Japan sets new Auto fuel efficiency standards
Just recently, a draft of a proposal specifying the fuel efficiency targets that automakers would have to meet for each type of motor by the fiscal 2020 was released by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. As per the new standards, the average efficiency of fleets would be required to improve by around 24% from the current fuel efficiency standard of 16.3 km / liter of fuel to 20.3 km / liter in 2020. However, plug in hybrids and electric cars will be excluded from meeting the new targets, and manufacturers will be required to deliver efficiency improvements only in conventional vehicles.
The new Japanese proposal is along the lines of the recently introduced US Corporate Average Fuel Economy rules that expect auto manufacturers to work towards meeting the new average fleet efficiency standard of 54.5 miles /gallon from the present 27 miles / gallon, by 2025. That is, manufacturers may continue to make cars that are less efficient provided that they invest in improving the current efficiency of their other models.
The new efficiency standards are being introduced in order to force a significant decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and encourage the auto industry to put in vigorous efforts towards developing new and more improved designs.
According to a Japanese ministry official, if approved, the new proposals for fuel economy standards could come into force from around next Spring. The EU and China had introduced efficiency standards some time back. Last month, they were joined by the US. The recent move makes Japan the latest country to decide on adopting strict fuel efficiency standards.
On August 2 this year, the Obama administration along with 13 auto makers agreed to enhance the fuel economy of light-duty trucks and cars sold in the US by 2025. One week later, there was an announcement by President Obama of the first national greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency standards for all heavy and medium duty trucks as well as buses.
This was followed by an announcement by the Canadian government saying it would “harmonize” with America on the fuel economy standards introduced by the Obama administration for medium and heavy trucks and also light duty vehicles.
According to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, automakers were now in a sort of competition to see who can make the most fuel efficient car.
At present, the compact hybrid Toyota Prius has achieved the highest rating of 89 mpg in the 10-15 mode test cycle. Automakers in Japan are trying to develop new gasoline-fueled subcompacts to match the Prius.
The petrol-run Honda Fit delivers an efficiency rating of 58 mpg, while the Nissan Micra / March gives a rating of 61 mpg, and the 0.66 liter engine Daihatsu Move returns 64 mpg in Japan’s test cycle.
Mazda’s new model, the SkyActiv-G-equipped Demio, has a rating of 71 mpg (30 km/liter of petrol).
As other countries follow suit with fuel efficiency standards of their own, Japanese vehicles are expected to become more competitive across the world.