President Obama this week toughened the CAFE standards for cars and light trucks beginning in 2016 giving automakers the 7 years they need to develop a whole new line of fuel efficient vehicles. The present CAFE standards are 27.5 MPG for cars and 24 MPG for light trucks. The light truck standards will increase to 26 MPG and cars will increase to 35.5 to 39 MPG, depending upon whom you ask.
The increase in the standards has several groups smiling. According to About the groups shaking hands about the new announcement include “…union members, environmental activists, auto industry executives and elected officials, both Republican and Democratic.”
The faction that is noticeably missing from this group, however, are the oil company executives. More MPG’s mean less oil dollars at the pumps.
Another issue that is not clear is the exemption for heavy trucks over 10,000 lbs. The CAFE exemption for SUV’s was closed in 2007, but not for larger vehicles such as the Hummer and Ford Excursion.
One loophole that has been pointed out to this whole plan is the disparity between CAFE MPG numbers and EPA MPG numbers for vehicles. EPA standards are often tougher than CAFE but the numbers also tend to be inflated compared to real world numbers the average driver achieves.
No matter what the downsides, loopholes and items yet to be addressed, the new CAFE standards are a move in the right directions for reducing emissions and conserving fuel.