After what could be considered a successful opening for GM at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show a little snippet from Bob Lutz escapes to lay more smack on the new CAFE Laws and to generally “Poo Poo” on everyone’s good time. Both sides that pushed for or against the new CAFE Laws and their requirements of 35mpg by 2020 did their own fair share of “fearmongering” some are just not ready to quit.
Bob Lutz levied his warning to an eager audience that the new CAFE requirements are going to result in an increase in car prices of between $4,000 and $10,000; or $6,000 on average. His warning translates that the research necessary to discover a means to reach those standards and the development of the technology that will be implemented into our future cars will raise the price tag on cars by 2020. Considering the leap in prices I have seen in the last 10 years a $6,000 may be getting off light.
True the CAFE Law is a bit ambiguous with different standards for trucks, cars, luxury/exotics and imports, but it seems that such national laws or imposed standards are the only means by which auto makers are forced to improve such things as fuel mileage. Sure many auto makers run out the token concept or produce the occasional fuel saver car, but more often than not those are basic econo-boxes and not quite as interesting as sports cars, light trucks or crossover SUV’s.
With cars like the Volt and the Saturn Vue Plug-in Hybrid aimed toward production by 2010 (ish) you might think that GM is best poised to tackle the CAFE tiers as they approach or increase year by year until 2020. Factor in their 2Mode Hybrid system that has already been implemented in the Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon and this year in the Cadillac Escalade and they should seem well on their way. And look, those cars are already seeing their $4,000 to $10,000 price increase for the new technologies, so we no longer need to fear the future when it is already here, right?