Car standards in China and North America


in Canada, Economics, Law, Politics, Rants, The environment

The Toronto Star has reported that: “No gasoline-powered car assembled in North America would meet China’s current fuel-efficiency standard.” Even the proposed tougher Californian standards – the ones about which there is a big fight with the Environmental Protection Agency – will not do so. In the United States, there is a proposal to require 35 mile per gallon (14.9 km/L) performance by 2020. Today, all Chinese cars are 36 mpg (15.3 km/L) or better. Canadian cars average 27 mpg (11.5 km/L), and don’t have to meet any minimum standard of that type.

That’s certainly something to consider the next time you hear that tougher standards will maul the auto industry. Judging by the relative performance of Japanese and American car companies, it might be fairer to say that continuing to pump out dinosaur vehicles is more likely to leads to its demise on this continent.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

tlaing March 27, 2008 at 2:20 am

Just so you know,

Whenever you say “MPG” you have to specify whether its imperial gallons or british gallons. In Canada, they use british gallons (4.5 liters), because it makes cars look more efficient than american gallons do (3.78 liters). The easier solution would be just to use the metric measurement – which is liters per hundred kilometers. I’ve never seen anyone express it as kilometers per liter, it’s just not something people use.

Milan March 27, 2008 at 9:09 am

Whenever you say “MPG” you have to specify whether its imperial gallons or british gallons.

Have Imperial units of measured evolved specifically to confuse people? If not for a few holdouts (the US, and the UK for some things), we could have ditched the behemoth decades ago.

. May 6, 2009 at 11:42 am

Ford plant dumps SUVs, goes small
The automaker says it is investing $550 million in its Michigan Assembly Plant in order to build fuel-efficient and battery powered cars.

By Ben Rooney, staff writer
Last Updated: May 6, 2009: 11:13 AM ET

NEW YORK ( — Ford Motor said Wednesday it will spend $550 million to convert a plant, which previously produced trucks and SUVs, into a “green” manufacturing complex building small fuel-efficient and electric cars.

The automaker said its Michigan Assembly Plant, in Wayne, will begin producing the Ford Focus, a compact car, in 2010. It also plans to begin making a battery-powered electric version of the Focus at the plant in 2011.

“We’re changing from a company focused mainly on trucks and SUVs to a company with a balanced product lineup that includes even more high-quality, fuel-efficient small cars, hybrids and all-electric vehicles,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas, in a statement.

Matt May 6, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Further to the comments about US gallons vs British Gallons, using British Gallons is a tricky way for car companies in Canada to overstate the fuel economy of their vehicles, because most Canadians are actually familiar with US Gallons and US MPG. The 27 MPG Canadian average is actually 22.5 US MPG (not very good). This may have changed since I read this statistic, but 1988 was the most fuel efficient year for automobiles on average. Since then weight and power inflation has led to poorer fuel economy.

I’d also like to point out that km/L is not generally used as a fuel economy. The commonly used metric measure is L/100km (notice it’s volume per distance as opposed to the distance per volume of MPG).

. May 6, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Gallons per mile: A better way to express fuel efficiency

Fuel efficiency, write Larrick and Soll in the current issue of Science magazine, is systematically misunderstood by car consumers in the United States, where the standard of measure is miles per gallon.

“People falsely believe that the amount of gas consumed by an automobile decreases as a linear function of a car’s mpg. The actual relationship is curvilinear. Consequently, people underestimate the value of removing the most fuel-inefficient vehicles.”

Milan May 6, 2009 at 2:48 pm


I agree.

L/100km is a much better measure than MPG, partly because it is so easy to mentally convert into $/100km.

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