F150 fee next? In 2015 the Idaho Legislature imposed a $75-per-year fee on hybrid vehicles because they use less fuel than nonhybrid vehicles. Congress enacted the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards which require automakers to improve the average fuel economy of cars and meet certain goals each year. There are many factors that cause vehicles to use less fuel, only one of which is a hybrid powertrain. Carburetors have been replaced by fuel injection, which is now enhanced with direct injection. Turbochargers allow smaller engines, which use less fuel, to perform like larger engines. Electric motors for power steering and water pumps reduce parasitic losses, yielding better mileage. Low-rolling resistance tires are available to improve mileage. Reducing vehicle weight improves mileage so steel is replaced by aluminum, which might be replaced by carbon fiber. In fact, the Ford F150’s weight was substantially reduced by substituting aluminum for steel; it now gets 26 MPG, up from 20 in 2008. If the Idaho Legislature chooses to penalize mileage improvements, perhaps there should be an F150 fee since it is using less fuel, just like a hybrid.
Bob Pentecost, Boise