That Electric Car is Essential for the Survival of Your 4×4 Pickup.

The sales of EVs by automakers will need to counteract the mpg ratings of SUVs and trucks.


New greenhouse gas emission restrictions that assist in establishing fuel-economy standards for automobiles have been passed, ending over a year of uncertainty. By 2026, automakers must increase efficiency to an average of 40 mpg, according to these requirements. What does this entail for those looking to buy a new car?


Buyers of cars should have plenty of options when it comes to new electrified vehicles from automakers in order for them to reach these fuel economy standards. The majority of retail vehicles will still be internal combustion engines, and consumers can anticipate a rise in the price of new cars to go along with the improvement in fuel efficiency.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are working together to produce regulations that will govern the efficiency requirements for cars and light trucks in 2023–2026.


Most customers are better aware with the NHTSA’s fuel-efficiency regulations, known as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Shortly after the EPA establishes the goals in its greenhouse gas regulations, they are released.


As of right now, automakers are required to raise the average fuel efficiency of their vehicles by 5% to 10% annually through 2026.


To fulfill the EPA’s target, which is 40 mpg in real-world efficiency and has been set at 55 mpg for regulatory purposes, automakers will need to increase the number of EVs and plug-in hybrids in their fleet.


Why 40 MPG Is Actually Equal to a 55 MPG Target


The norms in regulatory documents are expressed in a “mpg-equivalent” that is far greater than the actual value, which causes some confusion.


The official fleet average target set by the EPA for 2026 is 55 mpg; however, in actuality, after deducting credits for the introduction of zero-emission vehicles and different fuel-efficient technologies, the real-world figure is 40 mpg. These technologies include things like exterior paint that reflects sunlight and lessens the need to cool a car’s cabin and active grille shutters that increase aerodynamics.


The Obama Administration’s criteria, which the Trump Administration had pushed back, are essentially reinstated under the new objective. By 2025, the Obama regulations would have demanded a 54.5 mpg CAFE average, or roughly 39 mpg in actual driving. The EPA’s 40 mpg real-world goal is 25% higher than the previous 32 mpg minimum, and the new 55 mpg target is a 28% increase from the 43 mpg set by the Trump Administration.


Needed Millions of New EVs To Balance Sales of Gas-Powered Vehicles


The EPA’s goal simply states that each automaker’s fleet average must reach the benchmark, not that every vehicle, including cars and trucks, must get 40 mpg. That’s the situation with electric cars.


Along with plug-in hybrids (PHEV), pure electric vehicles (EVs) have no exhaust emissions and already achieve higher efficiency than what the new regulations require. Today’s typical EV has a fuel efficiency rating of less than 100 mpg, which is comparable to an internal combustion car.


Automakers can continue to comply by averaging those electric vehicles and producing SUVs that get 25 mpg and pickups that get 17 mpg.


However, an EPA estimate indicates that in order to do this, they will need to increase their yearly sales of cars and trucks by about 2 million new EVs and PHEVs.


To achieve the new requirements, electric powertrains will need to represent roughly 17% of all light truck and passenger car sales each year. This is a rise from 2021, when just under 700,000 cars, or roughly 4% of sales, were sold.


Why Is the CAFE Standard in Place?


Following severe oil shortages in the United States in 1974 as a result of Arab countries refusing to supply petroleum to Western countries that had backed Israel in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, the federal government decided to set standards for oil consumption.


The EPA, which oversees air quality, establishes guidelines for passenger cars’ greenhouse gas emissions. Since the quantity of fossil fuel burned per mile traveled directly correlates with greenhouse gas emissions, they are converted to fuel-economy averages. The NHTSA is tasked with increasing fuel efficiency and collaborates with the EPA to develop the CAFE standards, which are efficiency benchmarks.


The CAFE requirements are really a rolling target based on regulators’ estimates of how many and what kinds of automobiles and trucks will be sold each year, even though the final numbers are typically described in terms of a requirement. Once the mix of vehicles sold is established and the final annual sales figures are obtained, they can be modified.


Automakers can use EV credits, which they obtain by selling electric vehicles or by buying them from rivals with excess credits, to modify their strategies to meet each when the EPA targets and the CAFE goals differ (selling credits is one way Tesla has generated income for years). Some people have chosen to pay the fees associated with noncompliance.


If there are more EVs, who wins?


Overall, efficiency has increased over the past few years, but at a slower rate in certain years than in others.


Efficiency usually has a price for consumers. According to EPA projections, the average new automobile or light truck will cost approximately $1,000 more in 2026 as a result of the new goal.


When using internal combustion engines, the payoff is gradual. The average lifetime fuel savings estimated by the EPA is $1,080, meaning that a buyer of a new gas-burning car or truck in 2026 would need to wait over ten years to recoup their $1,000 premium.


That is, of course, presuming that gas prices remain relatively constant throughout. Price reductions could cause the payback time to slow down, while large increases could speed it up.


The benefits of purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) are greater for individuals who purchase one because these vehicles have lower fuel costs than internal combustion vehicles, don’t require regular oil changes, don’t require traditional engines or transmissions for maintenance, and require less brake repairs.


There are social benefits to the regulations as well. Cleaner air and less harmful tailpipe emissions result from increased fuel economy. This lowers the incidence of respiratory illnesses and some cancers, which in turn helps control the skyrocketing costs of medical treatment.


Regulations requiring ever-cleaner automobiles and trucks are already beginning to pay off. Results like the 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid compact pickup, which gets 42 mpg in the city and 37 mpg combined in the city, are made possible by the growing use of electrified powertrains.


A Recap of the High Goal’s Reality


In a market where internal combustion truck and SUV sales are disproportionately high, a real-world average of 40 mpg seems quite high. Just 24.9 mpg was the fleet average for 2020 in the end.


The U.S. Department of Energy’s first projections show that although 2021 saw some improvement to about 25.7 mpg, 40 mpg is still a long way off.


SimpSocial’s Opinion


Whether you like electric cars or not, alternative energy sources like EVs are probably here to stay. Additionally, despite their apparent differences, gas-powered and electric cars are necessary for the operation of the other.


While stricter fuel economy rules encourage automakers to apply the latest advancements in engineering and technology to make gasoline engines more efficient, electric vehicles assist reduce pollutants and increase fleet MPG averages. Regarding gasoline engines, manufacturers have succeeded in producing turbocharged engines with reduced displacement that exhibit notable efficiency gains without compromising performance.


The key question still stands: Will gas-powered cars completely disappear? Not for the foreseeable future. Even in non-urban areas, there is still a long way to go in terms of charging infrastructure, and many consumers may find that buying a new EV is out of their price range (used EVs, however, are still very affordable).


We are living through an exciting new phase in the evolution of transportation. We can anticipate new alternatives during this transitional time to satisfy the constantly evolving needs of today’s new automobile consumers.

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