Fuel Economy Debate: Automakers vs. Regulators

Despite positive steps in the EV market, automakers and regulators may not be seeing eye-to-eye on future fuel economy requirement.

With gas prices currently so low, and with pick-up trucks and sport utility vehicles making up 58% of passenger vehicle sales, automakers are urging that regulators consider relaxing standards on fuel economy. But regulators know that gas prices fluctuate over time, and setting mileage goals is important for the long term. 

With a 54.5 mpg target set for 2025, and a current rate of 25.2 mpg, all parties –government policymakers, automakers and the consuming public – need to step up their game. Electric vehicles could help us reach our goal, but low consumer awareness, vehicle availability, and affordability stand in the way.   

One automaker, Audi, is taking a step in the right direction by planning for EVs to make up 25% of their sales by 2025. And they plan to start work on an electric SUV by 2018. And GM has recently announced it will make stop-start advanced battery technology a standard feature in all new cars by 2020.  

It's all part of giving car buyers the vehicles they want while also helping to meet fuel economy regulations. Hopefully, other car companies will get the memo from Audi and GM. But we also need to keep supporting these efforts by continuing to educate consumers, provide appropriate incentives, and develop the infrastructure needed to support EV’s and other advanced technologies.  (Hint: the Ontario plan would be a good place to start.)

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