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US fuel economy standards unveiled

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Transportation (DOT) have unveiled their joint proposal for stronger greenhouse gas pollution and fuel economy standards for model year 2017-2025 cars and light trucks. The proposed CAFE standards will require an industry fleet-wide basis for cars and trucks combined of 40.1mpg by model year 2021 and 49.6mpg by 2025. The greenhouse gas standards require 163g/mile of CO2 in model year 2025.  The 163g/mile limit is the equivalent of 54.5mpg – indicating that a portion of the improvements will be made through reductions in air conditioning leakage, which does not affect fuel economy.  It is an extension of the first phase of proposals brought into place by the Obama administration’s national programme. It raises fuel efficiency to 35.5mpg by 2016 – and results in an average CO2 level of 250g/mile. The two actions together will cut greenhouse gas emissions in half and nearly double the fuel economy of model year 2010 vehicles. In addition, the agencies state that the second phase of the programme will save around four billion barrels of oil and two billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the lifetimes of the model year 2017-2025 vehicles. The next stage sees the proposals go to the public for comment – they can comment up to 60 days after it is published on the Federal Register. Meanwhile, California will issue its proposals for the model years on December 7 before finalising them in January.

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Paul Lucas

Filed under: Latest News, Green cars, Green credentials

1 comment

Alex Kovnat

I hope that more and more Americans will realize that if we keep squeezing the auto industry harder and harder on fuel economy combined with safety, we may have to accept lesser performance than what we are accustomed to. Someday, acceleration from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in any less than 20 seconds, may be considered hot rod performance.

And worse: We are presently, at least so far at this time, accustomed to being able to maintain speeds of 100 kilometers per hour or more on long journeys on our interstate highway system. But if we keep demanding higher and higher fuel economy, i.e. 50 miles per gallon, we may end up having to settle for travel at speeds no more than 45 miles per hour.

Those who advocate 50 or more miles per gallon will no doubt argue that the world will come to an end otherwise, either from global warming per se or some other ecological effect caused by carbon dioxide buildup in our atmosphere. That still doesn't justify withholding from the population, the facts regarding the sacrifices we may have to make to achieve said fuel economy.

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