The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for 2011 will increase significantly. The increase in the standards is the government’s way to lessen the U.S.’s dependence on foreign oil. This is the first increase in fuel efficiency standards in more than twenty years. Passenger car requirements have remained unchanged at 27.5 mpg since 1985, drawing complaints from environmental groups that automakers have been slow in developing more fuel-efficient vehicles.
The 2011 standards require automakers’ car and truck lineups to have an average fuel efficiency (industry-wide combined car/truck standard) of 27.3 MPG by 2011 an increase of 2 MPG over the 2010 standard. This is based on a 30.2-mpg car standard (up from 27.5 mpg) and 24.1-mpg light-truck standard (up from 23.1 mpg).
The goal of the CAFE standards is to reduce the U.S.’s dependence on foreign oil and reduce emissions. According to the new CAFE document, these new 2011 standards will save approximately 887 gallons of fuel over the vehicle’s lifetime, and reduce CO2 emissions by 8.3 million metric tons.
The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) amended EPCA by mandating that the model year (MY) 2011-2020 CAFE standards be set sufficiently high to ensure that the industry-wide average of all new passenger cars and light trucks, combined, is not less than 35 miles per gallon by MY 2020. This is a minimum requirement, as
NHTSA must set standards at the maximum feasible level in each model year. NHTSA will determine, based on all of the relevant circumstances, whether that additional requirement calls for establishing standards that reach the 35 mpg goal earlier than MY 2020. (View more information about CAFE standards at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/CARS/rules/CAFE/overview.htm.)