What does the EPA’s announcement on fuel efficiency standards mean for EVs?
04.05.2018 - by Katherine Stainken
What does the EPA’s announcement on fuel efficiency standards mean for EVs?

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency took a huge step backwards by weakening fuel efficiency standards. What does this mean for the electric car market?

First, this announcement will set off a new round of collecting evidence, comments, and hearings through a public stakeholder process, which will take some time and cause uncertainty for automakers and consumers.

As this long regulatory process unfolds, automakers will likely decide to not invest in and research new technologies that will increase the fuel efficiency of the cars. This means that consumers will be stuck with the current fuel efficiency that cars get for the foreseeable future. In short, consumers who aren’t choosing to drive electric will still be dependent on the pump and will continue to pay more for the gas that the cars guzzle because the fuel efficiency remains the same. This is only a win for the oil companies – not for consumers or for the environment.

For the electric car market, those automakers who see that the future is electric will still move forward with the manufacturing of new makes and models of EVs. But the rest of the automakers who are only paying lip service to EVs to comply with California and northeast state regulations will no doubt slow their research into new batteries and will hang on to their current business model of producing gas cars for as long as they can. This will frustrate consumers who want to buy EVs.

No doubt we have a big battle ahead, especially if the EPA reviews the waiver that allows California to set its own fuel efficiency standards. Automakers’ trade associations have been pushing for the softening of fuel efficiency standards, but it’s time for them to stand up for consumers, the environment, and an electric future.

24 comments on “What does the EPA’s announcement on fuel efficiency standards mean for EVs?”
  1. Tom Hendren says:

    I drive a 2013 Volt with 40 mile range and it is enough for my (retired) style. I still manage to drive 25 miles daily but can drive up to 100. Five trips were over 1000 and I only used gas. At 72,000 miles I have used 550 gallons in California. the car says 146 mpg because 3/4 of miles were driven electric. $1650 cost instead of about $7000. This means I can repair the car for $5550 and break even. Further, no break wear, a quiet drive and who cares that I use some gas. Most all repairs so far have been free because of the smog policy here in California. (charging receiver was replaced free). Even though I had to pay for two drivers side drive shafts and two sets of tires, this is still within the money saved. Yes, I may buy a full electric some day but who can complain? I can drive the car anywhere I want – electric on short trips – and gas on long trips. I only wish it was a little bigger. Now the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is available at 33 mpg, WOW for the size.

  2. Richard Hubler says:

    Its interesting that Bobby Bucher mentions the used car market, as I believe this will be a major component of widespread adoption of EVs. I purchased a USED 2012 Nissan LEAF in April of 2017 (Earth Day) that had about 27000 miles on it. Over the course of the next year, I added another 6000 miles, at an average of 4.5 miles per kWh of charge, and spent approximately $200 on electricity to fuel it-about 3 1/2 cents per mile. I also spent zero dollars on maintenance and repairs. Given that the used car was pretty comparable in cost to other ICE options at the time, and that I purchased it through a dealer for about $8000, I know that if people can get past their worries about driving an EV, it is a great financial choice. My purchase was a mid-range price for the local used car market, where sadly a large percentage of used cars sell for less than $5000, and are older than 10 years, due to high poverty levels. Of course, the supply of BEVs is also slim. So there is a way to go before these really impact at least my local car market, but being able to buy EVs used will greatly help adoption rates.

  3. Glenn N Davis says:

    I bought a 2014 Leaf in 2016, a 2 year old car with 23,000 ish miles on it. I did it because I have been making about 3- 17 mile trips from home most days. ( 34 miles round trip or about 100 miles / day! ). That was the tipping point.

    My gas usage was about $350.– to $380.00 a month! I was not going very far from home. I reasoned that this might be the perfect usage model for an EV! So, I looked around and found that the EV cars available were all very far away. Most were in California, Oregon, Colorado and Georgia! Most car search engines were designed as tools to get me to go to my local dealers who did not have EV’s! I found That TRUEcar.com would with some effort let me do an unlimited mile search. and later found that OffLeaseOnly.com in Florida had a huge inventory of the Georgia LEAF’s.

    My plan then was to try out a LEAF or a Versa which is the Gas Twin of the LEAF just to see if it was comfortable and was okay to live with, We rented a Versa from the RST airport but they did not have any when we got there. So, we had to come back the next day and get one. The Leaf it turns out is a very spacious Little car and fortunately so was the Versa that we tried out. This convinced us that the LEAF was worth going after!

    When I came home I really wanted to try out an actual LEAF. So I looked around and found one was for sale in Columbus OH for $14,000 even though the ones at OffLeaseONLY were $10,000 and at the time Shipping was about $480.00 to OHIO. I was doing this for money savings! So, we went to Columbus to test drive with the plan of getting the GA car from Florida. My wife fell in love with it and We ended up driving it home that night. The $14,000 car costed about 15,000 ish with a $299,00 payment. So, I was just breaking even on my gas bill figuring worst case with gas at the (then outrageously cheap but reacent) price of $2.oo per gallon.

    It turned out that the mileage was figured out durring a time when I was driving my wife to work, but gas is higher. What that means is Any Car would save some of the extra miles I was driving for having to share a car with my wife. But, we still save about $50, dollars a month after paying for electricity and the mortgage payment. What that means is we get the Car for FREE AND make a small Profit until the payments are done!

  4. Reony Tonneyck says:

    The changes that Trump & ETA are trying to make take years to actually be put in place. By the time that it might actually happen, they’ll all be out of office anyways. 😛 So I’m not worried about it. Keep building and advocating. People will see and experience why EV makes ICE obsolete.

  5. Gary E. Duerr says:

    I bought 2 Volts, a 2012 & 2016. I bought the 2016 primarily for more range & Carplay. I won’t own an exclusively ICE car again, unless cars aren’t available that are battery augmented or propelled. It is too little, too late to play with milege standards now that prople like me are driving these vehicles around,

  6. Bud Ensley says:

    I see many comments/questions about paying for roads. The trend as has been seen in Minnesota and few other state is a yearly tax on EVs when you pay for your car license.

  7. dgate says:

    Bobby Bucher wrote…Will the same be said 50 years from now about my 2016 Fiat 500e or my wife’s Mercedes B250E?
    Probably yes since they will become the classics of tomorrow that were at the beginning of the electric revolution.

  8. Robert Anderson says:

    I see it another way.. I agree with Andrew Biviano this could help the EV to become viable more quickly. Keep the gas guzzlers at low efficiency and the EV will be a better choice sooner. Anyway the rest of the world is going ahead with or without us. So again we will be left behind and need a bailout of the US auto companies if they stall.

  9. Rhaman68 says:

    The view from my windshield when driving is of drivers of all ages and genders in all sorts of cars zooming by at 75 mph plus which negates any semblance to the EPA mpg estimates. When in city traffic the same people run around gleefully speeding and braking, speeding and braking gleefully wasting fuel negating any EPA mpg estimates. Setting CAFE standards has been a pie in the sky thing. Only EVs have efficient systems that impose limits to drivers but they do not idle, do not leak fluids, do not have exhaust and belts and O2 sensors, etc. that makes for very low cost operations.

  10. Stan J says:

    The rest of the world is going electric. We can close our eyes, build walls, generate alternative truth and science but the car industry is global. Even if they continue to market old technology in the USA, they have to continue R&D to meet high standards elsewhere. When the US administration reverts to normal, so will the regulation and car makers will have to be prepared to switch.

  11. Steve Sears says:

    There is no real environmental Scientist who can justify lowering the Fuel Efficiency Standard (PES). The EPA program to lower the Fuel Efficiency Standard takes us in the WRONG direction relative to the current speed at which the Man Made Climate Changes is happening. Lowering the FES would obviously be a reward for the Auto Industry & a downer for our planet’s survival. Doesn’t the “P” in EPA stand for “Protection”.

  12. Varma says:

    EPA needs to be more informed of new technologies that save the planet and leaves money in the pockets of citizens. I disagree with EPA initiative of helping the oil industry by allowing vehicles that guzzle gas and spew carbon dioxide.
    Instead EPA Administrator should form worthwhile policies to encourage the use of electric cars and those that use renewable energy. US needs to create EV charging infrastructure throughout the country.

  13. Bobby Bucher says:

    I don’t think the product has been on the market long enough to say its superior or cheaper. Myself like many others lease their EVs because of the high cost of replacement parts IF something goes wrong. My lease covers the entire car for the length of the lease.

    Not until these cars start showing up in the used car market, and people have to start maintaining them on their own $$ will we really know if they are superior or not.

    I can tell you this – my 1967 Ford Mustang still runs fine, parts are readily available and its easy to work on. Will the same be said 50 years from now about my 2016 Fiat 500e or my wife’s Mercedes B250E?

  14. Richard Wirth says:

    If we can’t get the oil lobby out of it’s influence on our government officials there will be hardly any effort to change the status quo for ICE vehicles. This hundred year old technology has already been proven inferior to new electric vehicle technology.

  15. Charlie Garlow says:

    Don’t forget that the CA standards may well remain intact, along with the other states that follow California. If so, then it is likely that the American auto companies will produce one car, the CA car, rather than 2 kinds of cars, one for CA and one for Trump/Pruitt.

  16. Charlie Garlow says:

    If gas sales decrease, so will gas taxes. Where will the money come from for road repair? It could come from higher gas taxes on each gallon which would provide another incentive to buy electric. Good. It could come from a tax on electric cars, which would be bad.

  17. Charlie Garlow says:

    EPA and NHTSA jointly put out the emissions/fuel efficiency standards.

  18. ken yamamoto says:

    stupid americans leading the way into extinction

  19. Andrew Biviano says:

    Honestly, I’m not too concerned. The only way that EV’s were ever going to succeed in replacing ICE vehicles was by being a superior product that consumers prefer, not by government force. That is the only way permanent changes have taken place throughout history–the car beat out the horse, electricity beat out whale oil, and cell phones beat land lines. The tax breaks and subsidies have been helpful to make EVs more price competitive at the outset, but I don’t think they are essential anymore. There are enough EV’s out there to show people they are a far superior product and less expensive to own, and they should be able to win market share on merit. Consumers will drive this change, not the government.

  20. Jamie says:

    Road funding currently does not come only from gasoline taxes. And if revenue from gas taxes goes down too much, they can just raise the gas tax. It’s too low right now anyway.

  21. Henri Fennell says:

    Question: If gas sales decrease, where will funding for roads come from? Will electric rates increase to cover this change? Just curious, I drive an EV.

  22. Mark C says:

    I thought the EPA set standards for emissions and the NHTSA set the fuel economy standards, or did I miss something?

    I’m cautiously optomistic that the setback in fuel economy will be short-lived and not too deep.

  23. Ron Nelson says:

    Solar panels and EVs and electric heating and cooling are the only way to go to save the Planet and save me tons of money! We consumers must go to the auto dealerships and demand EVs or we won’t buy!

  24. Eric Strid says:

    Automakers should recognize the largest transportation disruption since the Model T. With more ridesharing services, EVs, and automated vehicles decreasing demand for the number of vehicles, the shakeout will be epic. Chinese companies may dominate, because China is aggressively pushing the EV portion in new sales. Trump is just surrendering to China…

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