Law & Order

Report Questions Future Fuel Efficiency Targets

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) issued a joint technical report that will be used to determine the feasibility of meeting a fleet-wide average of 54.5 mpg by 2025. The report concludes that the average may actually be in the 50- to 52.6-mpg range.

NHTSA corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards are linked to the EPA’s greenhouse gas standards since the amount of fossil fuel burned directly corresponds to carbon emissions. CAFE standards are based on the size and class of vehicles, allowing SUVs to have standards that are different from passenger cars. To achieve the standards, the automakers are pursuing various engine/transmission technologies, using aluminum, carbon fiber and other materials to reduce weight, and making vehicles more aerodynamic among other pursuits. 

NHTSA will conduct a review of the CAFE program next year with the possibility for adjusting the CAFE targets for the 2021–2015 time period. NHTSA’s current fleet target of 54.5 mpg assumed that gas prices would be higher and, in turn, more consumers would buy smaller, fuel-efficient cars. 

For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at