Better gas mileage is Detroit's safest route to fiscal health

gas_pump_smhere. Look under "New Reports."

Walter is the Director of the Automotive Analysis Division of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). He studies the adoption by consumers and automakers of new powertrain (electric, hybrid, clean diesel, fuel cell, alternative fuels), safety, and telematics technologies. Walter worked for General Motors for 9 years in sales forecasting, product development, marketing, and manufacturing (1993 found him on the floor of one of GM’s component factories). Prior to joining the University, he was Executive Director of Forecasting and Analytics for J.D. Power and Associates. He earned his doctorate in Economics from UCLA in 1983.


  • brad

    Absolutely wonderful to see a report that puts some numbers behind what many of us have known all along.

  • Guest

    As an earlier blog demonstrated, fuel economy peaked about 1986, and has been declining since then. The whole approach to improving fuel economy must be changed. Only when we put gasoline on a “the more you use, the more you pay per gallon” rate schedule will high mileage vehicles really pay off for the auto makers. This is the way we conserve electicity and water, but we seem unable to step up to the plate when it comes to gasoline. Instead we fund our enemies. Amazing.

  • mdcoffel

    Have not read the entire study yet so I really cannot say much for or against the results of the study but I think the study is correct in it assertion that the “Big Three” stand to loose billions if they do nothing about the dismal average fuel economy of their current fleets.

    With the technology available new vehicles should be able to see a 20% increase in available miles per gallon with very little effort on the part of the domestic automakers. And instead of trying to fill both markets, non-hybrid and hybrid, at the same time I would strongly suggest that all three domestic automakers pick one vehicle from every lineup and only produce the hybrid version instead of both. If they were to take the money from both hybrid and non-hybrid development and focus it on just the hybrid vehicle. That way developments and improvements could be made prior to a production rollout.

    Another suggestion I would offer to the big three would be to merge the E85 technology with the developing hybrid technology so that as domestic ethanol production ramps up there would be a greater market for domestically produced E85.

    The true overall goal should be to reduce the need for imported oil down to a level where the United States has no need for it. The result would be that the American consumer would be rewarded with a domestica product, stable pricing, and as Van mentioned there would be no more money going out to help fund terrorist organizations.

  • walter

    The window of opportunity seems to be closing. A newspaper article yesterday said Nissan has decided to market a Plug-in Hybrid with a Lithium Ion battery in 2010. It is possible that Toyota may sell a Plug-in version of the 2009 Prius. I expect GM, Ford and DC will watch and wait.

  • djkonell

    The big three used to be the innovators. Then they were on equal footing. After that they were always about one step behind the foreign auto makers. Now everyone is one step behing the Japanese, and the big three are TWO steps behind!
    Ultimately it’s the corporate culture within the big three that’s killing them. Denying the future is the best way to get run over by it.

  • masstraff

    Why can’t we do better we should be leading the way on more fuel saving cars. The reason is that big oil does not want to lose money so they lower the prices cause the us public to thinking there is not a problem. So we then rush out by the big cars and scream later about raising fuel cost. When in america we could of been complete over the top of with new types of fuel.