The U.S. Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency and the White House have announced new fuel economy standards for model year 2017-2025 vehicles that will require cars and light trucks to yield a combined 54.5 mpg, as was proposed back in July.
According to the government, these new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards will help save as much as 2.2 million barrels of oil per day by 2025, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and saving vehicle owners plenty of money at the pump. In fact, the fed says that a consumer purchasing a new car in 2025 will save $6,600 in fuel costs over the lifetime of that vehicle. Of course, the technologies required to achieve these new targets will make vehicles more expensive too, but the agencies claim that consumers will still save $4,400 over the life of a vehicle after factoring in those extra costs.
The new CAFE rules will follow current 2011-2016 standards that call for cars and light trucks to hit 34.1 mpg combined by 2016. The rule is backed by over 100 members of Congress, and if adopted will undergo a 90-day comment period before becoming official.
Some members of Congress believe that the rules haven’t been evaluated thoroughly enough, however. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) has expressed concerns about the technical feasibility of the new standards. While most automakers have backed the 54.5 mpg goal, Volkswagen has been vocally against the plan in the past. While the new standards are strict, the plan does provide one single national standard for the industry to follow, unlike before where automakers met a minimum national standard as well as separate, tougher standards adopted by individual states led by California (the dreaded “patchwork” of regulation).
We’re all for better fuel economy, though the tight time frame likely means that automakers will resort to costly hybrid and alt-fuel options over the next 18 years to boost their fuel economy figures, and those substantial research, development and production costs are sure to get passed on to car buyers. It will be interesting to watch how eager shoppers are to hop onto this new, greener bandwagon.
Article written by Zach Bowman