New Fuel Economy Standards a Letdown for Consumers
The latest energy law included the first updated fuel economy mandate in over three decades. This is a long-overdue and necessary improvement. The new mandate doesn't push hard enough for consumers looking to reduce the nation’s tragic dependence on oil, to cut harmful asthma- and cancer-causing vehicle emissions, and to save consumers money by pushing for the best possible fuel economy increases for the nation’s cars, SUVs, minivans and trucks.
The structure of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program has been fundamentally changed. Now, federal standards will be set for the entire fleet of vehicles manufactured for sale in the U.S., instead of determining each manufacturers’ compliance with that standard. Size-based standards will be set for cars and light trucks, so larger vehicles will have to meet lower fuel economy standards.
While Congress has sent a powerful message to automakers, the new fuel economy standards will give the industry nearly another decade to improve fuel economy. In the face of high oil prices, reduced dependence on foreign oil, and global warming, consumers deserve better.