Automakers are well on their way to meeting the stringent 2012 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) regulations, but their work won’t end there. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Transportation, and the state of California will likely roll out proposed fuel economy and emission standards for 2025 — and could potentially call for a 62-mpg average.
Last April, the revised CAFE mandate went into effect, calling for automakers to meet a new fleet-wide fuel economy average of 35.5 mpg. That metric was viewed by many as a means to curb greenhouse gases, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and craft fuel-efficient vehicles that save consumers at the pump. Automakers, however, find it annoying — particularly since the relatively low price of gasoline doesn’t deter consumers from buying larger, thirstier vehicles, including SUVs.
CAFE may become more of a headache, however, when the calendar reaches 2025. Although finalized figures for the new mandate have yet to be locked in place, it’s a safe bet the 2025 standard will make today’s standards look like child’s play. An early proposal from the Obama administration suggested a fuel economy average of 62 mpg. Automakers predictably opposed that figure, but we’ve yet to discover exactly how much that figure may have dropped over the past several months.
That said, the EPA, DOT, and the California Air Resource Board have collectively announced they’re planning to jointly announcing their fuel economy and emission standards in September. That announcement in itself is a step forward, considering CARB has often attempted to set its own standards independently of the EPA.
“[This] announcement is a big step forward, but it is only the beginning,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “By working together with EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop standards for the next generation of clean cars, we can set a standard that works for automakers across the country. Our continued collaboration is win-win-win for the environment, businesses and the American consumer.”
We’ll see if that’s truly the case in a few months’ time. How high should the new CAFE mandate go? Is 62 mpg far beyond reality, even considering the 2025 timeframe? Send us your best predictions and prognostications in the comments section below.
Source: EPA, Automotive News (Subscription required)