Consumer Federation of America calls for 60 mpg CAFE standard by 2025

Filed under: Etc., Government/Legal, Technology

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Now that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Environmental Protection Agency have established fleet fuel economy standards of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016, the government agencies are hard at work on the next phase of increases that will stretch out to 2020 and beyond. The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act mandated 40 mpg by 2020 as a minimum, but the standards could actually be set higher. That’s exactly what the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) want.

A report from CFA declares that the technology exists to raise fuel economy standards to 60 mpg by 2025 and estimates that doing so would add about $2,600 to the cost of new cars and $3,200 to light trucks. CFA’s analysis indicates that, at the equivalent of $3.50 per gallon in 2025, the payback period for the extra costs would only be five years. While the technology definitely exists to produce 60-mpg vehicles, the real problem is consumer behavior, and most American consumers probably won’t buy the kinds of small cars required to meet those standards at current fuel prices – particularly with that much cost tacked on to their MSRPs.

Hitting 60 mpg while maintaining the size and capability Americans currently buy would doubtlessly cost substantially more. In order to get people to buy such vehicles, critics suggest there will need to be significantly higher prices at the pump. The idea of a revenue-neutral petroleum tax (whereby other taxes would be cut to compensate) that establishes a floor price of at least $4 per gallon could be a good place to start on the way to 40 mpg. Getting people into 60-mpg vehicles would probably require an even higher floor – perhaps $5/gal or more.

[Sources: Green Car Advisor, Consumer Federation of America]

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Consumer Federation of America calls for 60 mpg CAFE standard by 2025 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 03 Sep 2010 15:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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