Tuesday, July 5, 2011
SAN DIEGO The Obama administration is seeking a high but attainable CAFE standard of 56.2 miles per gallon for light vehicles coming out in 2025. The New York Times reports this could require 50 percent of all American-made cars to be either hybrid or electric.
The 56.2 MPG standard is being presented as a compromise between American car makers and environmentalists. Europe is shooting higher and moving faster. The EU is expected to enforce a goal of 60 MPG for its fleets by 2020.
We expect to hear in September whether the 56 MPG standard will be put in place. The federal government has already set a CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standard of 35.5 miles per gallon for the American auto industry by 2016.
Carmakers aren’t exactly opposed to high gas mileage standards. They just want to sell lots of cars, and they question whether light, fuel-efficient vehicles will fly out of the dealerships. The head of GM has actually come out in favor of a high gas tax, aimed at keeping the price of gas more stable. He said the current volatility of gas prices have made it hard for U.S. carmakers to make long-term commitments to building small cars.
But I won’t hold my breath waiting for Congress to create a “carbon tax.” CAFE seems to be the best bet for kicking the foreign fuel habit anytime in the near future.