Saturday, 30 July 2011

2025 CAFE target set at 54.5 mpg; everyone's apparently happy with that

Following the official announcement this morning that the new 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard would be set at 54.5 miles per gallon, our email box overflowed with something we rarely see: near-unanimous support. Everyone from the automakers to the Union of Concerned Scientists, from the United Auto Workers to the American people (through a study released today by the Pew Environment Group) seem to agree: 54.5 mpg is the right fuel economy target. Sure, some of the groups would have been happier with the previously bandied-about 62 mpg or even 56.2 mpg, but almost everyone is putting on a happy face today.

Surrounding the President as he made the announcement were the heads of many automakers, including Dan Akerson (GM), Alan Mulally (Ford), Sergio Marchionne (Chrysler), John Krafcik (Hyundai Motor America), Jim Lentz (Toyota Motors Sales USA) and more. The OEMs brought a bevy of fuel-efficient vehicles, too, including plug-ins like the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt, a bunch of hybrids couple of a big trucks that aren't the gas guzzlers of yesteryear: a Ford F-150 with EcoBoost and a Dodge Ram 4x4 SLT.

Of course, we're sure there will be continued contention over what is the best fuel economy goal for the United States – the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, for example, says that the "proposal does not drive advanced technology to its maximum potential," and warns that it could be watered down even further – but, for now, pretty much everyone appears to be on the same page. Even California, which could (and has, in the past) gone its own way with fuel economy standards because of the Clean Air Act, has given its approval to 54.5. As our friend Jim Motavalli wrote in BNET yesterday, President Obama, "seems to have crafted a fairly good compromise that nobody actively hates." The behind-the-scenes negotiations must have been interesting to watch, eh?

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