After an unexplained delay, the Obama Administration announced its finalized Corporate Average Fuel Economy — or CAFE rules — for all U.S.-sold cars from the model years 2017-2025. It’s own deadline for the announcement had been August 15.
CAFE rules kick in 2017
That CAFE rules require all new vehicles sold in the U.S. between 2017 and 2025 to achieve a minimum of 54.5 mpg.
The rules announced Wednesday differ from those previously announced on a number of points, mostly to allow wiggle-room to incentivize natural gas vehicles and other future “technologies with potential to achieve real-world greenhouse gas reductions and fuel economy improvements that are not captured by the standards test procedures.”
The Obama Administration says that the CAFE standards will nearly double the fuel efficiency of vehicles when compared with models on the market today. Also, it will cut the nation’s CO2 emissions in half.
Obama said Wednesday:
“These fuel standards represent the single most important step we’ve ever taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. … It’ll strengthen our nation’s energy security, it’s good for middle class families and it will help create an economy built to last.”
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Pro and con
Opponents of the CAFE rules, such as the National Automobile Dealers Association and House Republicans led by Darrel Issa, say the cars of the future, under CAFE standards2, will be smaller and require quite a bit larger auto loan amount. Some say by as much as $10,000.
Supporters argue that those figures are highly exaggerated. The White House says it would be more like a $2,800 increase, and that the difference will be more than made up by the approximately $8,000 in fuel savings over the life of a vehicle.
Groups that endorse the move include the United Auto Workers Union, the Natural Resources Defense Council, as will as automakers Chrysler, Ford, GM and Hyundai.
According to Automotive News, the CAFE rules will cost the nation as much as $192 million between 2017 and 2025. That, however, will be offset by fuel savings of $515 billion.
Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said:
“Everybody is a winner today. Motorists win because they will have much more fuel-efficient cars to drive, thus saving thousands of dollars at the gas pump every year. The auto industry — and its workers — win because these standards will spur the creation of thousands of new jobs as well as state-of-the-art vehicles that go nearly twice as far on the same gallon of gasoline.”