Automakers are to face tougher fuel-economy standards for 2018-2025, targets they say are not reflecting the current trends of the industry and economy anymore.
The US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued back in 2012 rules to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel economy for model years 2018 through 2025 light-duty vehicles. Those standards were projected to result in an average industry fleetwide level of 163 grams/mile of carbon dioxide in model year 2025 vehicles, equivalent to 54.5 miles per gallon. According to Detroit Free Press, the two federal regulatory agencies are close to issuing a draft report that will stand as a base for the mid-term review of those fuel-economy targets aimed to decide if the limits are to be revised.
The automakers say the re-evaluation must take into account the current lower gas prices compared to 2012 that now made the buyers forget about the more fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly cars, shifting their attention towards SUVs and pickups. As the industry has revised downwards its sales projections of battery-powered cars, the automakers say the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards are overly optimistic are much tougher to be hit.
“Automakers are not evaluated based on whether the products they offer consumers meet the government targets; rather, automakers are evaluated based on the products consumers choose to buy,” the Alliance for Automotive Manufacturers said in a report. “So, low consumer interest in high-mileage vehicles presents a serious challenge to the government’s ambitious fuel economy and greenhouse gas targets.”