The slow sales of “green” cars will not influence EPA’s review on 54.5 mpg image

Even if hybrids and electric cars are not in great demand in the US, EPA official says the agency will stick with its 2025 fuel economy standard of 54.5 mpg.

It is quite challenging for the market to focus on “green-friendly” cars when gas is sold at around 2 dollars per gallon in most of the US, pushing the sales of pickups and SUVs at record levels. And the trend is likely to keep going this year, some analysts believe. Therefore, with oil prices around 32 dollars per barrel these days, the forecasts sales of hybrids and electric vehicles are not encouraging. But this direction will not influence the midterm review of the government’s proposed 54.5 mpg fleet average fuel economy standard for the 2025 model year, Christopher Grundler, the EPA’s director of transportation and air quality, told Automotive News. The agency plans to review the standard next year in June. He says compliance will be achieved “largely through better gasoline engines,” not high volume sales of electrified vehicles. “These standards don’t rise and fall on sales of electric vehicles. Across the board every single vehicle segment is getting better,” Grundler added. “They have to because of the standards, and this is what we care about. The whole policy was designed deliberately to preserve consumer choices.”

A common practice for carmakers is to use pollution credits to meet regulatory requirements on fuel efficiency and to avoid fines if they fail to meet the standards. These types of credits can be earned by selling alternative-fuel cars, hybrid or electric cars, by using certain air-conditioning technology or they can buy credits from other car manufacturers. According to researcher Autodata, only 102,600 plug-in electrics had been sold last year in the United States, marking a 17 percent decline compared with the previous year.

Via Automotive News