Obama Administration Announces 54.5 MPG CAFE Standard for 2025

President Barack Obama took to a stage this morning in Washington D.C. to announce he’s reached a deal with automakers to raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

CAFE standards were already reset in May of 2009, when President Obama mandated that the fuel economy average of an automaker’s product portfolio must reach 35.5 mpg by 2016. Today’s announcement is a continuation of that plan and also the largest mandatory fuel economy increase in history.

Flanked by a Chevrolet Cruze Eco, Nissan Leaf, Kia Optima and a Ford F-150 EcoBoost, President Obama praised the “incredible commitment” by the automakers and the “spirit of compromise” that allowed the change to happen. And compromise is evident: by changing from the original target of 62 mpg to 54.5 mpg and allowing automakers to gain “credits” by implementing fuel-saving strategies, the government was able to gain support.

Pointing his rhetoric directly at Capitol Hill (as it works out the future of the government’s national debt), Obama said “this is what can happen when people put aside differences.”

The CAFE compromise arrived after a healthy amount of controversy. Automakers withstrong sales of are pickup trucks and SUVs resisted the idea, with some voicing their displeasure loudly. General Motors invited scorn recently by hiring lobbyists to resist the change, and Toyota only recently jumped onto the 54.5-mpg bandwagon.

But automakers weren’t the only ones concerned by the idea. Buoyed by a study from Ann Arbor, Michigan-based research firm the Center for Automotive Research, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers took out ads blasting the standards, saying it could add $10,000 to sticker prices everywhere.  The United Auto Workers voiced its concerns that standards could ultimately mean lost jobs in an already tumultuous industry.

President Obama said at Friday’s event that the new standards will ultimately double new car fuel economy, which means it could “save a typical family $8000.” Multiply that figure, and Obama claims CAFE standards will reduce American dependence on oil by 2.2 million barrels per day, a savings of “$2 trillion over time.”

Source: White House

I agree with encouraging the automotive industry to produce more efficient cars, and help the average consumer save money, and TRY to protect the environment (which has survived substantially longer than humans). However, I do NOT think it is the government's place to mandate production standards for an entire industry. Go ahead and give incentives for better gas mileage, but don't hand out mandates. I think it's extremely nearsighted and ignorant to tell people that they will save $8,200 because of the improved gas mileage their car gets when they have a $15,000 price increase because of the R&D that had to go into the car to get there. I don't drive a gallon-guzzling road hog, but I like knowing that my car has on-demand acceleration to avoid the 16 year old next to me texting (while trying to hide it from the cops) and not paying attention. Lastly, do people even realize how cheap gasoline is? Just think for a second of some of the other things you can buy for $4, and see if you would rather have that or be able to get 25 miles down the road in a car (which provides A/C as well) instead of walking. It costs just as much for a cup of COFFEE!! If you haven't ever written your senator to try and get your local coffee shop to reduce their prices, you have no business complaining about something that gives you PLENTY more value (gasoline).
I recently test drove a Volt and Cruze at a GM "Main street" event here in Philadelphia Was more than satisfied with each. Aside from the overly techy/ ipod like interior- I really was surprised how the well the Volt handled whether on Electric or Range extending mode. Plug the Volt in in often enough, from a clean source of home grown electricity, and we've just saved a few bucks and added to the national security. The Cruze at 42 MPG was even better. The idea that we would need some sort of "clown car" to get to 54.5 CAFE by 2025 is just ludicrous. And it's an AVERAGE of practical cars, and cars for wasteful/oversized people and egos- So if TEKE288 wants to continue to drive a hulking truck/suv/big ass car- and continue our dependence on the middle east for oil- more power to him. We aren't banning anything. The rest of us would rather save a few bucks at the pump, have cleaner air (less CO2 SO2 & NO2)and keep our troops out of ridiculous fights in places they need not be.
Oh boy, I can look forward to driving one of those little clown cars in 2025.

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