Five Automakers to Support 54.5 MPG CAFE Proposal

Discussions between automakers, state, and government officials may be closing in on a finalized 2025 fuel economy standard, as The Detroit News reports that at least five major automakers are expected to stand behind the proposed 54.5-mpg goal. The Detroit Three, Honda, and Hyundai will reportedly rally in support of the new standard after the previous 56.2-mpg standard was shot down by automakers for its ambitious 5-mpg yearly hikes applying to both cars and trucks.

The 35.5-mpg CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standard for 2016 set last year remains in effect, with the new goals intended to kick in for 2017 onward. The 54.5-mpg standard calls for average annual mpg hikes of 3.5 percent for light trucks from 2017-2021, and 5-percent hikes from that point through 2025. Cars will have to gain 5 percent better fuel economy each year from 2017-2025 to meet the 54.5-mpg goal. According to The Detroit News, NHTSA previously said that a 5-percent yearly increase would raise average vehicle costs by at least $2100.

To meet the new goals, automakers will likely build more hybrids, EVs, and cars with smaller engines. The plan could also include special credits for automakers to meet requirements by building more flex-fuel vehicles or improving air conditioning system efficiency, as well as special rules to exempt some heavier-duty vehicles from the mandate. Detroit News says that actual fleet-wide averages might be less than 50 mpg once all credits are accounted for – a number that might not satisfy eco-conscious lawmakers in California.

Even so, California, along with a dozen other states, has agreed not to impose individual state standards, which would lead to multiple state-by-state regulations that would be impractical for automakers to meet. That makes it imperative that all parties come to an agreement on one standard. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told The Detroit News in an interview, “These deliberations are going on somewhere between 12 and 18 hours every day for the last several days. I think we will get there.”

An announcement of the finalized standards as well as announcements of automaker support could come as early as tomorrow, with the administration set to reveal the increases in full by September 30.

Source: The Detroit News