A white paper authored by Norman Y. Mineta, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation, with both facts and mistakes.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Dec. 27, 2011
2012 VW Passat TDI with a 6-speed stick – $25,995 to start and a 31/43 city/highway rating proves it is fuel efficient. That does not mean it is any more or less cost effective versus any other propulsion technology however
The Diesel or compression ignited internal combustion engine (CI-ICE) – An automotive engine that arrived almost 40 years after the invention of the gasoline fueled or spark ignited internal combustion engine (SI-ICE) is today the only real choice when it comes to transporting the largest loads across vast distances whether that is over land or sea. In addition, it has been trying to make inroads into the US light duty marketplace for decades with little success.
Following up on our diesel article, 2012 May Be the End of Mankind But 2013 Will Be the Year of the Diesel
, a recently released white paper sponsored by the US Coalition for Advanced Diesel Cars entitled The Case for Technology Neutral Public Policy in Fuel Economy Debate: Allowing Performance To Determine Solutions
was supposedly authored by former US Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta. In the paper he goes into great detail along similar lines as that of the 2013 Year of the Diesel write-up but with a definite bias against current automobile electrification.
Here is a quick debate on a point by point basis where Mr. Mineta is on track and similarly where he is promoting his own bought and paid for bias’.
Increased fuel economy and lower carbon emissions (a byproduct), and increased energy independence are being forwarded by the current Administration’s soon-to-be released fuel economy standards for 2017-2025.
The current DOT proposed program for MY 2017-2025 passenger cars and trucks is expected to require increases in fuel efficiency equivalent to 54.5 mpgUS combined CAFΙ or approximately 42 mpgUS combined on today’s EPA. A lofty goal indeed. These improvements would save consumers an average of up to $6,600 in fuel costs over the lifetime of a MY 2025 vehicle for a net lifetime savings of up to $4,400 after factoring in related increases in vehicle cost.
The first phase of the Obama Administration's national program (2012-2016) is expected to raise fuel efficiency equivalent to 35.5 mpgUS combined CAFΙ’ or approximately 27 mpgUS combined per the 08 EPA by 2016.
Government is said to be pursuing restrictive technology policies in the hopes of solving all of our energy and emissions problems. Washington, DC’s current focus is electric vehicles (EVs) and electric technology with large monetary incentives ($7,500 in the case of the Volt) being used to alter consumer and manufacturer decisions.
In this, we should all agree. Incentives to purchase diesels and regular hybrids have ended while huge tax credits for $30 to $100,000 electrified vehicles are given out like cotton candy while excluding both affordable diesel and hybrid technology that the masses can afford.
Then he goes on to say:
Originally Posted by Mr. Mineta
The federal government is pushing their fleet-procurement decisions almost completely to EVs and hybrids irrespective of costs.
We have to make a distinction here between the Volt, BEVs like the LEAF and hybrids like the Prius.
- EV pricing is far too expensive so you are not seeing Government fleets being filled with them.
- There are no US manufactured pure BEVs.
Compact and mid-size hybrids are very cost effective as we all know and which is detailed below.
The EPA City Test Cycle Bias and the 6 Reasons for technical neutrality
The EPA continues to employ outdated mileage formulas including 55% city and 45% highway driving that does not accurately represent the US consumers driving regimen and tilts manufacturers into producing electric-vehicle solutions. It is estimated by the EPA that the average consumer has a 43% city/57% highway commute which would surely create imbalances highlighting diesels strengths.
In addition, here are the six reasons why technology neutral policies make sense:
Fuel Economy and Cost – A Case Study
- Technology neutral policies have historically been successful.
- From a “well-to-wheel” perspective, high efficient gasoline and diesel engines are nearly as energy efficient as any technology available.
- The quickest and most cost-effective way to achieve our energy usage goals is through faster adoption of fuel efficient downsized gasoline and diesel engines.
- Consumers are showing an overwhelming preference for fuel-efficient internal combustion engines in the marketplace.
- Advanced diesel technology can help achieve petroleum and emissions reductions with widespread adoption in the near and medium term.
- There must be a reduced burden on American taxpayers.
The most fuel efficient highway diesel cruiser on the road today is a 2012 VW Passat TDI with a 31/43/35 mpgUS combined rating when equipped with the 6-speed stick. With far less than 10% of US sales sticks, the AT equipped Passat TDI is currently rated at 30/40/34 mpgUS city/highway/combined. On an EPA volume basis, the 2012 VW Passat TDI is a substantial midsized car with 102 cu. ft. passenger and 16 cu. ft. cargo volume respectively.
I am also including the compact sized 2012 VW Jetta TDI with a 94 and 16 cu. ft. passenger and cargo volume respectively.
If the EPA were today going to swap the EPA ratings scheme over the 45% city/55% highway weighted average, the 2012 Jetta and Passat TDI with the AT would be rated at 34.8 and 35.6 mpgUS combined respectively (36 and 35 mpgUS on the Monroney respectively) vs. their current 34 mpgUS combined rating today.
2012 VW Passat TDI 6-speed AT: 30/40/35 mpgUS city/highway/combined
2012 VW Jetta TDI 6-speed AT: 30/42/36 mpgUS city/highway/combined
Similarly if we consider a small mid-sized 2012 Prius (51/48/50 mpgUS city/highway/combined with a 94 and 22 cu. ft. passenger and cargo volume respectively) or large mid-sized Hyundai Sonata Hybrid (35/40/37 mpgUS city/highway/combined and 104 and 11 cu. ft. passenger and cargo volume respectively) with the city/highway percentages swapped, we would see the following:
2012 Toyota Prius CVT: 51/48/49 (49.3 mpgUS combined but whose counting ) mpgUS city/highway/combined
2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid 6-speed AT: 35/40/38 mpgUS (37.6 mpgUS combined) city/highway/combined
On a cost basis, the small mid-sized 2011 Prius with package 3 can be picked up at my local CARMAX for $22,500 USD. The 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid can be purchased for $24,000 USD. The 2012’s have not yet reached showroom floors. The 2012 Jetta and Passat TDI SE with the AT can be purchased for $23,625 and $27,895 respectively. The Passat TDI SE includes a sunroof.
Even if the EPA city bias was swapped to 55% highway, the two hybrids highlighted still come out on top.
On the 6 reasons basis, we can all agree with 1, 4, 5 and 6.
Where Mr. Mineta diesel bias’ appears is with #2 and #3.
#2: From a “well-to-wheel” perspective, high efficient gasoline and diesel engines are nearly as energy efficient as any technology available.
They are almost as efficient as the hybrid technology available but not quite. In addition, why was the hybridized vehicle not “mentioned”
#3: The quickest and most cost-effective way to achieve our energy usage goals is through faster adoption of fuel efficient downsized gasoline and diesel engines.
The advent of fuel efficient and cost effective non-hybrid, non-diesels are doing the most by reducing our overall dependence thanks to an affordable overall solution that the masses can consume. Again looking at the actual pricing that a Prius and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid can be purchased for vs. the Passat TDI today, Mr. Mineta’s lack of including hybrid technology as a solution clearly shows his diesel coalition sponsored bias.
Well to Wheel
When comparing the emissions and energy consumption of different vehicle technologies, it is important to assess them throughout their entire life cycle. One needs to consider not only the energy consumed by the vehicle, but also the energy used upstream to make such energy available to the vehicle and the making of the vehicle itself, the “well-to-wheel” analysis. In the case of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), efficiency and emissions of power generation and power distribution must be considered. With this methodology, high efficiency gasoline and diesel engines and electric vehicles (EVs) perform comparably with regard to energy consumption and greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions.
The MIT study indicates a BEV and PHEV have worse well to wheel energy/mile consumption over the life of the vehicle than a diesel or a hybrid. We have shown this not to be the case any number of times during write-ups as the CO2 output of a kWh of electricity from a standard coal plant, enough to drive a BEV approximately 4 miles, is only 2 pounds of CO2/kWh or approximately 50 pounds per 100 miles
traveled (well to wheel). The most fuel efficient and low CO2/mile capable vehicle on the planet is the current Prius outputting 29 pounds of CO2 per 50 miles (well to wheel) or 58 pounds/100 miles
. The CO2 emitted during the manufacture of a LEAF BEV is only a small percentage of its total emissions over the expected life of the vehicle over 150,000 miles.
Similarly, we can compare the CO2 emissions of the VW Passat TDI with a 34 mpgUS combined rating at 65.9 pounds of CO2/100 miles
Even MIT’s analysis shows a next generation HEV’s CO2 output and energy consumption almost 30% lower on average than a next generation diesel.
Most Cost-Effective Methods to Achieve Energy Usage Goals
Originally Posted by Mr. Mineta
Fast adoption of downsized Gasoline and Diesel engines is the correct path. In most respects, the downsized engine direction is the most cost effective way.
A 1.0L EcoBoost engine outputting 125 HP is 20% more efficient than the approximately same output, 1.6L gasoline engine currently shod in the Ford Fiesta. Additional OEM cost is approximately $600 USD of which Ford will surely charge > $1,000 USD. The fuel cost savings will pay for the $600 USD technology addition in just a little over 2-years.
The average consumer drives approximately 30,000 miles over two years (a little less average actually but for fuel efficient car drivers, it is actually a little more), the 33 mpgUS combined raging of the current 1.6L equipped Fiesta vs. the expected 40 mpgUS combined rating of the 1.0L EcoBoost equipped Fiesta with a $3.50 per gallon average price at the pump reveals a $556 USD fuel cost savings over those same two years or a simplified payback period of 2-years not including any additional financing expenses.
When it comes to the diesel, total cost of ownership is out of whack by comparison to today’s hybrid automobiles. Not only have we already shown that the two main stream hybrid automobiles even after removing the city vs. highway bias are more fuel efficient and far less expensive to purchase, a crucial mistake in Mr. Mineta’s analysis is actual fuel costs at the pump. Here in Chicago, diesel is upwards of $0.75 more per gallon than gasoline. Adding to its increased CO2 emissions, lower overall fuel economy, the total cost of ownership is markedly higher for any consumer than the total cost of ownership of the same consumer purchasing the two mainstream hybrid vehicles in question.
We have continually pointed out the amazing residual of the Toyota Prius over the years in addition to its low maintenance costs. The VW TDI’s have also proved worthy of mention when it comes to residuals almost matching that of the Prius. Where TDI owners total cost of ownership is harmed however are VW’s notoriously expensive maintenance and repair costs as has been shown time and time again from TDI owners in this very forum.
Consumers are showing an overwhelming preference for fuel efficient internal combustion engines in the marketplace with a sustained interest in downsized high efficiency engines. Sales trends reflect this across many vehicle segments; including Ford’s EcoBoosted 3.5L equipped pickups. The opportunity for fuel economy gains without having to compromise on vehicle size, performance or driving range is clearly in favor of downsizing. This is clearly a positive outcome and one we have been following closely on a monthly sales basis since the F-150 was first equipped with the 3.5L EcoBoost.
Where the white paper moves off track is in the cost of hybridization vs. diesel. Mainstream hybrids have already proven themselves to be far less expensive than similar sized diesels. You can see this in not just the 11 Prius vs. 11 Jetta TDI but also the 12 Camry and 11 Sonata Hybrids vs. 12 Passat TDI’s. The paper states an HEV drivetrain costs an extra $4,000 vs. just $2,000 USD for a diesel one.
To corroborate this detail, we can consider the Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid and its 21 mpgUS combined rating vs. the Touareg TDI Diesel and its 22 mpgUS combined rating as an indication since they are one and the same vehicles excluding the drivetrain.
The Touareg Hybrid incorporates a supercharged 3.0L V6 mated to VW’s excellent hybrid drivetrain whereas the excellent TDI includes a far less powerful 3.0L with an SCR CAT and DEF to control emissions. The Hybrid costs $15,000 US more than the TDI
! Yes the hybrid has a few more amenities but in VW’s wisdom, they need to charge the cost of a base 2012 Jetta for the hybrid drivetrain?
This is possibly the most dramatic example of consumer choice or preference with a VW Touareg TDI costing $46K vs. a Touareg Hybrid with a$61K price tag. Of course the consumer is going to pick the TDI.
On the mainstream side, the far less expensive Toyota Prius HEV (15,208) outsells VW’s entire diesel lineup including the Jetta, Golf, Passat and Touareg TDI (5,625 VW TDI’s sold in November). In fact, it outsells all VW, Audi, BMW and Mercedes diesel sales combined!
Consumer preference in the US shows the most affordable fuel efficiency comes about through the hybrid on a total cost of ownership basis and is by far the quickest way to decrease our fuel consumption and emissions without sacrifice.
When it comes to BEVs and PHEVs however, the downsized gasoline, diesel and HEVs trounce the two given their lack of range and sky high pricing. Hands down, a $41,000 Volt is not going to stack up against a $22,500 Prius or a $28,500 Passat TDI with actual consumer sales proving this out.
In defense of the Volt, there was yet another misstatement with the following:
Originally Posted by Mr. Mineta
Some EVs, such as the Chevrolet Volt, allow for a greater driving range using a range extender, a small ICE working as a generator of electricity when the battery is depleted. However, when operating with the extender, the car actually becomes 10 percent less efficient than an ICE vehicle.
I would like to know what compact ICE vehicle is 10% more efficient than a Volt in CS mode at 35/40/37 mpgUS city/highway/combined? The Highway bias would increase the Volts combined to 38 mpgUS. Maybe Mr. Mineta just began making up some of the details posted?
Diesel can achieve lower consumption and emissions today
Diesel technology represents a significant growth opportunity in the U.S. market, simultaneously providing consumers a fuel efficient vehicle that delivers the performance they need for everyday use. Despite the fact that clean diesel vehicles have only been available in the U.S. market since 2009 with the ability to best Tier II/Bin5.
Switching from a gasoline engine to an advanced diesel engine (turbocharged with exhaust after treatment) will improve fuel economy up to 30 percent and reduce GHG emissions as much as 25 percent.
I am quite sure we all agree with the above 100%!
Where Mr. Mineta cries foul is by once again adding the technology price addition into the overall pricing structure.
Originally Posted by Mr. Mineta
Switching from a gasoline engine to an advanced diesel engine incurs an additional cost of $1,500 - $2,000 per vehicle.
While Diesel proponents -- me being one of them -- have touted this small price addition for years, today it is impossible to find the mythical $1,500 to $2,000 minimum upcharge to purchase a fuel efficient diesel here in the US. Whether it be the $6,000 upcharge for the 2012 Passat or Jetta TDI vs. the base of the two vehicles, $5,000 USD upcharge for the Audi A3 TDI vs. the Base or the $9,500 upcharge for BMW’s 335d vs. the 328i, the diesel option is being priced out of the US marketplace by the very same manufacturers that are spending millions in their promotion. The inclusion of more features or amenities notwithstanding.
I would love to see most of us driving diesel as the drivability and fuel economy trounce the conventional engine in the same vehicle but with price tags approaching a 40% upcharge and diesel fuel costing upwards of 20% more at the pump, diesel has just as much of an uphill climb as the PHEV/BEV!
Reducing the Tax Burden
The road to widespread vehicle electrification is paved with many environmental and economic challenges. Especially if shortcuts are taken to promote the adoption of one advanced propulsion technology over another through onerous taxpayer provided incentives.
With the per-unit cost of a Level 3 charging unit exceeding $100,000 (Ford Working With Suppliers Prior To_BEV Rollout - Is It The Right Thing To Do?
), this responsibility is unlikely to be picked up by the private sector. Instead, the infrastructure cost will likely be passed along to consumers which in turn are passed on to the tax payer with interest over the next hundred years.
Given the current cost structure of the sub and compact automobile marketplace, there is no way to justify a $41,000 vehicle purchase with a $7,500 tax credit coming from the pocket of the general consumer and especially when it provides no benefit to those in the lowest income brackets -- those most in need.
I could not agree more. Automobiles no matter what type or propulsion should be purchased like any other. At the dealership with competitive pricing and any incentives provided by the manufacturer.
Currently, our federal automotive policies are forcing electrification technology over any another and in doing so; the cost to the US taxpayer will more than likely overwhelm any benefit received. It is our duty to impose a direct assault on the PHEV/BEV agenda currently being coddled in the halls of congress.
Case in point is an $18,000 USD Chevrolet Cruze with a $10,000 battery pack (yes, that is GM’s OEM cost) and a $2,000 MGSet and Inverter should not cost $41,000 USD let alone be subsidized to the tune of $7,500 USD. All told, there should be no subsidy.
Similarly, Japan Inc. should not have subsidized the development cost of the original Prius or LEAF with internal and consumer based incentives just as Europe should not be subsidizing diesel with slightly lower taxation on that fuel than on its gasoline counterpart and $Billions of local currency given away for diesel R&D.
In addition, the US should also get out of the business of taxing diesel far more than gasoline as a disincentive for light duty diesel ownership. Leaving it higher for road damage incurred due to big rigs is another matter altogether.
Gasoline today is $0.23 less expensive than diesel on the futures market yet > $0.75 more at the pump so you can tell where the disincentive occurs.
Diesel manufacturers should also stop the onerous upcharging! If a diesel engine costs just $1,500 to $2,000 more than a conventional spark ignited engine -- which it does -- how can the average consumer be expected to support this very important fuel savings technology when it costs $6 to $10,000 USD more for the privilege?
With the number facts and biased statements posted throughout the diesel coalition subsidized white paper, governments around the world should get out of the business of subsidizing any particular fuel or automobile type and allow the marketplace to decide. Unfortunately both pro diesel and pro PHEV/BEV advocates are promoting an agenda with half truths and outright lies when it comes to the consumer and our tax dollars. Hopefully at some point the Government will find itself so broke it will have to stop listening to the paid lobbyists and instead pay attention to the scientists and general consumers as to how to waste our hard earned dollars in the future.
If my income were unlimited, I would love to own a 2012 Nissan LEAF, a 2012 Passat TDI with a stick, a 2012 Super Duty with the 6.7L Power Stroke, 2012 RAM 2500 with the 6.7L Cummins, a Sonata, Kia Optima or Prius v Hybrid, a Rio, Accent or Elantra conventionally powered automobile. And if I had my choice, none would have a subsidy.
Given what my income is today, it will be one of the hybrids or conventional powered vehicles and I will decide what the fuel economy I receive will be regardless of what the EPA has rated that particular vehicle at.
Finally I have to ask myself why in the hell did I spend all day writing up this monstrosity when most of you already know all of this in the first place. Stupid is as stupid does I guess