By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
As you’re aware, the Feds recently announced stiff new fuel efficiency regulations for future light vehicles– by 2025 cars and light trucks will have to have a corporate average of 54.5 miles per gallon. This number, while achievable, will pose several engineering challenges to today’s automotive industry.
The new regs came about amid the usual and now familiar cries from certain manufacturers, including “we can’t do it,” “we can do it, but prices will increase a lot,” and “this will cost jobs.” Some manufacturers even threatened to stop selling cars in certain states if various state requirements were passed.
This unfortunate script is familiar to many from as far back as the late 1970s or early ‘80s when fuel, emission and safety rules stiffened. History shows that the dire predictions rarely came true — OEMs, both foreign and domestic, simply realized that they had to up their game to stay in the market and did so.
Now contrast all that with the very recent announcement of national fuel economy and emission reductions for heavy-duty vehicles. Because that field is so broad (including Class 3 through 8 vehicles and everything from over-the-road tractors to city buses, fire trucks, delivery vans and construction equipment), the new regs were expressed as percentage reductions rather than an absolute mpg number.
For example: new big-rig tractors will have to hit a 20-percent reduction in fuel use by 2018. It’s 15 percent for HD pickups and vans, while special-build “vocational” vehicles (perhaps a trash truck) need to find a 10-percent reduction. The reduced fuel use will also reduce CO2 and other emissions as well.
But the real surprise is the support and single-mindedness of the HD industry: after working together with the regulators to achieve realistic goals, they welcomed the new regs enthusiastically. These are everyday working vehicles, and their costs of operation are a prime buyer consideration. With the cost of diesel fuel remaining high, better efficiency and reduced fuel costs are seen as a prime buyer enticement.
Every major HD OEM has already said they’re looking forward to the challenge, and are gearing up to meet it. Many have already started the PR machine about how they’ll be first to do this, or provide the most efficient that. Everybody wants to be first on the street with the good stuff.
At least one part of the industry could find unity instead of acrimony.
When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
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The 32nd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Convention and Trade Show will take place January 18-20, 2012 at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.