The Department of Transportation officially announced the 2011 model year Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards today. The increase in the standards is the government’s way to lessen the U.S.’s dependence on foreign oil.
Early predictions estimated the CAFE standard would rise by eight percent. The DOT confirmed such figures, as the 2011 standard is now at 27.3 mpg, up from the current 25.3 mpg standard. In 2011, cars must manage 30.2 mpg, while light trucks will be required to achieve 24.1 mpg.
A new provision within the CAFE rules allows automakers to petition the new standards within the next 45 days. However, given that car companies have been lobbying against CAFE increases for over 20 years, the chance of a repeal isn’t too likely.
The goal of the CAFE standards is to reduce the U.S.’s dependence on foreign oil and reduce emissions. According to the new CAFE document, these new 2011 standards will save approximately 887 gallons of fuel over the 2011 cars’ lifetime, and reduce CO2 emissions by 8.3 million metric tons.
Subsequent CAFE standard increases for model years up to 2015 were established after “considering the appropriate legal factors, the comments filed in response to the May 2008 proposal, the relevant technological and scientific considerations, and to the extent feasible”. The NHTSA was asked by automakers to take the possible technologies and costs of those technologies into account when considering the annual increase.
An approximate 4.5 percent annual average increase was decided upon, which brings average fuel economy standards to 31.6 mpg by MY 2015. The increases announced by the government today are leading up to the 35 mpg standard that will be enacted by 2020.