Light Duty Fuel Economy
Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for cars and light trucks, first adopted in 1975 in the wake of the OPEC oil embargo, resulted in a doubling of average new vehicle fuel economy a decade later. Following that period of rapid advance were two decades of stagnant fuel economy standards.
Electric Vehicles Nab 9 out of Top 12 Spots in ACEEE’s Environmental Vehicle Rankings
Washington, DC—Despite a tumultuous year for the automotive industry, manufacturers have continued to offer exciting technology options for a growing vehicle market. Today at greenercars.org, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy released its 19th annual comprehensive environmental ratings for vehicles.
Over the past 40 years, light-duty vehicles in the United States have achieved remarkable gains in both fuel economy and performance. The graph below shows average miles per gallon, power-to-weight ratio, and 0-to-60 acceleration time of new cars and light trucks since the late 1970s. Fuel economy improved dramatically from 1975 to 1987, driven by the original Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which were adopted in 1975 in response to the 1973 oil embargo by Arab states.
Vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards are working well, but could fall short of climate goals
The latest news from the EPA on light-duty vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions is…complicated. There’s good news and not-so-good news, and the array of factors that figure into EPA’s accounts of these matters is mind-boggling for those not tuned into the fine points.
New fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles and engines, proposed this summer, have just run the gauntlet of public comment on their way to final adoption next year. As proposed, these Phase 2 standards would provide major gains in fuel efficiency for heavy-duty vehicles by 2027.
ACEEE executive director Steven Nadel made this statement on the report Cost, Effectiveness and Deployment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles released today by the National Research Council, the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering:
Standards cutting greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks and raising fuel economy are among the biggest environmental achievements of the Obama administration. The standards are projected to save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in fuel expenditures over the next decade. In the process, they are helping to shape the US and global auto industries by establishing an expectation of continuing technological progress toward high efficiency, low-emitting vehicles.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama rightly pointed to a thriving domestic auto industry as a bright spot in the U.S. economy. It’s a good time to recall that the government’s 2008-2009 intervention on behalf of GM and Chrysler played a big role in that outcome, as did energy efficiency.
As 2013 draws to a close, it's useful to reflect back on the past year and look forward to the coming one. Despite political and economic headwinds, the states and federal and local governments continued to make progress on energy efficiency policies in 2013. Among the states, Mississippi and Louisiana decided to begin utility programs, and Connecticut and Maine passed legislation to advance efficiency initiatives.