COVER STORY DAN GILLIGAN, PRESIDENT OF PMAA
fuel demand consistent and visits to convenience stores stable. The nation’s growing population means more cars will be on the road 10-15 years from now. The U.S. population in July 2011 was 311.8 million, according to the U. S. Census Bureau. The agency expects the population to continue on a sharp upward trajectory over the next few decades. The estimated population for 2020 is 336.03 million. The bureau expects the population to soar past 400 million in 2043 and reach a staggering 420 million by 2050, nearly double the U.S. population from 1975. Plus, to get to the 54. 5 mpg standard, automobile manufac- turers are going to be equipping cars with smaller gas tanks to keep the weight down. That should also help preserve visits to convenience stores and gas stations.
“I WOULD BET THAT WE
WON’T EVEN BE OVER
50 MILES PER GALLON
20 YEARS FROM NOW,
LET ALONE 54. 5 BY 2025.
IT’S JUST TOO HARD TO
UNDERSTANDING THE REGULATIONS
The proposed 54. 5 miles per gallon CAFE standard, to which
all mainstream auto manufacturers will be bound, is well in
excess of the 35.5-mpg goal set by the current CAFE legislation
that runs through 2017. The Obama administration and 13 car
companies broadly agreed to this CAFE standard in July.
Some analysts said the automakers, pressured from environmental interests on one side and political interests on the
other, may have had little choice but to agree. Others told
Convenience Store Decisions that these economy standards will
never come to fruition.
“A lot of hoopla that came out of the White House is merely
politicking with the environmental community to get credit for
something that is probably never going to be implemented,”
said Dan Gilligan, president of PMAA. “I would bet that we
won’t even be over 50 miles per gallon 20 years from now, let
alone 54. 5 by 2025. It’s just too hard to get there.”
The good news for fuel retailers is that the new standards
that will be implemented will be introduced gradually. Starting
with 2011 models, the average fuel economy for cars is required
to improve from 27. 5 mpg, where it has been since 1990, to 37. 8
mpg by 2016. The truck standard has to rise from 23. 5 mpg to
28. 8. This means cars must improve by 37% and trucks by 23%.
Combined, cars and trucks in 2016 should average 34.1 mpg,
up 35% from the current 25. 3 mpg, a jump of 5.1% per year.
Achieving these goals will require various engine and
transmission technologies, as well as improved aerodynamics, tires with lower rolling resistance and materials that reduce