Being Technology Neutral and Meeting Strong Demand is Why 54.5 MPG Will Work, CFA Says

54.5 mpg

With the US gov­ern­ment close to releas­ing the final­ized 54.5 mpg by 2025 fuel econ­o­my and emis­sions stan­dards, Con­sumer Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­i­ca released a report to influ­ence the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to main­tain and imple­ment the stan­dards. Accord­ing to CFA’s Dr. Mark Coop­er, Direc­tor of Research, con­duct­ing a research study that includ­ed a con­sumer sur­vey has clar­i­fied a few points:

1. Con­sumer demand for fuel effi­cient vehi­cles is dri­ving all of this, and with vehi­cle tech­nolo­gies mak­ing big advance­ments in recent years, espe­cial­ly high per­for­mance four cylin­der engines, it’s very like­ly that these stan­dards will be met. And it explains why automak­ers are com­ply­ing with the man­date. Gaso­line price volatil­i­ty in 2008 and 2012 is the main fac­tor influ­enc­ing con­sumer opin­ions.

2. The best thing about the 2025 mod­el year fuel econ­o­my and emis­sions stan­dards, and how they dif­fer from what he calls “old CAFÉ stan­dards” imple­ment­ed in 2008, is that they’re tech­nol­o­gy neu­tral. There’s no require­ment that X num­ber of hybrid elec­tric vehi­cles or plug-in elec­tric vehi­cles have to be sold, or that it’s strict by vehi­cle class or size cat­e­go­ry, or what type of fuel will be pow­er­ing them. They have to meet the fuel econ­o­my and green­house gas emis­sions stan­dards, but it’s all built into the strat­e­gy they’re fol­low­ing today.

3. Meet­ing the stan­dards will be prob­a­bly be accom­plished by sales of high mileage four-cylin­der engine cars and crossover util­i­ty vehi­cles, and more fuel effi­cient trucks com­ing out, such as what Ford has been doing with Eco­Boost in F-Series pick­ups. Hybrid elec­tric vehi­cles will play a role in meet­ing the num­bers, but oth­er green vehi­cle sales are dif­fi­cult to pre­dict such as elec­tric vehi­cles.

4. Even though envi­ron­men­tal groups were push­ing for fuel econ­o­my to pass over the 60 mpg mark, it’s bet­ter that they’re in the mid-50s, he said. The OEM engi­neer­ing stud­ies have shown that once you go past that mark, the reli­a­bil­i­ty and safe­ty come into ques­tion. There are strong, light-weight mate­ri­als out there for man­u­fac­tur­ing cars, but OEMs aren’t using a lot of them right now. They have every­thing in place now to meet the 54.5 mpg stan­dards, Coop­er said.

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