Paying for fuel to power our cars is never fun, especially when the price skyrockets quickly and comes back down oh so slowly. As we scan the different stations looking at the prices, taking in a momentary gasp, and then finally picking a station and filling up, we rarely think about the taxes that we pay on the fuel that are incorporated into the price at the pump.
Mazda will introduce a subcompact gas-powered vehicle in Japan next year that gets 70.5 miles per gallon, a model automakers say shows that combustion-powered cars can deliver fuel efficiency similar to hybrid vehicles. With a more efficient engine and transmission, and a frame and suspension system produced with lighter, high-tensile steel, the
Capitalizing on the success of its Prius hybrid, Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, has announced that it will introduce six new hybrid models by the end of 2012. Toyota, whose Prius is the top-selling car in Japan, is stepping up its competition in the growing green vehicle market by introducing two hybrid versions of its luxury Lexus brand and four new Toyota
The enthusiasm is building — we’re just a few months from the U.S. launch of the first electric vehicles aimed at mainstream consumers. Nissan is touting the success of the registration program for its upcoming Leaf EV, boasting 13,000 orders for its vehicles.
It is hoped across the industry (and in Washington DC) that sales of EVs will revive the American auto industry. While Pike Research believes that sales of EVs will grow relatively quickly, EV sales would likely grow much higher if it weren’t for our relatively cheap gasoline.
China will be the global leader in EV sales, with more than a quarter million of EVs sold in 2015, according to our projections at Pike Research. Sales of EVs in Europe – even with fewer homes with convenient access to home charging – are expected to outpace the American market.
In recent years a greater emphasis on MPG during car shopping has emerged. Between fluctuating gasoline prices, a broader selection of hybrid vehicles, and the promise of plug-ins and battery electric vehicles, and mandated increases in CAFE standards, fuel economy is becoming an important vehicle characteristic for many consumers.
Makers of ICEs are looking to accentuate the efficiency of many of their “traditional” models to meet federal requirements and better compete with hybrid vehicles. This includes the addition of a turbocharger, which enables manufacturers to use smaller engines while increasing fuel economy by up to 20 percent. Turbochargers reduce emissions as they burn exhaust gas as fuel, and also provide additional power for acceleration.
In advance of the Frankfurt Auto Show next week, details are leaking out about the plug-in hybrid and all-electric (or battery electric if you prefer) vehicles that will be showcased there. Automakers from Asia to Europe to North America are busy trying to outdo each other with promises of fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.
Hyundai, Mercedes, Fisker, Peugot and others will be in Germany, touting electric vehicles due to go on sale within the next few years. Most automakers are hedging their bets by promising both PHEVs and EVs at some point in the future.
But the hype around plug-ins so far has been greater than EVs for good reason — there will be a wider selection of models, and they are likely to sell in far greater quantities through the first half of the 2010’s than battery-electrics. PHEVs will sell because they will sufficiently address consumer expectations in the key areas of performance at a substantially reduced cost.
The cash for clunkers program is already proving too good to be true. The $1 billion in funds allocated for the program is almost gone after less than a week, and now congress is scrambling to get an additional $2 billion to extend the program.
With sales up at Ford and at dealerships, the program can be viewed as an unabashed success for the auto industry. And the environment is also winning, as the vehicles being purchased are estimated to be 69 percent more fuel efficient than the vehicles being dumped, according to the website CashForClunkersInformation.org.