Autoweek reports that:
New federal fuel economy and emissions rules took effect Jan. 1, requiring automakers to hit 35.5-mpg corporate average fuel economy by the 2016 model year.
But automakers and regulators from the EPA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Air Resources Board already are haggling over a tougher proposal initiated by President Barack Obama last October. That plan calls for a CAFE range of 47 mpg to 62 mpg by the 2025 model year. ...
"That would require a market that's 64 percent plug-in hybrids -- that's the only way we can get it to 62 mpg," said McAlinden, chief economist and executive vice president of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.
New-vehicle prices would rise by an average of $9,970, McAlinden said. Other estimates are lower; the alliance cites a possible price increase of "as much as $6,400." Either way, industry groups say they fear that sticker-shocked consumers would hold on to their old cars.
To be sure, the ecomentalists claim the increased costs will be lower and offset by fuel savings. But suppose Obama goes forward with the proposal to tax drivers based not on how many gallons of gas they use but the number of miles they drive. That would negate much (all?) of the fuel savings claimed by the ecomentalists. As of now the administration is disavowing its trial balloon, but it's clearly an idea that's going to keep recurring if fuel consumption goes down and gasoline tax revenues stagnate.
Forcing us all into plug-in hybrids is going to impose another major cost; namely, retrofitting houses to provide decent charging stations. A Chevy Volt takes up to 15 hours to charge on regular 115-to-120-volt house current, after all.
And where's the electricity going to come from? The ecomentalists are using the Japanese nuclear accident as an excuse to kill off nuclear power once and for all. Renewables remain a minor portion of the energy system. So we'll be burning fossil fuels to power these cars one way or another.
Finally, it's sort of sad that we might be the last generation to know the joy of putting your foot down on a massive V8.