AUTOMOTIVE: Fuel economy standard to impact buying patterns

The Times Board of Economists: Report from Tim Roper, owner, Smith Motors Auto Group
2012-10-21T00:00:00Z 2013-12-18T16:23:25Z AUTOMOTIVE: Fuel economy standard to impact buying patternsBy Bowdeya Tweh, (219) 933-3316

Tim Roper said the availability of credit and the age of the fleet of on the road are driving a lot of the current vehicle purchasing activity.

However, he said auto manufacturers are concerned about a new mandate that could lead to higher expenses for them to invest in technology to improve fuel economy and lower vehicle weight. His worry is those costs will eventually be tacked on to the final sticker price and negatively impact customers.

In August, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency issued standards requiring automakers' vehicles to achieve average fuel economy of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by the 2025 model year.

“Those costs will be passed on; more certainly it will change the industry dramatically,” Roper said.

Although Roper is concerned about current and future vehicle affordability, he said it's a good thing that people are able to access credit to buy and lease vehicles.

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