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35.5 MPG by 2016? Bring it On!

With all the hoopla about our nation hitting a 35.5 mile per gallon (MPG) average for new cars and trucks by 2016, its easy to lose sight of some simple facts. The original goal set forth by the Bush administration was 35 MPG by 2020. The Obama administration has simply proposed that we speed up the effort by four years and turn up the dial on fuel efficiency.

It’s a great feeling knowing that someone has been listening. We’ve been banging the drum here at MPGomatic for two years now.

An average of 35.5 MPG is not a lofty goal, even in this shortened time frame. Back in March of 2008, MPGomatic opened some eyeballs and raised a lot of eyebrows when we published 35 MPG: Why Wait Until 2020, an article that provided details on the export-only fuel-efficient diesel-powered cars and SUVs that Chrysler builds right here in North America, half of which already hit the 35 MPG mark. Hundreds of thousands of folks have read that article and learned the truth over the past fourteen months.

In Europe, 35 MPG isn’t a goal. It’s the norm.

America need not and must not fear this change. We must embrace it with the realization that it is the best way forward.

35 MPG does not = wimpy cars.




BMW’s current lineup in Germany already hits an average of 35 MPG. To this point, this has been achieved without selling hybrid vehicles. Roughly fifty percent of the vehicles sold by BMW in Germany are powered by fuel-efficient clean diesel engines.

We’ve had the good fortune to spend time with two of BMW’s clean diesels, the 123d and the 335d. These are fantastically fun-to-drive driving machines.

While the little 123d is yet to be imported into the States, the 335d is currently available … with a federal tax credit, no less … and it’s a ball of clean green fun. In our week with the 335d, we were able to easily achieve highway mileage in the mid-forty MPG range, while blasting out six second 0-60 MPH times.

Why isn’t the conventional press screaming the praises of this car?

The road to the future will take multiple alternative fuel technologies, including clean diesel, NGV, hybrid, plug-in electric, extended-range electric, small-displacement direct-injected gasoline, and yes … even hydrogen.

Through our auto industry may be in tumult, the automakers now have a clear path to follow. Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors aren’t down for the count. They’re between rounds. Each one of these companies has the technology and the will to get this done.

Bring It On.

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2 comments ↓

#1 Cynical Dude on 02.26.11 at 11:02 pm

I guarantee you that this law will be repealed by some idiot administration once the auto lobbyists pay them off.

#2 mpg-o-editor on 02.26.11 at 11:14 pm

@Cynical Dude – I’ll take that bet. Oil may fluctuate, but won’t be be cheaper over the long run. There’s no going back, with at least 22 months of the current administration … that brings us to 2013, when the automakers will be building 2014 model year vehicles …

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