Failure to meet CAFÉ standards can result in stiff fines for automakers. In particular, Mercedes has paid over $200 million in CAFÉ infringement related fines since 1983 and many other companies have been hit with similar fees. For 2009, CAFÉ standards were set at 27.5 mpg, and number that will continue to rise in the coming years. With ever increasing CAFÉ standard, Mercedes has surprisingly announced that they will no longer pay fines.
Why? The company is on track to meet CAFÉ standards by next year. They may have to pay minor fines for 2009, but the addition of hybrid vehicles will help the company overcome any mpg deficits soon.
Hybrids, such as the new S400 Hybrid have helped the company increase its overall CAFÉ numbers and a slew of diesel offerings, and electric vehicles coming soon will also help out. According to Mercedes product development chief Thomas Weber, "From 2010 on, we won't pay anything. That is clearly our goal."
All automakers appear to be trending towards compliance with CAFÉ numbers. This trend may be driven by demand for fuel efficient vehicles, but automakers now see compliance as a goal and a means of avoiding stiff fines.