Midterm report on fuel economy standards coming soon

Midterm report on fuel economy standards coming soon

The EPA will soon issue its midterm report on fuel economy standards passed in 2012, which require an overall U.S. fleet fuel economy of 54.5 mpg by 2025. All the major automakers endorsed the standards when they were passed, mainly because they wanted a single national standard instead of the patchwork of state laws that was then forming. They were also encouraged by the prospect of a midterm review, writes the Wall Street Journal.

The problem, in the automakersê view, is that they must sell cars that meet the stringent standards, not just build them. And as everyone in the industry knows, with gas prices hovering just above $2.00 a gallon, all the growth in sales in the past year or so has been in SUVs and light trucks, not in passenger cars, much less alternative fuel vehicles.

But as regulators indicated in the Society of Automotive Engineers panel at this yearês Washington Auto Show (covered here), and as an EPA spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal, those arguments are unlikely to sway regulators. The feds and environmental groups have noted that automakers are on track to meet the CAFE requirements. Regulators say their concern is not with the ups and downs of gas prices and auto sales, but with lowering greenhouse gases.

Automakers would at least like the 2025 deadline for the standards extended, the Journal says. They also say they should get credit for autonomous driving features, such as automatic emergency braking, which raises fuel economy.

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