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PostSubject: Lower CAFE Targets   March 20th 2015, 12:56 pm

EPA's CAFE Targets Could Be Reevaluated

Quote :
Changing consumer behavior, less demand for electric vehicles, and the growth in pickup truck and SUV sales could lead the way to lowering the EPA's 2025 corporate average fuel economy requirements, agency officials recently said. That means the race to 54.5 mpg could be over.

During the 2015 Automotive World's Megatrends USA conference on March 17 in Dearborn, Mich., federal officials and industry experts came together to share their insights on the changing automotive marketplace. The current 2022-25 fuel economy regulations were discussed at length, and federal officials may have to change these targets. Why? According to officials, lower gas prices, slow sales of electric vehicles, and growing sales of more efficient pickups and SUVs warrant a review of CAFE targets.

These are new dynamics that weren't factored into the regulations when they were proposed in 2012 by President Barack Obama. Then, consumer behavior analysis from 2008-10 model years showed rising gas prices causing consumers to buy smaller cars and eschew less efficient pickups and full-size SUVs.

While striking down the CAFE requirements isn't likely, a review by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration CAFE Program Office is underway according to The Detroit News.

Another factor affecting CAFE regulations is consumer behavior. While the regulations may force automakers to manufacture certain vehicles, like the built-for-California-only Fiat 500e, the fact is any vehicle has to be bought by consumers to have an impact. Unfortunately for the government, buyers are opting for full-size, luxury-filled pickups, and sales of electric vehicles still play just a small role in the marketplace. So EPA officials say it is time to review the policy.

Michael Olechiw, EPA director of light-duty vehicle and small engine center, told The Detroit News his organization is willing to work with all concerned parties to figure out if automakers are having trouble meeting the 2022-25 regulations. Obviously, a relaxed reassessment of the coming CAFE targets (which some have described as aggressive) would make automakers happy.

The midterm review will consist of a technical assessment report for public comment by June 2016, and the EPA issuing a final ruling on whether to raise, lower or keep standards the same by April 2018.

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