What Will New 2025 CAFE Standards Mean For YOU?

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Fuel gauge

Fuel gauge

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Yesterday, we revealed the news that the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for 2025 have been confirmed after a long political battle.

Essentially, the standards will require a carmaker's range of cars and trucks to meet an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

That sounds like a difficult target to hit--after all, the most efficient hybrid-electric cars on sale at the moment average around 50 mpg, and getting large sedans and sports cars to meet that target won't be an easy task.

For most cars and light trucks, it will require efficiency to double. The expected benefits are clear: Greenhouse gas emissions could reduce by 6 billion metric tons, and dependency on oil will decrease.

But what do the new standards mean for you?

Pay less for gas

The first benefit will be reduced gasoline costs. With prices rising all the time, even those who are happy to fill up a 25 mpg car today may not be quite so happy by 2025.

Though the cost of new cars is expected to rise by $1,800 to meet the new technology demands, analysis claims that each driver could save $8,000 in gasoline costs during the ownership of a car.

That benefit isn't restricted to the future either, as manufacturers are already building more efficient cars and will continue to do so, aiming to meet that 54.5mpg average in 13 years time.

And the less efficient your current car is, the more you'll have to gain.

More jobs

Research also suggests that the ruling will open up the automotive jobs market, as the U.S. auto industry recruits an extra 570,000 people to develop new technology and manufacture new products.

Toyota FT-Bh Concept

Toyota FT-Bh Concept

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Better cars

While fuel economy standards have their detractors, there's no denying that current standards have been making cars cleaner than ever, yet still offering us all the things we like in cars--performance, technology, comfort and safety, among others.

For the average car to reach the 50 mpg mark, carmakers will have to innovate even more--using exciting new materials, technology, improving aerodynamics, reducing weight and more. These benefit far more than just fuel economy--handling and performance look set to improve too.

More choice

At the moment, your options are fairly limited if you want a genuinely fuel efficient car--you can select from a handful of hybrids, or take another step up and go electric.

By 2025, that choice should have increased--not only will cars like the Prius still be around, no doubt with some impressive economy numbers to its name, but even your average car will be a gas-sipper.

It'll all be relative--after all, a high-performance sports car will still lack the ultimate economy of a compact car--but you won't have to make so much of a compromise as you do today. At the moment, some market segments entirely lack hybrids, diesels or electric vehicles. Want a hybrid, Miata-style sports car? Don't be surprised to see it by 2025.

The 2025 standards may have caused rumblings in some areas of the industry, but for consumers, the 2025 ruling looks like providing plenty of benefits.


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Comments (6)
  1. "a high-performance sports car will still lack the ultimate economy of a compact car"

    I wonder if that is going to be true in the world of electric cars or is that just and ICE issue?

  2. I'm guessing it will mean I'm on the Tesla Z or BMW or Audi's 3rd or 4th version of an EV. I'm definitely hoping costs will come down, which they should, of course.

    But one critical point, Antony. The CAFE limit, from my limited understanding, does not translate exactly to current EPA mileage figures. From what I've read elsewhere, to reach 54.5 MPG for CAFE, the average vehicle actually needs to reach 40-45 MPG, not 54.5. The task is hard enough as it is, let's not make it seem harder than it really is.

    I'll need to research this one again, it's been a while, but that is my understanding. Can someone elaborate, please?

  3. CAFE mpg numbers are based on 2 dynamometer emission tests developed in the early 1970s (the cold start Federal Test Procedure and the Highway Fuel Economy Test). When these tests were developed, the speed limit was 55 mph and the dynamometers in-use at that time required limiting the rate of acceleration. In the 1980s, EPA adjusted window sticker mpg numbers downward by 10% city and 22% highway because these 2 test overestimated real-world mpg. In the mid to late 2000s EPA found that even the adjusted mpg numbers were overestimating mpg significantly. They started using 3 additonal emission tests (the "US06" simulated high speed/high load driving, the "SC03" simulated high temperature driving with the AC on, and the "lo-temp CO" test simulates starting and driving in low temperatures}. These tests are run on new dynamometers that can handle real world acceleration rates. All 5 test results are combined to produce relatively realistic projections of real-world mpg and are posted on the vehicle's window sticker (for model year 2008 and newer). Yuu can get more information on www.fueleconomy.gov. Unfortunately, CAFE rules still spell out the initial 1970s method of estimating fuel economy, so the average mpg used for CAFE purposes is about 30% higher than real-world window sticker estimates.

  4. According to Edmunds: "The 54.5-mpg figure equals about 36 mpg in the EPA's current window-sticker measuring system. So despite what the politicians and headlines say, forget the idea that all cars and trucks will be delivering somewhere around 54.5 mpg 13 years from now. That simply won't happen."

  5. Real-world data (mpg, etc.) is all that matters to consumers.

    54.5 mpg CAFE is the new ~43 mpg EPA (sticker). With the introduction of "vehicle footprint" (wheelbase area) from CAFE MY2012, the gap between CAFE mpg & EPA mpg has widened to a 20-30% difference. The 1994 page final report contains many assumptions and is an interesting read into politics & policy if you have the time.

  6. People will save alot of money on fuel, because they won't be able to afford a new car because they will cost $7000 more plus all the costs of the new safety standards!

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