Automakers to EPA: 54.5 CAFE Standard Too Ambitious
Higher-Than Anticipated Sales of Trucks, SUVs Make Target More Elusive
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set an incredibly high bar with a 54.5 mpg corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard for the 2025 model year. Even taking into consideration that the standard works out to around 41 adjusted mpg, it was dramatically higher than the existing standard and predicated on a vehicle sales mix of approximately 66 percent cars and 33 percent trucks, According to Automotive News.
In 2011, when the standard was initially set, popularity of crossovers was just beginning its rapid ascent, and sales of pickups were just beginning to recover. Five years later, crossovers are the hottest vehicle configuration on the market, and fullsize truck sales are stronger than ever, with a new sales projection conservatively estimating 50 percent sales of light trucks, which also include SUVs, crossovers, and vans. The automakers are counter-proposing a CAFE standard between 50 and 52 mpg in their mid-term review with the EPA.
It’s not all bad news, however. Automakers are actually ahead of fuel economy projections for this timeframe, and a higher percentage of vehicles are employing six-speed and higher transmissions, direct fuel injection and other advancements that improve economy. The more than 1,200-page “Technical Assessment Report” says that even to meet the lower, revised CAFE number, more hybridization and electrification of vehicles will be necessary.
Source: Automotive News