US: upcoming 54.5-mpg goal should not be changed image

The federal government has decided that from 2025 onwards, the Corporate Average Fuel Economy across the US auto market needs to hit the 54.5 mpg mark.

But last year fuel prices started plummeting across the US, with consumers taking advantage and returning to previous auto industry “darlings” – the SUVs and pickup trucks. That has led to declining increases in the sales of both more efficient passenger cars and of green hybrids and electric cars – the abandonment of more compact and alternative fueled vehicles leading numerous automakers to call upon the federal government. According to their view, the officials would need to rethink the CAFÉ standard – but there are also those who run the opposite way. One of them is Margo Ogo, a former official with the EPA who participated in the establishment of the new fuel economy rules and has been referred to as the “Queen of Cleaner Cars.”

Ogo, who has moved to becoming a book author, just launched her “Driving the Future: Combating Climate Change with Cleaner, Smarter Cars” book in the US and said it would be a huge mistake to modify the rules. In her opinion, in fact, the tougher rules should only be the first step in relinquishing the transportation dependence on fossil fuels. “We, as a society, need to move to zero-emission vehicles by 2050,” she commented, adding that if she was still an official, would have called for even tougher mandates. While critics say it’s getting harder to keep the pace towards the target, she reminds them the rules are more complex and don’t require each and every vehicle to reach the target.