34 MPG by 2015The U.S. fuel economy CAFE standards of 34.1 MPG by 2016 and 54.5 MPG by 2025 were an important step in the right direction after decades of near-stagnation, and other countries are starting to follow suit. The Chinese government, through 5 different official bodies, has announced that passenger cars in the country will have to reach an average fuel consumption of 6.9 liters per 100 kilometers by 2015 (equivalent to 34 MPG US) and 5.0 liters/100 km by 2020 (47 MPG US). And since China is now the biggest car market in the world, foreign carmakers will have to match at least that if they want to sell their vehicles in the country.
Hopefully by the 2020s electric cars will get about double the range for half the price and these goals will seem quaint, but for now they provide pressure for automakers to improve their vehicles and spend the R&D dollars necessary to keep moving forward on plug-in technologies.
China's latest passenger car fuel consumption data was not immediately available. It stood at 7.8 liters per 100 kilometers in 2009 and 8.2 liters in 2008, said John Zeng, Asia Pacific director of consultancy LMC Automotive. (source)
We should see a lot more environmental rules coming out of China over the next few years. Recent reports have shown that environmental issues are now the #1 cause of social unrest in China, and if there's one thing that those in power there have shown it's that they don't want the boat to rock...