Demand always trumps planning, and this has reared its head again in the automotive world. The only difference this time is it’s forcing the federal government to change its plans and adjust the future Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations, according to a report filed by regulators on July 18, 2016.
Until now, the CAFE regulations required automakers to get their fleet-wide average fuel economy up to 54.5 mpg by the 2025 model year. Now, the EPA is backing off this once-firm regulation, calling it simply an estimate that is malleable, depending on market conditions.
It was these conditions that have forced the EPA to rethink the whole thing and come to the conclusion that a better estimate it between 50 and 52.6 mpg by the 2025 model year, according to Automotive News. Specifically, it has been the dramatic shift in favor of pickup trucks and SUVs that’s had the biggest impact. Initial estimates were based on a sales mix of 67 percent car and 33 percent SUVs, crossovers, and pickups, but low gas prices and aggressive marketing has spurred SUV, crossover, and pickup sales, so the government is now basing its estimates on a more-equal split.
Regulators will keep the report open for 60 days, allowing the general public to comment on it. Then, by April 1, 2018, the EPA will make a final ruling on what the new estimates for 2022 through 2025 vehicles will be.
We’ll bring you updates as they become available.