New Mileage Standards Won’t Come Cheap

Prius

I have no doubt that automobiles are going to continue to become more expensive…

The automotive world continues to go through big changes. For one, tsunami-ravaged Japan’s carmakers can’t supply the vehicles that are needed by their dealers and it looks like this will remain true for the rest of this year. One automotive analyst says that 15,000 more Toyota Prius hybrids could have been sold in April if supplies were adequate.

The good news for America is the three automotive makers are regaining profit and market share. The bad news is that new and used vehicle prices are steadily climbing.

I have no doubt that automobiles are going to continue to become more expensive to buy, new and used. Quiet negotiations are going on in Washington between automotive manufacturers and the government about CAFE (corporate average fuel efficiency) standards, which one way or another will result in higher car prices. New federal fuel economy and emissions rules that went into effect Jan. 1 require automakers to hit an average of 35.5 miles per gallon for the 2016 model year. It is being proposed that by 2025, CAFE should be 62 mpg.

To be able to achieve this 62 mpg, one industry ally says it will add $10,000 to the cost of the car; the Feds say $3,500. Either way, car prices are going up. Some saving will come from better fuel mileage down the road and, of course, reduced dependency on oil imports and less pollution are good news.

My suggestion to all drivers is to carefully maintain your vehicle to extend its dependable life and save you money by delaying your next car purchase for as long as possible. When that time does come, check with Consumer Reports before deciding on a vehicle. Not all cars are made the same — and reading the magazine’s April car edition will open your eyes to the good and the bad.

-George Rode

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