Wyoming Auto Insiders Not Optimistic About 40 MPG Fuel Standards

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By Ellen Fike and Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming residents employed in the auto industry doubt car manufacturers will be able to meet new fuel economy standards that will require vehicles to average 40 miles per gallon by 2026.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will require new vehicles sold in the United States to average at least 40 mpg in 2026. Cars being manufactured today must average 28 miles to the gallon.

The NHTSA said with this new average, gasoline consumption will decrease by more than 220 billion gallons by 2050 compared to the standards currently in place.

Bob Ruwart, who has owned Bob Ruwart Motors in Wheatland for 32 years, said the technology exists to hit the 40 mpg goal, but federal regulations will keep automakers from reaching it.

“They’ve had diesel cars for years that could hit 50 miles to the gallon,” Ruwart said.  “But the emission laws are so stringent that manufacturers have to keep redesigning engines.

“They could get there with diesel engines but the regulations have made it so cost-prohibitive that factories can’t move forward with diesel,” he said.

As for electric cars, Ruwart said he doesn’t see the technology or the resources being advanced enough for EVs to make a big difference yet.

He said there won’t be enough charging stations across the country for a big influx in electric cars, the energy isn’t available to power the stations and when chargers are available, consumers get mixed messages.

“We don’t have the power to charge everything with the war on coal power plants going on,” he said.  “Plus, in California, more than once the government has told owners not to charge their cars because they don’t have enough power.”

Scott Roybal, a salesman at Halladay Motors in Cheyenne, said he thought the standard was just a push to get more people to look at electric cars as a viable option.

“You’re never going to get rid of internal combustion,” he said. “EVs work in places like downtown Los Angeles or Denver because you’re not driving a very far commute. Can you imagine being in Mule Creek Junction and looking for a place to plug in?”

With these new fuel economy standards, there is an expectation that carbon dioxide emissions will decrease, but new vehicle prices will also rise, hurting an industry already dealing with inflation and supply chain issues, according to ABC News.

Vince Bodiford, a media executive based in Cheyenne and Detroit who also owns the automotive website “The Weekend Drive,” said the 40 mpg standard is far too aggressive and could be rolled back by another presidential administration by 2026.

He further explained that the goal does not mean that all cars have to get 40 miles-per-gallon. It’s just the average of all of the carmaker’s entire range of models.

“This helps us understand why carmakers are rushing to get so many electric vehicles to market – because an EV in the lineup raises the car company’s average so much,” he said.

“Another reason for the mad dash for EV’s is car companies are trying to drive their stock price up – like Tesla has done,” Bodiford continued. “Both strategies are ridiculous and have little to do with genuine concern for ‘climate change.'”

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