This new Mondeo IS slightly wider than the American Fusion. That 39 mpg (32 mpg in America) rating is city and highway combined. It can do better on the highway. And the OP asked what kind of midsize car gets 35 mpg; the answer is the Mondeo lite. If Ford has to match future CAFE standard with a midsize car, how many Mondeo extra strength is it going to sell?

It’ll be interesting what can be achieved if there’s enough incentive to do so. Cars today are heavier, faster, safer, better handling, have many many many more features…and they get about 30-40% BETTER gas mileage then they did 30 years ago. Personally I think it can be achieved if we put enough effort into solving the problem.