Washington, D.C. — The Department of Transportation today announced new fuel economy standards averaging 27.3 miles per gallon for model year 2011 cars and light trucks. The standards are disappointing. They are weaker than the standards proposed last spring, and those were based on an unrealistically low gasoline price forecast. A reasonable price forecast should have led to higher standards, not lower ones.
The new Administration had only two months to develop the rule, which must be issued before April 1st. We hope that the Administration will do better for 2012 and beyond, when it has had the opportunity to conduct an analysis from scratch. In fact, the methodology that has been used to determine “maximum feasible” fuel economy levels to date is fundamentally flawed, in that it takes manufacturers’ current product plans as a starting point.
The auto industry cannot emerge from its current crisis if it fails to push forward with highly efficient, low-emitting vehicles as quickly as possible. One of the most important ways for the federal government to support the domestic automakers is to ensure they can match their competitors on fuel economy. Aggressive CAFE standards are the best way to accomplish that.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, contact ACEEE, 529 14th Street N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20045 or visit aceee.org.